How to Throw Throwing Knives and Grow as a Thrower?

how to throw throwing knives
Written by Erik Himmel

Last week, a Hispanic friend made a call gasping heavily and asked, “Roberto (the nickname he prefers), how do you throw a throwing knife?” No greetings exchanged! I asked, “Why on earth are you asking?” He expressed his cause (mostly personal), and I eventually wrote and shared this post on how to throw throwing knives. If you’re anyone with the zeal for this sport, a few minutes of your time will be enough for my recommendations. Let’s get a good read!

How to Throw Throwing Knives?: Easy-to-Follow Guide

If you’ve never thrown, this would require a little patience, discipline, and most of all, mental keenness, from choosing your knife to becoming a great thrower.

how to throw a throwing knife

1. Choose the Tools

In order to learn how to throw a throwing knife, you need not gather a handful of tools. Just the best throwing knife and the right target object would be fine.

Choosing the Knife

While choosing the right design, shape, size, and type is a standalone subject that requires you a lot to consider, I’m putting here the germane of buying a throwing knife in a ‘yes/no’ manner, so you don’t have to get stuck at this early stage.

  • Sharp Edges: No
  • Sharp Point: Yes
  • Rounded Corners: Yes
  • Thickness: Yes (enough to prevent the tip from bending)
  • Weight: 200 Grams/ 7 Ounces (No less recommended)
  • Length: 12 Inches (No less recommended)
  • Cut-outs/Perforations: Not Preferred
  • Handle: As simple as it gets
  • Maintenance Requirement: Zero (Preferred)

Choosing the Target

This tool may seem ‘not so important’, but I insist you have some attention to the following suggestions.

  • For Beginners: Cereal Boxes/Cardboard
  • Preferred Material for Regular Thrower: Wood Log (Birch, Pine, Willow), Planks (Wide)
  • Positioning: Freestanding, Hanging, and Mounted
  • Preferred Log Design: A round portion of a large log
  • Thick: No
  • Soft: Yes (so the knife slides into smoothly)
  • Ideal Sources: Local Classified Ads, Lumberyards (For Firewood, Scrap wood)

Once you’ve the appropriate gear in place, you’re one step closer to getting the ‘throwing knives how to’ in practice. Keep reading…

2. Prepare for Throwing

Okay, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the actual throw. You’ll be learning how to grip the knife, make the stance right, set the suitable body angle for the knife, and release the knife. So, let’s start.

Master How to Grip

Here, I’m showing you the golden rules of the knife-throwing procedure. You can hold your knife by the handle or blade. Try to throw the heavier of the two ends since it will help you gain more force into the action.

Prepare for Throwing-Master How to Grip

For example, use the three of your fingers (index, middle, and ring) to hold the knife. Then, have the thumb on the other side. Make sure your fingers and thumb stay in the center and near the end of your knife. Also, have your baby finger curling with the hand holding the knife.

Hammer Grip

It’s a common style of holding the knife. Grab it with the entire hand in a horizontal orientation. The style should be like holding a hammer. Put the thumb in the middle on the side.

Mcevoy Grip

This time, you need to follow a vertical orientation for holding the knife. Grip it with the entire hand just the same as a hammer grip while resting the thumb on the knife’s top edge.

Pinch Grip

Take your palm forward (in front of the body) and move it, so a crease occurs between your thumb pad and the palm. Identify the knife’s blunt edge and place it into the crease while having the handle positioned (pointed) away. Make sure the knife’s tip goes in line up with the crease’s bottom portion. Keep your thumb along a side of your knife blade with the fingers except the baby one along the remaining side. Pinch the blade avoiding any hard press against the sharp/pointed edge of the blade.

What if your knife is a double-edged version? Things are much the same as the procedure for a single-edged knife. However, for a stronger grip, I recommend you to follow the hammer grip method.

Make Your Stance

Here’s what you have to do to ensure that your stance for the job is okay.

  • Determine your stronger leg.
  • Place your body weight on that leg.
  • Place the other foot ahead of the body but don’t put weight on it.
  • Raise the stronger arm ahead of your body to get a perpendicular position to the ground
  • Bend at your elbow to get the knife raised with (alongside) your head.
  • Make sure there’s a comfortable distance between the knife and your head.

Three pieces of advice for you! Stay relaxed and loose but don’t lose the focus.

Set the Direction of Your Knife

Now, you’re almost ready to make a throw with just one step left. All you should do is set the right angle that the knife will follow as you release it.

  • When you’re throwing at a close distance, have your wrist bent back toward the forearm. This position should cause the knife to take a quick turnover in the air, which is helpful for a close-range target.
  • As you’re aiming to throw a mid-range distance, do the same for a little further target, but this time, you have to bend the wrist slightly.
  • For a long distance, don’t bend your wrist. This position will discourage the knife from higher turnover in the air.

3. Throw

Special skills are required to throw a knife perfectly. Throwing a ball and throwing a knife is different. This is the last step of your knowing how to throw a throwing knife correctly. Have some patience, please!

Swing Forward

Now, you’ll be swinging your knife forward in the following way.

  • Shift the bodyweight to the weaker leg (from the stronger), so you can gain some forward momentum.
  • Swing the forearm forward simultaneously from your elbow to make sure that the arm stays straight ahead of you.

There you go!


You have to release your knife from the above point.

how to throw a knives-Release

  • Let your knife slip smoothly from the hand with the arm pointing right toward the target while wrist being absolutely straight.
  • Ensure that the body stays angled and forward (slightly because of the weight shift)
  • Thus, your arm should keep swinging downwards.

