The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

13 Best UK-Legal Pocket Knives

SOG Folding Knife

This post was originally published in April 2017 but was updated to include newer models.

There’s nothing like living in the great United States of America, but sometimes you simply have to get out to see the world. Unfortunately, not all of your knives can make the trip with you.

If you’re traveling to the United Kingdom (or live there), your knives will be heavily regulated and subject to confiscation if they don’t meet stringent requirements (and sometimes if they do).

Despite bin campaigns, increasing regulations on knife purchases, and a general demonization of all bladed tools, knife and gun crime saw a significant spike last year. That means knives will be under even more scrutiny.

You can still carry knives in the United Kingdom under very specific circumstances.

UK Knife Laws

Before we get into the actual knives you can carry, here are the basic knife laws in the UK.

British Parliament

“It is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason – unless it’s a knife with a folding blade 3 inches long (7.62cm) or less.” It seems like it is therefore legal to carry a larger knife or even a fixed blade as long as it’s for “good reason” but I wouldn’t push my luck.

All locking knives are banned, including those in multitools (RIP Victorinox SwissChamp). There’s also a host of banned knives and weapons in the books, such as butterfly knives, flick knives, gravity knives, disguised knives, zombie knives (even those that fall under the regular regulations!), and more.

With that in mind, here are 12 UK-legal knives.*

*It’s very possible these knives will still be taken away so exercise caution no matter what.

1. Spyderco UK Penknife

Spyderco UK Penknife

Let’s start with the quintessential UK knife: the Spyderco UK Penknife. This knife typically tops all of these UK-legal lists because Spyderco designed this knife specifically with those laws in mind. The UK Penknife uses quality materials with a 2.93-inch CTS BD1 steel blade and an FRN handle. It weighs only 1.7 ounces and represents the best a typical US-made Spyderco has to offer.

Oh, and like all of these knives, the UK Penknife is a slip joint except this one has a notched joint.

2. Cold Steel Lucky One

Cold Steel Lucky One

Cold Steel is best known for its humungous knives with some of the most “threatening features,” like flippers, dagger blades, serrations, and everything else the “common” person might be intimidated by. But they do offer a thin double-bladed slip joint folder that’s OK to carry in the UK called the Lucky.

The sub-3-inch blade uses premium S35VN steel and lightweight carbon fiber scales. It may be the only knife Cold Steel offers that’s UK-friendly.

3. CRKT Dually

CRKT Dually

For 2021, CRKT has come out with two separate folders that are perfectly legal in the United Kingdom. The first is the Dually, which has a small 1.72-inch slip joint blade when opened and a bottle opener on the other side when closed.

It’s a pretty clever knife that’s inexpensive and fun to carry on a keychain.

4. Spyderco Roadie

Spyderco Roadie

The second of several Spyderco knives on this list is the Roadie. You may have to avert your eyes on this one because it’s what many would classify as ugly (not I, of course, but you know who you are). Sure, the Roadie looks like an actual Dodo ( even more so than the Spyderco Dodo), but it does its job and it does it well.

The Roadie was originally designed to comply with nearly changed TSA regulations that would allow small knives on planes again before it was sadly walked back. It has a roughly 2-inch blade made from N690Co steel and an FRN handle. The ergonomics are pretty impressive for being such a small knife. This Italian-made Spyderco is only an ounce and even received the coveted perfect score from Everyday Commentary.

5. Kershaw Gadsden

Kershaw Gadsden

The Gadsden is Kershaw’s attempt at a good classic slip joint. This model features two blades with a maximum length of 2.75 inches when open. It opens with a nail nick and looks pretty unassuming.

6. CRKT Symmetry

CRKT Symmetry

The second 2021 CRKT UK-legal folder is the Symmetry. This one features a longer 2.75-inch blade that can be opened with one hand (almost like a front flipper). The GRN handle has nice blue accents to make this knife a classy folder.

