Khyber knives are commonly identified as the tribal sword of the people of Persia. Many of us are familiar with the Khyber Pass; it is situated in a province of Pakistan, adjacent to the border of Afghanistan. The khyber knife was created as the national sword of the people belonging to the tribes around the area. It was also known as the Afghani blade to the non-natives.

The khyber pass held great tactical importance as it was a vital part of the notorious old silk road, which was equally important in trade and diplomacy. Therefore, the tribes living in the province were combative in nature, such as Shinwaris, Afridis, Shalmanis, etc., used khyber knives to arm themselves before engaging in warfare. Later, other areas also started to use them to defend themselves due to their unmatched functionality at the time.

The khyber knife is a type of blade that’s longer than regular knives but shorter than swords. Yet it resembles swords the most; because of its thin and long blade and sharp tip. It’s still adored by knife collectors and enthusiasts alike due to its distinctive appearance and aesthetics.


Overview of Khyber Knives

Khyber knives are fatally sharp long & blades, that were designed by forgers of khyber pass to defend the local tribes from invaders. As the khyber pass was an important link for trade and politics. From the beginning, both its build and name were subject to change many times; in the 17th century when people were first introduced to this knife, it was called the pesh-kabz knife. Varying in time and place, it was also known as afghan knives, salawar yataghan, Chura, Charay khyber, etc.

Even though the khyber knife is called a knife, it’s more of a sword. Although, the length is less than regular-shaped swords in comparison. As the main motive of these knives was to fight, the blades were designed to be ultra-sharp and durable with a strong tip effective at stabbing opponents. For this very purpose, its blade used to be curved on the tip so it could go through the enemy’s armor efficiently. Since that reason has expired at present, so has the curved demeanor, and it fashions a straight spine with a similar pointy blade now. Khyber knives also boast a well-defined holster which stabilizes the structure effectively.

The long straight edge is perfect at cutting through obstacles; it has a flat ground so sharpening it is pretty much elementary, so is the maintenance. Equipping the knife was no chore too, sheathing it in leather and wearing it along the belt or waistband was the typical way to carry a khyber for fighters and nobles. The handle was another focus of attraction; it easily determined the worth and demand of a knife. Depending on the needs and cost, the construction material of the handle will vary as well, starting from natural elements to artificial; the present market is not short on options.


Types of Khyber Knives

All khyber knives are different in their point of view since most of these knives are handmade; it basically depends on the will of the forger. But from a strict consideration, the experts categorize khyber knives in two large groups. Pesh-kabz is the predecessor of the present khyber knife; it was designed in the early 17th century. The Pashtun tribes, namely, Afridis, Shinwaris, Mahsuds used pesh-kabz as a close-combat knife. Due to its wicked sharpness, it could cut the flesh in the blink of an eye. Its blade measured 11-13inch in length and was more of a buff knife. These are more suited in combat than the following one.

The Chura knife, on the other hand, is a more aesthetically concerning piece. The overall length of Chura knives was 14-30inch; they came off as swords quite a lot. Even though they originated in Afghanistan, it was equally popular in India during the era of Mughals. They were known for their visually appealing details and made great collectors’ pieces. They weren’t useless in warfare either, their sturdy build paired with balanced control made a formidable weapon.


How to Choose the Best Khyber Knife to Buy

Size & Weight: Khyber knives come in a wide range of sizes, starting from 13 inches to 30 inches long. Similarly, the weight varies in balance with the material used and the size of the knife. A regular khyber knife should weigh between 1-3 lbs.

Blade Length & Material: A khyber knife’s blade will range from 8-24 inches in length. The triangular knife can be made from many materials, such as high carbon steel, Damascus steel, iron, stainless steel, etc. the limited versions of the khyber knife are usually made from Persian wootz steel. The straight-edged blade produces a super sharp cutting edge with impeccable balance.

Handle: Khyber knives are not just about sharp blades; the visually pleasing handle also has a huge role to play in it. Most khyber knives are full tang, so the extended part hides in the handle and lends better stability to the knife’s structure. Handles of khyber knives are made from wood, bone, ivory, horn, etc. The knife also needs a scabbard to sheath it as a protective measure. The sheath also has many types; they can use wood, metal, leather, etc. The aesthetic scores and textures of a handle or sheath by a master are a sight to see. It’s designed to be convenient to grip, and the whole setup of handle and scabbard ensures swift deployment on battlefields.



Q: What is a Khyber Knife?

A: Khyber knife is a long dagger that is used and forged by the tribes residing in the Khyber Pass region. It was initially designed for war and was famously used against the British in warfare. It’s long and slim in appearance and was typically worn under the belt.

Q: Is it legal to own a khyber knife?

A: Owning a khyber knife is not illegal, but you may face several restrictions in some states regarding carrying one. In most states, carrying a knife concealed is forbidden and is punishable by law. To be on the safe side make sure to stay updated with the knife legislation of your state.

Q: Where should I get a Khyber knife from?

A: Depending on your budget there are many sites that you can go to get a suiting piece of khyber knife for yourself, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc. You may also benefit from online sellers who have renowned brands’ products in stock. Auctions, antique shops, pawnshops, etc., are the places to go if you’re looking to get a unique or rare piece for your collection and if the expense is not an issue. As some of these knives won’t come cheap.


Common uses of Khyber Knives

The primary field of application of the Khyber knife has been “combat” from the start. Its unusual appearance was meant to ensure tactical advantage – a long blade with a straight edge and a piercingly sharp tip that’s designed to make penetrating objects easier. It even got through armors made of metal and heavy leather on battlefields. The blades were made of durable materials to ensure longevity & efficiency, so it doesn’t become deadweight afterward.

Although, time has changed, and the khyber knives are sought out for a different reason nowadays. It has become an icon of collector’s items. Depending on the forger’s identity and the knife’s historical value, many khyber knives hold values that will shock anyone new to this field.

Not to mention the aesthetics score of this knife is pretty high. Khyber knives generally stand out because of their appearance being atypical. The slim blade is accompanied by a small yet firm handle that’s often decorated with gorgeous details, handguards, etc. The use of different materials tones up the visual to many degrees that collectors covet most fascination for. A well-designed khyber knife brings forth taste and elegance to its surroundings.

Apart from these, tribal people of Afghanistan, Pakistan & Northern India still rely on khyber knives for self-defense and other tactical purposes as personal weapons. Khyber knives are also used to carry out ritualistic ceremonies; due to their rich narrative, khyber knives are also seen as a sign of adulthood and maturity. Young boys from pertinent hill tribes are given their own khyber knife when they come of age as a symbol of their growth and attestation of responsibility.



The Khyber knife is mainly designed for tactical purposes, but its versatility allows it to be used in many applications. Therefore, even after all these years of evolving technology, the demand for khyber knives hasn’t gone down, if not up. Khyber knife is still widely used in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and central Asia in general.

Manufacturers from renowned brands produced commendable designs worthy of consideration. Reckoning you have gone through the whole post, it’s safe to say that you’ve got more or less hold of the essence of this knife and how to choose the best one for yourself! Hopefully, you’ll select a swell one fitting your needs. Good luck!

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