While I am a fan of the art of knife throwing I’m never entirely sure about how to answer this question as it really depends on what you expect from a throwing knife.
Based on what Hollywood generally shows (and what a lot of beginners have in mind when they start) throwing knives are probably not a good choice for self-defense.
While you absolutely can do damage to someone throwing a knife at them (practice responsibly folks) and it really doesn’t take that much practice to get fairly accurate at getting a throwing knife to stick in the target – judging the distance is usually the tricky part.
I love knife throwing. I think it’s a fantastic sport and hobby but I wouldn’t expect them to work in a zombie apocalypse or an emergency situation. They could do the job – but so could a rock from the ground and unless you’re really practicing at different ranges you’re probably going to be more accurate with the rock.
Are Throwing Knives Good for Self Defense?
Avoid the legality side of things (because that should factor into using a throwing knife for self-defense but I don’t know where you are) at a push they could work.
But it’s probably not going to be a good idea. At best, it’s going to be highly situational.
Someone experienced with the hobby will land a good deal of shots consistently however unless you hit something incredibly important your attacker isn’t going to be immediately stopped and (unlike archery for example) your attacker now has another weapon to use against you.
They’re probably inexperienced at throwing a knife but I still wouldn’t want to give them the extra edge. Literally.
There are situations where I can see throwing knives being effective for self-defense but in most situations, you’re probably better to run.
Are Throwing Knives Impractical?
In the hands of practiced knife throwers, they’re effective at various ranges, they’re small and easy to transport so I wouldn’t say they’re impractical… but it does depend on what you’re looking to do with them.
Compared to a gun (for example) they’re pretty impractical. Once you throw them you’re probably going to want your knife back but if you are able to collect it again – you don’t have to deal with ammo limits or the noise.
They are not what you see in some Hollywood movies of a perfectly balanced knife flying through a dozen trees to land perfectly every single time.
For something like hunting again they could work but unless you have a specific need for knives then there are plenty of better options out there that probably don’t require as much practice to be efficient.
This all said none of it prevents me from practicing my knife throwing. It can still be a handy skill to have once you are proficient and accurate and it’s a whole lot of fun.
Are Throwing Knives Sharp?
A throwing knife should almost never be sharp in the way a normal knife is. You want a sharp pointed tip on the end for hitting the target but you want fairly blunted edges for actual throwing.
You could technically try and throw any knife but if you look at something like the SOG Fling knives there’s a clear difference between that and a butter knife. The edges need to be smooth so they don’t cut your hands but the edges are not supposed to hit the target – the pointed tip is.
Some throwing knives
You could throw a sharp knife and you probably have a better chance of hitting a target that way since a near-miss might still hit the edge but you absolutely run the risk of hurting yourself and that’s not good practice. Especially with some of the heavier knives, you don’t want sharp edges for throwing.
The rest of the knife is designed for balance.