A new knife and UK Laws that affect everyone except criminals.

I know I’ve covered the UK Knife laws before so this is a bit of an update as I try to work around a personal health and safety issue when out in the field pest controlling. (aka BUNNY MEAT!)

What I need is a fixed blade double edged blade, no more than 18 cm (7 inches near enough) with just under a 3 inch blade, serrated on one edge for cutting heavy duty natural fiber, and other well woven synthetic ropes, plus tie wraps. The sharp edge is for field dressing rabbit or hare.

Not unlike:-

Only here’s the thing. I suffer from cold finger syndrome.
So my hands get cold even in the summer.
Cold hands and dexterity don’t exactly go hand in hand.
(If you’ll forgive the pun).

Thus, I have a habit of slicing my fingers with a folding knife that has not got a locking blade. PLUS this puppy has a serrated edge. (See later why these two things are highlighted)
I also need something easily deployable from a rigid scabbard I can carry strapped to my forearm or calf, and that’s why I need small.

Everything in italics was coped from the net (Link)

Laws for Carrying a Knife in Public
If an adult gets caught carrying a knife it can result in a 4 year prison sentence and an unlimited fine. A second conviction for the same offence would result in automatic imprisonment.

LAWS ON KNIVES UK: Legislation governs selling, buying, or carrying a knife. It is against the law to:

  • Sell a knife to anyone younger than 18 years old. An exception applies if it has a folding blade up to 3 inches long (7.62 cm).
  • Buy, sell, or carry any type of banned knife or weapon.
  • Carry a knife in a public area without a valid reason. An exception applies if it has a folding blade and the cutting edge is no longer than 3 inches (7.62 cm).
  • Use any kind of knife (even a legal one) in a threatening way.

Lock Knives UK Law
The definition of a lock knife is one that has similarities to a folding knife. That means a spring holds it closed. But, it also has a mechanism that locks the blade in position when extended ‘fully’. Thus, you cannot close the bladed part without releasing that mechanism.

No matter how short the blade is, the law does not define any type of lock knives as a folding pocket knife. Thus, it is illegal to carry a lock knife without a valid excuse for doing so.

Lock knives were not made to be a weapon per se. Thus, they are not typical offensive weapons ‘in the eyes of the law’. Even so, it is an offence to have possession of a lock knife in a public place (without a reasonable excuse for having it).

Note: Possession of a multi-tool may also break the laws for carrying a knife in the United Kingdom. (Shucks, there goes  Gerber and other top of  the range tool makers)

This type of instrument often incorporates a prohibited bladed instrument or a sharp point. This is despite other sections of the tool being of use to a person in a public place (e.g. a bottle opener or a screwdriver). As a rule, lock knives:

  • Contain a blade that locks and then refolds by pressing a button only.
  • May include so called ‘multi-tool knives’ that contain other useful devices as part of the instrument.

Complete List of Banned Knives and Weapons
United Kingdom law does not all anyone to bring into the country, hire, lend, sell, or give to another person:

  • Batons (including side-handled, straight, or friction-lock truncheons).
  • Blowpipes (sometimes called a blow gun).
  • Butterfly knives (aka balisongs) which have a sheath hidden inside a handle which splits in the middle.
  • Disguised knives which may be any bladed instrument or sharp point hidden inside something that appears to be like an everyday object. Typical examples include a brush, a buckle, lipstick, or a phone).
  • Flick knives (aka automatic knives or switchblades) which is a type of dagger hidden inside a handle that shoots out after pressing a button.
  • Gravity knives.
  • Hand or foot-claws.
  • Hollow kubotans which are a cylinder-shaped keychain that holds spikes.
  • Knuckledusters.
  • Kusari (or manrikigusari) which is a weight attached to a cord, a rope, or wire.
  • Kusari-gama which is a sickle attached to a cord, a rope, or wire.
  • Kyoketsu-shoge which is a hook-knife attached to a cord, a rope, or wire.
  • Push daggers.
  • Shurikens (aka death stars, shaken, or throwing stars).
  • Stealth knives which are knives or spikes not made from metal (except those used at home such as for food or part of a toy).
  • Swords (including samurai swords) which have a curved blade over 50cm) There are some exceptions such as antiques and swords made to traditional methods before 1954.
  • Sword-sticks which a hollow walking stick or cane that contains a bladed instrument.
  • Telescopic truncheons which extend automatically after pressing a button or a spring in the handle.
  • Zombie knives which contain a cutting edge, a serrated edge usually with images or words that suggest its use is for violent acts.

