A little Extra Protection Never Hurt
When you are out in the wilderness it is always wise to carry a knife. A knife can be used to cut your meat, fashion a hut or lean too to sleep, and of course to protect yourself. Holding a knife means that your attacker must get close to you, or in case of an animal you must be close to it. A throwing blade offers something that other knives don’t, the ability to be thrown. While you can’t throw a knife as far or as fast as a bullet, it is silent, and easier to find. You can retrieve the thrown blade to throw again when you can. A throwing blade comes in different shapes and sizes and can often be worn in a sheath like most knives, but these sheaths hold more than one.
It’s All in the Wrist
Throwing a blade is a skill that is acquired with practice and precision. It takes effort to get good at throwing any type of throwing knife or blade, and there are several to think about. Size matters little when it comes to throwing knives, except for axes and hatchets. These types of thrown blades require a bit of muscle, and when thrown right can not only kill something, but knock it back as well. For a large animal, it might not kill, depending on where you hit, but the wound could be fatal. (Be careful near wild animals, as you should never throw a blade at them unless you have no choice but to defend yourself.)
With most throwing knives, it’s a matter of not strength but the revolutions of the blade in the air that will drive it home. Some blades you hold by the handle and others by the blade when you throw it. As you release, think of it like throwing a Frisbee, but instead of sideways your wrist is going up and down. (Mr. Miagi from the Karate Kid had it right with the side to side and up and down technique.) That little flick of the wrist as you let go, or holding it steady is what will drive your blade home. There are some blades that are smaller, which will allow you to throw them sideways. These too will require a flick of the wrist to send them to the target.
For a target, you are going to want a piece of wood, that is between the soft and medium range. Cedar makes a good board and you are going to want it to be between an inch and two inches thick. A harder wood can cause your blade to ricochet off it, perhaps even back at you. If you can’t find anything thicker than an inch, you can always take some cardboard and attach it to the front. Draw or paint your target on the front, and stand back between 3 and 6 feet away when you throw. Try to throw the blade aiming for the bullseye or whatever target you drew, but try holding the blade differently after five throws until you find what works for you.
Which Throwing Blades to Consider
There are several different types to consider, some long, some short, some heavy, some light, and all of which can be deadly. Some knives are balanced evenly where you can find the middle of the blade and rest it on one finger, it will not move to either side. While others are more handle or blade heavy, which will change how you throw them. These are listed in order from smallest to largest:
- Light weight and solid.
- Comes in duel sharp sides or only pointed.
- Made from steel is the best.
- Found either in steel as it was made or painted.
- Some darts have handles or one side not sharp, while others are pointed like a pencil on both sides.
Shuriken or Throwing Stars
- Solid Steel is the best, but are found of cheaper metal so be careful what you get.
- Must be very careful throwing as all the edges are sharp.
- Different styles include 3 sides like a triangle, 4 sided like a square or designed like snowflakes.
- Typically come in sets of three.
- Are not legal everywhere, so know before you buy.
Small One Sided Blades
- Solid steel and able to balance on a finger where the blade starts to get sharp.
- Is evenly spaced between handle and blade.
- Can be thrown by holding the blade or the handle.
- Often comes in sets of three, but can be found in sets of 12.
Large One Sided Blades
- Solid Steel but tend to be heavier on the blade side.
- Some can be found evenly balanced like the smaller blade, these will be evenly spaced.
- Can be thrown by holding the blade or the handle.
- Comes in sets of two, or accompanied with smaller blades.
Small Two Sided Blades
- Solid Steel, but are often found painted for style.
- Blade is smaller than the handle.
- Light weight and easy to throw, by the handle only.
- Can be thrown straight with arm motion going down, or sideways.
- Comes in sets of 2 to 5 depending on the size and type.
Large Two Sided Blades
- Solid Steel, found painted for style
- Blade is often larger than handle.
- Weight balanced more for the blade than the handle.
- Must be thrown by the handle.
- Comes in sets of two or accompanied with smaller blades of the same style.
Hatchet, Tomahawk, Axes
- Are typically one solid piece, but not always. (One piece is ideal for a thrown blade.)
- Blade is much heavier than the handle.
- Generally sold individually, although some smaller ones are found in sets of two or three.
- Handles are often wrapped for a grip and support.
- Must be thrown by holding the handle.