What is a Khyber Knife? Everything You Need to Know

The Khyber knife comes from Persia. It is commonly known as the Afghani-bladed sword. This because it was designed to be the national sword of tribes that lived around the Khyber Pass, which lies between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The blade of the Khyber knife was designed to be a weapon, so the tip is very sharp, and the blade is curved. It is a weapon most commonly used for personal protection by adults.

Khyber knives that are newer and more modern will have less of a curve as it has evolved over the years.

These knives are easily identified because the blade takes up the majority of the knife. In most cases, the entire knife will be around 17 inches long with a 12-inch blade.

There are many different variations on the knife handle, as it was a passion of many to design their own. 

What is a Khyber Knife?

In short, a Khyber knife was the official sword of those who used to live in the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan. The majority of the knife will be taken up by the blade, making it easy to distinguish from other knives. 

The handle was most commonly made from the tusks of walrus, but it was also common to see them made of ivory from rhino and elephant horns, as well as jade, wood, and metal.

Khyber Knife

History of the Khyber Knife

The Khyber knife was first created in the 17th century and wasn’t originally named as such. It was initially called a Pesh-kabz. This word refers to the girdle that wrestlers of the time period wore and was used because the knife was worn around the waist instead of the side like other knives.

Due to the innovative design of this knife, it quickly became popular in countries of Central Asia. It also quickly made its way to India. The knife was so great on the battlefield that everyone wanted a piece of the different technology. 

Even after armies in the area stopped wearing armor during battle, the Khyber Knife was still widely used. It was most common in close contact battles as personal protection since it was easy to stab with.

When the British Empire took over India, the knife received the new name of the Khyber knife. This is because the British called their own knives that were similar to the Pesh-kabz “Afghan Knives,” and they eventually decided on the word Khyber. 

This is, of course, after the Khyber Pass between Pakistan and Afghanistan that also divided the new British India from Afghanistan.

What is the Purpose of a Khyber Knife?

The Khyber knife had an original purpose as a weapon. The unique design made it easy for the knife to pierce through the armor of enemies and injuring them. This would give soldiers more power during battle, making it easier for them to protect themselves.

Throughout the years, the purpose of the Khyber knife has changed. This is common for weapons that are hundreds of years old, but it is surprisingly still used as a protection device by tribes that reside in the Khyber Pass. In addition to the knife being a weapon, it is also used as a sign of adulthood in the same region.

Today, the Khyber knife is popular with knife collectors. It has such a unique design that it will get anyone talking, making it a prize among those who have a knife collection. They are designed so delicately and intricately that it adds decoration and character to any home.

Design of the Khyber Knife

The Khyber knife is technically a sword. Using modern terms, it is referred to as a short sword. When it was first designed, the blade was curved. As time went on, the design changed, and the blade is straighter now. 

This is because the blade is no longer needed to pierce through armor as it was when it was first invented.

With the sharp point and strong blade, it was the perfect choice for cut attacks and stabbing. The blade will take up the majority of the knife and, depending on the size, can range from 14 inches to 30 inches long. The width of the blade will be the largest near the handle, slowly tapering off to the sharp point.

The handle will most commonly be made using two pieces of bone, ivory, or horn. You will also commonly see the handle made from fabric, wood, metal, and sometimes leather. The blade is made from steel, with the best being made from dark Persian wootz steel. 

Different Types of Khyber Knives

There are two main types of Khyber knives. First is the original Pesh-kabz knife that was designed in the 17thcentury. It is a single-edged blade with a point sharp enough to slice through flesh with ease.

This knife was great for battle with close proximity because the knife can quickly stab and thrust through the armor of the enemy.

It was most commonly used to finish off colonial and British soldiers in battle. The entire length of this knife is about 17 inches long, with a blade of about 12 inches. 

The second type of Khyber knife is called the Chura knife. It very commonly gets confused with the Pesh-kabz, but they are not actually the same. Since the British army used a generic term for knives of this style, the Chura is also referred to as an Afghan knife.

While it is a knife that was used in Afghanistan, it was also popular among Mughals in Central Asia. In fact, this knife was so popular that you will even find several of these artifacts in Indian museums. 

The Chura knife will range from 11 inches to 27 inches. The blade will most commonly be made out of high-carbon steel. This material allows the blade to be durable and last a long time. It also allows for a sharp edge that has the ability to cut through different materials easily.

You will also notice that Chura knives have delicate and intricate designs along the side of the blade. This makes them an excellent item for collectors because each design is custom and unique. It is not likely that you will find two blades that look precisely the same.

Where Can You Buy a Khyber Knife?

If you want to purchase a Khyber knife, In today’s time, the best place to search will be the internet (Amazon, eBay, or Etsy). There are a few companies that still produce Khyber knives for decoration.

You might also have some luck searching for a Khyber knife in an antique or vintage shop. While these are also offered online, you might like to look in person instead. A pawn shop might also be a great place to check out, as they are always getting in unique items.

When you are looking for a Khyber knife to purchase, you should be prepared for the price tag that comes along with the unique item. 

If you want an authentic knife, you can expect to pay even more money. For established knife collectors, the price won’t seem outrageous, but for those who are new to collecting, the prices might come as a shock.

How to Pick the Best Khyber Knife

Due to its unique history, the Khyber knife is a top-rated knife for collectors. If you are new to collecting, you might be wondering what exactly it is that you should be looking for.

Like most other collectible knives, it can be challenging to find a Khyber knife that will fit well in your collection. 

It can be next to impossible to find a real Khyber knife, and if you do, the price will likely be astronomical. However, there are plenty of knives out there that are almost identical to a real Khyber and can be found at a reasonable price.

When you are looking for a Khyber or a Khyber look-alike, there are a few things that you will want to pay close attention to before deciding which to spend your money on. Take a look at the type of material, the quality of that material, the design of the knife, and the price.


The material of the knife is essential. Since these knives are now designed to be collected, they are made with materials that are both high quality and affordable.

You will most commonly see them made out of steel or another durable material.


Khyber knives will have unique designs, but they are closely replicated on duplicate knives. For most collectors, it is hard to spot the difference between a real Khyber and a fake, but experts can easily spot the difference.

Sellers will usually base their designs on real Khyber knives and often have as close to the same design as possible.


The price point of Khyber knives will vary based on whether it is real or not. There may be some cheap Khyber knives available, but you can expect the quality to match the price.

The wide price range makes it possible for any collector to have a Khyber, no matter what their budget is.


I’m Ahmed, the guy behind Knifepulse.com. I’ve owned several types of knives and sharpeners over the last few years and have become obsessed with everything to do with knives. I’m always trying to improve my cleaning and sharpening process, and always on the hunt for the next best knife. But when I’m not spending time with my hobby, I’m here, writing about Knives and Sharpeners on KnifePulse to share with you what I learn along the way.

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