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UK Knife Laws

At knivesandtools we often receive the following question: 'Am I allowed to own knife X or Z?' In the basis we only sell knives that you are permitted to own in the United Kingdom. So purchasing any of the knives on our website is allowed. Whether you are allowed to carry the knife in public is a different story.

UK knife law allows you to carry non-locking pocket knives with a blade length up to 3 inches (7.62 cm) without any need for a valid reason.

You are allowed to carry a knife which exceeds these guidelines in public, but please remember: you will do need a good reason to carry it. has the following to say on good reasons to carry a knife:

'Examples of good reasons to carry a knife in public can include:

  • taking knives you use at work to and from work
  • taking knives to a gallery or museum to be exhibited
  • the knife is going to be used for theatre, film, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes, eg the kirpan some Sikhs carry

A court will decide if you’ve got a good reason to carry a knife if you’re charged with carrying it illegally.'

Abuse is still illegal

Also remember that using any knife (legal or illegal) in any threatening way, is also illegal. So using your (legal) Swiss Army knife in any threatening way is still illegal.

UK Friendly

Because of the conditions listed above, we like to call these knives UK friendly instead of UK Legal. Knives that are sold on our website that are not UK Friendly are fine as long as you keep them in your own home, or on your own property.

Knife-free zones

There may be zones where you are not permitted to carry any knife at all, regardless of size or locking mechanism. As you may understand this often is the case in football stadiums, bars, clubs, city centres and other crowded places.

Other banned knives

There are several other types of knives that are illegal to own. Other banned knives include the following list:

  • flick knives (also called ‘switchblades’ or ‘automatic knives’) - where the blade is hidden inside the handle and shoots out when a button is pressed
  • butterfly knives - where the blade is hidden inside a handle that splits in two around it, like wings; the handles swing around the blade to open or close it
  • disguised knives, eg where the blade is hidden inside a belt buckle or fake mobile phone
  • gravity knives
  • sword-sticks
  • samurai swords (with some exceptions, including antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954)
  • hand or foot-claws
  • push daggers
  • hollow kubotan (cylinder-shaped keychain) holding spikes
  • shuriken (also known as ‘death stars’ or ‘throwing stars’)
  • kusari-gama (sickle attached to a rope, cord or wire)
  • kyoketsu-shoge (hook-knife attached to a rope, cord or wire)
  • kusari (weight attached to a rope, cord or wire)
  • zombie knives - these knives are defined as 'any bladed weapon over eight inches in length with a plain cutting edge and sharp pointed end that also has either a serrated cutting edge, more than one hole in the blade, or multiple sharp points like spikes'
  • machetes

This list is not complete, and laws can change. Please contact your local police when in doubt, and check the website on Knife Laws for additional and current information.

No rights can be obtained on the basis of this article. Knivesandtools cannot be held responsible on the basis of the information provided on this page.