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efreysson
12-13-2013, 10:41 AM
I have a character who is preparing for a showdown with his nemesis and stores a hidden knife somewhere on his person as a trump card.

The idea is that in the climax when all else fails and he's backed into a corner he unexpectedly produces the knife and throws it. I'm wondering where and how to store the knife so the enemy doesn't see it but it can be drawn quickly.

Any suggestions?

blacbird
12-13-2013, 11:04 AM
This is an aside, perhaps, but the OP brings up an interesting question:

When is the last time you heard of a real live actual killing occurring via a thrown knife? It's a great movie cliché, but, really? This actually happens? I know James Bond killed off the villain in Skyfall by that method, but . . . hey, that's JAMES BOND. Darth Vader choking people using the FORCE is about as realistic.

caw

Karen Junker
12-13-2013, 11:15 AM
. Darth Vader choking people using the FORCE is about as realistic.

caw

You have obviously never spent any time around people who practice knife-throwing as a sport. I've even done it. It can be accurate and deadly.

blacbird
12-13-2013, 11:42 AM
You have obviously never spent any time around people who practice knife-throwing as a sport. I've even done it. It can be accurate and deadly.

Oh, I'm quite aware that there are knife-throwers who are very accurate in the sporting arena. And that if one of those wanted to do you in, it could happen.

BUT: My point was that I can't think of a single instance in the real reality of the real world where a thrown knife has been the murder vehicle. Not one. And I used to be a crime reporter, and nowadays watch a lot of true crime shows, read a lot of true crime books. Nobody kills somebody else by throwing a knife at them. Overwhelmingly, the purpose of carrying a knife is for close-up assault or defense. You throw the damn thing, and miss (easily done in active situations), your weapon is gone. By and large if you want to kill some one at a distance beyond your arm's reach, you use a gun.

As I said, it was an aside, and perhaps a digression from the OP, but it does seem something of a realistic problem.

caw

Once!
12-13-2013, 03:13 PM
Now i come to think of it, that's a really good point. Throwing your primary weapon away is pretty committal. You would also run the risk that it might not be fatal - eg if it glances off a bone or the intended victim throws up an arm. Yes it can be done, but I don't imagine it happens very often in real life.

What does seem to happen in reality is that people who carry knives can be surprised by how easy it is to kill someone by stabbing them. I've heard testimony from police officers who say that many knife killings are committed by someone who didn't mean to kill but didn't reckon on how quickly and effortlessly a knife can go into a body.

Back to the original question, I think it hinges on the type of knife. Many of the traditional hidden knives (eg switchblades) would probably not be the best for throwing. I've got this image in my head of throwing knives being all in one piece. And that probably means a scabbard or sheath hidden inside clothing.

Many many moons ago I worked in aviation security. One of the most vicious knives I saw was hidden inside a belt buckle. The beauty of this was that it would get through most metal detectors. The belt would set the metal detector off naturally, so then you would remove the belt, walk through without setting the alarm off and collect your belt from the unsuspecting security guard at the other side.

Not a knife made for throwing, I don't think, but could make a good prop for your scene if you can adapt it to a stabbing instead.

waylander
12-13-2013, 03:33 PM
The central character in one of my novels carries a small knife at the back of his neck with the handle just below his collar.

mirandashell
12-13-2013, 03:50 PM
Yeah, you have to think about how a person can grab the knife without cutting themselves on it.

Trebor1415
12-13-2013, 04:38 PM
Do you want him to conceal a regular knife or do you want some sort of trick knife?

You can find knives disguised as belt buckles, knives disguised as hairbrushes, knives designed to hide in boots, knives designed to be worn around the neck (in front, typically) knives disguised as hair picks, and all sorts of gimmicky ways to disguise the actual knife or help you hide it.

There are also credit card knives and lipstick knives and a bunch of other stuff.

For hiding spots, besides the belt buckle knife, you could hide a small knife in the belt itself. There's also the popular boot knife. A knife in a sheath under the armpit. A knife in a "crotch sheath," a knife taped to the back of the leg or the arm, etc.

Obviously, some are more accessible and effective than others.

As to throwing a knife, throwing knives are often oddly shaped and seem like they'd be harder to hide. Look at some pics and you'll notice they aren't typically simply straight. They have a bulge in the middle to help with balance. That makes 'em a little bigger and harder to hide.

Is the character expecting to get searched? If so, how well trained is the person doing the searching? Cops and ex-cops and trained security know the best hiding places for regular knives and are aware of many of the trick knives out there, like belt buckle knives or hairbrush knives, etc.

