Skip to content

Spring Assisted Knives In The UK.. What’s The Law On Them?

UK Law On Spring Assisted Knives

It is very recently that the law surrounding spring assisted knives in the UK has been changed or at least has been planned to change. Because this change is so recent, some people are not entirely sure where the law on these particular knives stands.

Unlike other legal knives such as swiss army knives, the law surrounding spring assisted knives can be confusing as it has been changing. So today we are going to answer where the law stands when it comes to these types of knives.

What Are Other Names For Spring Assisted Knives?

Law and legislation can be very hard to understand in terms of how that law is worded on paper and can cause issues in legal cases if the accused did not understand how the law surrounding carrying a certain knife was written. For example, if you do not know the law surrounding the possession of a butterfly knife and you are sent to court, jut because you do not understand the law does not mean that charges will be dropped.

Before we dive into the law of spring assisted knives, lets clear up how the law refers to spring assisted knives so that there is no confusion. Here is a list for other names of this type of knife:

  • Pushbutton knife
  • Flick knife
  • Flick blade
  • Switchblade
  • Automatic knife
  • Ejector knife

What Is The Difference Between A Spring Assist And An Assisted Opening Knife?

Another confusing factor when it comes to spring assisted knives is how easily they are mixed up with assisted opening knives. However, the law surrounding these two knives differ.

The key difference between these two knives is how they are opened. The spring assisted knife can only be opened if the blade is pushed with a little bit of force. However, an assisted opening knife requires you to manually open the blade by pressing on a flipper lever or some other type of stud. It is this manual force that makes the law differ.

You will most likely find assisted opening knives are interchangeable with camping survival knives as most of those are assisted in opening types.

The Offensive Weapon Act

The ever changing Offensive Weapon Act is the legislation that most affects your right to carry a spring assisted knife on your person. When this act was passed in 1958, it stated that the making or exchange of any spring assisted knives will be illegal. This was further detailed the following year when it was stated that if anyone has this type of knife on their person then it can be deemed as an offence.

It was in the 1959 update that it also became illegal for anyone to import, gift or hire spring assisted knives. While this meant that you could not carry this type of knife on your person, there was leniency that meant that if you owned a spring assisted opening knife that was made before 1959 and you are the original owner then you are allowed to keep hold of that knife as long as it is in a private home or other private location. However, this still meant that you can not carry the knife on your person.

While this law has not really budged when it comes to spring assisted knives, in 1988 the Criminal Justice Act made it so that you are allowed to carry a knife that has a cutting edge no longer than 3 inches in a public place. This made it easier for you to carry a pocket knife with you as many pocket knives fit that description. It was also this act that made it a little bit more legal to carry a spring assist knife with you as long as its cutting edge stayed within the guide lines.

It Is All About The Intent

Do not mistake any UKnact as a free pass to carry a spring assist knife with you in a public place as there will always be the question of intent if you got caught threatening someone with your knife.

The minute that you threaten somebody with your knife, even if that is an empty threat, then you are breaking the law. This is because you have then stated that you intend to use the knife as a weapon in one way or another which then makes the knife an offensive weapon. Do not feel that just because you have a legal knife that this does not apply to you. Even if you are carrying a kitchen knife for whatever reason, the threat will challenge the intent and will not allow you to get away in a legal environment.

It is for this reason that it will be safer and easier for you if you avoid any altercations when you are carrying a spring assist knife with you in a public place. Likewise, it will probably best if you avoid carrying this type of knife unless you have a very justifiable reason to.



Carl Slay

Carl Slay

I have a fascination with the blade. Ma being a Chef and Pa owning a steel plant, it was inevitable some would say. From Chef knifes to Butterfly knives, to machete's - I know my blade! TheKnifeGuide was started as a means to serve enthusiasts like me in learning vital information. Whether it is for survival when indulging in the great outdoors or for your culinary needs, you've come to the right place!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *