When looking for the best throwing axe product, pages commonly reference the weight of the axe head and the handle as a “feature.” But many people don’t actually understand how the weight of a throwing axe affects the way it is thrown, leading many people just to guess what the ideal weight is for them. In this post, we are going to cover the pros and cons of different weights for throwing axes, so you don’t have to guess anymore.
But first, let’s look at what the largest axe throwing organizations have as axe throwing weight regulations.
IATF Axe Throwing Weight Regulations
The IATF states that your entire axe must weigh between 1.5 and 2.5 lbs. It doesn’t further specify the exact weights a head or handle has to be, just the entire unit of the axe.
WATL Axe Throwing Weight Regulations
The WATL states that the entire axe cannot weigh more than 3lbs. This provides a bit more wiggle room than the IATF and has no minimum weight. WATL does state that the head of a throwing axe must be between 1 and 1.75lbs. There are no limits on the weight of the handle as long as the entire axe is below 3lbs.
Now that we know the weight regulations for different leagues let’s look at some of the benefits and drawbacks of different weights so you can make an informed decision on what is the best weight for you.
Let’s start off by clarifying what I mean by a “light axe.” I conder any full axe that weighs less than 2lbs with the head and handle to be a light axe. A more well-known light axe is the cold steel axe gang which initially, out of the box, weighs about 1.9 lbs, but since the handle out of the box is too long, it needs to be cut down. After cutting down the cold steel axe gang, it ends up around 1.7lbs depending on how much of the handle you cut down.
- Easy to throw: When you are throwing a light axe, it is much less tiring because your muscles don’t have to work as hard. No worries about awkwardly working out a sweat because, like me you didn’t follow through on your new year’s resolution to get ripped.
- More precision: Throwing a light axe is more like throwing a dart than an axe because you are able to be precise without having to overuse your stabilizing muscles.
- More options for axe throwing form: Since the axe is lighter, you can change your axe throwing form to be more consistent. With an axe gang, I don’t need to pull the axe as far as I can get more of a quick flick with it directly in front of me, or I can pull it further back.
- Hits the target with less force: Since a lighter axe has less weight, it packs less of a “punch,” meaning it will hit the target a bit softer. When a throwing axe hits a target softer, it can lead to it bouncing out when a heavier axe would have stuck. There are tons of other factors that play a role in that, but this does affect it.
What I consider a heavy axe is anything over 2lbs with the head and handle. A good example of a heavy axe is The Butcher Throwing Axe (3rd Generation), whose total weight is 2.25lb, and the head weighs 1.72lbs. This axe is designed for axe throwing, so you don’t have to cut it down at all.
- The axe does more of the work: Because the axe has more weight, it produces more force at less speed. This means you don’t have to worry as much about bouncing out if you tend to have a slower axe throw motion.
- More likely to stick in the target: Since the axe itself is heavier, it is more likely to stick than a lighter axe. There is more than weight to sticking an axe, like having a great axe throwing technique, but a heavier axe generally will help you stick more.
- It takes more muscle to be accurate: Moving more weight leaves more room for error. There is a reason there is a saying about throwing darts when someone is very accurate and not tossing logs. Once you add too much weight, you can be less precise. This does personally depend I’ve seen people half my size throw the butcher with no problem while I struggle to do so accurately.
- Throwing form requires more of a pullback: This is probably the biggest downfall of heavy throwing axes. To generate the force to throw them, you generally need to pull them back a bit farther in your motion meaning your form is a lot less flexible. When I throw, I generally keep the entire axe in front of my body and use a flick which I wouldn’t be able to do with a heavier axe.
It’s important to note that a lot of this is my opinion from throwing different axes. That being said I personally love the flexibility that light axes provide and think the ideal weight for a throwing axe is right between 1.5 and 1.7lbs. I’ve found my throw is just so much more consistent and precise.
At the end of the day, there really is no “ideal weight for a throwing axe.” It comes down to personal preference, but it is always good to try out multiple different axes to get a sense of what fits with your axe throwing form.
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