Legal Weapons UK – Self Defence Weapons Law – What Is Legal

UK Legal Weapons
 Self Defence Weapons Law for Preppers

legal weapons UK shotgun

Firstly, as a Prepper and a member of the UK public, you must know the rules and more specifically, self defence weapons  laws that apply during 'normal times' regarding buying, owning and using legal weapons in the UK.
Of course in a SHTF situation things would be very different and all those 'normal times' laws and rules would go right out the window as we enter a country WROL.

But, for this article and moment in time, I am assuming normal law and order are in place here in the UK..!

Similarly, 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.

example: UK Legal Folding Pocket Knife

Typical UK Legal Folding Pocket Knife

For more information & prices, see: UK Legal Knives

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

looters kicking in window

Almost inevitable for people to take the law into their own hands as looting and unlawful acts increase.
People will become more desperate for the essential items like food, water, medication and any other supplies they can lay their hands on.

As a result, their next move will be to invade your home, moving systematically along your street to find these essentials.

Quite how you decide to defend yourself, your family and supplies will be a very big decision to make.

ospec sign

Possibly the very best form of UK 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 All weapons are mighty strict 

Well let me put it another way: They are mighty strict for the honest law abiding citizen like you and me, whereas the criminal, of course, doesn't give monkeys about the law. Meaning they have the weapons, you are left defenceless....

Although UK law is quite specific, it still basically says that just about anything can be deemed as a dangerous, unlawful and offensive weapon in certain situations - so be aware, use that umbrella to attack someone, when all they did was poke their tongue out at you, and you could find yourself getting arrested..!

police handcuffs

With regard to a generally considered 'offensive weapon', 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 - again, your nicked mate. - Along with CONFISCATION of the weapon and a huge fine, you risk an even bigger chance of imprisonment.

As an example - a prepper would only have a couple of GENUINE reason to be carrying around a razor sharp skinning knife, an axe or maybe a 8" hunting knife - 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]

Of course, it must go with saying that concealment is the order of the day when taking an "offensive weapon" out into a public area and travelling from A to B.

bushcraft axe


Carrying your axe, knife or anything considered as an offensive weapon around, in public, like this photo, is absolute stupidity, especially in our current' total fear' society.

By that I mean: When making your way to and from your destination, always keep it out of sight from anyone, do not have knife hanging from your belt or anything else that would cause alarm or concern to the public.

When I go to bushcraft camp, I put any knives or my axe deep inside my rucksack, well out of sight and not easily accessible without pulling everything out first.

It simply makes sense, this is not the wild west. You intend using these tools at camp, so keep them safely and responsibly out of sight.

Remember, we see this as an essential tool for survival, others will see you as a maniac, so just be sensible.. 

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 is a law that was passed in 1953 and is currently undergoing changes being made to this law. But remember, just about anything can be deemed an offensive weapon if you try!

However, the law says: "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

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 - DO NOT TAKE THEM OUTSIDE IN A PUBLIC PLACE.

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 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.

The UK Has Been Indoctrinated With A Fear Of Knives

The massive amounts of scare mongering and genuine fake news that revolves around knife crime, has now reached fever pitch.

fake news

 Personally I think the current UK knife laws are sufficient, as are all the UK weapons laws.
The trouble is everyone is being tared with the same brush - and that brush is saying we are all criminals and not capable of being normal responsible human beings, and that we are incapable of common sense.

Meaning our limp wristed, namby pamby, so called leaders and politicians , who have no backbone, simply give in to every whim.

Unfortunately folks, our rights are being eroded at an alarming rate. You'll soon have to put in a written request to be allowed to fart before long...!