Now that you’ve released the knife, you need to understand if it was a precise throw.

Did the knife fly nicely out of the hand while sticking into your target maintaining a horizontal position? if it did, congratulations! You made it!

If it didn’t, don’t lose hope, my friend!

Your fitness is what makes it easy for you to make a perfect throw. Make sure you can keep your (physical) movements fluid applying only the required amount of force, no more or less. In fact, it won’t take you to exert too much force if you can manage to handle the procedure efficiently. You can certainly do better with time and more practice.

Smith & Wesson SWTK8CP Six 8in Stainless Steel Throwing Knives Set with Nylon Belt Sheath
  • Dimensions: 8 inch (20.3 centimeter) length with an individual weight of 4.7 ounces and an overall weight of 1 pounds 12.2 ounces
  • Durable: Blade is made of reliable 2Cr13 S.S
  • Dependable: Quick and easy access with the convenient black, nylon belt sheath that holds all 6 knives
  • Secure: Have confidence in your throw with these sturdy, well balanced knives

Dexterity of knife throwing depends on how flexible your movement is rather than your strength. Knife throwing does not require applying much force. What is important here is throw the knife with perfect pace. But achieving the ideal speed requires hours of practice. Once you have good control over the speed of the knife, you will be surprised how minimum effort is needed to throw a knife.

5. Assess the Aftermath

After throwing the knife, if the handle of the knife hit the target instead of the blade of the knife that means you miss the target. Missing the target has no relation with the speed of the knife. If you miss the target, do not change the velocity of the throwing knife. Instead, adjust the rotation of the moving knife. Rotate it on the air more or less.

Hitting the target with a heavy knife is difficult. You need to exert more force than required to throw the knife at a certain distance. But applying extra force may imbalance you and resulting you miss the target. Instead of using additional power while throwing a weighty knife, position your knife a little above your point of target.

6. Hone Your Skills

At this point, I’ll be talking about some throwing techniques which are ideal for both beginners and advanced throwers. I promise these are going to be what you were really looking for.

Half Spin

Throwing knife in half spin technique involves positioning yourself first from your target object. Finding the position depends on the types of knife you will be throwing. Generally, knife throwers stay 6 feet away from the target to make the knife ½ spin on its way to hit the target.

Hold the knife blade with your thumb and other fingers while placing your pointer along the edge of the blade and elevate the knife handle to some extent. Then throw the knife with moderate speed. Don’t throw it with excessive force least it will miss the target.

One Spin

To throw a knife in a single spin technique, stand at a certain distance from your target. Seasoned knife throwers opined that you need to stand 10-11 feet away from your target if you want to throw the knife with one single twist. But this is not an absolute figure. Depending on your knife type this distance may vary. So it is a good idea to change your position, try to hit the target and then determine the correct distance.

Now hold the knife by grabbing its handle while keeping the blade face upward. Relax your muscle, keep the focus on your target and throw the knife with ease. Refrain from applying extra force while throwing the knife since throwing it forcefully will change its direction and miss the target.

Advanced Tricks

By now, you know how to throw a throwing knife properly. But this discussion does not include advanced knife throwing which involves more spin of knife or no spin at all.

To determine approximate distance between you and your target object, there is a great formuala. It is called Valentine’s formula. The equation is (toe distance – reach distance) / (turns + 0.25) = distance per turn. Using the formula, you can measure the approximate distance irrespective of the number of turns your knife make on the air.

A Bit About No-Spin

No-spin as the name hints is one form of knife throwing technique where the knife does not twist or turn on its way to hit the target. This way of knife throwing is ideal for hitting a short-range target.  It is because as the knife does not spin at all, the knife will hit anything that falls within its trajectory.

Let’s see how you can do a no-spin throw. It’ll be fun, I assure you.

In no-spin technique, the knife makes ¼ turn on its trajectory before hitting the target. Throwing the knife so that the knife barely rotates requires both grip and distance adjustment. The no-spin technique requires you need to stand closer to the target.

Gripping style for throwing a knife without spin is different than any other style of knife throwing. Follow below steps to master knife throwing techniques without spin

Relax your muscle and stand up straightly by placing your right foot slightly in front of your left foot or vice versa.

  • Hold your knife by its handle
  • Lift the knife by keeping its blade upward
  • Lean your shoulder
  • Aim the tip of the knife blade towards your target.
  • Throw the knife when the tip of the knife is in a straight line with the target.

Throwing knife with no spin technique is difficult than throwing knife with half-twist technique. So, this requires more practice and patience.

So, that’s it. These are how to throw a throwing knife correctly. Don’t you feel excited now? Well, I can guess from your expression (my assumption only).

Thinking if I’m inspired by the Great Throwdini? You bet…Follow the above rules and cautions! I believe you can boast exercising knife throwing techniques just like the way legends like Joe Gibson, William Wallace, Gustavo Arcaris, and so on.

I ain’t promising you anything. Just trying to stir the aspiring knife-throwing hobbyist in you! Hope you wouldn’t mind becoming one!

About the author

Erik Himmel

A Part-Time Firearm Instructor

Hi, this is Erik. We all know firearms are dangerous, but only when one doesn’t know how to use and care for them. I have 15+ years of experience with different types of guns and for the last 10 years, I have taught numerous people how to hold and shoot a gun while staying safe and keeping the surroundings unharmed. My neighbors are some of my biggest admirers who enjoy talking to me about their guns, firearms safety and maintenance.

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