A throwing knife is a knife that is specifically designed and weighted so that it can be thrown effectively. They are a distinct category from ordinary knives.
Throwing knives are used by many cultures around the world, and as such different tactics for throwing them have been developed, as have different shapes and forms of throwing knife.
Throwing knives are also used in sport.
Throwing knives are commonly made of a single piece of steel or other material, without handles, unlike other types of knives. The knife has two sections, the 'blade' which is the sharpened half of the knife and the 'grip' which is not sharpened. The purpose of the grip is to allow the knife to be safely handled by the user and also to balance the weight of the blade.
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There are two basic kinds, balanced knives and unbalanced knives. A balanced knife is made in such a way that the center of gravity is at the center of the knife. Such a balanced knife will follow a near circular trajectory in the flight. For an unbalanced knife, the center of gravity does not match the geometric center. If the knife's handle is heavier, then the circles of the handle and the circles of the blade in flight will be of an elongated rotation.
The unbalanced throwing knives are generally thrown by gripping the lighter end. There are also knives with adjustable weights which can slide on the length of the blade. This way, it can function both as a balanced or unbalanced knife depending upon the position of the weight. With some practice, unbalanced knives can yield better accuracy or a more predictable outcome up to 18 feet. Balanced knives are generally preferred over unbalanced ones for two reasons: Balanced knives can be thrown from the handle as well as from the blade and it is easier to change from one balanced knife to another.
The weight of the throwing knife and the throwing speed determine the power of the impact. Lighter knives can be thrown with relative ease but they may fail to penetrate the target properly. Heavy throwing knives are more stable in their flight and cause more damage to the target, but more strength is needed to throw them accurately.