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The Law

The law on buying and carrying knives.

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 old's 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[1] less than three inches long. For example, our Golan Gold Trim Gentleman's Knife.
  •  Carry, buy or sell any type of banned knife
  •  Use any knife in a threatening way (even a legal to carry knife)

[1] - Folding blades are defined as a blade that readily folds back into the handle, without needing to disengage a lock. Such as a slipjoint knife with no locking mechanism.

Good reasons for carrying a knife

Examples of good reasons[2] 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 or valued.
  • The knife is going to be used for theatre, film, television, historical re-enactment or religious purposes, for example, the Kirpan some Sikhs carry
  • Hunting or camping on land you have permission from the landowner to be using for this purpose.

[2] - If you're ever stopped with a knife that you have 'good reason' to have with you, you may still be cautioned and interviewed, a court has the final say on what is, or isn't, legal to carry and will ultimately decide. The above reasons are guidelines only, and not professional legal advice.

Banned knives

Some knives are completely banned to own, buy, sell, exchange and so on, even in your own home. The following is a non-exhaustive list of banned knives and similar items. You can view the full listed provided by the government by going to their website

Baton

A straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheon.

Belt buckle knife

A buckle which incorporates or conceals a knife.

Blowpipe or blow gun

A hollow tube out of which hard pellets or darts are shot by the use of breath.

Butterfly knife or ‘balisong’

A blade enclosed by its handle. Designed to split down the middle to reveal the blade without using a spring or other mechanical means.

Cyclone or spiral knife

A blade with a handle, a sharp point at the end and one or more cutting edges that each form a helix.

Disguised knife

A blade or sharp point hidden inside something that looks like a commonly carried everyday object. For example, a comb, brush, pen, cigarette lighter, key, lipstick or phone.

Flick knife, gravity knife, ‘switchblade’ or ‘automatic knife’

A knife where the blade opens automatically or is released from the handle, either by gravity or by pressing a button or something else on the knife.

Footclaw

A bar of metal or other hard material worn strapped to the foot, from which a number of sharp spikes come out.

Handclaw

A band of metal or other hard material worn on the hand, from which a number of sharp spikes come out.

Hollow kubotan

A cylinder-shaped container containing a number of sharp spikes.

Knuckleduster

A band of metal or other hard material that’s worn on one or more fingers and is designed to cause injury. This also includes any weapon that incorporates a knuckleduster.

Kusari or ‘manrikigusari’

A hard weight or hand grip fastened to each end of a piece of rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kusari gama

A sickle fastened to one end of a piece of rope, cord, chain or wire.

Kyoketsu shoge

A hook-knife fastened to one end of a piece of rope, cord, chain or wire.

Push dagger

A knife where the handle fits within a clenched fist and the blade comes out from between two fingers.

Shuriken, ‘shaken’, ‘death star’ or ‘throwing star’

A hard non-flexible plate with three or more sharp radiating points, designed to be thrown.

Stealth knife

A knife or spike made of a material that cannot be picked up by metal detectors and which is not made for use at home, for food or as a toy.

Sword

A curved blade of 50 centimeters or over, based on the straight-line distance from the top of the handle to the tip of the blade. (Unless exempt)[3]

Swordstick

A hollow walking stick or cane containing a blade which may be used as a sword.

Telescopic truncheon

A truncheon that extends automatically by pressing a button, a spring or other device that’s in or attached to the handle.

Zombie knife

A knife with a cutting edge, a serrated edge and images or words suggesting it is used for violence.(This definition is set to change soon)[4]

[3] - Certain traditionally hand-made swords are exempt from this. Examples include our traditional katanas'

[4] - The definition of 'Zombie Knives' is set to change soon. See tab labelled 'New Laws'.

This is not a complete list of banned knives. If you're unsure, contact your local police department or legal advisor for further information.

 Excerpt from https://www.gov.uk/buying-carrying-knives Correct as of 06/02/2024 at 23:40 PM.

Law Changes 2024

New Laws (2024) for Zombie Knives & Fixed Blades

With each passing year comes a fresh set of laws, and this time, there are notable changes regarding the classification of 'Zombie Knives'.

In recent weeks, we've been inundated with calls and emails from concerned customers seeking clarification on these new laws, fearing they may inadvertently possess something illegal. Media outlets have been abuzz with reports suggesting that all machetes will soon be added to the banned list, with further bans anticipated.

