Legal UK Weapons for Preppers | Self Defence and Survival

Legal UK Weapons for Preppers
Self Defence and Survival

girl with hand gun in each hand

Please be aware:
The law as described in this article is for England and Wales only.
There is no such thing as an overall UK law, as Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own versions, especially regarding weapons and weapon ownership, which can differ substantially.

As a Prepper you must know the rules and laws regarding legal weapons in the UK right now, as they stand now, and before any SHTF situation or WROL.

Defending what is rightly yours and ensuring all your efforts to prepare for a Doomsday scenario ARE worth it – it naturally follows that you have to be prepared to defend your family, your home and your survival supplies.

When SHTF, the next thing to happen will be a country WROL.

It’s inevitable for people to take the law into their own hands as looting increases as people become more desperate for food, water and any other supplies they can lay their hands on.

Quite how you decide to defend will be a very big decision to make.

Observe Good OPSEC

Possibly the very best form of legal weapon you have in your arsenal is you ability to KEEP QUIET and generally only tell other preppers who are in your prepping network.

The more people who know you have good supplies of food and water, the bigger the risk to you and your family.

Legal Weapons in the UK and the laws regarding weapons are mighty strict

So much so that just about anything can be deemed as a dangerous, unlawful and offensive weapon in certain situations.

Those situations are primarily, if you are carrying the weapon in a public place AND if you are caught carrying, what can be considered an offensive weapon, you’d better have a pretty dam good, convincing reason.

Otherwise – your nicked mate. – Along with CONFISCATION of the weapon and a huge fine, and depending on the weapon, you risk an even bigger chance of imprisonment.

As an example – a PREPPER would only have a couple of GENUINE REASON to be carrying a razor sharp hunting knife, an axe or similar – and these are:

  • Carrying it to a bug out location or bushcraft site or survival course
  • Using it for bushcraft skills whilst out practising such skills
  • Carrying it back home
  • Taking it to or from a repair shop [eg. to be resharpened]

If you own rifles, then taking to and from the range or an area of land where you have permission to shoot, is also acceptable.
But be aware, the rifle must stay in a case, ideally locked, and the pellets need to be in a separate container.  It should also only be opened at the range or private shooting land.

** If ever asked by a police officer to open the case and show the contents - DO NOT DO THIS - instead offer to go with him to the police station where you can open it there.  Opening it up an the roadside is the same as ​carrying it in public..!!

The same rules apply for transporting and for using a bow or crossbow.

Other than the above reasons, as a prepper, I don’t see any other need for that weapon to leave the confines of your own home and be carried around anywhere in public – it makes plain simple sense really.

What constitutes an offensive weapon?

not guilty image

The laws in the United Kingdom are very strict on this and what the law books say about them can be found in the Prevention of Crime Act 1953. Section 1 (1)

This act was made law in 1953 and stands as the basis for Prevention Of Crime here in the UK today.

The section that is the most relevant is below, however, just about anything can be deemed an offensive weapon if you try!

“Prohibition of the carrying of offensive weapons without lawful authority or reasonable excuse.”

**  Any person who without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, the proof whereof shall lie on him, has with him in any public place any offensive weapon shall be guilty of an offence.’

Common Sense Legal Weapons Considerations For  Everyone

So, first rule of ensuring you comply with the offensive weapons laws in the UK is, whatever type of weapons you decide to add to your survival kit –


Keep them at home and if you wish to practice with them it must be on your own land or land where you have complete permission from the land owner.
Maybe on a farm and you are helping to keep a vermin problem down by shooting rats with your air gun.
If you do need to take any weapon within a public place then think twice about your reasons and ensure they are genuine and legitimate.

But again I repeat, just about anything can and will be deemed as an offensive, and as such, illegal weapon if used in an aggressive manner.​
Run and stab someone with you brolly and the brolly becomes the offensive weapon, however, grabbing a brolly to help defend yourself against an attacker with a knife is a whole new area.  And a very grey one at that.!

Exceptions: Non Locking, Folding Pocket Knife

* It is, however, legal to carry a non lockable folding pocket knife or multi purpose tool (like the EDC5 knife shown here),  provided the blade is below 3″ long. 

* You can do this "because the law says you can"... It is perfectly legal to carry this type of knife in your pocket.
But it would be an arrestable offense if you started waving it about in public.

Aslo see UK Knife Laws 

Also see our Best Legal Folding Pocket Knife guide here.

Here you can see a typical UK legal carry knife:

However, It makes sense that you would think twice about the implications of taking a pocket knife to a football match, regardless of the fact that a pocket knife is deemed as a legal weapon in the UK – it’s just common sense – “Oh, I’m sorry officer, I forgot it was in my pocket”, will not be good enough and is not a valid reason – if that’s your proposed excuse, expect to get it taken away and probably you as well.!

