What Is A Khyber Knife? How Does It Work?

The Khyber Knife is a blade that intrigues even experiences knife collectors.

It has a unique history and has a lot of practical uses as well.

And in this article, we’ll be discussing all the features of a Khyber Knife, as well as how you can add one to your own collection!

Read on to learn more.

What Is A Khyber Knife?

A Khyber knife is an ancient sword that originated in Persia, though it’s more commonly thought of as an Afghani-based weapon.

Like most blades that were designed and invented at the time, a Khyber was originally used as a weapon.

It’s a thrusting weapon, so it has a recurved blade and a very sharp tip.

It was most commonly used as a personal weapon and a sign of adulthood for people living by the Khyber Pass.

This is a full-tang knife that is made of tempered steel and has a single edge.

Modern versions of the Khyber, however, have less of a recurve than ancient ones as the uses of this blade have evolved over time.

But we’ll brush more on that later.

Usually, these knives will around 17” long and the blade will measure around 12”.

And traditionally, the handle was fitted with walrus tusks, but it wasn’t uncommon to find ivory from rhinoceroses and elephants on the handles either.

But since it was such a personal possession, there were a lot of variations on the handle, such as wood, jade, and metal.

History Of The Khyber Knife

This is a knife that originated in Persia, but to be more specific, it came from the Safavid Dynasty in the 17th century.

Though when it was first created, it was not called a Khyber, instead, it was called a Pesh-kabz.

This term was used to describe the girdles that were worn by wrestlers at the time.

It was named such because the knife wasn’t worn on the side like all the other blades at the time.

The Pesh-kabz is believed to been worn centrally, making it way more unique than the other knives that were in use at the time.

The weapon quickly spread throughout the region because it was such an innovative design and worked so well on the battlefield.

In fact, soon after they were created the Pesh-kabz was seen in neighboring countries in Central Asia.

The weapon was so popular that even the Mughals eventually introduced it to the Indian subcontinent.

Even when modern armies stopped wearing armor on the battlefields, this weapon was still used a lot, especially in close-contact situations.

It was used specifically by the Mahsud, Afridi, and Shinwari clans for a long time because the weapon did not seem to lose its usability.

The knife only became known as the Khyber when the British Empire took control of India.

The British described all the knives that were similar to the Pesh-kabz as “Afghan Knives” and eventually ended up calling them Khyber Knives.

This name came from the Khyber Pass, which is what divided British India from its neighbor Afghanistan.

What Is A Khyber Knife Used For?

As mentioned earlier, this knife was originally used as a weapon.

Its design allowed it to pierce armor very well, giving soldiers a lot more power on the battlefield.

The Khyber was especially effective against mail armor, and since at the time of its creation that was the most popular armor worn by footsoldiers, having a Khyber was a great advantage.

The blade has strayed away from its original purpose since it was created, which is about expected from a knife that’s centuries old.

Today, it is still used as a close-combat weapon by tribes that live along the Khyber Pass.

These tribes also use close relatives of the Khyber Knife called the Chura and the Kard.

However, aside from being a weapon used for close contact, these knives have also been used as a symbol of adulthood for many people in the region.

Currently, it’s a very popular piece for knife collectors.

This is because of the great design of these blades, which will instantly catch anyone’s eye.

Khybers are also very intricately made, making for a great decorative piece to add to your collection.

Types Of Khyber Knives

The Pesh-Kabz

This is the original Khyber Knife.

It was the one that was created in Persia in the 17th century, and it’s what most people think of whenever they hear the name.

This is the thrusting blade designed to pierce through mail armor and gained a lot of popularity amongst soldiers in the region.

The single-edged blade was sharp enough to slice through flesh while also being tough enough to be used as a stabbing weapon.

During wars, tribesmen would shoot soldiers to pin them down while they were crawling up to the wounded soldiers with the Pesh Kabz, ready to attack.

This knife was one of the most common weapons used to finish off British and colonial soldiers.

It measures around 17” in length with a 12” blade and is usually worn in the center as opposed to other blades that are worn to the side.

Chura Knife

This is a knife that commonly gets confused with the Pesh-Kabz.

It is also called the Afghan knife, which is what British soldiers used as a blanket term for the weapons used by tribesmen against their armies.

While it is the knife used by Afghanistan, it’s also very popular with the Mughals, so you’ll find a whole lot of these artifacts if ever you visit an Indian museum.

It can measure anywhere from 11” to 27”, depending on the type of Chura you find.

These knives are usually designed using high-carbon steel, giving the blade long-lasting durability and a very sharp edge.

Churas are usually intricately designed with beautiful patterns placed along the blade, making them great collector’s items as well.\

Where Can I Get A Khyber?

Your best bet for finding a Khyber knife in this day and age is online.

There are a couple of companies that produce versions of Khyber knives that are still very well made and would make for great decoration pieces.

You might also have luck finding these blades at vintage or antique stores, especially the stores online.

However, you have to be prepared to pay a fairly high price for these knives, especially if you want an authentic one.

This is truly a piece reserved for collectors since it’s only used outside of combat in the modern world is for decoration.

It might seem overpriced and expensive for those who don’t have too many experiences with the world of knife collecting, but it’s actually just the right price for a piece as beautiful as a Khyber.


And that’s about all you’ll have to know about the Khyber.

From its roots as the Pesh-kabz, to its use in war, and all the way to how it has now turned into a collector’s item that a lot of enthusiasts spend a lot of time and effort looking for.

And while they can sometimes fetch a pretty hefty price, if you’re a real fan of knives and want to add a unique piece to your collection, this could be the right investment for you.

It’s a beautifully designed blade with a rich history, and those are some of the top features that collectors look for when searching for a new piece for their collection.

  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Knife Knowledge
  4. »
  5. What Is A Khyber Knife? How Does It Work?

My name is David Strong. I'm a knife expert and a US Marine veteran. I used to fight in Iraq, so I gained lots of combat experience there, especially when it comes to combat, tactical, and outdoor knives. And this blog is where I share my expertise with you alongside my friend Andy.