how knife throwers make sure the blade hits the target instead of the handle


I mean, if the knife is balanced, there should theoretically be an equal chance for every angle of the knife to hit the target, not just the sharp part, right? Is it just “it only has time for about half a rotation” and take the distance and speed into account?

In: Physics

I was of the understanding you wanted throwing knives to be weighted not balanced?

So basically when throwing a knife you have to take distance and how many rotations are going to happen into account some people can get the perfect half rotation always stick others have multiple full rotations but the biggest thing in my experience is know how far you’re throwing it and how many times it will turn. It’s been a long time since I threw knives but I always based it around essentially how many paced away from the target I was. Also throwing knives are weighted heavier on the blade end generally they aren’t balanced the same way regular knife or sword is.

It is actually, as far as I am aware at least. There’s specific technique to knife throwing, and most of what I’ve seen in the past has been relatively consistent with other things.

It’s similar to the idea that flipping a coin isn’t really truly “random”. With enough practice, and properly controlled conditions, you could get whatever result you wanted.

With knife throwing I’ve always seen things say “Make sure you do steps 1, 2, 3, while being X feet away from your target, if you knife is blade heavy, hold it from the handle, of its handle heavy, hold from the handle.” etc..

It also probably does more than half a rotation in a normal throw depending on how far away you are.

Throwing knives typically are not balanced, they tend to be much heavier on the point end. Google pictures and you’ll find examples of what I mean.

Aside from that, it’s technique that gets it to stick. Knowing the knife itself, the distance away from the target and number of rotations is key. Doesn’t work like in the movies where the guy can throw any knife he picked up off the ground and hit another guy square in the back who’s running away from them.


Throw a knife from X feet away until you can consistently get it to stick in the target, however many throws that takes. Then do it again from Y feet away, then again from Z feet away. You have to learn how many rotations a knife makes, if you throw it *just so*, from *this* distance or from *that* distance, and there’s no shortcut or cheat to it.

Thousands and thousands of throws later, you can get a blade to land edge-first.

So if you are throwing the knife in random ways each time you may hit point first 10-30% of the time. Knife throwing needs you to account for distance, speed of the throw, and spin rate. Distance can be estimated with experience, speed can be controlled pretty easy, and spin rate is controlled by how far up or down you hold the blade. Understand throwing knives are not serious weapons even though they are dangerous as they require a ton of skill to be constant. If you pick it up one day than dont be shocked if it takes a week before you can hit worth a damn. I’d recommend starting with card board targets as even if you hit back end first it’ll stick so you will know exactly how it landed. Start at 3 yards and work your distance once you have consistent sticks point in. Focus landing points rather than power. Build power after you can land hits.

They “pace” their throws. They’re taught to predict the rotation such that the knife sticks blade first. It’s common to count paces from the target and use that as a measure for how to throw the blade.

It’s similar in the higher levels of archery as the arrow wobbles in the air; professional archer may take these wobbles into account.

The distance to the target and the knife rotation speed will have to be within a certain range so that the blade collides with the target.

I imagine this becomes instinctive to experienced throwers

It depends on what you’re throwing. And how you’re throwing it. There are some throwing projectiles that are made to be thrown like a dart or baseball. They don’t rotate on purpose but then you have a shorter range.

The kinds of throwing things that rotate in the air, hatchets, larger knives, etc you want to estimate the number of rotations it will make so that it lands point first. It’s based on distance and how hard you throw it.

Fwiw most knife throwing you see is fake. Magicians and Hollywood both have tons of methods to make it look like they threw a knife and hit when they didn’t.

Also it’s almost impossible to do debilitating damage with a thrown knife. The penetration just isn’t great and one small puncture wound isn’t going to take anyone out. Definitely don’t depend on it for self defense.

With practice you learn which distances your knife is spinning blade first. This is an instinctive skill that can’t truly be put into words. I know how far I need to be from my target for my knife to land with the blade, assuming I’m throwing with my typical, practiced strength. Same goes for axes. Go camping and give it a try, don’t be embarrassed if you have trouble at first. Your body will learn, simply allow your mind to relax and repeat.