Can I Carry A Swiss Army Knife In The UK? Are They Legal?
If you’ve received a Swiss army knife as a gift or maybe you want to carry one on hand for everyday use as a tool, you might be curious about the legalities surrounding carrying a Swiss army knife in the UK.
In the UK, only folding non-locking knives under three inches can be carried without a valid reason, so if your Swiss army knife is larger than this or non-folding then it is illegal to carry.
We’ve discussed in further detail below what is a Swiss army knife, what is classed as a good reason for carrying a Swiss army knife if you can be prosecuted, and examples of illegal and legal knives to carry in the UK.
Why Carry A Swiss Army Knife?
Swiss army knives are very popular around the world and are viewed mostly as a tool rather than a weapon thanks to their small size.
They often are made with a small 3-inch blade and have a non-locking blade which makes them legal to carry in most countries. Carrying these tools with a blade is fine as long as you have the right intention.
We’ve listed the benefits of carrying this type of blade in comparison to other pocket knives below.
- They are versatile – Swiss army knives are very versatile and can be used for a variety of activities, for example, a traditional model can be used to open a beer bottle, cut nails and even as a toothpick.
- It’s familiar – Carrying knives is frowned upon and can be scary no matter the country you are carrying them in, one advantage to Swiss army knives is that everyone knows them and views them as a tool rather than a weapon. You’ll also have fewer questions if caught with one.
- High quality – Swiss army knives have been around for a long time and are very durable thanks to their steel build.
- Affordable – Even though Swiss army knives are very high quality, they are still affordable costing only around $25 depending on the brand.
- Easy to carry – The small oval designs of Swiss army knives make them easy to carry, they can also be attached to a key chain and are very lightweight.
Which Countries Allow Swiss Army Knives?
If your Swiss army knife is non-locking and the blade is under three inches then most countries allow you to carry a Swiss army knife legally.
We’ve gone into the specifics about carrying a Swiss army knife in each different country below.
- Australia – Australia prohibits you from carrying any kind of knife unless you have a reasonable and lawful excuse for carrying one. This can vary according to the state however, some allow you to carry one for utility purposes.
- Canada – A Swiss army knife is easy to carry and legal, knives are not legal if they are under 30 cm and are concealed not to be a knife. In this country, the intent as to why you are carrying the knife is most important.
- US – In the US, the laws around carrying a Swiss army knife change according to the state. In most states, you have to be over 21 to carry a Swiss army knife and it has to be under 2.5 inches
- India – For India, in most cases a Swiss army knife is legal to carry, prohibited knives are models which have a blade over 9 inches or broader than 2 inches wide.
Can I Be Prosecuted For Carrying A Swiss Army Knife?
Even though a Swiss army might be legal to carry in the UK, the intent and other circumstances can make it illegal to carry one and you could even be prosecuted.
A small Swiss army knife can be considered illegal to carry if you were using it to threaten someone or to commit a crime.
We’ve also listed some other factors which can make carrying a Swiss army knife illegal down below.
- If you have a history of previous crimes.
- You have a mental illness.
- You are a fugitive.
Some valid reasons for carrying a non-locking under the three-inch knife are listed below.
- For work.
- They are relics.
- Used for theatre.
- Religious purposes.
Illegal Knives To Carry In The UK
As we mentioned above, the intent when carrying a knife is much more important to consider than the knife itself, however, some models of knives are completely illegal in the UK.
We’ve listed some illegal knives which could get you prosecuted for possessing in the UK down below.
- Hollow kubotan – This is a cylinder shape container and contains lots of spikes.
- Push dagger blades – The handle fits within a fist and the blade comes out between two fingers.
- Butterfly knife – A butterfly knife has the blade enclosed inside the handle and will split down the middle in order to show the blade.
- Cyclone knife – A cyclone knife has a sharp point at the end of the handle and cutting edges to form a helix.
- Belt buckle knife – The buckle in this knife conceals the blade which is what makes it illegal.
- Baton – A friction blade which is locked with a straight handle.
- Flick knife – The blade of a flick knife is automatically released from a handle, this is normally done by pressing the button on the knife.
- Kusari Gama – It is a sickle fastened to the end of a cord or rope.
- Sword – For a sword, a curved blade of over 50cm makes it illegal.
- Zombie knife – A knife with a serrated edge or straight edge which is intended to be used for violence and with words.
- Stealth knife – This knife is made out of material which can’t be picked up by metal detectors, it is intentionally made to be a weapon.
- Death star – A non-flexible plate with sharp radiating points and is designed to be thrown.
Frequently Asked Questions About Swiss Army Knives In The UK
Are Swiss army knives expensive?
No, Swiss army knives are very affordable with the average price being around $25.
Can you take a Swiss army knife on a plane?
Swiss army knives are not allowed to be taken on board an aeroplane and will be confiscated by airport security, you can however take them on a plane if you pack them in your checked luggage.
Is a 2.75-inch blade legal to carry in the UK?
A knife which does not lock under three inches is legal to carry in the UK but you should still ensure the intent for carrying one around is legal.
Are knives with locking blades illegal to carry?
Yes, knives with locking blades are illegal to carry in the UK, you will receive a charge/warning if found with one and the next time you could be prosecuted.
What can a Swiss army knife be used for?
A Swiss army knife can be used for a variety of purposes since it comes with lots of mini tools like scissors and a toothpick.
To conclude, a Swiss army is legal to carry in the UK as long as it is non-locking and under three inches, the intent for carrying one also has to be valid. You can still be prosecuted with a Swiss army knife if you are using it for criminal purposes.