Fortunately, the government isn't imposing a blanket ban on all machetes but is instead targeting a wide array of bladed items, including many that our customers—and ourselves—currently own.

The precise wording of this new legislation remains unsettled, but we anticipate it will broaden the definition of 'zombie knife', potentially encompassing many more innocent knives. Click here to read the draft legislation in full.

The current laws as they stand:
A "Zombie Knife" is defined as a blade featuring both a cutting and serrated edge, along with **visual elements or textual references that imply its intended use for violence. These visual elements may consist of depictions such as blood, skulls, zombies, or scenes of violence, while textual references include words like "killing," "combat," "self-defense," and similar language that may be interpreted as inciting violence.

Image of a zombie knife featuring multiple spikes, holes and words glamorising violence. Not a nice item!

THE NEW DEFINITION
As we understand it, the NEW definition defines 'Zombie Knives' as – A Knife with: A plain cutting edge; A sharp pointed end; Blade over 8 inches[1]

Which ALSO has:

A serrated edge (except an up to two inch serrated edge next to the handle); OR More than one hole in the blade; OR Spikes;[2] OR More than two sharp points on/in the blade;[3]

The specific wording on images or depictions of violence on the blade or handle has been removed.

[1] - Blade measured in a straight line distance from the top of the handle to the tip of the blade.
[2] - Presumably meaning any extra sharp points on or around the blade.
[3] - Excluding:

1) A sharp point where the angle between the edges which create the point is an angle of at least 90 degrees. (Where there is a curved edge, the angle will be measured by reference to the tangent of the curve.)
2) A sharp point on the cutting edge of the blade near the handle. (We'll provide a diagram for this shortly)

Examples of items that will likely become illegal to own:

machete style 1

Holes on blade and over 8”

machete style 2

Has both a sharp edge and a serrated edge + over 8”

machete style 3

Over 8”, has more than one hole, has more than one point, serrated edges

machete style 4

Over 8” blade + serrated and sharp edge

Examples of items that should not be affected by the adjustments:

machete style 5

Only has a sharp edge

machete style 2

Only has a sharp edge

 
 

We do not have a precise date for the arrival of the new legislation. Our anticipation is that it will likely occur around September, although there is a possibility of it being either earlier or later than this timeframe.

Hand-in & Compensation

Traditionally, when a law undergoes a change resulting in the prohibition of an item that was previously legal, compensation is often offered. Hence, here's the good news: The government plans to conduct a surrender program, likely accompanied by a compensation scheme.

Based on past experiences, we've witnessed compensation being provided, leading us to believe it will likely occur again. However, it's important to note that this is not legal advice; rather, it reflects our informed perspective.

Historically, the surrender process has been relatively straightforward: Wrap and secure the knives you intend to surrender, then bring them to designated police stations. Inform the staff at the front desk that you wish to surrender knives, and they will dispatch someone to document and retrieve the items.

During this process, they may request some personal information and issue a receipt. Compensation has been provided in the past at this stage.

According to current information, it appears that individuals may be eligible to claim £10 for each surrendered "zombie" knife. However, this figure is subject to change as more details emerge. Rest assured, we will update this page with confirmed information as soon as it becomes available!

What happens now?

Currently, you are free to continue using and enjoying knives that do not fall under the category of 'Zombie Knives'. Whether it's for gardening, farm work, outdoor activities with appropriate permissions, or simply as collectible items kept indoors.

However, once the new legislation is officially enacted, these knives must be surrendered if found to be in violation of the revised laws.

We have ceased importing, purchasing, or restocking these items. Once our current inventory is depleted, they will not be replenished. Please refer to the link below for a comprehensive list of items classified as "Zombie Knives". This is an opportunity for you to make a purchase.

The silver lining is that you will receive a refund for a portion of your investment when you surrender these items.

A critical reminder: When transporting these items to a surrender location, ensure they are securely sheathed, well-packaged, and stored in your vehicle's trunk. DO NOT leave them loose in your car or easily accessible.

We will provide updates as soon as additional information becomes available.

Knife Types

Knife Styles/Types

There are so many knife types and designs that it would be almost impossible to include every single on of them in a reasonable page of information. For now, we'll stick to the main contenders, the iconics, most populars and most well known varients.