UK Legal Weapons
Public Carry Exceptions

Typical UK Legal Folding Pocket Knife

* It is, however, legal to carry a non lockable folding pocket knife or multi purpose tool provided the blade is below 3" long and cannot be locked in the open position. BUT... there will still be times when you must have a reasonably good, valid reason to be carrying it. Because there are some situations where a pocket knife [carried legally or not] would not be acceptable to have in your pocket.
** Typically this would be entering a football ground - the ground would have its own rules and regulations regarding quite a few prohibited items.
{ see our Best Legal Folding Pocket Knife guide here }

Another great legal knife is the laguiole artisan B45 STAINLESS STEEL UK LEGAL FOLDING POCKET KNIFE
Totally UK legal to buy, own and carry in occurrence with the law.

Being a non-locking knife with a blade that is under 3" makes this the perfect little pocket knife.

what weapons are legal in the uk stop and search

It makes sense 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", is not a valid reason - if that's your proposed excuse, expect to get it taken away and probably you as well.!

Also, a place like a football stadium would have very specific rules regarding what can be brought into the grounds.  Alcohol and knives being a prime example.

Weapons, cutting tools and hunting equipment are essential to us preppers, and most of us simply think of them as essential survival tools, especially when practising our survival skills, but make sure you carry and use them responsibly and within the law.

Whether you think of an axe, a knife or a rifle, as a tool or a weapon, it really doesn't matter - it is you who is getting penalised and expected to conform.
However, jolly old Mr Criminal, who doesn't give a monkeys about laws and rights, will just go happily on his way arming himself to the hilt, regardless of the law.

Below are UK legal tools and weapons you are allowed to own, without needing to acquire any form of license or certificate of ownership.

This does not mean you can just go wandering around anywhere in public with them..!


Although anything can be made into a weapon, this list is for what most people will generally accept as commercially available weapons and edged tools.

Below are all legal to own without requiring any special checks or require you to obtain a legal FAC [ firearms certificate ] or any other special permission.

Remember, to buy any edged weapon in the UK (that is anything other then a ‘legal’ folding pocket knife) you must be over 18 years old.

Although this list is not extensive, it does cover most of the various weapons and edged tools you can own and use as a prepper:
Please use the links below, to our review pages - 


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.

Finally the list above gives you an idea of the Legal Weapons you can own here in the UK without needing any special permission or licence.

Of course exactly how you decide to use them is up to you - but use them outside the UK offensive weapons laws and you will find yourself in trouble.

As I mentioned earlier, anything can be used as a weapon if you so wish, so really it all boils down to how sensible you are during normal peaceful times. Of course, in a SHTF situation all normal rules go out the window..!

Steve Hart  -  UK Preppers Guide

Just as a final note here:

Hunting Knife - Buying requirements: Name, address, age, proof of identity and address. Not legal to carry in public.

Ikea 10" Cooks Knife - Buying requirements - pop into Ikea, pay, walk out.

Just Saying.........!

what weapons are legal in the uk

Hunting Knife   /  Cooks Knife

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Skip to comment form

    • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:35 pm
    • Reply

    Why is a baton a defensive weapon when the police carry them but when the public carry them for the exact same purpose they become an offensive weapon ? If a weapon was made as a defensive one then how can government’s say it’s an offensive one ? I can see the point with a knife coz i would consider that a lethal weapon where as a baton or pepper spray i would consider that to be non lethal defensive weapons and that’s why the police carry them because they are non lethal , it’s just the powered that be don’t want us being able to defend ourselves against them and their regimes

    • Karl stafford on September 29, 2019 at 10:01 pm
    • Reply

    I a m sorry but knife crime is out of control in th is country and there is not much a individual can do to protect there selves so wondering what are the legal options for personal defence

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 10:45 pm
      • Reply

      Buy a top pair of running shoes , or just get stabbed and then phone police to let them know and they’ll give you an appointment to come and see how you are and get a statement . As you say knife crime is on the rise and the ones using them don’t give a monkies about any laws so why are we expected to not carry anything at all that could protect ourselves and most importantly could save our lives especially when that’s the reason police are allowed to carry weapons , funny how in police hands they are defensive weapons but in vulnerable no public’s hands they are offensive weapons , I think the powers that be don’t want us carrying anything to protect ourselves because they don’t want us protecting ourselves from them and we become all the more compliant .