Valid Grounds for Carrying a Knife or a Weapon
In some cases, the reason to carry a knife or a weapon in public may be a good one and not breaking any laws on knives. Typical examples would include:

  • Transporting knives that you use at work to and from the actual workplace.
  • Taking the item to a gallery or to a museum in relation to an exhibition.
  • Using it in a demonstration or while teaching someone how to use it.
  • Using it for in film, theatre, television, historical reenactment or for religious purposes (e.g. some Sikhs carry the kirpan).

Common Questions about Knives Answered by the Police
Is it Illegal to Carry a Knife in Your Pocket?
As a rule, yes it is illegal to carry any sharp or bladed instrument in your pocket while in a public place. The law excludes a folding pocket knife providing the blade is less than 7.62 cm or three (3) inches.

Even so, it is not a total ban. It would be for the person in possession of such an instrument to prove they had a valid reason for possessing it. For example, it could be genuine while fishing or back packing across the Lake District. Thus, it would not be unreasonable to use a sharp knife to prepare a meal.

You would have much more difficulty justifying the possession of a knife on the streets of a city or a town. Even so, there may be occasions when someone has a genuine reason to do so.

End of copied stuff, the rest is all me.

So. Am I stuffed? It would seem so.
There is however another point I’ve got to make.
To import illegal listed weapons into the country for sale is a definite No-No and wham, I’m VSF by laws designed for the domestic terrorists I call kids aged 8 upwards, THAT WILL BE IGNORED by criminals and other assorted trash, who are sometimes ethnically challenged.

Now I can buy over the Internet and just hope it’s not picked up on entry into this once green and pleasant land. My argument would be it is a tool and has a valid and health and safety reason for possessing it.

YET if I said it was for Pest Control, Prepping, and Survival!
I will probably become a person of interest to our easily persuaded and totally paranoid government, and end up tagged as a potential terrorist.

And all because of 2½ inches of pointy steel.

Hands

It’s a blade rich environment in the UK.
Knives can be deployed and used in a very short time.
The problem is how can you tell if someone is primed with a blade and ready to attack you?

10 Examples.
Rule out the ‘possibly’ primed to deploy a knife in ambush.
Who do you think is “safe” in terms of blades?
I figured out just two (maybe).
Numbers 9 and 10.
The reason why only those two?
I can see their hands AND their fingers.

4, 5, 7, and 8 ? I can only see one hand, the other is concealed.
As for 2, 3, 6?  I cannot see their fingers so they could be holding a blade but inverted. I have been kind to you and gave you a glimpse of the blade.
Someone with ambush in their mind wouldn’t do that.


What, It’s only a two inch blade?
How deep beneath the skin are your major arteries and veins?
What if it was this?

So what about that wheel chair user?
Rightly or wrongly, I’m happy but even then wouldn’t approach within arms length. Which allows me to add my favorite bit of wisdom!

“Distance is kind in combat” and the further away you are from a blade, the safer you are.

And finally.
Here’s a challenge to you. As you go to work, shopping or whatever, tomorrow.
Scan the people you pass and count just how many you can see with NOTHING in their hands compared to those you can’t say for sure are safe. I KNOW you’ll be surprised at the count.

A memory jog and a dig.

I can’t even remember who it was I was reading but they reminded me of when I owned the French classic clasp knife the Opinel 8.
The ‘8’ being a blade of 8.5 cm or 3.5 inches for them who can’t work in metric.

So, having just found a decent gun shop near me, at last, I just had to have one again.
Except things have changed a bit from when I last owned one with it’s beautiful horn handle. Now, they seem to be all Beech (but don’t hold me to that). The handle in the #8 is perfectly sized for my hands and any smaller is for me dangerous without a pommel.

Anyway it’s not sophisticated, it’s a workhorse with a proud heritage, a pig to open unless you remember to tap it on a table, but as it was designed when I was born, two good things coming into the world in the same year can’t be all bad!