7. Victorinox Spartan Swiss Army Knife

Victorinox Spartan Swiss Army Knife

There is no more iconic knife that elicits a sense of calm than the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. Victorinox has a ton of knives that fall under the UK knife laws but you do have to be wary about some of the models with longer locking blades.

I recommend the Victorinox Spartan. It is a direct relative of the original Officer’s Knife and has two blades, a reamer with sewing awl, can opener, bottle opener, screwdrivers, a corkscrew, toothpick, and tweezers. It’ll do the job.

8. SOG Terminus

SOG Terminus

SOG is best known for more tactical designs but just dipped its toe into the slip joint market with the Terminus and Centi I. The Terminus seems like a winner because of its overall design and solid slip joint mechanism. The 3-inch blade is made with CTS BD1 stainless steel and the handle is G10.

It comes in an all-black version, but if you’re traveling to the UK, you’d probably be better served to carry the less “intimidating” brown-handled version.

9. Byrd Tern

Byrd Tern

If you found yourself gravitating toward the Spyderco UK Penknife but couldn’t see yourself shelling out that much money for it, then Spyderco has the knife for you. Spyderco created a budget version of the UKPK and added it to its Byrd line.

The Byrd Tern has essentially the same design but with lower end steel on the 2.75-inch blade, grippier G-10 handle scales, and a comet thumb notch. Plus you’ll save about $30.

10. Case Sod Buster Jr.

Case Sod Buster Jr.

Case is known for making all-American slip joint models, along with a few fixed blades. What better way to show your patriotism than with a US-made slip joint? Most Case slip joints are OK under the UK laws, but you have to be careful not to take a model with a blade longer than 3 inches.

Slip joint models are a matter of preference but I recommend the Sod Buster Jr, which is among the best-sellers at Knife Depot. If you want a more traditional model, go with something like the Pocket Worn Small Texas Toothpick.

11. Boker Plus Tech Tool City 1

Boker Plus Tech Tool City 1

The Boker Plus Tech Tool is the brand at its finest. You can pick this knife up in tons of different iterations with different tools. I’m quite fond of the simple Tech Tool City 1 with a single blade and G-10 scales. You can also get it with several tools if that’s what you prefer.

Although it doesn’t have the same iconic look as the Victorinox Swiss Army Knife, some say this multitool is even better. It was made with places like the UK in mind.

12. Spyderco Urban

Spyderco Urban

I’m very disappointed to say the Spyderco PITS has been discontinued, so it needed to be replaced. Fortunately, there’s yet another Spyderco that can take its place on this list: the Urban.

This lightweight knife is an evolution of the original with a smaller 2.61-inch blade made from N690Co steel and a black FRN handle. The knife only weighs 2 ounces, and it’s easy to carry with the wire clip.

13. Kershaw Pub

Kershaw Pub

Since there are many good offerings this year, I had to up the amount to 13 knives (as opposed to last year’s list with 12 knives). The Kershaw Pub gets the last spot here.

This small folder is pretty much made for the UK in mind (otherwise it would be called the Kershaw Bar). The friction blade is only 1.6 inches with a stonewashed finish while the butt has a bottle opener. Like the Dually, this is a clever little knife that can be carried loose in your pocket or attached to a belt loop.


  1. Lock knives are legal to carry if one has a good reason. There is a likelihood one will get problems carrying a long knife while camping but technically the law is on your side. I only take my fixed blades with me when I am camping in the UK

    • All lock knives are illegal in the UK.

      • No they’re not. They’re only illegal to ‘carry’.

        • ie ‘ in a public place without reasonable excuse’ .

        • John Williams

          June 9, 2020 at 7:49 am

          You can have a lock knife ( including multi tools or fixed blade items in your toolbox if they are under lock & key ) You wouldn’t be bothered using a picnic set though.Seems the law is in a bit of a grey area.