    • Martin Hedington on September 21, 2019 at 12:34 pm
    • Reply

    Indeed, those “limp wristed, namby pamby, so-called leaders and politicians who have no backbone, simply give in to every whim.” Except of course the ones where people like Bo-Jo and his ilk have blue-clad bodyguards with MP5’s posted ouside their private residences because their own rules are made up by themselves as they go along, (in the real world.)

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 10:49 pm
      • Reply

      That’s why they don’t want Joe public to arm themselves for fear of us fighting back against their corrupt more deserving lives and lifestyles , remember we’re only cannon fodder to the likes of them .

    • Adam on September 19, 2019 at 1:30 pm
    • Reply

    I am looking at a self defence whip – stinger whip / biker whip for when I go on long distance bike rides and camping trips do you have any thoughts on their legality in the uk ? I know extending battons are frowned upon but had a few run in when on my local trails from idiots, luckily they didn’t get a chance at my bike but would like to have an extra deterrent

    • Marlon Passial on August 26, 2019 at 10:51 pm
    • Reply

    hi there;

    Nice site;)

    • Chris on August 15, 2019 at 5:37 pm
    • Reply

    Are you sure your “UK legal folding knife” is actually legal (without “good reason” needed)? There have been several (more recent) changes to uk legislation aside from the blade length. For example it must not lock, or be capable of being opened with one hand. It must not be sold as “assault”, “tactical” or even with self-defence mentioned in the listing. I’m not an expert but was also under the impression that it must have other tools on it (ie swiss army knife), making it useful for many other tasks rather than only containing a blade.

    Also, practicing bushcraft is sadly not considered good reason for carrying an axe, “non-legal” knife etc, unless the bushcraft is to be carried out on private land (with full permission of the landowner). Carry a weapon to chop wood by the river or in public woods etc and there is a legal “presumption of prison”. Take care!

      • Mr Know It All on August 31, 2019 at 8:26 pm
      • Reply

      Absolute nonsense. In the UK you can carry a folding, non-lockable knife with a blade of up to 3 inches.

      You can carry bushcraft equipment to and from areas in which you’d practice it (I know because my father organises bushcraft courses and has an array of tools).

      I also accidentally carried nunchaku in a bag into a court and the police did nothing but retain them until I left. Why? Because I practice martial arts and had a lawful reason to carry them (they were in the bag from the training session the night before).

      I would delete your comment as it is baseless and not reflective of UK law.

      • David on October 5, 2019 at 9:04 am
      • Reply

      Nope. It does not have to have tools.
      Nope. It is perfectly legal if it can be opened with one hand. The law has just changed to ban spring assisted openers (in fact there’s a buy-back clause in the legislation as they are even banned at home, as automatic knives have been for some time now). When parliament debated the new legislation they specifically included one handed openers, without assistance, as being legal. I believe one example given in committee was that someone up a ladder would only have one hand free.

    • Mr. Li on July 30, 2019 at 6:09 pm
    • Reply

    The UK has become the most pathetic country in modern times. As a martial artist that originally loved in both China and Japan, not being allowed to carry a pair of Sai or a Nunchucku when I used to be allowed to carry a katana is just pathetic and makes me sick.

    The UK will make anything into an offensive weapon. How long until your revolting UK turn everyone into pansies while the innocent get stabbed, mugged, raped and murdered by a thug with a knife or a bat. Things that would automatically dissappear if people had legal right to carry their own weapons of self defence. Even the stupidest thug thinks twice about mugging a person with a pair of Sai in his belt or a Sword on his back.

    I will be returning to my homeland where I am allowed to be safe.

