NOTE: You might want to just skip the original article and scroll down to the bottom for an UPDATE…
For the throwing knives enthusiasts out there, Amazon offers a decent selection. Like anything else though it’s best to get the lowdown on the knives before buying, because even they have their fair share of cheap ones on the site that break after only a few tosses. Therefore, if you’re looking for durable throwing knives that don’t suck then start with this top 5 list.
Gil Hibben Large Cord Grip – Black
For starters, it’s hard to beat this price for a quality blade these days, and this is definitely a quality blade. It’s not the sharpest out there — which is actually a good thing with throwing knives — but it’s a very well-balanced throwing knife.
They are pretty durable too, and can withstand a good amount of abuse before they start chipping away. The Cord Grip comes in black and that includes the blade as well. It has a blade length of 4-1/4 inches, and an overall length of 8-5/8 inches. Really a great thrower all around.
If there is a knock on the Gil Hibben Cord Grip, it’s that the cord wrapping can begin to unravel after only a few uses. But this tends to be true of any throwing knife with a cord-wrapped handle. Knife #1 sticks good, but then it gets nicked by Knife #2’s blade, and the next thing you know, everything starts to unravel. If you only throw one knife at a time or throw at multiple targets, it’s not a problem. But if you throw several knives at one target before retrieving them, then the grip tends to get sliced up by the other knives. And sometimes they just work loose and start to unravel anyway.
Again, just about every cord grip thrower has this problem.
It’s a shame too, because you can quickly get to love that feature on this knife. Still, there’s plenty to like about this one. The having that cording come off has a negligible effect on balance, so you may not even notice any difference when throwing the naked blade (I never noticed any difference). If you prefer, just rewrap it and add some super glue, try “soldering” the ends with a hot nail, or just ditch the cord and wrap the handle with electrical tape.
Bottom line: it’s a pretty durable little knife, and considering it’s modest size and price, this thrower is a great buy. And let’s face it — this knife just looks pretty wicked. Any thrower out there who says that it’s all about performance and that aesthetics don’t matter is a big, fat liar.
It’s sold as a triple set (3 knives) with a nylon sheath on Amazon for under 20 bucks. That’s not bad. And they come in either black or chrome/silver. There’s also a smaller version of the silver ones — 6 1/4 inch — but larger knives tend to be last longer (and throw longer), so go with the 8 5/8 inch.
United Cutlery GH2033 Gil Hibben Competition
One thing that is apparent right out of the gate about holding the Competition knife is how much heavier it is from similar-sized throwing knives. You get the feeling that you could throw it through a brick wall with enough elbow grease behind it. They also have a good length.
Together, this makes them great for hitting longer targets without having a crazy rotation on them. The grip is ergonomically designed for a smooth release, and will feel pretty natural in the palm of your hand. It doesn’t have the cord grip, which some people prefer anyway.
It’s all one continuous 420 stainless steel color from tip to handle and has a nice weight to it. They are 12-1/8 inches long, and the set of three can be tucked away in a sheath. Overall, this set is aptly named Competition, and you’ll find no shortage of YouTube videos displaying people competing at several distances with them.
Kit Rae HellHawk 9 3/4 Inch Throwing Knife
Aesthetically, there is no cooler looking set of throwing knives on the market today. The HellHawk looks like it is straight out of the Medieval days, typical of Kit Rae’s epic collection of fantasy swords and knives.
As for the knife itself, they’ve cut no corners here either.
The leather grip holds together much better than many cord grips do, and this allows it to be more form fitting on your hand over time. The blade is 5-1/8 inches long and is extremely durable to nicks and chipping from miscues. It’s made from an AUS-6 stainless steel that is multicolored along the blade with unique design features, and has brown leather for the grip. For the price, these 3-piece sets are a great score.
Cold Steel Sure Balance
This monster is rock solid at 13 1/2 inches and 18.5 ounces. The Sure Balance is made of durable 1055 carbon steel and is coated with that baked on, weatherproof, flat black that comes standard on many of Cold Steel’s best pro-quality throwers.
You want to talk about non-breakage…what is there to break? There are no handle pieces to break off. No razor thin tips to break off in your target board. No fancy, decorative anything. This is one big chunk of sleek, aerodynamic, perfectly balanced steel, and it can take a lot of abuse. The only thing that’s going to break is your target board or whatever other unfortunate object gets in the way of this knife.
Cold Steel Shanghai Shadow
This knife is large and funky. In fact, if you’re used to smaller, cheaper throwers, then this might take some getting used to.
The Shanghai Shadow is actually pretty sharp right from the manufacturer, and that includes both of the edges. The tip of it is simply lethal, and with a good throw sticks every time in all sorts of materials. It’s also extremely resistant to drops or misses that would normally nick up a lesser quality blade.
The blade is made out of 1055 carbon steel and weighs 9.4 ounces. It has a blade length of 7 inches with the overall length at 13.25 inches, and it also comes in black with a rugged, matching sheath. Overall, this is a great knife to add to your collection.
The polypropylene handle scales are described as “practically indestructible,” but that’s an exaggeration. They’re not likely to break off just by hitting the target board, though.
So, which of these is the best?
In the end, it really boils down to personal preference.
The Hellhawk has a unique, intimidating look. If you want to throw at longer targets, then the Gil Hibben Competition set is a good way to go. The GH Cord Grip has excellent balance and isn’t too heavy, while the Shanghai Shadow is just nice and big. And for the minimalist, the Sure Balance is as basic as it gets.
Either way, these are five of the best throwing knives you can get online that won’t break after one throw.
UPDATE — So You Want Indestructible Throwing Knives? — UPDATE
Okay, this was one of my first articles on this site, and I still stand by these knives…they’re good knives.
But my current favorites — as far as heavy duty throwing knives that don’t break easily — are the 3 main throwing knives made by Cold Steel: the Perfect Balance, the Sure Balance (mentioned above) and the Pro Balance. These are very rugged throwers.
Carbon Steel Vs Stainless Steel
Many of my first throwing knives were made from stainless steel: the Boker Magnum Ziel II, the Gil Hibben Cord Grip throwers, and even some cheap Perfect Point and Ridge Runner knives. However, after trying out a lot of different knives from different manufacturers, I’ve got to say that the most durable throwing knives you can get are going to be fairly large, heavy knives made from carbon steel. Stainless steel just doesn’t last, not even the heavy stuff like the Ziel.
That’s why I’m gravitating more towards the Cold Steel throwing knives. Check out the sidebar and read my reviews of these knives. Cold Steel throwers are typically going to be a lot less expensive than custom/professional throwing knives made by specialty dealers and designers, and they are solid and perfectly balanced for throwing.
If you’re looking for true tactical throwers, then the Cold Steel True Flight, G.I. Tanto, and even the Shangai Shadow (mentioned above) are excellent choices that will last you for hundreds or even thousands of throws before suffering any damage. But for just recreational throwing, the 3 CS throwers (Perfect Balance, Pro Balance, Sure Balance) are ideal. As far as finding good quality throwing knives under $30 online, the Cold Steel knives made from 1055 carbon steel are all I buy in that price range nowadays.
If you can afford to go $30 and up per knife, then there are great custom knives from Joe Darrah and Bill Page. The best commercially made throwing knives might be John Goss’ Dragon Knives I’ve seen on the Throwzini site (I don’t know personally — since I haven’t used them yet — but I trust the guys who oooh and aaah over them). They aren’t indestructible, but they hold up pretty well, and they’re backed by a lifetime, money-back guarantee. LIFETIME. MONEY. BACK.
So what do you think? Are there any throwing knives you’ve tried that have proved themselves to be practically indestructible? Let me know.