Which Self Defense Weapons are Legal in the UK?

Which Self-Defense Weapons Are Legal in the UK?

As a female, whether I like it or not, safety is always on my mind. While there are things you can do to mitigate risks, like being aware of your surroundings or being careful of who you go out with, you may sometimes still find yourself in a dangerous situation.

Like any other country, there are cities and areas of the UK that are safer and those that are more dangerous. For peace of mind, you may decide that you want to carry a self defense weapon on you. However, if you do decide to go down that route, you should know the laws of the land.

And while violent crime rates are going down overall in the UK, there are still a lot of cases of property crimes and muggings. So, it’s not crazy if you want to keep you and your things safe.

After all, you don’t want to carry something that’s totally legal in your home country, only to find out that you’re actually breaking the laws of the United Kingdom. Actually, I was really surprised by what was and wasn’t legal, according to the UK government’s website.

Knives & Blades

Generally, it is illegal to carry a knife in public without good reason.

The exception is unless it has a folding blade with a cutting edge 3 inches long or less. Pocket knives can fall into this category. So, Swiss Army Knives are totally okay.

However, locking knives don’t count and are also illegal. So, no butterfly knives, box cutters, etc.

If you’re looking for some legal self-defense knives (which in my opinion, a bit overkill) you can check out True Utility for totally legal options.


While pepper spray and mace is the most common self-defense weapon in the States, surprisingly it is illegal in the UK. They are considered offensive weapons and therefore totally banned. Don’t even think of buying bear spray either.

The alternative that is legal is a “criminal identifying spray.” Essentially, this is a paint spray that marks a criminal and gives you a chance to flee.

These are easy to purchase and you can find them on Amazon UK.

Noise Makers

All personal alarms and noise-makers, electronic ones as well as rape whistles, are totally legal. While not much of a “weapon” per se, it can give you some peace of mind in a non-violent way.

You can also buy these on Amazon UK easily.


Another somewhat common type of self-defense weapon in the states are stun guns or tasers. No matter what the voltage, these are all totally illegal.


Nope. Should be obvious, but I included them to make a more comprehensive list.


Generally, anything classified as an “offensive weapon” is illegal. This means that even something innocuous, such as a baseball bat, when carried with the intent of causing harm (no matter if it’s for self-defense) is illegal.

So, no keychain weapons (monkey fists), rings, or brass knuckles allowed here.

Now, while all of these are illegal, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find and buy them online. Now, even though they can be purchased it doesn’t mean you should. After all, why risk a fine, jail time, or possible deportation?

TravelMorgan MLaws, UK