      • Mr Robert Macauley on August 15, 2019 at 3:40 pm
      • Reply

      Mr. Li You are spot on… If anyone were to carry a knife or any other offensive weapon and use it on anyone! What hope have we got? at least we should be able to carry pepper spray.. With conditions obviously…

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:04 pm
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      I couldn’t agree more with you my friend , the ones carrying the weapons and stabbing , killing , raping and so on don’t care about laws or the sanctity of life they are only interested in their own greed and selfish pathetic lives but us , the ones getting stabbed , robbed , killed and raped are NOT allowed to carry anything to defend themselves and keep themselves , family or friends safe but these people making these stupid laws have armed police looking like Rambos watching and protecting them whenever and wherever they go at every turn and your a stage policeman is allowed to carry weapons for that very reason of protecting themselves from the nasty elements in society it’s about time the people were not just allowed to carry defensive weapons but encouraged to do so and training courses to help them use them more effectively , can i come home with you ? hahahaha

    • Gray on July 19, 2019 at 10:17 pm
    • Reply

    It’s an interesting subject.
    The problem is just how, as a prepper, you can get away with explaining how the lowlife lying on the floor with your camping hatchet embedded in his skull was simple self defense.

    It’s not so funny nowadays is if you do protect yourself, your own, or others, and draw blood, you are automatically the aggressor in the eyes of the police.

    I know where an OAP clouted a home intruder with his walking stick and laid him out cold.
    What did the police do? Arrested the OAP.

    It took months and a media campaign before the police said they would not be pursing the matter further but stopped short of saying they were wrong and he was innocent. Which left the OAP with a question mark hanging over him.

    As for the intruder? He moved far away after his name was ‘accidentally’ disclosed on social media.
    Nice bit about it was the OAP was not a computer or smart phone owner so I guess the police couldn’t go after him for that!

    • John on July 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm
    • Reply

    Excellent site, I just found it by chance, some of the best advice and clarity on the laws of knives etc. I think the laws in Scotland are different from England regarding air guns, I must check it to be sure.

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:12 pm
      • Reply

      Scotland has become a police state now thanks to Sturgeon and her Nazi party , I e held air rifles for o we 40 years without ever having been brought to the attention of the police and because of named above i’m told i’m not fit to hold airgun licence and considered a danger to the public because ofif a few minor blips in my life , now the government expect me to hand over thousands of pounds worth of guns and equipment to the police and have them destroyed without any form of compensation even though everything was bought legally , this country is well and truly going to the dogs .

    • alan catterall on June 6, 2019 at 11:18 am
    • Reply

    at the end of the day the love and protection of your family , property and country is a moral one at what degree your life or others are threatened …quite simply in a life or death situ , self preservation is an instinct of natural law !. personally I would rather be tried by 12 , than carried out by 6 !.

      • Mr Robert Macauley on August 15, 2019 at 3:56 pm
      • Reply

      Same here! Thats when all the law goes out the window when its our lives or our loved ones lifes are at risk! No law can take that from us! But…. its us that has to prove our lifes or our family lifes were in danger! If someone pulls a knife on you…. you have three choices! Just Die or or Die fighting or end the other persons life! I have very little trust in the British justice and probably he would have a good chance walking from court or getting a little sentence! So that would bring worry when he would get released from prison if he would return to get revenge! I have no clue as what I would do if my life were at risk… could never just kill anyone! But would like to think I could if my life were at risk… As for my family’s life my loved ones life were at risk…. No doubt I would do whatever it took to make them safe and that would even mean losing my life I still would! just like anyone else would.

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:14 pm
      • Reply

      We’ll put and couldn’t agree with you more , and I’m pretty sure there’s a huge proportion of the country agree with you on that .

    • Sage on March 29, 2019 at 3:30 pm
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    I am in my 50’s so far I have been age checked in Sainsburys when buying recordable DVD’S. Why? because if you break them they are sharp and could be used to cut someone. The same thing happened in the same store when purchased a pack of teaspoons. Why? because the could be sharpened in to a stabbing weapon. And finally poundland refused to serve my wife (same age as myself) when she tried to buy a set of fury handcuffs. Why ? because she was seen talking to a teenager in the shop before going to the checkout and they decided she was buying them for the girl. You are not Law abiding citizens you are the pray being hunted by every nut there is out there and we are all defenssles. This country is in sane these laws are not to protect the public thay to make sure the public are never well armed enough to overthrow the government.

