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PostSubject: SHARP AND LEGAL   Mon 10 Aug 2015, 10:46

SHARP AND LEGAL
by
DENNIS MARTIN

KNIFE LEGALITIES
We can argue as to the logic behind our various laws regarding weapons and self-defence, but the fact remains that we must obey the law. In England the relevant law covering the carriage of knives is the Criminal Justice Act:
"It is an offence for any person, without lawful authority or good reason, to have with him in a public place, any article which has a blade or is sharply pointed except for a folding pocket-knife which has a cutting edge to its blade not exceeding 3 inches." [CJA 1988 section 139(1)]
The important sentence, for the purposes of this article, is the exemption for pocket-knives. It is clear that the law allows us to carry a pocket-knife, as long as it is:
A] Of a blade length within 3”
B] Non locking. Although this isn’t stated in the act above it has been since stipulated in case law. “A lock knife for all legal purposes, is the same as a fixed blade knife. A folding pocket knife must be readily foldable at all times. If it has a mechanism that prevents folding, it's a lock knife (or for legal purposes, a fixed blade)”
A final consideration is that a separate law forbids the carriage of any offensive weapon. By the way, our law does not recognize the idea of a “defensive weapon”. So, although a pocket-knife may fall within the above definition, carrying it for self defence is unlawful. So, this article will address the topic of the carriage of the pocket knife as an everyday utility tool.

A BETTER POCKET KNIFE



Generations of schoolboys dropped a small folding knife into their pockets to help them enjoy their hobbies. Growing into adulthood, these knives were used for numerous utility tasks in the home, garden, or, workplace.
However, a knife deep in a pocket, mixed with other litter, is hardly convenient; and some looked at the features available on “tactical folding knives” and decided to adapt and improve the traditional pocket knife for enhanced utility.
A clip allows the tool to be carried conveniently, ready for access when required, rather than digging in pockets.
The opening device allows the blade to be opened with one hand, while the other is occupied, in holding the item to be cut, or, holding on for balance on scaffolding, or on a boat for example.

Sal Glesser, the genius behind Spyderco offered the delightful UK Pride, and the ball was opened.



There are now several makers offering UK legal pocket knives. In this short article we are going to examine two main models.

SPYDERCO UK
Offered in several variations, the model I was able to evaluate had a VG-10 blade and green G10 handle. This model is offered at just under £100, although less expensive versions are available for about £40.



The knife opens very smoothly, using the trademark thumb hole, with a discreet snick. Like many accustomed to tactical folders, I then looked for the release catch, until remembering that this is a non-locking folder. The blade is simply pushed back down to the closed position.
A brilliant feature is the deep choil which locates the index finger, and provides positive reinforcement to prevent the blade closing during use.
The ambidex wire clip allows the Spyderco UK to be clipped to pocket, waistband, backpack etc. We’ll discuss this in detail later.



Altogether, a terrific design, well executed, as we would expect from Spyderco.


[The “rescue” version of the Spyderco UK]

BÖKER XS




With a 440C blade and G10 handles this knife is terrific value for money, retailing at only £35



Blade is opened by ambidextrous studs, and goes into place with a resounding click. Not as smooth as the Spyderco, but with a little practice became easy.



There is a section of jimping atop the blade. This is used for added thumb pressure for whittling and detailed cutting tasks.



The ambidex clip is very firm, holding the knife tightly to the clothing.
The blade has a very sharp point, handy for example, when cutting heavy plastic material for example. It is often easier to start with a puncture, before cutting with the edge.



Like the Spyderco, the Boker has a choil, to reinforce the opened blade.

VISIBILITY AND DISCRETION


[Carrying in public like this is asking to be stopped and searched].

A friend who is a police officer showed his new Spyderco UK to a few colleagues. Every one declared it to be an offensive weapon. So, as far as possible it is best to avoid having to explain the legalities to the police. If you are of respectable appearance and don’t engage in illegal activities you are unlikely to be stopped for a random search. Although it is common to see folders clipped to the trouser pocket, this is not the best way to carry the UK legal knife. Such high visibility carriage is inviting police scrutiny, and while these knives are legal, why go through the hassle of explaining this in the police station. There are more discreet and convenient ways of carrying these knives.



Carriage is the waistband is somewhat better….



….with the shirt tucked over it is even more discreet.

LINKS
A full range of UK legal knives can be found at Heinnie Haynes

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Den
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Dennis Martin
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