Ball Bearing:

Ball bearing knives are just regular everyday lock knives that feature one powerful upgrade. A ball bearing system in the pivot that reduces the friction you feel as the knife opens. This serves to make the manual operation of these knives incredibly smooth. They feel extremely premium when compared to a non ball bearing knife. This type of mechanism is more often found on high end, more expensive knives, but is increasingly appearing on more affordable models too. 

Lock Knives:

Knives that lock open when the blade is deployed. These can be very simple or extremely complex mechanisms but the general function is the same. Once the blade is opened, a mechanism such as lever or button must be activated before the blade can be closed again. This is a safety feature as it prevents the blade from accidentally closing onto your fingers while you're using the knife. The most common mechanisms are called: liner locks, frame locks, button locks and back locks. 

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. What's come to be known as a Tanto, is really an 'American' tanto. It can even be traced back to being popularised by Cold Steel.

Long gone are the days where they were only useful for the military. These days tantos are renowned for their exceptional geometry and resiliant point that is far less prone to deformation compared to other knife types. They make great camping and outdoors knives and are very well suited to general cutting tasks too.

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 for 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 the users fingers as well as preventing fingers sliding 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. These knives come in many forms, varying greatly in price and quality as well as design and intended use.

The Dagger:

Daggers are usually double edged, symmetrically shaped knives sharpened to a point terminating roughly central to the lines of the handle.

Commonly designed to fit a boot knife role. Today, they are often used in the same role as many other knives when they aren’t available or simply down to taste. Mostly collectors knives these ones, as they can be very modern and premium in appearance while lacking as many practical applications as other types of knives on this list. Though, as will any knife, it'll still perform all your daily cutting tasks as required!

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.

The Karambit works so well because it grabs into the material and the curved edge draws into the cut. These are actually fantastic gardening implements, and are uncannily good at opening boxes.

EDC

EDC or Everyday Carry Knives

The term EDC has a different meaning based on your country of residence. Generally speaking, it means a set or series of items that you carry with you on a daily basis for convenience. This can include bags, pens, wallets, watches and so on. For most people though, the big one is knives.

EDC Knives are the go to everyday knife that you take with you as you go about your day. In some countries, this can be nearly any knife. In the UK however, it's limited. We can, as a general rule, carry a knife with a non-locking blade that measures less than three inches. This means that there is no button or mechanism that needs to be adjusted before the blade can close. It can freely close just by folding the knife shut.

Generally you're allowed to carry such a knife with you throughout much of the UK without needing any specific reasons to do so. There are of course still some limitations that are mostly common sense such as schools, prisons and so on. 

When we say EDC knife, we mean a tool that is legal to carry with you, without a specific reason. We stock a reasonable range of these knives which you can find on our EDC category page.

*Please be aware, this isn't legal advice, just general option based on our understanding of the laws. If in doubt, contact your local police station, or a laywer.

Crossbow Laws

Crossbow Laws

There seems to be some confusion on the laws regarding crossbows in the UK. We've seen it a number of times - people asking if there's a power limit or if there is some restriction on buying them or even if there is a maximum number you're allowed to own!

The long and short of it is yes, Crossbows are completely legal to own. There are however, a number of restrictions.

1) You cannot purchase a crossbow if you're under the age of 18.

2) You cannot have your crossbow in any public place in much the same way you can't carry a normal bow or the majority of knives.

3) Crossbow hunting is completely illegal, you cannot hunt or shoot any living thing with a crossbow.

There are no power limits on crossbows in the UK. The confusion stems from competition use where they are much more strict about the power ratings. We see this one a lot, but we can confirm, there is no upper limit on crossbow power. However, if the bow has less than a 1.4kg (approx 3lb) draw (such as certain children's toys) the above restrictions don't apply.

There is also no limitation on the number you're allowed to own - feel free to have as many as you like, provided you're sensible and follow the basic rules you're sure to have a good time.

Crossbows are a fun, and relatively safe way to target shoot provided common sense is used. Don't shoot without a solid backstop, or on land where you don't have express permission, even better if it's in writing. Ensure you treat the bow with respect and it'll be a great investment - all the accessories and maintenance equipment are widely available online, you can find it and bolts, etc on our store here.

DNA Leisure offers a number of Crossbows for sale in various draw weights and configurations. For starters, we highly recommend our pistol crossbows which are much more manageable in the confines of a garden. Bigger, more powerful crossbows need much more range, but we recommend any of our rifle crossbows as they offer all the power you need in an easy to use rifle configuration.