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:17 pm
      • Reply

      Exactly what I’ve been saying for years now , if the powers that be keep us defenceless then we are more compliant and they can do what they want with us they do not want a society that can rise up against their corruption and take back our country and lands .

    • Stacy on March 22, 2019 at 8:27 pm
    • Reply

    Jesus christ this is awful… If a man backed up by 4 other men is going though my house with butcher knives, axes and box cutters or anything else shouldn’t I as a single parent be allowed to have some sort of an upper hand over this situation? Like honestly… How would you expect a single mother to oprehand a situation like that unless she has a gun?

      • Chris on April 15, 2019 at 5:28 pm
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      You aren’t.

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:23 pm
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      You are supposed to take whatever they want to do to you and the phone the police afterwards to hunt these naughty men down and take them to court and punish them on societies behalf while you live the rest of your life ( for whatever it is after the incident ) knowing that you’re a good citizen and followed the law and to be patronised by the powers that be for the way you have coped rather than you being able to arm yourself and protect yourself and your family from lowlife scum that would do exactly as you described and think it’s fun and not give a thought about how this is going to affect you and your family for the rest of your lives .

    • Dan on March 11, 2019 at 10:37 pm
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    Here’s a scenario… someone’s outside your house smashing up your car at 3am, you are in bed and have been woken, when looking at cctv you notice he also has a knife his face covered and is the same person that has done it 3 previous times. No point ringing for police as no one is working tonight (budjet cuts!) You have a bag full of UK legal weapons in your bedroom…BB gun, Crossbow, Bow and arrows and an .22Air Rifle at your disposal. Do you pick one up and shoot from bedroom window or leave him to do it again?

      • ANON on March 16, 2019 at 6:31 pm
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      Leave him to it, you will only get yourself arrested.

        • Anonymous on July 10, 2019 at 7:19 am
        • Reply

        God, I hate this country

        • Gary on July 20, 2019 at 3:05 am
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        Dan,Don’t think the crossbow is a smart option as apart from any legal ramifications it could result in major blowback hassle.Someone I knew went the air rifle route when a sh-thead messed with his motorbike.It would probably be hard to find airgun pellet evidence and I doubt the s/h would want to go to the police with a complaint unless he’s stupid.Oh wait ….

      • Chris on August 15, 2019 at 5:14 pm
      • Reply

      Why? The thug is behind a locked door, not causing you any immediate danger. If he started smashing down that door with knife in hand (and looked as if he’s about to get inside), then that would be a different scenario. Pretty obvious really.. your car is not equivalent to a life.

      • James Bond on October 21, 2019 at 11:25 pm
      • Reply

      Phone the police and tell them he’s jumping all over a police car and they’ll be there before you put the phone down .

    • Kacy on February 12, 2019 at 7:21 am
    • Reply

    Although this is a great idea we should think of saving the world first before we prepare for the end- It is not too late!

      • Dave on May 6, 2019 at 8:59 pm
      • Reply

      Very true, but being prepared never hurt.

    • Dylan on January 22, 2019 at 8:13 pm
    • Reply

    actually, under 18’s in the uk can buy, own and carry a knife which is folding and non locking with a blade less than 3 inches.

    1. Dylan, it is illeagle to sell knives to anyone under the age of 18.
      Except ‘legal’ knives. (Pocket knives)
      I should of added that point!
      I will correct the article.
      Thanks for spotting that error…..

      All the best, Steve

        • nakasan on June 14, 2019 at 4:12 pm
        • Reply

        ask a cop it is not legal to carry any sized knife in the uk now as doing so will get you arrested and look at the case of the guy in scotland done for carrying a swiss army knife it is kind of funny that i can carry a gun to go hunting with but my knife has to be in my backpack ah the stupidity of uk laws

        • Chris on August 15, 2019 at 5:20 pm
        • Reply

        Are you sure? This is not what they tell you at every single shop I’ve visited that sell them. Even Amazon refuses to deliver a Swiss army knife without ID (over 18).

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