          • The utter idiocy of UK jerks and the laws. As if a ban to complicate peoples lives will save the fact that the vast Ards are born evil, their shit parents all alcoholic and breeding bastards and defraud the system and tax payer and then the innocent carpenter, the innocent person that can’t bite and needs a little knife for food must be humiliated or go hungry because the law is one sided and the morons that serve this are the example of stupidity. The police doesn’t carry guns and they now refuse tazers and only rape assault threaten harm anyone they want and the corrupted judges themselves support the uniforms corruption. What a joke…..

      • incorrect. if you have a good reason to carry one you can, eg work or leisure activity. carrying one around town on a Friday night will not be looked upon in a good way though

        • I got stopped by the police on the way to catering college once, I had a cleaver and a 30cm chefs knife to name but a few. We had a laugh and waved me on. I don’t know how that figures with the carry law because its a very niche case but I thought it was funny.

          • Tim

            December 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

            That’s the problem with many laws (including knife laws here in the US). It’s all arbitrary and depends on the mood of the police officer that moment. If he had a bad day or needs his numbers up or doesn’t like the way you look, you’re out of luck.

      • No they’re not, but you need a valid reason to carry one. This is another one of those urban myths like you can’t defend yourself in the UK, upon inspection the truth is something quite different.

      • No, lock knives are not illegal, they’re only illegal if you carry a locking knife or fixed blade without good reason for having it on your person, for instance your going fishing and carrying g a bag with all you equipment in along with either a fixed blade or locking is OK you have your good reason, but if you have one in your pocket whilst in a supermarket that’s a no no you have no good reason for carrying a knife either fixed or locking but if your a electrician working in a supermarket and need it for your job then your ok.
        The only knife you can carry at your discretion is a non locking sub3″ folding knife but use your common sense , you don’t need it for collection your kids from school or going to a library ect nd police might take it away from you even? even though law says it’s OK to carry so, again boils down to using your brain to think when you need and not ect,

      • No they are not.
        If you have a reasonable excuse to carry a kick knife or fixed blade for work, bushcrafting, religious reasons etc they are not illegal to carry.

      • err no… you just need to be able to genuinely demonstrate a good reason

      • Some knife guy

        March 28, 2023 at 3:35 pm

        No they are not illegal, it is not illegal to own locking blades, it is illegal to carry a locking blade without good reason, what constitutes good reason is a grey area and subjective. What it is true to say is that lock knives are considered to be fixed blades for the purpose of legislation, they are not folding pocket knives and therefore are not legal to carry in public most of the time

        • I can’t even buy my husband a swiss army knife for his birthday without giving my life story to Amazon or whoever else decides I need to give up my security and my privacy because of their stupid laws. I then tried to buy a tool for the garden as a compromise. No! Still had to give all my personal details. I refuse to give out my details for the whole world to use as they wish. There must be a law about this. I am a pensioner as is my husband. I wouldn’t be paying nearly £100 if I wanted to damage someone, I would just go to my kitchen drawer! These idiots in charge of so called laws and agendas need to get a life and start living in the real world.


      An interesting article about knives and offensive weapons, it may help many including any tourists who don’t know British law, and maybe a few police officers should read it too.

    • The laws in the UNITED KINGDOM are absolutely stupid….

  2. Sorry that was a a predictive spelling mistake. Long knife was intended to be lock knives

  3. You can carry any knife with no reason on the uk as long as its sub 3″ non locking folder. If you have a reason you can carry anything (chefs on their way to work, camping, fishing, etc). There are ‘banned’ knives, switchblades, butterfly knifes, among others, but you can have these in your home.

    • As from 2021 in UK, Banned Knives/weapons are illegal to possess. End of story. Exceptions are collectibles ie Sword sticks and Katanas over 100 years old I belive.

  4. I think an important entry needs to be added (though this article was written in April, but re-circulated via email today) – the new Benchmade 319 Proper – a 2.86″ slipjoint that as far as I can tell, would be legal in the UK.