There is a way you can work that to the character's advantage. If, in the story, he had been previously searched by the nemesis security he could use that knowledge he gained to his advantage.

For instance, he could notice that they made him go through a metal dectecter or used a metal detector wand on his body and only did a brief pat down.

If he realizes that metal detectors are a big part of their security strategy he could use a plastic knife (not the plastic silverware kind) to sneak it past the metal detector. I don't think that would throw well though.

WeaselFire
12-13-2013, 05:58 PM
Standard is a spring assisted knife in the strong arm pocket, easily accessible and easily deployed. No need to throw. A knife wielder can close a distance of 31 feet and kill someone drawing a firearm before a shot gets fired.

Google any self-defense knife tactics on YouTube.

Jeff

fdesrochers
12-13-2013, 06:43 PM
Standard is a spring assisted knife in the strong arm pocket, easily accessible and easily deployed. No need to throw. A knife wielder can close a distance of 31 feet and kill someone drawing a firearm before a shot gets fired.

Google any self-defense knife tactics on YouTube.

Jeff

^ This. As part of the training for our Base Auxiliary Defence Force, we had to cover this theory prior to our detention procedures and use of force scenarios. Even when attentive, a more than average reaction time will fail to draw aim and fire before a person charges and impacts.

It's certainly a lot less theatrical than throwing the knife, likely a great deal more realistic and effective than throwing a concealed knife.

I'd also ask the question about the local laws on wearing concealed weapons, as well as the impact of a person wearing a knife specifically engineered for throwing, implying use for more than self-defense. Would throwing knives be considered a restricted or banned weapon in this scenario? Food for thought, and something I'd actually be interested in hearing about. From a legal perspective here in Canada, throwing knives would generally be "ney-ney" as far as the police and prosecutors were concerned, short of significant mitigating circumstances.

onesecondglance
12-13-2013, 07:08 PM
It's certainly a lot less theatrical than throwing the knife, likely a great deal more realistic and effective than throwing a concealed knife.

I reckon if you wrote it well it could be more dramatic. Consider the tension generated by a headlong charge at your opponent with a knife, hoping with each stride that you'll get to them before they shoot you, putting all the pent-up antagonism you've developed over the course of the book into one final, shuddering stab into the bad guy's gut, and the whistling exhalation of their last breath - versus "He throwed a knife! Bad guy dead now!"

:)

Maxx B
12-13-2013, 09:12 PM
Do you not think the 'ah-ha! here is my secret knife' is a bit overdone? Would it not be more believable for him to use something from the environment to beat him? I find I feel cheated when the MC produces some convenient 'get out of jail free' card seemingly out of nowhere.

If he does have a throwing knife, that we know in advance that he is going to rely on, would it be better if that knife throw fails, and he then has to do something clever to save himself?

efreysson
12-13-2013, 11:24 PM
To clarify: It's a medieval fantasy setting, so modern technology is a non-factor.


Do you not think the 'ah-ha! here is my secret knife' is a bit overdone? Would it not be more believable for him to use something from the environment to beat him? I find I feel cheated when the MC produces some convenient 'get out of jail free' card seemingly out of nowhere.

If he does have a throwing knife, that we know in advance that he is going to rely on, would it be better if that knife throw fails, and he then has to do something clever to save himself?

The knife throw DOES fail. Mr. Knife Guy is in fact the villain, and when the hero bests him in a melee fight and moves in for the killing blow, Bad Guy throws the hidden knife at her as a last resort. She deflects the knife and stabs him dead.
I just want to establish the knife as a possible dangerous trump card, only to . . . nope. :)

ECathers
12-14-2013, 12:23 AM
My ex made custom knives and designed several belt buckle knives. They'd be lousy for throwing though. He also designed several necklaces with hidden knives in them. Very beautiful and some of those could have been made to hold SMALL throwing knives.

However those are pretty expensive knives to be throwing around.

I also agree with the point of not throwing away your only weapon. Either of the above worked better as small knives that could be held in your palm with the blade coming out between your fingers and used in a punching motion.

I didn't see anything about what the tech is in the OP's story. In a modern story, sure a gun might make more sense. However if there aren't any such thing as guns, a knife makes more sense.

There are also ceramic knives, and though brittle (don't expect it to survive more than one throw, especially if it hits bone or a wall) they're super sharp.

However unless the MC is a knife throwing expert, all this is somewhat implausible. The non-combat expert might be better using some sort of found item - a sharp piece of glass, a broken bottle, heck even super pointy tweezers or a kitchen skewer. But again, throwing any of these with accuracy is the challenge. Stabbing, slashing etc makes more sense.

