What Is A Ballistic Knife?

what is a ballistic knife

A ballistic knife is a knife with a detachable blade that is propelled by a spring-operated mechanism, elastic material, or compressed gas. The detachable blade is propelled on the press of a trigger or a switch on the handle. Once ejected, the blade can reach several meters or yards towards the targeted direction.

The blade of the ballistic knife resides in a hollow handle and has a coil spring compressed inside the handle. The blade on the knife is held against the spring by a latch. Once the latch is released, the blade propels in the air towards the target.

Us Ballistic knife
Wikipedia US Ballistic knife

Other ballistic knives use compressed air to propel the blade. Such is more destructive than the spring type because they are do not suffer fatigue. However, they lack aerodynamic stabilization, and therefore they are most likely to lose balance after a short distance.

On the other hand, the spring ballistic knife is less noisy than the models using compressed air. The Russian spring version is so powerful that it propels the blade at 20 feet. This makes it an ideal weapon to eliminate a whole enemy troop silently

Development and evolution of ballistic knife

The ballistic knife was first noticed among the Eastern Bloc armed forces in the late 1970s. It was commercially produced and marketed in the US market in the 1980s.

Russian Ballistic knife
Russian Ballistic knife

In the 1980s, the ballistic knife became a special weapon for Spetsnaz, a Russian special force. The version of the knife used by the special force was made of a hybrid blade and a projectile. At the push of a button, the knife traveled a distance of about 5 meters at a speed of 40mph. This weapon came in handy at times when a soldier was unable to run after the enemy.

The soldiers were trained to throw the knife and attack their enemy at the first release silently. Because of the danger that comes with this knife, the ballistic knife was banned from the public.

To increase the effectiveness of this knife, the troops were trained to fire the knife while holding it in a manner that suggested that it was a stabbing weapon. The enemy would assume that they were safe from the knife at arm’s length. The knife would then strike with enough force to cut through clothes and some light weapons.

Using a ballistic knife is easier than throwing a knife. However, the shock from the vibrating spring reduces its accuracy. Therefore, users are encouraged to propel it in close range to the enemy to get a killer blow.

Uses of Ballistic Knives

  • A Ballistic knife is used for protection. As long as you know how to use it, you can protect yourself from any threat.
  • When used for outdoor activities or by troops in the forest, it comes in handy in cutting tree branches on the way.
  • As already mentioned above, this knife was used by troops in war as a special weapon. It comes in handy when the firearms are not suitable for an operation.
  • Lastly, you can use this knife for general cutting without the need to fire. The blade is sharp and can function as a normal knife.

Where can I buy a ballistic knife?

The sale of the ballistic knife was banned in American and other countries. Therefore, you cannot find a genuine seller of a ballistic knife online or in physical stores. The only way you can get one is by asking someone to make one for you.

However, you need to educate yourself on what the law in your country says about the possession of this knife. Ballistic knives fall in the category of silent killing tools. The public discredited it in the 1980s in the US.

Since then, the knife should not be sold to the general public in many countries. The possession and importation of ballistic knives were banned under federal law.

Why are ballistic knives banned?

In the United States, ballistic knives were banned by Federal law as they were seen as a dangerous item that had no specific sporting use and could be a highly sourced item for criminals that could penetrate policemen’s bulletproof vests. The fact that it could be concealed made things worse as more senators rallied the ban on possession of ballistic knives.

What does the law say about the use of ballistic knife today?

In the segment above, we are referring to a ban that happened in the mid-1980s. So, does the current law still hold this knife illegal? American federal law still considers the possession, sale, importation, or manufacturer of ballistic knives illegal across states. In addition, using the ballistic knife in violence is a crime, and you will be risking five years behind bars.

However, the law does not prohibit the sale and possession of a ballistic knife within a state. While this comes out as good news, you must be aware of what the law of the state you are in says about this knife.

New Jersey knife laws for example are so strict that they not only prohibit possession of ballistic knives without any explainable lawful purpose, the law also prohibits possession of other knives like gravity knives, switchblade knives, dagger, dirk, stiletto, or dangerous knives.

Is the Ballistic Knife any good?

We can equate a ballistic knife to a pistol that does not fire bullets but blades. Troops in a war zone will tell you that it is a perfect weapon. However, ballistic knives are regulated by the law, and it is illegal to possess or trade one in some countries.

In my opinion, I find the ballistic knife more of a novelty item. It is not that accurate beyond 10 feet and an experience knife thrower would do a better job at aiming at the target rather than using this knife. To be accurate in using it one would lead hours of training to perfect the skill.

While this knife might be available online for sale, take time to find out what the law says about the use and possession of a ballistic knife in your state. You can find comprehensive knife laws at AKTI.Org


Ballistic knives are illegal and considered dangerous. They may be seen as novelty items but you should avoid them for the sake of trouble they will get you into with the law. There are better types of knives to possess such as pocket knives or utility knives which would be more suitable for everyday carry. If you would like to owner a deadly knife that is not illegal in most places look at the Wasp Injection knife.

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