  5. Ain’t lost nothing in Great Britain. I’ll stay in Texas, we can carry Bowie Knives and Brass Knuckles.

    • Being British brass knuckles etc are looked at as making up for other small issues.
      This is a good article for people that want or need a knife to use as a tool not a weapon.

    • yeah stay in Texas where you can shoot up schools to your hearts content

      • That was un- called for!!

        • Nobody carries a Bowie knife around in Texas and brass knuckles are illegal to carry in any case.

          We do enjoy our freedom to own firearms here in the U.S. (for now). Mass shootings, as rare as they are, demand lots of attention. Understandably, stories of people people who’ve successfully defended themselves seldom see the light of day. Being able to buy a firearm simply because you want one is a pretty amazing thing. One does not need a reason to own one.

          Are knife crimes in the rise in the UK? I’d heard that was a thing.

          • Matthew Hooks

            May 8, 2021 at 6:11 am

            Sadly mass shootings aren’t that rare. Though it course they are extremely rare in the UK (we’ve only really had three in the last 30 years).

            And yes, in certain areas knife crime is on the rise. Mainly driven by gang violence surrounding the drug trade (legalise all drugs, it will stop most organised crime and pretty much all gun violence in the UK overnight, but I digress.)

            But the level of knife violence is exaggerated, as it suits the governments agenda to keep people frightened. It allows for ever tightening restrictions on knives, and also makes the pious much easier to control. It is far easier to enact restrictive and invasive legislation in the name of “protecting the people”

          • There’s only one reason to own a firearm (or, as most Americans do, dozens of them) and that’s because you have the desire to use it/them to take the life of another human being. A gun has only one purpose and it is for that purpose you Americans want to amass them. The usual excuses of ‘home & personal protection’ are just lies – Americans are sexually aroused by guns and the need to kill others.

          • @PsychiatristPat

            Ignorance of this level is an ugly thing. Please educate yourself further, Americans and gun culture is nothing like what you have described. When 80 million people can own firearms and live in safe communities with very low rates of violence, perhaps they aren’t as homicidal as you claim.

            The desire to save a human life is why most Americans own firearms. Do doctors desire to end human life? Is that why they use knives during surgery? Do police officers in the U.K. desire to end human life? Is this why they carry firearms? No. Stop the foolishness. You shame your own culture through ignorant words like this. Faulty logic.

      • Seeing as there are millions of gun owners and hardly any shootings, relatively speaking you’re almost more likely to be struck by lightning or killed by a natural disaster in Texas than by a gun. Unless you’re involved in drugs or gangs, where almost all the violence is concentrated.

    • Richard Cooper

      April 29, 2023 at 1:38 am

      Yes we see on the news what happens in texas

    • You also carry AR15s’ and regularly mow down classes of schoolchildren. While we have ridiculous knife laws in the UK, our school shootings are pretty low. Make a joke about that?

  6. I Live In Iowa..USA..Currently..I Think British Persons Should Have Eased Knife Laws..Like Ours..Since Firearms Are Extremely Hard To Own..Over There..

    • No they are not, provided you can satisfy that you have good reason (access to land to control deer or vermin for example), are of a sound mind and no serious criminal record then you can get a firearms licence. This includes sound moderators which you guys have a much more onerous route to obtaining. For a shotgun you don’t even have to demonstrate good reason, a shotgun certificate is essentially a right in that the licensing authority has to find a reason not to grant a certificate.

  7. The Victorinox SwissChamp has no locked blade and its 68mm, so less than the 3” limitation. Originally the mid-length Victorinox knifes (68-70mm) had no lockable blade.

    A few years ago Victorinox aquired the Wenger Swiss knifes factory. Although very similar, the Wenger knifes are a tiny bit shorter (85mm vs 91mm with a long blade 65mm vs 68mm). Contrary to Victorinox, Wenger produced some models with locking blades, like the Evolution series. With the acquisition, these models are now part of the Victorinox brand.
    The models with lockable blades are marked with “S” in the model number, i.e. Evolution S17 (lock blade) vs Evolution 17 (non-lock blade).

