Introduction: Portable AKTA Style Target for Knife and Tomahawk Throwing

A.  Official  American Knife Throwing Alliance (AKTA) Target description:
Five targets will be mounted perpendicular to the thrower, (e.g., against a wall or backstop), like the “five” on a domino or die piece.  The top of the upper left and right targets are 67 inches from the ground. The bottom of the lower left and right targets are 18 inches from the ground. Each target will be a log round at least 20” (50 cm) in diameter, with a  4 inch diameter bulls eye worth 5 points. An 8 inch diameter secondary ring worth 4 points, and a 16 inch diameter outside ring worth 3 points. Standard convention for colors is to use Red, White and Blue, as shown.

B.  Official competition rules:
There will be 4 distances that knives will be thrown from, these are minimum distances and you may stand anywhere behind these lines for your throw but not in front of these lines. You will throw at the top left, top right, middle, bottom left and bottom right targets respectively, forming the letter “Z”.

The distances lines are 7 feet, 10 feet, 13 feet and 16 feet which will be require ½ spin, 1 spin, 1-½ spins and 2 spins respectively (alternating holding the point on a half-spin, then handle of the knife for a full-spin).

There will be a total of 60 knives thrown, 5 knives from each of the 4 distances, 3 times which will have a possible scoring total of 300 points.

For complete details, see:

C.  Building a portable AKTA style practice target
(Thanks to Mr. V. Tyree for the design of the portable Practice Target)

The target is composed of eighty-four 4”x4” blocks; 21” wide x 49” high.  This can simulate the height and width of an official target where it is not possible to either have the materials to make an official target and backstop, leave one up for a prolonged time, or space is an issue.

Materials Needed:  Tools Needed:

1 – ½” x 2’ x 4’ exterior grade plywood                           Wood Saw (crosscut or circular)
4 – 6’ x 2” x 4” pine board                                                 Phillips head screw driver
5 – 6’ x 4” x 4” pine board                                                 Drill and bits for pilot holes
Several wood shims                                                        Pliers to drive in Hanger bolts
6 – 1-1/2” Flat head, Phillips wood screws
8 – ¼ x 20 x 2-1/2 Hanger bolts
6 – 3/8 x 16 x 3 Hanger Bolts
8  -  size  20  wing nuts
6  -  size  16  wing nuts

Wood cuts needed:
1.  4”x4” – Cut 3.5” long pieces (20 /board;  84 pieces needed;  will have 16 spare pieces)
2.  2”x4”
• Leave 2 uncut for upright sides (US)
• 2 pieces @ 4 ft. long for horizontal foot (HF)
• 2 pieces @ 17 inches for foot brace (FB)
• 1 piece @ 24” for backstop top (BT)
• 1 piece @ 21” for backstop bottom (BT)

Assembly: (refer to the labeled illustration)

1.  Place one upright side (US) on its wide edge (4” flat) pointing away (full 6 ft. length) from you.  Place one horizontal foot (HF) on its wide edge (4” flat), perpendicular to the (US), and over the bottom end of the (US), so that the left edge of the (US) is at 18” from the left end of the (HF), to form an inverted off-center  “T”.

Drill pilot holes through the (HF) and slightly into the (US), set off-set slightly, (one 1/4 “ above the other, and ½” apart)  just deep enough to leave room for the wing nuts to be tightened on the (HF) side.  Repeat this step for the other side, making sure that the finished pieces have the (HF) on the outside of the (US).

2.  Place the Backstop Bottom (BB) piece’s bottom exactly at 16.5” from the bottom of each Upright Side (US) … so the top will be exactly at 18” from the bottom.  Secure to the (US) with two 3/8 x 16 x 3 Hanger Bolts per side.  Pre-drill through the (US) and pilot drill the (BB), secure with wing nuts.  Be sure to space the hanger bolts so that the wing nuts on each side  do not conflict with each other.

3.  Trim the bottom of the wide edge of both of  the 17” long 2x4’s … Foot Brace (FB), so that there is a 45 degree angle on one side.  This will be approximately 3.5” back from the edge on each end, making one side 17” long, and the cut side 10” long.  Place each on the Horizontal Foot (HF), so that the cut side is down (17” long side is up).  Slide it toward the rear of the (HF), so that the top end is touching the Upright Side (US) outside edge from a side view, and that the top end’s cut is parallel to the front (side view) of the (US).  Join the (FB) to the (HF) with a ¼ x 20 x 2-1/2 Hanger bolt, drilling through the (FB) and making a pilot hole in the (US), then tightening it down with a wing nut.  Join the (FB) to the (US) in a similar fashion with a 3/8 x 16 x 3 Hanger Bolt.

4.  Stack 6 4x4 pieces in a row, with their cut-edge facing forward, on the top of the (BB) board.
Repeat this for 13 more rows.  Secure the Backstop Top (BT) to the top of the (US) with two 3/8 x 16 x 3 Hanger Bolts per (US), drilling through the (BT) and making pilot holes in the top of the (US) as needed.  Secure with wing nuts.  Be sure to space the hanger bolts so that the wing nuts on each side do not conflict with each other.

Shim side-to-side as needed, then shim at the top of each column as needed to lock the pieces in place. Secure with a ½” thick 4’x2’ plywood piece, using three Phillips head screws into each (US) at 1” from the top, bottom and at the center.

D.  Adding painted target faces for each of the three heights:
The bulls-eyes are centered horizontally between the third and fourth 4x4 in each row.  The bottom bulls-eye is centered vertically between the 3rd and 4th row from the bottom.  The top bulls-eye is centered vertically between the 3rd and 4th  row from the top.  The middle bulls-eye is centered vertically between the 7th and 8th rows.  The diameter of each bulls-eye is 4”, and it is painted red.

The inner ring immediately next to the bulls-eye has a diameter of 8 inches, and it is painted white.  The outer ring has a diameter of 16”, and it is painted blue.  As you can see by the illustration, the blue outer rings will overlap into the adjacent target face’s inner ring. 

E. Where to stand when throwing, to emulate a standard five target backstop.

Typically (refer to the illustration of the official competition targets; the one showing the wood rounds), the inner ring’s diameter is approximately equal (vertically) to the outside diameter of the top and bottom outer ring.  When throwing in competition, you would stand perpendicular to the center of the middle target bulls-eye, so that when you are aiming at the bulls-eye (from the 7 ft. line) of the top or bottom left side targets, they will be between 12” to 14” to your left, and the top and bottom right side targets will be about 12” to 14” to your right.  When using the practice target, since the top and bottom targets are in line vertically, to simulate the actual competition target, you need to stand off-center 12” to 14” to the left or right, depending on which side you are practicing for.

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