Weighing In Our Options
Arguably one of the most crucial characteristics of a good throwing knife is its weight. Weight affects the behavior and usage of the knife and even may determine the method in which that particular knife is used.
We know that the heavier the knife is, the more kinetic energy it will harness, thus enabling it to pierce deeper into the target. Furthermore, a heavier blade may help seasoned throwers be more accurate over greater distances.
As a general idea, professional knife throwers generally stick to the 1-ounce for 1-inch rule, which basically just means that for every inch in length the knife is, it should weigh 1 ounce. Of course, this is personal preference, though, and people use a very wide range of weights, but I’ve found this rule to be pretty consistent with how I like to throw as well.
For the most part, shoot for something in the 10 to 18-ounce range with a length in the 10 to 15 inches area. This range tends to be the accepted range for most professionals.
Length Does Matter
As mentioned before, length does have a tight relationship with weight, but why should we consider length? Is length more important than weight? Is weight more important than length?
Answering those questions is a bit difficult since there are so many options and styles to choose from. At the end of the day, what works for you is what you should use, but if you’re new to knife throwing and you don’t know where to start, a good idea would be a knife around 12 to 14 inches long.
Length impacts the behavior of a thrown knife by determining its rotation speed. The longer the knife, the heavier it will be, but also the slower it will rotate while traveling to its destination. The typical length range of professionals is in the 10 to 15-inch realm, however, there are certainly outliers that make do with even smaller or much longer knives.
The Incredibly Sharp Balancing Act
The balance of a throwing knife is the relationship between length and weight. Once you’ve dialed in what length you like to use and how heavy of a knife you need to match your physical strength and technique, you’ll need to consider how the two work together in tandem to further your knife throwing capabilities!
Balance is the key to most things in almost any sport. Many people believe great athletes are so skillful because they are quick on their feet and display incredible levels of strength, but truly, balance is one of the most important factors in almost all athletes’ success.
In the world of throwing knives, you’ll get three different options to choose from in terms of weight distribution.
Evenly Balanced: A completely balanced throwing knife means it has a 50/50 weight distribution and a perfect center of gravity. These blades weigh the same over the entire length, including the handle. This creates a very predictable nearly circular rotational pattern that makes throwing far more enjoyable for those that are decently experienced with this sport. This particular weight distribution is also very attractive to many people since it allows for both handle throwing and blade throwing.
Blade Weighted: A knife whose blade consists of the majority of its weight is meant to be held and thrown from the handle, sending the heavier section of the knife, the blade, into rotation first. These are the most ideal knives for beginners since there is little chance of self-induced injury and most people are far more comfortable throwing with the handle instead of the blade itself. This style also feels similar to hammer or ax throwing, which makes transitions from those sports into knife throwing much easier.
Handle Weighted: A knife that is heavier in the handle than the blade is ideal for those who enjoy throwing a knife solely from its blade. This weight configuration is primarily used only by experts since it requires you to hold and throw from the blade. Some professionals believe they have better success throwing from the blade because they can feel how the blade will rotate quicker, allowing them to predict the knife’s rotation with higher accuracy.
Already bought a knife but aren’t sure how the knife is weighed and how its meant to be thrown? No problem! Set the knifes center on a thin point and see which way it tips. If you can balance it perfectly in the center, its a balanced knife. If the knife tips to one side or the other, you’ll be able to see which side is heavier.
Not All Metal Is Created Equally
In the world of knives, we can find tons of blades crafted out of just about every type of metal we’ve discovered. Of course, some are better for throwing knives than others and although other categories of knives, such as pocket knives, have a wider range of acceptable materials, throwing knives are pretty much constricted to stainless steel.
There are other options besides stainless steel, such as aluminum, but stainless steel seems to be the king of the hill so to speak. Firstly, stainless steel holds up to weather significantly better and will take much longer to rust than most other knife materials. Stainless steel is also heavier than aluminum which is ideal since a heavier knife is typically more sought after.