LOL somehow I missed the OP's last post until after I posted this. Okay, so guns are out.

ironmikezero
12-14-2013, 12:27 AM
To clarify: It's a medieval fantasy setting, so modern technology is a non-factor.



The knife throw DOES fail. Mr. Knife Guy is in fact the villain, and when the hero bests him in a melee fight and moves in for the killing blow, Bad Guy throws the hidden knife at her as a last resort. She deflects the knife and stabs him dead.
I just want to establish the knife as a possible dangerous trump card, only to . . . nope. :)

If you absolutely, positively must have your villain use his hidden knife as a last resort, act of desperation, etc... at least ratchet up the ominous potential for dire results for your MC. Poison or enchant the blade so that a mere scratch is the harbinger of imminent doom... In the subsequent struggle, your villain may appear to have subdued your MC, only to have her grasp the discarded dagger and dispense some karmic justice - accompanied by a suitably ironic turn of phrase. of course...

See? You could really have some fun with this... Get to it!

Nivarion
12-14-2013, 11:36 AM
I found two cases of someone actually being killed by throwing knives on google.

That aside, I also found an essay on why throwing knives aren't reliable weapons. I've always preferred to write stabbing scenes myself. The closeness, the blood, the passion and fear. Hmmm, yes. But really, one of my characters is a stabber. She's a cute 14 year old girl who's already killed three people by stabbing them mercilessly at close range. They never expect it.

A throwing knifes best use is in that it is surprising. It can do lethal damage, or damage in general, but what you're most likely to get is the flat of a knife on the chest, or maybe it sticks in the arm or something. Not likely to be fatal.

The things i found on GooooooGLE

http://escapepod.org/2011/12/04/myth-deadly-throwing-knives/
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2012/02/17/19395581.html
http://www.10tv.com//content/stories/2013/11/19/reynoldsburg-homicide-person-in-custody.html


Oh, and to the OP's point. In the sleeve was really common for medieval/Renaissance peoples to hide their daggers in. A tight fitting sheath can keep it there even when moving, but it's easy to reach with your other hand.

King Neptune
12-14-2013, 05:11 PM
In addition to throwing knives being throwing one's weapon away, push knives are easy to hide, and they work well in hand-to-hand fighting. There are belt buckles with push knives built in as a real part of the buckle, and the buckles look and work like buckles. I am not suggesting that everyone run out and buy such a knife, but they are available.

Maxx B
12-14-2013, 07:11 PM
To clarify: It's a medieval fantasy setting, so modern technology is a non-factor.

The knife throw DOES fail. Mr. Knife Guy is in fact the villain, and when the hero bests him in a melee fight and moves in for the killing blow, Bad Guy throws the hidden knife at her as a last resort. She deflects the knife and stabs him dead.
I just want to establish the knife as a possible dangerous trump card, only to . . . nope. :)

Again this strikes me as a bit of a 1950's B-movie cliche. I don't want to tell you how to write your story, but with a bit of brainstorming I'm sure it can be improved.
Do we have magic to play with? The villain could have a ring or amulet that allows him to shift / teleport a few feet away. The first time he uses it, he could injure the MC, but the MC gets wise and sticks her sword into the space where he shifts into, killing him as he appears.
A variation on the hidden knife could be the villain, whilst on the back foot, begging for mercy, pulls his hidden knife. But the heroine decides, enough of this bullshit and runs him through, during his 'don't kill me' spiel before he throws the knife.

Cath
12-14-2013, 09:51 PM
Frankly, whether or not you feel it works for the story doesn't matter here unless you're the author. If you want to brainstorm, take it somewhere else.

Debbie V
12-17-2013, 11:10 PM
The idea is that in the climax when all else fails and he's backed into a corner he unexpectedly produces the knife and throws it.

I'm having trouble with the visuals here.

If he's backed into a literal corner by the hero, how does he have room or time to get out the knife and throw it. Has the hero stopped moving mid thrashing him? Is he otherwise injured so this is his only option? If she's coming at him, all he has to do is hold the knife steady and use her momentum against her. Throwing is a waste.

That said, the right clothing can hide lots of stuff. With enough practice, the weapon could be removed quickly from almost any hiding place. Of course, you might have to show the practice.

Torgo
12-17-2013, 11:12 PM
You have obviously never spent any time around people who practice knife-throwing as a sport. I've even done it. It can be accurate and deadly.

Me too, but I wouldn't really rely on it in a fight. I would be much more inclined to hold onto it and fight hand-to-hand. (Of course, 'hang on to your knife' is the second rule of knife-fighting, just after 'make all efforts to run away from the knife fight'.)

Throwing knives really do need to be properly balanced, and most non-throwing knives simply aren't.