The Ballistic Knife is a special secondary weapon. It is a one-hit kill when fired (same as the Tomahawk) as well as when used to melee. Also like the Tomahawk, the fired "rounds" can be reused if picked up off the ground or wherever it embeds itself. The trajectory of the knife in flight is similar to the tomahawk, but more direct; it goes much further before losing momentum and dipping below the aim point. The knife must be primed by pulling a pin before it can fire. It is recommended that as soon as possible, you switch to Ballistic Knife after every spawn, and then back to your primary. After this is done, the second time you pull out your Ballistic Knife, its draw time is approximately as fast as a pistol's, and can make the difference between life and death. The Ballistic Knife also greatly increases melee speed, so it is often used in knife classes for the quick stab and the ability to reach out and touch an enemy from a distance.
- The ballistic knife is very effective against dogs to use as a stabbing weapon, as the animation for a stab/slash is faster than a dog's bite.
- Due to its low starting ammunition count, Scavenger is favored as it will replenish the knives without the player having to pick them up.
- Lightweight is suggested to make up for missed shots by knifing the enemy.
- Sleight of Hand is also suggested, so the blades are reloaded quicker.
- The pro version of Steady Aim allows the player to maximize the increased knifing speed with quicker recovery after a knife lunge.
- The pro version of Hardened allows the player to make a more precise shot without flinching too much.
- In Black Ops, the ballistic knife can be used to destroy a sentry gun with one direct hit. This makes it useful for those trying to achieve Ghost Pro, as destroying one sentry gun is a requirement for achieving pro version of this perk.
- In Black Ops, the ballistic knife is also useful for those trying to achieve Ninja Pro, as using it can make it easier to meet the requirement of getting 5 Backstabber Medals.
- As the player has to pull the pin before being able to fire the blade, it is advised to switch to the Ballistic Knife after spawning.
- In Sticks and Stones, when a player has exhausted or lost all their ammo on the Crossbow, Tomahawk and the ballistic knife, keep the ballistic knife out for its quick knifing capability. Be aware of "pick-up" icons that appear on-screen since enemy Ballistic Knife ammo can be scavenged.
- When you knife with your original knife, it takes a certain amount of time until you can knife again, so use the ballistic knife
- The Ballistic Knife, like the Tomahawk, makes very little noise when fired, but is not considered a stealth weapon by the the game because it still causes a red dot on the minimap when fired
It is available through the Mystery Box. The player is able to pick up knives after being stuck into zombies. Although the Ballistic Knife has a much higher stabbing strength in zombies (one stab up to about round 5 without the Sickle or Bowie Knife), it is not a favorable weapon, due to its low ammo count, low rate of fire, and low damage. However, if there's multiple players in the game, the Ballistic Knife can work out as a good secondary should the player not need another secondary weapon, as when Pack-a-Punched, it can be very effective even at later rounds, in case the player's teammates are often down (more details on the Pack-a-Punched version below).If the Bowie Knife or Sickle is purchased, it will replace the regular melee knife when wielding the Ballistic Knife. This combination will be a one hit kill to regular zombies up until round 10, a one hit kill to gas zombies up until round 13, and a one hit kill to a Hellhound until the third hellround. The Ballistic Knife is very effective at making lots of points, due to its faster and more lethal knife attack. Therefore, if the player obtains the weapon at rounds 4-10, it's advised to use it with the combination of the Bowie Knife or a Sickle to make even thousands of points. Once it loses its ability to kill with one knife attack, it should be upgraded and used until round 14 to make lots of points. Even after round 14, it can kill the Crawler Zombies until round 16 with one knife. You will also pull out the Ballistic Knife while downed instead of the usual pistol.
When Pack-a-Punched it becomes "The Krauss Refibrillator" and will revive a player instantly if hit by the blade, which will give the secret trophy/achievement "See Me, Stab Me, Heal Me". Note the fact that if you are downed, your knifes will not revive other players.
If this is used with the Bowie Knife or Sickle, it will be a one hit kill to regular zombies up until round 14. As with all knife strategies, Juggernog is highly recommended, as in extremely close-quarters with a group of zombies, it is likely that the zombies will hit the player multiple times, making Juggernog necessary. However, even with Juggernog, it is still wise to back off after each knife to avoid getting hit too many times.