What Length Should A Legal Pocket Knife Be? Can I Carry One Around?
If you’re wanting to invest in a pocket knife but don’t want to run into legal problems when carrying one around, you need to ensure you check the legal blade length for your knife in your country.
For a pocket knife, in most countries their legal blade length needs to be under three inches otherwise the knife will be classed as illegal.
We’ve gone into further detail below about if you can carry a pocket knife in different countries and their laws as well as which kinds of knives are not legal in the UK to help you stay on the right side of the law.
Why Are Three-Inch Knives Legal In Most Countries?
Most pocket knives with blades are permitted to be carried around in countries as long as they are under 3 inches, this is because a knife under three inches is said to cause only minor injury if used as a weapon.
Non-locking blades are also said to be harder to use as weapons since they take more time to open and close.
Pocket Knives & Countries Laws
In most countries, you are allowed to carry pocket knives like Swiss army knives as long as they are non-locking and under three inches.
We’ve listed out some common countries and their pocket knive laws down below.
- US – You are not allowed to carry switchblades in the US, states in the United States have different laws surrounding knives, but you are typically allowed to carry pocket knives under three inches.
- UK – In the UK you’re allowed to carry a pocket knife which has a blade under three inches and is non-locking, the intention of carrying one of these knives can make it illegal, however.
- China – In China you might be allowed to carry a pocket knife however you will need to go through government checks in order to buy one.
- Canada – You are allowed to carry pocket knives in Canada of any length, knife laws are in place for automatic knives which are illegal, this includes a type of knives like a flick knife or switchblade.
- France – In France there are not many laws surrounding carrying a basic pocket knife, the intent matters more, if found not to have a justifiable reason for carrying a knife blade you can end up in jail.
- Sweden – For Sweden it is illegal to carry a knife around in public since it is classed as a dangerous weapon, you would need a very good reason to be carrying a knife.
- Belgium – In Belgium, there is a restriction on the size of the blade you are carrying but it has to be a non-locking folding knife.
Which Kinds Of Knives Are Not Legal To Carry?
If you’re caught carrying illegal knives no matter the size of the blade you can end up in trouble with the law, some types of knives which are illegal in most countries are butterfly knives or automatic knives.
- Pen knives – Pen knives are small styles of knives which fold up easily and can be concealed, due to this reason they are illegal in most states to be carried.
- Belt buckle knives – Belt buckle knives contain a knife edge inside of a belt which makes them undetectable knives and therefore illegal.
- Butterfly knives – Butterfly knives have a handle which rounds around the knife then the blades are concealed when the handle is closed.
- Switchblade knives – These are also automatic knives, their blade pops open with the press of a button, making them dangerous for knife owners to carry.
- Ballistic knives – Ballistic knives have detachable blades making them illegal knives, they can also be ejected at a target to cause intentional harm.
- Lipstick knives – This is a pocket knife disguised as lipstick, they are among the illegal knives list since they are concealed.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pocket Knives & Blade Length
Which country has the strictest laws around knives?
Countries such as Australia do not allow knives at a full stop, North Korea and China are also countries which have strict knife laws.
What are the legal penalties for carrying a knife over three inches?
You cannot carry a pocket knife over three inches around in public in the UK, you will be charged and even arrested if you are caught with one.
Can you carry kitchen knives around?
Unless you were using the knives for a job, for example, catering transporting knives or maybe you’ve brought them from a shop, you cannot carry kitchen knives around for no reason and can be arrested.
Overall, the legal blade size for a pocket knife is around three inches and under, knife blade length laws can differ according to countries’ rules, however.
Even a knife under three inches can be classed as illegal if the intent for using it is dangerous, so you need to make sure you have a valid reason to be carrying around a knife of any kind.