Can I bring a lock knife I want to buy in the US into the UK in my luggage? the blade is 3 3/4" (9.5 cm) long - you can buy the same knife in the UK but at twice the price?

  • Out of curiosity: what knife are we talking about?
    – JoErNanO
    May 11, 2015 at 19:31

2 Answers 2


You can import lock knives into the UK. Quoting from the HM Revenue & Customs Border Force governmental page on importing offensive weapons:

Offensive weapons that can be imported

Not all offensive weapons are controlled when imported. The following are classed as non-prohibited offensive weapons:

  • antique weapons - generally over 100 - years old
  • lock knives - ie with blades which fold into the handle that can be opened manually and locked into place
  • crossbows - except for use by unsupervised persons under 17 years old
  • swords, bayonets, machetes - except for concealed swords or swordsticks
  • axes, hatchets, tomahawks
  • throwing knives
  • replica medieval weaponry such as spears, lances, pikes, maces, caltrops and halberds
  • blowpipes and blowguns for use by vets and registered animal handlers - souvenirs that are incapable of inflicting injury are also exempt

Of course you'll have to place the knife in your checked-in luggage.

Once you land in the UK avoid carrying the knife on you. Rather leave it in your checked luggage and go straight to your home. Carrying knives in the UK is forbidden unless you have a reasonable explanation, and bringing a purchase home could be one, provided you can prove this. Wandering around Hyde Park with a lock knife on the other hand is not. So keep the invoice, don't unwrap it, leave it in its box and take it home in peace.

  • Another reasonable explanation is that the knife is being taken to be sharpened... In the dead of night... In the middle of Hyde Park.
    – Aron
    May 12, 2015 at 10:25

Standard disclaimer: the information below is not a legal advice and may not be interpreted as such. We cannot give any legal advice and the information below is my own interpretation of the UK law.

While it's technically legal to bring it into the UK, there are three things to consider.

  1. UK laws on carrying such a knife. A lock knife is an illegal weapon, regardless of the blade size. The law actually states that carrying it in a public place without a "reasonable excuse" or having it in a public place without "good reason" is an offence punishable by up to 4 years in jail. Transporting a legally purchased knife home is a reasonable excuse and good reason, as far as I understand. Therefore, as long as the knife stays in your luggage, packed in the original bag/wrap, you can get it to your home. Beyond that - just don't break the laws :)

If you want more information, here is the relevant UK law - section 139 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and section 139A of that act.

  1. American laws on carrying such a knife - I don't know anything about it - but I'd guess that they are similar to the UK ones.

  2. Airline rules on transporting such weapons - you should be able to clarify this with the airline. I've scored BA website but couldn't find anything specific to knives other than they are not allowed in the carry-on luggage (naturally). You may want to declare it anyway though.

  • 1
    For what it's worth, I believe that carrying such knives is legal in most or all parts of the US. May 11, 2015 at 19:38
  • 1
    Your second link is broken. ;)
    – JoErNanO
    May 11, 2015 at 19:39
  • @JoErNanO What do you mean? Click on it brings up section 139a.
    – Aleks G
    May 11, 2015 at 19:49
  • @AleksG Weird. I get Page Not Found.
    – JoErNanO
    May 11, 2015 at 20:22
  • @JoErNanO If the first link works for you, click on that - then add a at the end of the URL
    – Aleks G
    May 11, 2015 at 20:40

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