How to Throw a Bowie Knife


Popularized by James "Jim" Bowie in the early 19th century, the Bowie knife is a fixed-blade sheath knife that is typically much larger than traditional knives. While efficient in performing a multitude of tasks--from hunting to utility and combat purposes--most Bowie knife designs are considered unfavorable for throwing. Their blade-heavy weight distribution, bulky shape and length often make Bowie knives a last choice for knife throwers used to traditional throwing knives. However, with practice, effort and a close eye for detail, practically anyone can accurately throw Bowie knives.

Things You'll Need

  • Knife throwing target
  • Bowie knife
  • Designate a safe, vacant outdoor area for throwing your Bowie knife. Secure the knife throwing target in a location where there is no threat of bystanders or property being damaged by a stray or missed knife throw.

  • Stand directly in front of your target while facing away and take 10 medium steps away from your target. Mark this throwing line with your foot, the knife or some other marking utensil.

  • Familiarize yourself with the balance of your Bowie knife. Extend two fingers side-by-side and rest the Bowie knife on your fingers; carefully slide the flat of the knife blade up and down the blade along your fingers until you discover the area of the knife that is most balanced. Both the handle and blade edge should be resting even and horizontally on your fingers.

  • Face your target. Grip the handle of the Bowie knife with the pointer finger, middle finger and thumb of your dominant hand. Your remaining two fingers can rest gently on the handle. Carefully test your grip by performing practice cuts and throws while holding onto the handle. If the blade wobbles or threatens to come loose, realign your fingers so that your palm also touches the handle in a tight grip.

  • Extend your throwing hand so that blade edge points directly towards your target. Slowly draw back your arm until your elbow is pointing straight upward at an even level with your head. Quickly snap the arm forward in a smooth, even arc, releasing the handle of the knife just as your hand begins the downward curve of the arc.

  • Retrieve your knife from the target and repeat.

Tips & Warnings

  • While a Bowie knife is very effective for hunting and utility purposes, it is not balanced for throwing. While sufficient practice can help anyone develop the skill for accurately throwing the knife, it is more difficult to gauge whether the blade or handle will strike the target than traditional throwing knives.
  • Always make sure that your training area is free of any people or animals. Bowie knives vary in length from 6 to 12 inches; a stray or deflected knife can quickly become a dangerous projectile.

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  • Photo Credit flying bowie knife image by Roy from
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