Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Hibben style throwing knives

Normally I am a firm believer in the "don't throw your weapon away" school of thought, but there is a great truth in the words of Drill Sergeant Zim "the enemy can not press a button, if you disable his hand". So, I've dabbled in the throwing of knives for some time now. I've had a few over the years, but these ones, and ones like them caught my eye after seeing Under Siege (at (8:56) yes, it's in Spanish) and they turned out to be a "real' product. These are knock-offs of the UC-454 Hibben Throwing Knives.

I acquired the big one from a disposal store, and the smaller is one of a pair, presented to me by a friend on my 21st birthday. They used to be diamond sharp and mirror edged, but I lent them to someone, who seemed to have practiced somewhere stony or something; the edges are pitted and dinged. I have not had the heart to take them to a grinder and get them smoothed out again, but I will in time. Still pointy, still fit for purpose, just ... dinged.
So, these are made of what I presume is 420 J2 stainless steel, like the originals, and are one piece in construction. 420 J2 is considered a "low end" of stainless steels. It is very stain and corrosion resistant, and tough due to being very soft. However, it is also very weak, and not very wear resistant. In a throwing knife, which is essentially a disposable piece of kit, by its very nature, this isn't such a big concern, as long as you bear that in mind. No matter what Steven Seagal may make you believe, these do not make good kitchen knives. Passable letter openers, to be sure, and nicely balanced throwers to boot. The hollow grind of both the real and false edges gives them a very clean look, and they fit the curve of the hand nicely. The simple blade geometry lends itself to keeping as good an edge as you can hope to with 420 J2 steel, which is to say, chopping sharp, but not slicing sharp. If you want a kitchen knife, get one. These are for "thunking" into targets, not sushi.

You can see that I have bound the larger of the two with a cord-wrap (badly), which gives it a little bit of a nicer grip in the hand. This adds a little mass to the back of the blade, but my knife throwing skills are such that it really doesn't matter what I do to the blade, nothing really increases or decreases my ability, which is to say, I could either do with some more time at the range, or leave it in my hand. Inexpensive at easy to come by at the time, (although less common in disposal shops around where I live these days due to the Weapons Control Act) I'm glad I have these, and wish I had somewhere wide, open and soft-floored to practice with them again.







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