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Which Weapons Can UK Preppers Legally Own?

Which Weapons Can UK Preppers Legally Own?

Being equipped with the right weapons play a key role in survival, and so it important for any prepper to educate themselves on this. It is without doubt that weapons are a fundamental aspect of survival. However, before rushing to purchase any weapons now, it is important to find out which weapons are legal in

Being equipped with the right weapons play a key role in survival, and so it important for any prepper to educate themselves on this. It is without doubt that weapons are a fundamental aspect of survival. However, before rushing to purchase any weapons now, it is important to find out which weapons are legal in the UK.

Unlike our brothers across the pond in America, we can’t own things like handguns, semi-automatic weapons or those of high calibre.

We can’t even have things like zombie knives, swords or blowpipes, so the British prepper needs to stay on the right side of the law and balance that with their own protection and survival.

Doing so will ensure preppers are able to make safe choices when purchasing their weapon of choice in preparation for survival settings.

Which Weapons Are Legal In The UK?

In the UK, there are thankfully a wide array of weapons which are legal, not just in a survival setting, but in general. However, some of them do require a license so it’s worth checking this beforehand.

Here we will look at some examples of which weapons are legal in Britain based on the different categories, we recommend you have at least one or two from every category so you’re covered if the worst should happen to hunt for food. 


air rifles are a legal UK weapon

  • BB Gun – has to be painted bright orange or blue, and be under 6ft.lb, unless you are a registered UKARA member
  • Air Rifle – has to be 11ft.lb or less, anything with energy potential above 12ft.lb needs a Firearm Certificate to be used
  • Paintball Rifles & Handguns – these aren’t going to do a great deal of damage unless you’re aiming for anywhere above the shoulders, but a nice looking weapon nonetheless
  • Shotguns – single, double, triple-barrelled as well as lever action, pump action, semiautomatic and fixed mag capacity are all allowed with a Shotgun License
  • Pistol – muzzle loading only, of a certain lengthed barrel, and with a license, but they have been largely banned in the UK for many years and getting one requires special permits

Edged Weapons

axe and machete weapons are legal

  • Axe – good for close combat and serves a number of other useful roles, from chopping wood to hammering in nails.
  • Machete – legal, however you are not allowed to carry it around in a public place. It looks menacing and will likely stop a fight before it starts.
  • Pocket Knife – with a blade less than 3 inches you can carry one of these around with you and they come in handy in a range of situations
  • Fixed Blade Knife – used responsibly for a survival hunting knife for skinning you can own one of these knives.
  • Swiss Army Knife – owning one of these or a similar multifunction tool is a great idea as you can open bottles, saw small branches and whittle wood.


man shooting a legal bow and arrow weapon

  • Bow and Arrow – completely legal throughout the United Kingdom, a bow and arrow is an excellent accompaniment to your survival kit due to the reusable nature of it
  • Crossbow – many different types of crossbows are on the market, and when you get the hang of it, this can be a real asset in the hands of the right person
  • Catapult or slingshot – a neat item to have in your possession, you can launch ball bearings from a distance and even dispatch small game with it if you can get close enough

Weapons You May Not Possess

When it comes to the possession of these types of weapons, as well as requiring a license for some, it is also illegal to carry them on your person without good reason. There are specific rules in place for edged weapons in particular, in an attempt to combat the levels of knife crime in the UK.

The reasons deemed legitimate to be carrying an edged weapon are as follows:

  • Transporting knives that are used for work purposes either to or from the place of work
  • Delivering knives to a museum where they will be displayed
  • Transporting knives that are to be used on a set for a play, TV show, movie or religious ceremony

This list is not extensive, but self-defence is not regarded as a legitimate reason to carry a knife on your person. However, these can be stored in a safe location in your property to prepare for use in a survival setting.

As this is a UK law, more information can be found in the Prevent of Crime Act 1953 which outlines your rights and responsibilities regarding illegal weapons. A complete list of many types of banned weapons can be found here.

Although practically anything can be turned into a weapon, it is important for preppers based in the UK to be aware of which weapons are legal and which ones are not to help decide what is the best way to prepare for survival settings. The following weapons are prohibited:


  • Fully automatic or burst fire
  • Semi-automatic or pump-action rifles
  • Cartridge ammunition handgun of any calibre
  • Firearms disguised as another item
  • Rockets and mortars
  • Firearms which have been adapted to discharge noxious gas

Edged weapons

  • Disguised knives
  • Stealth knives
  • Swords
  • Zombie knives


As you can see, although there are a lot of weapons which are illegal in the UK, there are still lots of weapons which are legal that preppers can acquire and use to prepare for any potential survival circumstances.

Further to this, being experienced in martial arts based defence techniques are also crucial in understanding the relationship between weapons and survival, and so consequently, a worthwhile use of your time.

Defending Yourself In Close Combat

Regardless of which weapon your attacker is wielding, it is important to know how to defend yourself when they approach you. Self defence tips for women are slightly different and can be found here

Here we will explore how to defend yourself against an attacker with a firearm, and an attacker with an edged weapon.

Firearm Defence

Ensure you wait until the armed attacker is not looking at you to begin your defensive manoeuvre.  However, if this is providing difficult, wait until they seem distracted. Remain still and cooperate if they are looking directly at you with the gun aimed and wait until an opportunity arises.

As you move forward to make your attack, slide to the same side as the weapon. For example, if they are holding the gun in their right hand, slide to their right side, onto the other side of the barrel.

Strike the wrist holding the gun to disarm them quickly. Ensure you secure the gun if it is dropped and safe to do so, immediately reaching for it. If they reach down for it first, deploy a swift kick to the head.

If they do not drop the gun, restrain them and then grab their armed wrist with your free hand. From here, pull this wrist far from their free hand and then twist their arm to get the gun to drop. 

Knowing what we know about which weapons are legal in the UK, you’re not likely to have to worry too much about a pistol being pointed in your face, and there are less than 600,000 people who own a firearm in the UK – that’s 1% of the population. 

Edged Weapon Defence

It is harder to disarm a knife than a gun, so only attempt to disarm as a last resort and if it not possibly to simply run away.

Hit their armed wrist from both sides with both of your hands using your palms, if possible, to knock the knife out of their hand. Then, using your strongest hand hit the inside of their arm below the wrist whilst also hitting the back of the knife with your opposite hand.

If the above action does not work, then instead grab their armed hand around the wrist. Make sure you grab it as hard as you can and then pull it away from the attacker.

This is so that you knock them off balance and take control of their wrist, encouraging them to drop the knife. If this doesn’t happen, make sure to jump back or run away as quickly as possible to prevent being attacked when they get their balance back.


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