Are Karambits Legal in the UK

Are Karambits Legal in the UK?

Yes, karambits are legal to own in the UK, but there are regulations to follow. To possess a karambit, you must be 18 or older. 

Carrying one in public requires a valid reason, like professional use or recreational activities. Self-defense is not considered a valid reason. Blade length isn’t restricted, but the knife must be non-automatic and non-folding (fixed-blade). Collecting karambits is legal if kept in a private setting. Importing and selling karambits is subject to strict regulations and business licensing. Complying with these rules is vital to avoid legal issues. Always prioritize safety and responsible ownership to respect UK knife laws.

What Are Karambit Knives?

Karambit knives are a unique and fascinating category of edged weapons that trace their origins to Southeast Asia. These knives are instantly recognizable by their distinctive curved blades and ergonomic handles, which are designed to fit comfortably in the hand. 

Historically, karambits served multiple purposes, including agricultural work and self-defense. Their curved design allowed for efficient cutting and slicing, making them valuable tools in various tasks.

The most defining feature of a karambit is its curved blade, often resembling a claw or talon. This shape is not only visually striking but also highly functional. It provides the user with exceptional control and precision, particularly when performing intricate cutting maneuvers.

Over time, karambits have evolved beyond their utilitarian roots. Today, they are appreciated not only for their functionality but also for their aesthetics and cultural significance. Collectors and enthusiasts around the world are drawn to the unique design and history of these knives.

Karambits are also known for their association with martial arts and self-defense techniques. Their curved blades make them effective tools for personal protection, although their use for such purposes is subject to legal regulations in many countries, including the United Kingdom.

In summary, karambit knives are captivating edged weapons characterized by their curved blades and ergonomic handles. They have a rich history that spans centuries and continue to be relevant in modern times, both as functional tools and collector’s items.

The Appeal of Karambits

The Appeal of Karambits

The appeal of karambit knives is multifaceted, attracting both knife enthusiasts and collectors. What sets these knives apart is their intriguing combination of form and function.

First and foremost, the curved blade of the karambit is a remarkable feat of design. It excels in tasks that require precise cutting and slicing. The curvature of the blade allows for efficient movements, making it a valuable tool for various applications. Whether you’re in the kitchen preparing ingredients or outdoors tackling tasks, the karambit’s blade design offers an edge in terms of functionality.

The ergonomic handle of the karambit is equally impressive. It is carefully crafted to provide a comfortable and secure grip. This ensures that users can handle the knife with confidence, even in demanding situations. The handle design enhances the knife’s usability, making it a practical tool for a wide range of tasks.

Beyond functionality, karambits possess a unique and captivating aesthetic. Their curved blades and intricate handles make them stand out among other knives. Collectors are often drawn to the sheer artistry of these knives, appreciating them as both functional tools and pieces of craftsmanship.

Additionally, karambits have historical and cultural significance, particularly in Southeast Asia. They are associated with martial arts and self-defense techniques, adding another layer to their appeal. Enthusiasts interested in martial arts often explore the use of karambits in these disciplines.

In summary, the appeal of karambit knives lies in their combination of exceptional functionality, striking design, and cultural significance. Whether you’re a knife enthusiast, collector, or martial artist, these knives offer a unique and captivating experience that continues to draw people into their world.

Carrying Knives and Weapons in Public

One of the most crucial aspects of knife and weapon laws in the UK is the ‘good reason’ requirement. It is illegal to carry most knives or any weapons in public without a valid ‘good reason.’ But what constitutes a ‘good reason’?

Exceptions for Folding Pocketknives

There are exceptions to this rule, specifically for folding pocketknives that meet certain criteria:

  • The cutting edge must be no longer than 3 inches.
  • They should not be lock knives, meaning they do not have a button, spring, or catch that requires activation to fold the knife.

Legitimate Reasons for Carrying Knives or Weapons

If a knife or weapon is not banned, there are legitimate reasons for carrying them in public. Some examples include:

  • Carrying a knife for work purposes.
  • Carrying a weapon for religious reasons, such as the kirpan carried by some Sikhs.
  • Including a knife or weapon as part of a national costume.

It’s important to note that a court will ultimately decide whether an individual has a valid ‘good reason’ for carrying a knife or weapon if they are charged with carrying it illegally. Seeking advice from local authorities or legal experts on what qualifies as a ‘good reason’ is advisable.

Banned Knives and Weapons

While there are strict regulations on possessing, bringing, selling, lending, or giving certain knives and weapons, there are also legal exemptions. For instance, knives and weapons over 100 years old are exempt from these rules, except for flick knives. For a detailed understanding of exemptions, individuals can consult their local police or seek legal advice.