There is another thing, it’s a carbon steel blade and it will ‘rust’ or patinate with use giving the blades a lovely uniqueness owners love. I can’t wait for that to happen again. The blade can be twist locked by the virobloc ring into an open position to stop you cutting off your fingers , and it has a new feature, you can lock it closed.

And yes it did catch me out in the shop!
Talk about feeling stupid.

Now the not so happy bit and my ‘dig’ moment.
It is illegal in the UK where all lock knives and clasp knives with a blade over 3 inches are considered Russian assault rifles laced with Novichok (whoops) illegal to carry in public unless you have a good reason i.e. It’s a work knife officer. Believe it or not carrying it as part of an EDC is apparently not a good enough reason! Probably because no man-made incidents or natural disasters ever happen in the UK that can’t be sorted out by the police or our wonderful government.

Bitching over, have a nice day, and it’s still a lovely design classic of a knife.

Knife Choice (again)

Well sort of.
Bored (as usual), I tidied up the garden, trimming plants, cutting string, sharpening 1 inch diameter sticks to support plants (and to impale intruders).
So take a wild guess what type of multi-purpose knife I’m using?
What, no idea? That’s probably because there are sooo many out there.
All different designs, some ‘highly recommended’ by the odd ex-spurt or magazine review so I can understand you not guessing.

But aren’t you just a little bit curious?
Deep breath and:-

Yep, one of our el-cheapo steak knifes which, as soon as SWMBO reads this, I’m in for yet another telling off as I’m always doing some sort of kitchenitis pilferous aka nicking one of her kitchen knives.

With it’s fantastically long, 3.75 inch blade and 1/16 inch thick blade, sharpened to a not quite dull edge, you’d think I was mad. Only am I? After all it did everything I asked of it and a couple of strokes with the diamond pad sharpener it was back to it’s ‘I can cut butter again’ sharpness.

What I think is truly mad was a guy I was watching on YouTube with his 153 different knifes all of which were apparently pretty ‘fantastic’ for the end of the world (TEOTWAWKI).
They ranging in price from a few dollars to three figures ($456 being his most expensive).

Over the years I’ve read, and been given recommendations, for all sorts of blades for use in a survival scenario and at first I did listen to what was being said.
The ideas put forward were either to have one for each task, i.e. chopping wood, batoning, carving, filleting, and for field dressing, plus the inevitable ‘combat’ hardened super zombie stopper’ not unlike:-

OR one super knife that does it all!

Truth is anything will do if it suits your task in hand.
If you are foraging and in another home, that lovely carver in the wood block MAY last a while as a general camp knife only you’ll have to make a decent sheath for it.

Thus two further thoughts come to mind.
Kitchen knife steel isn’t exactly known for it’s resilience to heavy work.
However it does sharpen up really well on just about anything, i.e. a smooth stone, a length of fence wire used like a strop, to the base of a china mug or even simple toughened glass.
It’s soft steel for a reason. It’s meant to be resharpened after every use.

You’ll have to fabricate a sheath.
Kinda important if you want to stuff it down your pants or slide into your backpack yet unless you know a bit about leather craft, or how to fold cardboard around it and lots of gaffer tape to hold the cardboard together, it’s a real pain making and remaking the cardboard one as it’s life isn’t exactly great in the rain.

To avoid all that trouble,  many people go out and buy “the must have” brand name as recommended by some ‘ex-spurt’.

Why is that exactly? Peer pressure? Or is it something else.

I was working with someone who I called “Gucci-cam” man.
Latest innovation, recommendation, or something that just looked cool, was his gig.
The knife he carried was £60 or about $110 then.
Beautiful, shiny, and sliced through whatever like the proverbial hot knife through butter.
It was night time, we were clearing rabbit, and suddenly it was gone.
Somehow it had escaped out of it’s clasp locked sheath and dropped in the undergrowth around an airfield.
Have you ANY IDEA how big an airfield can be at night and in the rain !?!
Why rain? Because whenever something goes wrong around me it’s going to rain, and it did in buckets.
His 1000,000 power rechargeable lantern battery dies after 20 minutes but he still had his 400 lumen tactical torch which faded to grey some 10 minutes later.
He went back twice looking for it. No joy.
To say he was a bit down would be an understatement.

