The knife-hand is a staple gesture in the military. It conveys a sense of power from those who use it wisely and temporarily cripples those who get one stuck in their face.

Delivering the proper knife-hand takes skill, and each one is special in its own subtle way.

Related: This video answers the question of the casualty radius of Mattis' knife hand

9. The "re-adjusting" knife-hand

This knife-hand is being perfectly deployed to let this boot know his hand salute wasn't up to freakin' par. There, that's better.

8. The famous "get ready for freakin' boot camp" knife-hand

These knife-hands are meant to be up-close and personal with the "poolee," as this is the first of many to come.

7. The "double-hand" knife-hand

This type of knife-hand is becoming an endangered species, as it takes a mighty human to deliver such a gesture. This double-handed gesture can be specially deployed when talking to a group of screw-ups.

It's beautiful.


6. The "interview" knife-hand

This particular knife-hand is also meant to display power and convey a clear message of, "you better f*cking listen." Notice how the general's thumb is raised, not laid flat alongside his other fingers. Like Mattis, that's a legit sign of a warrior.

Also Related: This is where drill instructors come from

5. The "drive-by" knife-hand

This fine display sends the message of, "stop being a f*ck-up" as you walk by someone who is probably going to f*ck up.

(Photo by U.S. Marine Cpl. Octavia Davis)

4. The "I can't believe you're eyeballin' me" knife-hand

Sometimes, recruits and other boots eyeball the instructors and they need a quick attitude adjustment. That is all.

3. The "are you freakin' serious?" knife-hand

This excellent display of aggressiveness toward another soldier is remarkable. Some say there are no stupid questions. Well, in the military, there are — and this is how they're met.

Don't Forget: 6 times Gunny Hartman was guilty of hazing

2. The "officer and a gentleman" knife-hand

This distinctive hand gesture is formulated especially for men who want to become Naval officers one day.

(Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Andre N. McIntyre)

1. The "don't question me" knife-hand


Bonus: What it looks like to receive a knife-hand

They fun as hell to hand out, but they suck to receive.