    Victorinox long blade knifes with blades 86mm or longer, like the Ranger series, all come with lockable blades.

  8. Two goodies that you missed are the Boker WorldWide (which is a bugger to open) and the Lansky Worldwide which is a dream of an all purpose knife, but an ugly sod!
    And yes, anyone can have a shotgun unless there’s a good reason to deny it. (But lead shot is likely to be phased out soon.)
    But you need a good reason to own a 50 cal! Or any rifle for that matter.
    My EDC is the Lansky because it’s cheap, tough and useful.

  9. I heard a 61 year old man was convicted of having a Swiss army knife in his glove box next to some maps a torch and a ford aid kit he was I thought a Swiss army knife the folding pocket knife was more an emergency tool than a knife, what’s the point in having one and leaving it home.

  10. I own a Lansky world legal and thought it would make the list for sure.

  11. I am no expert on the situation of the
    uk knife laws however, all the laws regarding the carrying what where when etc are available via the UK.Gov website, however,
    The translation and application of these laws are often subject to interpretation,
    If you want a relative good level of sound advice regarding uk knife law there is a YouTube channel run by a chap who is a legal professional and he has several very informative and easy to understand videos on the subject, definitely worth a look IMHO
    Stay safe,stay informed!

  12. Simon Sutcliffe

    June 8, 2022 at 2:34 am

    It’s a misonomer to say we can carry with no reason. If searched and a legal carry knife is found we still need to be able to suggest why we are in public with a knife if the officer has any suspicion we are carrying it for illegal purpose. We still must be able to defend against an accusation that we are carrying the knife for illegal use. Even if it falls under the legal to carry it can still be used as reason for arrest, if the officer believes we’re trying to exploit a loophole.

    Generally this is subject to the context. A middle aged chap taking his kids to the park seen by police using a Swiss Army knife legally would probably not be accused of anything. But, a person searched as a result of another offence (maybe drugs use etc) would most likely be forced to explain a good reason for carrying a Uk legal knife. Especially something like a spyderco UKPK (one handed open, single use etc). Two extremes but I think it articulates my point.

    Whether it falls within the laws for legal carry or not if you are suspected of carrying it for an illegal use and refuse or otherwise fail to provide a satisfactory answer, you still get nicked. Also worth pointing out there is a lot of chat about confiscation here. In UK if a copper doesn’t like your knife or reason for carrying, you don’t just get a confiscation and sent on ya way. You’re generally taking a visit to the nick as well as having the knife confiscated.

  13. You are all missing the point to UK laws, you don’t need to carry weapons (knives) – because the likelihood of being attacked by anyone is remote here. So quite rightly the police here will take you to task if your carrying one to do more than peel an orange.
    It’s why even the majority of our police still carry no more than a “stick”, I know we still get murders etc – nothing like anywhere else that have less stringent rules on weapons for “defence”, common sense and respect is the best weapon.

  14. I am ex police. The only knife you can carry in a public place without having to explain possessing it, is a folding pocket knife (FPK) with a blade length of 3 inches or less and it must not lock, you must be able to close the blade into the knife without operating a mechanism, just pressure on the back of the blade.
    The knife must be metal detectable.
    Many other knives can be possessed with good excuse up to a 50cm blade when it becomes a sword and is prohibited in public places.
    Circumstances may make an FPK problematic, criminal activity even being in an argument.
    A traffic stop will be fine, just be honest about carrying one.
    If you get searched for some reason again be honest and I would suggest not carrying on nights out!

  15. I’m a big fan of pocket knives! I have a few different ones, but the one I use the most is a Benchmade Mini-Griptilian. It’s the perfect size and has a lot of the features I need

  16. pocket kinfes are great

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