Two weeks later we went out back to the airfield to finish the cull and some kind person had already found the knife and stuck it in a tree for all to see.
It was rusty where it had been sharpened too aggressively (on closer inspection it was chromed), discolored, and looking well miserable.

The moral of the story?
Buy good but at a premium price because you just never know what’s going to happen.
Especially when rabbit clearing with yours truly!

In case you are wondering I use two blades when out.
A cheapo ‘camping style’ Mora SS blade (£8), and a kukri I was gifted for services rendered.
Both are work horses, however the little Mora does get a few comments including “When are you going to buy a real knife?” Ho hum.

In my misspent youth I also found myself without a knife in the field.
What I did have was a can of beans and a can opener. So I improvised.

Have you tried to make one of these tin lid knives?
Have a go if you haven’t.
For those little jobs in life like cutting cord, shaving wood, dressing game and cleaning fish, it’s good enough as a temporary tool.
Passed a few times over a flat stone it can also give you a nasty cut if you aren’t careful.

How does that saying go? Adapt, Improvise, and Overcome.

p.s. If you do try I’d love to see a picture and hear your comments about it.

Alternative Weapon Choice

If you haven’t got access to guns, some experts suggest you use something else
Yet is a suggestion without explanation any good?
Or should you take everything on faith?

Enter the Baseball bat.
Quote. “It is very effective since it’s easy to use, and most anyone can take its weight”.
“One swing can knock out a person almost every time”.

Lets rate the baseball bat against the real world and list some of it’s more obvious issues.
No way a covert weapon, it’s big, obvious,
Of little effective use in a confined space even with training.
It will be seen as offensive weapon in the UK, off the baseball field.
To see someone carrying one down the street will draw attention to that person.
Its effectiveness is dependent on the build of the user.
It is difficult to use without advertising your intentions.
It has one use while an alternative like a crowbar or a hammer has multiple uses and are better when used at close range.

Exactly how does a baseball bat stack up against:-
A handgun or a knife, a sharpened stick or a hammer, all deployed in ambush.
A rifle, crossbow, standard bow or even a catapult.
How’s about against a multi-person attack?
No win scenarios unless you are lucky!

As for self defence?
When being faced by a baseball bat, you’ve only got two choices.

  1. Run if you can, remembering the maxim ‘Distance is King in Combat.’
    If the assailant can’t hit you, they can do no damage.
  2. Now the controversial option. You could charge the weapon. 

The strength of force exacted by a baseball bat is a function of its length, weight, and speed. If  you get inside of a swing, the strike force will be a fraction of what it would be at full swing.
So, if you cannot escape and are not armed with a firearm, you absolutely have to charge the user and get too close for them to swing, bringing you into contact with them, and if you are suitably armed,  you may just end the attack.

There is a school of thought about disarming an assailant without weapons using this ‘closing’ technique. Closing into the assailants forearms, then either pushing up the non power elbow or grabbing the power arm and dragging it down leaving the assailants face close enough to strike at. Only you need to be quick, DAMN QUICK .
So there’s me, too old and knackered to walk far let alone move fast and  living in the real world where most people aren’t combat trained.
But, if you were thinking about entering into close quarter combat remember these words of wisdom. “Unarmed combat is only for those FOOLISH enough to be caught without a weapon.” (Capt W Fairblain).

Did I also mention you just breaking the rules of proximity?
Close enough to hurt them is close enough to hurt you.
Still, if the attacker is a complete dork, and let’s you get that close, you’ll probably best off with a knife.  The close quarter weapon of choice of the street and soldiers.

You’ve got plenty of targets to choose from, just keep hacking and stabbing away,
Because if they can’t:-

  • See
    (Eyes) or breathing (throat, lungs).
  • Stand or move
    (Brain, spinal column, neck, lower limbs, torso),
  • Or suffer a massive blood loss
    Jugular (Neck) , Brachial artery (upper inside of arm) , Sub Clavian (in between the collar and shoulder bone), femoral artery (Groin), Torso i.e. kidneys, liver, stomach,
  • Or their heart stops
    If you can get to it through or under the ribs.

They will generally lose interest in you.
Of course that’s if you are committed enough to do what most want to do the least.

Only remember, I’ve just talked about one on one.
If you are facing a gang attack or multiple bats?
RUN, and RUN LIKE HELL even if you have a firearm!

