Switzerland Knife Laws

Switzerland Knife Laws: A Detailed Guide

The laws in Switzerland can be intimidating when it comes to knives. Well, it is the only country that has a knife named after them, and yet Switzerland knife laws are strict?

Well, over 199 homicides and attempted murders in the year 2018, more than half involved knives. So, they had to get strict with knives.

Nevertheless, you don’t have to scratch your head and search for numerous laws by the Switzerland government. We have done that for you and put it all in one place.

Starting from listing the illegal knives to what size knife is legal to carry in Switzerland, we have covered it all.

Thus, just lay back and let us clarify everything there is to the laws. Before we get started, let’s look at the entire article’s highlights. This will clarify everything you have in mind within seconds.

Highlights Switzerland Knife Laws

Highlights Switzerland Knife Laws

Here are the highlights of the article that will give you an overview of the Switzerland Knife Laws.

  • Automatic knives (open by automatic mechanisms) are prioritized as illegal knives
  • We don’t recommend carrying a knife in school, any government building, public transport, restaurants, courts, and parks
  • Open carry depends on the environment even if it’s a legal knife
  • Concealed carry can be done for legal knives without any inconvenience
  • The maximum punishment for not following the knife laws is a fine that is unsaid and 3 years jailtime.
  • The maximum legal length for a knife is 12 cm or 4.7 inches overall and 5 cm or 2 inches for the blade

Knife Laws In Switzerland

When it comes to Switzerland laws, they cared the least when it comes to knives. However, there are a few that you need to keep in mind. Out of all the knives, Switzerland prioritized automatic knives to be illegal in their laws.

Nevertheless, they have been quite linear in the laws regarding knives. For example, comparatively, the legal knife length is almost 5 inches which are quite big to be legal.

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Additionally, they didn’t mention anything about their strictness in certain areas such as schools.

List Of Illegal Knives In Switzerland

To start off, don’t worry as swiss army knives are not on the illegal list. They are named after the country, making it illegal doesn’t make a point. Well, it goes without saying that they are certainly not lethal.

Nonetheless, here are the illegal ones;

  • Butterfly knives
  • Assisted folding knives
  • Automatic knives
  • Throwing knives
  • Daggers with symmetrical blades

The highlighted knife in the law is the automatic knife, thus we need to know them in detail to understand.

Table: Why Are They Banned?

As a citizen or tourist, everyone has the right to know why these knives are banned from Switzerland.

Well, here’s why;

Knife TypeReason For Ban
Butterfly knivesThese knives can be deployed with incredible speed by someone with great practice, which may be the knife’s most hazardous feature
Assisted folding knivesWhen pressure is given to the knife’s closed edge, it can open up quite readily
Automatic knivesThe law was passed in response to media coverage of their alleged usage by gangs and juvenile offenders as well as to that perception
Throwing knivesThey can use used from a long distance
Daggers with symmetrical bladesCan be used to sneak up on someone from the back without getting detected

Automatic Knives

Under the Swiss Weapons Act, SR 514.54, Art 4, automatic knives have been at the top of the list. As they can get lethal if not used correctly. Thus, considered weapons. So what are automatic knives, according to Switzerland?

SR 514.54 Art 4

In short, if you operate a knife that is automatic such as pushing a button to open the blade, it’s illegal. Additionally, requires one hand to use.

Illegality In Certain Areas

There are always certain areas you want to avoid, no matter how unlethal the knife can be. For example, you don’t want to go to a governor’s office with a pocket knife tucked in your pocket. Certainly, there are boundaries.

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However, the Switzerland government didn’t mention any areas where you can’t take a knife. Well, you have to use your senses to determine where you can and can’t.

We recommend you not carry a knife in a school, any government building, public transport, restaurants, courts, and parks.

Concealed Vs Open Carry

Whether you can conceal carry or open carry a knife depends on the situation and purpose. For example, if you are openly carrying a knife with your BBQ kit, no one would care as they know the purpose is good.

On the other hand, randomly keeping a knife in your hand in public can frighten many people and make calls for help. Yet, for concealed carry, you can carry a knife in car in Switzerland without any fear.

Nevertheless, both type of carrying is forbidden when it comes to the illegal knives that we mentioned earlier in the article.

What Knife Size Is Legal?

The overall maximum legal knife length is 12 cm or 4.7 inches. When it comes to blade size, it must be 5 cm or 2 inches or lower. The blade size is measured from the bolster to the point of a knife.

Does Law Varies In Different States?

In a country with 23 states, no state is allowed to break any of the Federal laws. Yes, different states might have different laws for different things. However, when it comes to knives, all the illegality in knives must be followed as Federal law orders.

What is Federal law? In short, Federal law is the body of law created by the federal government of a country. It’s the laws made by the head of the country who is in charge. They must be followed in each state.

List Of Legal Knives In Switzerland

While the laws might be strict on illegal knives and punishment is quite hefty, the list of legal knives is infinite. Therefore, any knives that are not on the

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illegal list mentioned above are legal. Some examples of legal knives;

  • Pocket knives
  • Hunting knives
  • Jackknife
  • Disguised knives
  • Ballistic knives
Switzerland illegal - legal Knives

Penalties And Punishment For Carrying Illegal Knives

The penalties and punishment depend on the purpose. You can reduce your penalties by a ton just by showing your good intentions. Even if it’s an illegal one!

Nevertheless, an adult’s maximum fine for not following knife laws in Switzerland 3 years in prison and a amount that is unsaid as per Chapter 8, Art 33.

Art 33

Your Intentions Can Change Everything

The aim of the holder and the perception of those nearby who might see it as a danger are the additional factors that matter most in knife-legality-related issues, in addition to the size and kind of the knife.

Thus, if you have good intentions and your mind says that this is right to carry them somewhere, then it’s right. Just follow your heart, and you shall never be punished or penalized.


Just like any other country, there are exceptions here as well when it comes to knives. There are exceptions for Swiss army in the Swiss Laws. Thus, all the punishments literally gets cancelled. Here’s what the law says in Art 2;

Art 2


Let’s take a look at some commonly asked questions that people ask when it comes to knife laws in Switzerland.

Why are Swiss knives not banned in Switzerland?

Swiss knives are non-lethal, so they aren’t capable of stabbing. Thus, they are considered safe.

Can I carry a 6-inch pocket knife in Switzerland?

The pocket knife may pass the law, but the 6 inches won’t. The maximum limit is 4.7 inches, and anything above that is considered illegal.

If my profession is related to knives, can I carry one?

If your profession needs the use of a knife, you may carry one. Your situation would certainly be understood by the officer who let you go.


We hope that clears all your confusion about Switzerland knife laws. There is a lot to the laws, but if you can prove yourself valid, then nothing can stop you from owning one of your favorite knives. Except for the automatic knives, they are considered illegal by the law.

Similarly, don’t take it somewhere where you know you shouldn’t have. Schools and government buildings for example.

There is no way you can validate a knife in your pockets to those places. Additionally, be aware of the knife length as a legal one might get to be illegal as well.

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