United Cutlery is a household name when it comes to premium throwing knives. The knives, especially the ones designed by the master knifemaker Gil Hibben, are usually purpose-built for throwing competitions. Here, we review one such set of knives simply known as the Competition Throwing Knives.
While United Cutlery does not have a Trustpilot, Gil Hibben knives are rated very highly on almost all knife websites. The Competition Throwing Knives have a star rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars and are meant to be the company’s primary knives for your average competitor.
So, are the Competition Throwing Knives meant for competitive knife throwers, or are they only good enough for a backyard hobby?
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Gil Hibben Competition Throwing Knife First Impressions
Gil Hibben, the master knife designer, definitely delivers when it comes to the competition throwing knives. The packaging is as premium as you can get at this price, and it includes an 18×18 inch paper target for you to practice on. I would, however, suggest keeping the paper target as a souvenir and using the knives on the backyard targets that you usually use.
The stainless steel construction immediately stands out, and the way the knives shine underneath the sunlight immediately makes them appear a lot more expensive than they really are. If you are a minimalist, then you will love the way the handles blend in with the blade of the full-tang knives, emphasizing the beauty of the one-piece 420 stainless steel construction. Also, the knives are of the optimum weight, allowing you to throw with confidence without the worry of breaking the stainless steel blade.
The genuine leather sheath does look a little cheap, but it is still better than almost any nylon sheath that I have used. The item model of our unit was GH2033.
How I Reviewed the Gil Hibben Competition Throwing Knives
These are competition quality knives, and I reviewed them by throwing them at a competition target to test my accuracy against similar knives.
Overall, I found the Competition Throwing Knives to be at least on par with other knives in this price bracket. Of course, they had their strengths and weaknesses, so let’s take a look at them in detail.
How the Gil Hibben Competition Throwing Knives Compare
The durability of the 420 stainless steel generally means your throwing knife won’t lose a tip easily. Breaking or bending the blade is extremely difficult, and you should expect the knives to last you at least a few months in the toughest conditions (or even years if you use them carefully).
After using the knives for over a week, there isn’t a single discernible mark (I did use them carefully though), and I am planning to use them as one of my main knives from here onward. However, do remember that misuse can break them quickly. According to online reviews, most of the breakages occurred after the knife collided with another knife.
Perfect For Any Grip
Since the knives are designed with the expert knife thrower in mind, they work well with all basic grips and throwing styles, including the no-spin throw.
I personally tried the hammer grip, the drive finger grip, and the pinch grip, and still achieved consistency in throwing that can be matched by only a few other knives.
Just the Tip
The tip is designed to cut into anything. Whether it be a bale of straws or a fully-formed tree, an expert knife thrower will have no trouble getting the knives to stick.
Some users have complained about the edges being a little too sharp, but I did not find that to be the case. In my experience, throwing the knives while holding them from the blade was not too difficult.
A Bit Bulky For Some
The large-sized knives that I had were slightly longer than 12 inches and weighed about a pound. This presented a slight problem for me as the knives were a little difficult to handle. However, this is probably why they are so durable.
There is a smaller variant that is slightly larger than 8 inches, but that too is heavy for its size. As such, unless you have extensive experience with throwing knives of a hefty weight, you may have trouble using the Competition Throwing Knives at long range.
The Uneven Balance Can Be Problematic
I did not notice this at first. However, after going through online reviews, I noticed that a few users had complained about individual knives having a different point of balance. Since then, I too have noticed that one of the knives was slightly different from the others. Mind you, the product dimensions were completely identical, as I measured them repeatedly. It’s just that the balance was off on one of the units. That said, your mileage may vary.
Gil Hibben Competition Knife vs Gil Hibben Tanto Thrower
The Gil Hibben Tanto has been my main throwing knife for the past year or so. I love the balance, the premium design, and the trigger-grip design. While it could just be the honeymoon period, I think the Competition Knives are better than the Tanto.
The main reason for this is their versatility. They work well no matter which grip or throwing style you use. The Tanto, on the other hand, can be difficult to use in certain cases due to its handle design. However, the issue that I had with one of the Competition Knives having a different balance is not something that I have experienced with the Tanto (and I have purchased the Tanto twice).
You can see my full review of the Gill Hibben Tanto Thrower here.
Gil Hibben Competition vs SOG Fling Throwing Knife
The Competition Throwing Knife is in a different class to the SOG Fling. Sure, it costs almost twice as much, but everything from the packaging and single-piece construction to the performance and consistency is better in the Gil Hibben’s.
If you are looking for quality throwing knives that will last you a long time, I would recommend saving money for a longer period and opting for the Competition Knife as opposed to the Fling. While the Fling is a capable knife in its own right, it suffers from having an edge that needs to be sharpened often, and you may or may not like the paracord grips that come with it.
Finally, putting the two knives side by side, it seems like they are from a different planet. Looks are quite important to me, and the Competition Knife is miles ahead of the Fling in that department.