A ballistic knife is a knife with a spring, compressed air mechanism, or gunpowder charge mounted in grip. When activated, the mechanism launched the blade out of the handle, propelling it about twenty feet. This was originally designed by the Soviet military as an alternative to throwing knives, being much easier to use. Ballistic knives first appeared in the west in the 1980s, and civilian ownership was quickly banned in several countries including the US and UK. In spite of their advantages, ballistic knives have not been adopted by many other countries, possibly due to idea that most of their missions can be better accomplished by a either handgun or more conventional knife.