List of Banned Knife and Weapon Types

The following table provides an overview of knife and weapon types that are strictly banned in the UK

Knife or Weapon TypeDescription
BatonA straight, side-handled or friction-lock truncheon.
Belt buckle knifeA buckle that incorporates or conceals a knife.
Blowpipe or blow gunA hollow tube for shooting hard pellets or darts using breath.
Butterfly knife or ‘balisong’A blade enclosed by its handle, designed to split down the middle without a spring.
Cyclone or spiral knifeA blade with a handle, a sharp point, and helical cutting edges.
Disguised knifeA blade hidden in objects like combs, brushes, pens, etc.
Flick knife, gravity knife, ‘switchblade’ or ‘automatic knife’A knife with an automatic blade release mechanism.
FootclawA spiked metal bar strapped to the foot.
HandclawA band of metal with sharp spikes worn on the hand.
Hollow kubotanA cylinder-shaped container with sharp spikes.
KnuckledusterA band of metal worn on fingers designed to cause injury.
Kusari or ‘manrikigusari’A weight or hand grip fastened to rope, cord, chain, or wire.
Kusari gamaA sickle attached to a rope, cord, chain, or wire.
Kyoketsu shogeA hook-knife fastened to a rope, cord, chain, or wire.
Push daggerA knife with a handle that fits within a clenched fist.
Shuriken, ‘shaken’, ‘death star’ or ‘throwing star’A plate with sharp radiating points designed for throwing.
Stealth knifeA non-metal-detectable knife not intended for home use.
SwordA curved blade of 50 centimeters or more.
SwordstickA walking stick or cane containing a blade.
Telescopic truncheonA truncheon that extends automatically.
Zombie knifeA knife with a cutting edge, serrated edge, and suggestive images.

Are Karambits Legal to Own in the UK?

The legal status of owning karambit knives in the UK is a topic of significance for enthusiasts and collectors. Whether or not one can legally own a karambit in the UK depends on several factors, including the knife’s specific characteristics and intended use.

In general, karambits with shorter blades primarily designed for utility tasks may fall within the bounds of legality. These knives are often regarded as tools rather than weapons. However, karambits that are explicitly designed for self-defense or categorized as weapons may be subject to prohibitions.

It’s important to note that the blade length and design of the karambit can significantly influence its legal classification. Additionally, local regulations and enforcement may vary within the UK, adding complexity to the legal landscape.

Individuals interested in owning karambits in the UK should conduct thorough research to understand the specific regulations that apply to these knives in their region. Ensuring compliance with local knife laws is paramount to avoid legal complications.

Self-Defense and Karambit Use

Karambit knives, due to their design, are sometimes associated with self-defense and personal protection. However, it’s crucial to recognize that using a karambit for self-defense in the United Kingdom is subject to specific legal regulations.

In the UK, self-defense laws mandate that any use of force, including the use of weapons, must be reasonable and proportionate to the perceived threat. This means that individuals can use force to protect themselves or others, but it must be a justifiable response to the situation.

Using a karambit as a self-defense weapon should be a last resort and employed only in situations where there is a genuine and imminent threat to one’s safety or the safety of others. The use of excessive or unnecessary force can lead to legal consequences, including criminal charges.

Individuals considering carrying a karambit for self-defense should be aware of the legal framework surrounding self-defense in the UK. It is advisable to seek legal counsel or guidance to ensure a proper understanding of the law and its application in self-defense scenarios.


Should I carry a knife in the UK?

It’s generally not advisable to carry a knife unless you have a legitimate “good reason.” Carrying one without a valid reason can lead to legal trouble.

Can I carry a Swiss Army Knife in the UK?

Yes, you can carry a Swiss Army Knife in the UK, as long as you have a valid reason, such as using it as a tool for work or other legitimate purposes.

What weapons can you legally carry in the UK?

The UK has strict laws on carrying weapons. Generally, you can only carry items like folding pocket knives with blades under 3 inches, and even then, you must have a valid reason.

Can I carry a knife in London?

Carrying a knife in London follows the same rules as the rest of the UK. You must have a valid reason, such as work or religious purposes, to legally carry one.

Why are knives illegal in the UK?

Knives are not illegal in the UK, but strict regulations are in place to ensure they are used responsibly and safely. These regulations aim to reduce the risk of knife-related crimes and accidents.

Why carry a knife in the UK?

Carrying a knife in the UK should only be for legitimate reasons, such as work or specific cultural or religious practices. Carrying one for self-defense is not considered a valid reason.

Can I carry a pocket knife in the UK?

Yes, you can carry a pocket knife in the UK if it meets certain criteria, like having a blade under 3 inches and not being a lock knife, but you must have a valid reason for doing so.

Are karambits illegal in the UK?

No, Karambits are not specifically illegal in the UK, but their legality depends on various factors such as blade length, purpose, and how they are carried.

Can I own a sword in the UK?

Yes, you can own a sword in the UK, but there are rules about how it’s stored and displayed. You cannot carry it in public without a legitimate reason, and it must be stored safely in your home.

Final words

In the UK, owning karambits is allowed, but it comes with rules. You must be at least 18 years old to own one. Carrying them in public is okay if you have a good reason, like work or hobbies, but not for self-defense. There’s no strict blade length limit, but other rules apply.

If you collect them, that’s fine, as long as you keep them private. Importing and selling karambits have strict rules too, so you need to follow those.

To sum it up, it’s legal to have karambits in the UK, but you must follow the rules. Always stay safe and responsible when dealing with these unique knives in compliance with UK knife laws.