Weapons are essential to us preppers, especially when practising our survival skills but make sure you do so responsibly and within the law, AND, use you common sense.

The weapons shown below are LEGAL UK weapons
that you are allowed to own without needing any license or certificate

* However, this does not mean you can just go wander around anywhere in public with them.

Although anything can be made into a weapon this list is for generally accepted weapons that are legal to own without requiring a FAC [ firearms certificate ] or any other special permission.

Find out more about the various weapons you can own and use as a prepper:

Please use the links below, to full articles, video reviews etc:


12 ft lb (muzzle velocity or below)

Anything above 12 ft lb requires a F.A.C (Fire Arm Cert)​

man with air rifle BSA ultra


Any type, shape or size is legal

axe cutting tree branch


Any type, shape or size is legal:
Compound, recurve, longbow etc

axe cutting tree branch


Any type, shape or size is legal:
Compound or recurve

axe cutting tree branch


Any type, shape or size is legal:

axe cutting tree branch

Martial Arts

Yes, this is considered to be a weapon..!!!​

krav maga header


Swiss army knife, utility tool knife

swiss army knife basic knife view


Some are legal to carry, other are not.  See the articles here for more information and choice.​

paintball gun firing in feild

If you are in doubt as to what constitutes a legal weapon in the UK, you must first check with your local police force, and be 100% certain before risking a hefty fine.

If you want to know more about the UK Knife Laws that are in place in Britain today, then check out our article showing the exact things you need to know about knives –

If you are concerned about being stopped on suspicion of carrying a weapon there are also specific Stop and Search laws that you need to know –

There are also many other firearms that you can legally own here in the UK – from a semi automatic rifle to a shotgun – they are all legal to own.

What must be obtained first, in order for you to own one legally, is a UK FireArms Certificate – see the UK Gun & FireArms Laws here.

Steve Hart UK Prepper

This article is about as accurate as I can get it, after all, I'm no legal adviser and certainly not qualified to offer advice.! But it is possible I have missed something, or written incorrect information, and if you see something that's not quite right, then please leave a comment and I will correct it.  Thanks

However, the above is a good overview of the generally accepted ​"weapons" that can be owned here in the UK.

The list, and your choice, is very restrictive as the UK is such a zero tolerance police and legal system​.  Points for and against the public owning 'decent' self defence weapons swings both ways.
Compared to the USA we are a laughing stock, but multiple firearms killing are so regular there, they barely make any news. Whereas here in the UK we do not have that way of life.

For us preppers, it's a difficult one.​  The bad guys will get weapons regardless of what the law says, and in a SHTF situation everyone will want to protect themselves and their family.  

That is why it is important to know what you can legally own right now - then go out and get them, practice with them, store them and be ready for when you need them.​

Happy Prepping Folks,​

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Skip to comment form

    • Ian Deare on November 5, 2020 at 12:26 am
    • Reply

    I posses an antique airgun (yes, gun, it’s not rifled!) dating to the early 1900’s. Under Scottish Law I’m required to hold a full air weapon licence, at full cost, despite the licence clearly stating it’s an exhibition piece, for display purposes only. Not to be fired.

    To be honest, as a law abiding citizen, son of a Policeman, even born in an ex Police Station (complete with cell ) I’m not that bothered about the necessity of obtaining, and holding a licence (complete with sponsor) but I do find it irritating that I’m charged exactly the same amount as someone with a modern high powered rifle, which could kill a human, and I have further, rather severe, restrictions placed on my ownership. I could do more damage if I used it as a club!

    • Bob on August 7, 2018 at 9:11 am
    • Reply

    Quite well researched. But a couple of points that are relevant. The law as described in this post is for England and Wales only. There is no such thing as UK law. Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own versions which can differ substantially.
    Second. Well done on emphasising Public Place. With the exception of firearms and explosives you can keep just about anything as a weapon as long as you are in private. CS gas and pepper spray count as firearms.
    In E&W offensive weapons are made, adapted or intended. The last is what gets people into trouble. Police do not need an admission to demonstrate the first two,to support a prosecution. But with otherwise innocent objects such as bats or hairspray practice saying “I like to look smart whilst playing cricket Officer.”

    1. Thank you for pointing that out Bob.
      You are quite right, laws do vary in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
      I have now added a note at the start of the article to clarify that point.
      Thank you for commenting, very much appreciated.

    • Keith on June 18, 2018 at 1:56 pm
    • Reply

    The UK is absolutely paranoid over what they call ‘weapons.’ What they call weapons, I call tools for the job, for survival.

    • Christopher Riphagen on June 4, 2018 at 8:04 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks buddy, been checking laws as being a south african I have a few goodies on the band list. Stay safe.

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