Blank Firing Guns

Blank firing guns

Are heavily regulated.

The main and most important things to keep in mind:

1) They must be painted or coloured a non-realistic colour such as blue, red or green.
2) They must have a blocked barrel. 
3) It must be difficult or impossible to convert them into live firing weapons.
4) They must be 'top venting' - which ties into having a blocked barrel. All gasses and debris must be ejected out of the top of the product rather than through the barrel.

Non Realistic Colours

This is fairly self explanatory - and we only sell blank firing replicas in non-realistic colours. What's important for you to remember is that it's a criminal offence to modify them to appear more realistic. This means, don't paint them black! Use them as they are. Safely. 

Blocked Barrels

There must be no way for a projectile to travel through a barrel. In short, these replicas must have a permenant inclusion or 'blockage' in the barrel that prevents them being used as real firarms. This is often a piece of hardened steel, or tungsten carbide that is extremely hard to drill through. 

Non-Readily Convertible

The guns we sell are designed to be non-readily convertible. The frames are made from durable, but soft metals that deforms if clamped in a vice. As well as not being able to withstand the pressures involved with live rounds. The barrels are blocked and the chambers have inclusions that prevent the insertion of rounds. A lot of work goes into making it extremely difficult, if not impossible to convert these replicas.

Top Venting

All of our blank replicas are top venting. This is where the gasses from each 'shot' are ejected from the top of the frame and not out of a barrel. This means that it's not possible to load some debris or bearings etc into it and use the gasses to fire a projectile.

Be Sensible

It should go without saying that you MUST NOT ever take these blank firing guns outside your home, or place where you have legal permission to use them. DO NOT ever point them at any living thing, and always point them in a safe direction. Care must be taken not to burn yourself on the gas port.

Safety

You must wear hearing protection with these replicas! Eye protection is also recommended. 

Limitations

You MUST be over 18 to purchase a blank firing replica.

Paintball Markers

Paintball Markers

Paintball guns are products that fire 'frangible' balls of paint. They're designed to be reasonably safe to use in team skirmish sports where the weapons are fired at each other in a controlled environment. Please note that while they are designed to be reasonably safe, it is essential to wear eye protection when using paintball markers.

Frangible Ammo

A paintball is a type of frangible ammo. It's a water-soluble paint contained in a thin but solid sphere that is designed to break on impact with a target, releasing the paint. There are rules governing paintball guns and one of them is that they fire frangible ammo. 

Limitations

To be considered a paintball marker, the product MUST be restricted to firing at a maximum of 300fps. Anything higher than this can run into legal problems. Most UK paintball sites actually set their limits slightly lower to ensure a factor of safety, so please research and ask your local sites what they recommend before purchasing.

You must be over 18 to purchase a paintball marker. 

UKARA

We do not require a UKARA or paintball license in order to purchase paintball markers. However, you must confirm with us first that the intended use for your purchase is one permitted under UK Law. This can include paintball skirmishing as well as a handful of other activities such as military simulation training. You will be required to read and accept a number of conditions as you add a paintball marker to your cart. Full details can be read on the product page of any of our paintball markers.

Using your Paintball Marker

DO NOT use a paintball marker outside of your private property or a legally sanctioned paintball site with the permission of the owners. This means not walking around in public or pointing your marker at any other person.

GelSoft Guns

GelSoft Guns

Similar to paintball markers, GelSoft guns fire frangible ammo. Small balls of water-based gel that pop on impact. They're a lot of fun to use, but there are several very important conditions to their use and ownership.

Age Restriction

You MUST be over 18 to purchase a GelSoft gun. You do not need to be over 18 to use one provided you have permission from an adult who's supervising.

Realistic Imitation Firearms

Some of our GelSoft guns look very similar to real firearms. Some are considered to be Realistic Imitation Firearms under the Violent Crime Reduction Act 2006. If you're purchasing one of our all black guns you will have to confirm with us that the gun will be used for one of the 'permitted activities'. Examples include skirmishing, historical re-enactment or target practice. This is only permissible on private property where you have full legal permission to use them.

Insurance Cover

You need to have insurance cover for the intended 'Permitted Activities' but don't worry as most household insurance policies cover activities like skirmishing at home, but you will need to double check this and confirm you understand this during checkout by ticking the relevant box.

Safety

You must use eye protection with our GelSoft guns.