Laws, Guides and usefull Information

The Law

Buying and carrying knives: the law

The laws about buying and carrying a knife depend on the type of knife, your age and your circumstances.

Basic laws on knives

It is illegal to:

  • sell a knife of any kind to anyone under 18 years old (16 to 18 year olds in Scotland can buy cutlery and kitchen knives)
  • carry a knife in public without good reason - unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62 cm) or less, eg a Swiss Army knife
  • carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  • use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal knife, such as a Swiss Army knife)

Lock knives (knives with blades that can be locked when unfolded) are not folding knives, and are illegal to carry in public without good reason.

Good reasons for carrying 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, e.g. 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.

Banned knives

There is a ban on the sale of some knives:

  • 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
  • Spring Assisted Knives
  • 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)

This is not a complete list of banned knives. Contact your local police to check if a knife is illegal.

 Excerpt from Correct as of 05/11/2021 at 16.00 PM.

Knife Types

Knife Styles

The Tanto:

The Tanto design originates in Japan during the Heian period, however has been modified many times since its inception. It was originally designed as one of a Samurai’s three swords or ‘Nihonto’. These knives were designed to be stabbing and piercing weapons but have evolved since then to become tools with many additional uses.

Traditionally Tanto knives would feature sloping points that terminate in a sharp, semi-reinforced point that were fairly resistant to deformation. More recently, they’ve come to feature very angular, very reinforced points that are exceptional piercers as well as being extremely resistant to bending or breaking.

Still particularly useful for military and other armed forces, Tanto’s now also make useful camping, self-defence and survival tools. Most have a flat edge with little to no belly but there are many options available for many different brands resulting in a number of options suitable for nearly any purpose. 

Military Tanto


The Bowie:

Bowie knives’ origins are shrouded in mystery, yet most collectors and historians agree that they started out as a pattern designed by James Black designed for a knife fighter known as Jim Bowie. These knives are typically quite large and all feature deeply clipped points designed to offer a sharper piercing tip.

Most common Bowie knives also feature cross guards designed to protect fingers from opposing blade as well as preventing a stabbing motion from causing fingers to slide onto the sharpened cutting edge.

Bowie knives have become very common amongst collectors and hunters alike owing to their unique appearance as well as their versatility in the field, namely; skinning, stabbing, slicing and chopping. These knives come in many forms, varying greatly in price and quality as well as design and intended use.

Large Bowie Knife



The Dagger:

Daggers are usually double edged, symmetrically shaped knives sharpened to a point terminating roughly central to the lines of the handle. Designed for Military use, these knives offer very little resistance while piercing and stabbing which makes them very useful during tactical applications.

Commonly designed to fit a boot knife role, Daggers are also available with multiple carry options and are designed to be readily accessible in an emergency. 

Today, they are often used in the same role as many other knives when they aren’t available or simply down to taste. However, they are predominantly seen as military knives and therefore aren’t really suitable for camping and fishing. They do however make very attractive collectors knives and can be found in a number of different designs, styles and price points.




The Karambit:

Karambits are of Southeast Asian design where they began life as agricultural tools designed to harvest plants such as rice as well as raking roots and various other similar activities. They are believed to have been inspired by the claws of large animals such as cats and bears as it was observed how effective they were at grabbing and cutting into things.

Gradually Karambits were adopted as weapons, particularly amongst the peasant population, as well as the more militaristic warrior class knows as the Kesatria. Karambits were often found tied into woman’s hair and used as a last resort self-defence weapons, where this role can still be found in use – where laws allow in places such as America.

The Karambit works so well because it grabs into its target and forces itself to cut deeper resulting in exceptional ease of use especially when it comes to Martial Arts. Recently, it has been adapted into a ‘Tactical’ tool and is manufactured with a colossal range of designs, uses and price points.

MTech Scorpion Karambit


UK Legal:

Uk Legal is a broad category of knives which all feature less than three inch blades that DO NOT lock in place with any sort of mechanism. The blades must readily fold into the handle at all times or risk being classified as a locking knife or fixed blade. These knives are often referred to as EDC or Every Day Carry knives.

The knives can feature any of the above blade styles as long as they follow the sub three inch non locking rule. This means there is a huge variety of available knives to choose from suitable for a large range of applications that will assist in many cutting scenarios.

It is worth noting that while a knife may be legal if it ‘looks aggressive’ and someone sees you using it you can expect to find yourself talking to a Police Officer. Thus we recommend that you follow all laws and regulations as well as being mindful where you are using your tool.

UK legal does not mean that you can carry these knives anywhere however, taking one into a pub or similar location is definitely not a good idea. Schools specifically are places where carrying such a knife is totally illegal and subject to the full force of the law.

This section contains our interpretation of UK knife law and as such, we take no responsibility for your actions and suggest you check the laws for yourself just to make sure.



EDC or Every Day Carry simply means an item or product that you carry with you everyday without fail. Many things fall into this category without anyone even noticing such as a Mobile Phone, Chap-stick, Wallet or Biro etc. However, in this context we are almost always referring to a knife. Usually a simple, small folding knife that can be easily stored in ones pocket within easy reach for a variety of utility tasks. 

Further, due to restrictive laws in this country all Every Day Carry knives must have blades of less than three inches as well as not locking open, they must be readily fold-able at all times to be carried without a specific reason or purpose such as a chef taking his knives to work with him/her. 

Whittler knives are often a good example of an excellent EDC item to carry. Most of them feature a number of sub-three inch folding blades with various styles and uses. We stock a good selection of such knives and one of the most popular can be found HERE.

As a general rule it's best to tailer the carried knife to the expected tasks at hand. Someone who uses their knife to cut open a lot of boxes may find they prefer a knife with a slight downwards curve. Someone who does a lot of Bushcraft may like a knife with a Scandinavian grind that bites into wood deeper and with less resistance. 

I find that a Wharncliff or Sheepsfoot blade serves me best day-to-day as it provides a good curved cutting edge as well as a less 'scary-looking' point that is more friendly to anyone who sees you using your knife.