Montana Knife Laws

Know Your Rights: A Summary of Montana’s Knife Laws

If you’re living in Montana, you may already know what a friendly state it is.

But no matter how friendly the state might be, there are certain laws that you need to follow in all ways possible.

So, like any other state, Montana also has its own knife laws (which are mandatory for everyone to abide by).

There was a time when these Montana knife laws were pretty strict, and everyone had to maintain those laws.

For instance, carrying daggers, mysterious dirks, and even automatic switchblades were strictly discouraged.

However, now these laws aren’t valid anymore, and there are no strict regulations for them either.

So, you can say Montanas can now enjoy more freedom regarding knives than they used to.

Want to know more such interesting facts about the knife laws in Montana? Let’s dig deep.

Quick Legal Facts

  • Concealed Carry: It’s allowed to carry concealed knives, but there are restrictions in certain places like schools.
  • Restricted Knives: There are certain knives that are completely illegal according to the city’s general law. But in some cases, it’s also legal. For instance, there was a time when switchblades were illegal, but later, the law was changed and removed.
  • Schools: Knives of any type aren’t allowed in schools.
  • Critical Dimensions: Any knife over 4 inches is illegal.

List of Relevant Knife Laws

MCA 45-8-361: It states that no one’s allowed to bring a blade or a knife 4-inches or longer at schools.

MCA 45-8-361

MCA 45-8-316: Knives of 4-inches or longer as concealed is illegal.

MCA 45-8-316

MCA 45-2-101: Any weapons that can cause severe body damage or even death, irrespective of their primary use, are illegal.

MCA 45-2-101

Montana Knife Laws

As already stated, there are no strict fixed regulations as long as you follow the mentioned laws.

So, if you don’t have a knife that’s 4-inches longer, you’re absolutely fine.

Moreover, in some cases, you might not even have to face any issues regarding it, but it’s always best to be on the safe side.

Yet, there are certain things that you need to know and even follow while you are in Montana.

Here we’ve explained some of the knife laws in more detail for your understanding.

Illegality In Certain Areas

As per MCA 45-8-361, no one’s allowed to bring a knife or even a blade that is 4 inches or more in length.

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The law is applicable to both adults and students, and even a small pocket knife is strictly prohibited.

If found, the penalty for the violation of this law would be a $500 fine or even imprisonment for a certain period.

Illegality In Using Your Knives To Purposely Harm Someone

According to 45-2-101(35), people are highly responsible if they get involved in a wrong deed (with knives) “knowingly.”


In general, it means that someone’s actions would be considered wrong or even illegal if that person is fully aware of the actions they’re conducting can have severe consequences and injuries to the victim like:

  • A wound that has long-term or even permanent damage.
  • A serious injury that can even take the life of the victim.
  • An injury can result in severe fear of death or even permanent damage for a short time. Even if the victim suffers from any PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), it’ll bring serious penalties to the attacker.

Illigelatity To Using Any Weapon That Can Have Potential Damage To Someone

Montana law 45-2-101 (79) states that it’s not only guns or even knives that are the only things that are considered “weapons.”

Overall, a weapon is any object that can result in severe bodily harm or damage to the victim, no matter what weapon or object the attacker uses.


Illegally Possessing A Weapon For Too Long

Here in this law 45-2-101 (59), a person is “in possession” of weapons like knives or guns if they keep them under their control or “possession” for too long.

So, if anyone’s found doing so (without proper or valid reasons), strict actions will be penalized.


List Of Legal Knives In Montana

Here in this section, we’ll let you know some of the lists of legal knives in Montana that you can easily use.

Pocket Knives

Most people commonly use pocket knives as they are handy tools.

These can easily be carried in your pant pockets or in a smaller chamber in your bag. Pocket knives are very compact and not dangerous to carry.

Moreover, the blades on these are kept at a legal length of 4 inches which is more than enough for a pocket knife.

As handy tools, some pocket knives also come with bottle openers, nail filers, and screwdrivers.

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Therefore, making it a necessary tool when camping while being legal to use.

Balisong Knives

Balisong Knives, also known as butterfly knives, originated in the Philippines and are typically used for self-defense purposes.

Since Montana has recently lifted their restrictions on switchblades and automatic knives, Balisong knives are also considered not to be illegal anymore as long as the blade is no longer than 4 inches.

These knives are available all across Montana with blades no longer than 4 inches. This is what makes them legal and safe to carry.

Disguised Knives

Disguised knives can come in any form, shape, and size. Since these are incredibly versatile and vary in appearance, they can be considered automatic or switchblades.

However, the blade on the knife must be below 4 inches to be legal in Montana.

Thankfully, most blades available are less than 4 inches long, making them legal in the state. Therefore, these can be used for self-defending purposes and for safety.


Montana has banned the use of weapons used to cut, such as dirk knives longer than 4 inches. These knives are similar to that daggers in appearance. However, they are much sharper.

Dirks are said to have originated in Scotland; these knives are typically 12 inches long.

Even though 12 inches is the standard, Dirks are widely available with blades under 12 inches long, making them a legal weapon in Montana for hunters and campers too.

Bowie Or Any Single-Sided Knives

Typically said to be used for self-defense by hunters, these knives are said to be very sharp and long.

These are used by hunters widely for butchering and skinning animals that they hunt. Campers, survivalists, and preppers also use these.

Although these come in several sizes and sharp blades, Singel-sided knives or bowies are legal in Montana.

This is because these knives are typically available with blades under 4 inches long for safety and legal management.

Throwing Stars Or Martial Arts Weapons

Throwing stars, also known as Shuriken, appear highly deadly on the television screen.

However, these are very unlikely to be as lethal as they appear since they can not be used to cause any fatal injury to someone.

Since these don’t have any pointed and elongated ends, these are not considered to be illegal in Montana and can be carried by the locals.

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Throwing stars can be used for self-defense as well as for educational purposes, thus, making it legal in the state.

Undetachable Knives

These can detach the blade part of itself from the hilt completely without being dangerous to the person handling it.

The blades can easily be swapped out for another and replaced for better cutting experiences.

Thus, making it adequately safe to use while being legal too. As long as the blade is lower than 4 inches, these can be used outdoors for several different purposes.

Although these are considered kitchen knives, they can also be used for camping and hunting.

Penalties For Carrying Illegal Knives In Montana

The reason for some knives and blades to be illegal is definitely because of safety purposes.

Montana tries to ensure its streets are safe and secure to walk on. Without having to worry about being stabbed.

This is why the 4-inch long blades for knives have been set to be the standard length. Anyone violating these laws could face different punishments.

Depending on the severity of the crime, you could be expected to pay a fine of up to $500 to up to 6 months of jail time too.

Exceptions In The Knife Laws Of Montana

Here are all the exceptions in the Montana knife laws you’ll find:

  • Officers of Montana or any other state officers have the right to make an arrest.
  • Anyone in the national guard.
  • Firearm authorized officers.
  • A criminal investigator or an agent in the nation’s attorney’s office.
  • Officers of the United States are authorized to carry their concealed weapons.
  • A civil officer during any investigation or operation.

Final Words

Safety is of utmost priority in Montana, which is why there are certain laws in terms of carrying blades and knives.

While there are several shapes and types of blades legal to use and carry in Montana, the blade must be limited to 4 inches in length maximum.

Fortunately, there aren’t too many restrictions in terms of carrying blades. Although, it is best not to carry these around any educational institutions such as schools or colleges.

We hope this article has answered your questions about Montana knife laws to help you remain a responsible citizen in the state.

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