Thus I end now, leaving you with NCIS Jethro Gibbs Rule 9.
Always carry a knife. (And my “add-on” bit). And learn how to use it.

Thinking about knives

What’s the optimum number to carry? 1-3-10 or 30?
When I read survival blogs, or ‘learned ex-spurt’ reviews, I’m left with the one inescapable thought. They are all fixated on violence, costly metal, and variety, with a blade for every job!

Thus they are considering key ring, neck, boot, covert, box cutting, paring, gutting, boning, fixed blade, folding blade, hunting, combat, basic camp, and the all singing complete bad ass of a survival knife.

You’re probably thinking when will I get heavy!
The bolo, machete, kukri, panga, and blades used to chop, baton, and basically those used for the ‘non finesse’ type of blade work.
Well actually they don’t form part of my day to day kit.
So it’s a judgement call on my side that I’m not too bothered about them, day to day that is.

If you are a fortress type of prepper, or happen to carry heavy metal in your vehicle kit,  heavy is entirely up to you. Only here’s a thought.
How many of you carry an Everyday Carry Kit (EDC) E V E R Y W H E R E!
On your person 24/7, including those little personal moments i.e. on the toilet.

If you do, I’m betting your EDC hasn’t got one of everything in the way of blades.
So what do you carry? Bit of a personal question isn’t it?
Only here’s the thing, I’m not going to recommend anything special.
I’m also not one for quality, just versatility, lightness, and freely available.
So here’s my carry (and why).

  • A ‘snap off’ blade DIY knife.
    Got to love these little craft / DIY knives as they are generally nice and sharp and when the tip gets blunt, I just snap off the end blade.
    Cheap, easy to scatter around your kit and clothing.
  • A plastic retractable box / utility knife, plus blades! For heavier use.
    The carpet ‘hook blade’ is great when gutting foodstuff as the danger of cutting inner organs and contaminating the meat is lessened.
    Again, cheap, light, even with 10 of each type of blades.
  • A basic fixed blade stainless or carbon steel camp knife.
    Full tang 4 inch blade, 5 inch ‘comfy textured handle’ with a squared off back spine which is dead useful for scraping fire steel (Ferrocerium) to generate sparks. Not forgetting descaling fish! No fancy wavy blade I’m afraid as without an expensive sharpening set, to me, they are just “Tacticool”.
    Tacticool? Looks cool, but is impossible to maintain in austere scenarios.
    One of the most important things I look for is a pronounced Quillon or Guard.
    It’s sole job is to stop your hand slipping forward onto the blade.
    And a lanyard hole. There are arguments fore and against lanyard holes.
    I like them as it’s useful when lashing a knife to a ‘stick’ to make a short spear.
    Or, with a good locking sheath, the knife simply hangs around the neck.
    The against? That lanyard gets in the way. Ho hum. Little things matter I suppose.
  • So what about sharpeners? Everyone carries one of them, right?
    Mine is a basic two grade puck. Coarse and fine.
    Very ‘stone age’ (pun intended) some will be thinking BUT carrying one enables me to keep the knife sharp and put a decent edge on anything I pick up AND, I’m quite good at refreshing the edge of wood chisels and repairing screwdriver blades with it.
    Small note, keep it wet in use.

Total cost of everything listed, £20 ($25 USD).
So why not megger expensive steels?
Why spend out loads on something which you can resharpen and replace (unless you live in the back of beyond? In that statement is the clue for choice, buy what suits your usage and general scenarios.

Mine will probably be for minimal rural or light urban usage.
However you mountain men and Sgt Rock types can’t just pick one up from foraging like I can. Funny how you can never find a shop in the wilds!
Only there is a small point there.
Drop a knife in the dark or in the river and it’s probably gone for ever.
$100 bucks plus, (cry quietly please).
For $100 bucks I’ve got 4 times my list.
One breaks, I’ve got a replacement although I’ve never replaced my puck.
Funny that. My fire steel and puck. Both treated like gold.

Is that it? Basically yes.
Why get too sophisticated or too attached to what is basically a tool.
You replace worn tools don’t you? I replace whatever breaks or gets worn out.
The argument is what happens when TEOTWAWKI happens?
It’s called foraging and goes with my favorite thought.

Wanna know the funny thing about the end of the world?
The world is still there afterwards.