What is the Legal Knife Length in California: A Comprehensive Guide

Know your local knife laws. California has knife length laws. This complete reference to California’s allowed knife length can help you stay legal. Let’s investigate!

What is the Legal Knife Length in California?

What is the Legal Knife Length in California?
Legal Knife Length in California

California’s knife length laws vary by kind. The state regulates concealed and open carry of certain blades. General rules:

Folding Knives: California does not limit folding knife length. However, schools and government institutions may restrict carrying a folding knife with a blade longer than 3 inches.

Switchblades and Automatic Knives: California bans the sale and possession of switchblades and automatic knives, save for police enforcement.

Balisongs (Butterfly Knives): Balisongs, or butterfly knives, are prohibited in California. Most public venues prohibit concealed balisongs of any length.

Dirks, daggers, and stilettos: California regulates their ownership and sale. These blades cannot usually be concealed. Publicly carrying them may also be forbidden.

Exceptions to the Legal Knife Length


Fishing, hunting:

Hunting and fishing with knives longer than 2.5 inches is legal.

It’s important to utilise the knife for its intended purpose and not as a weapon.

Folding Knives

Folding knives with unlocked blades are allowed.

The California Penal Code defines a folding knife as one with a blade that folds, closes, or retracts into the handle and needs manual manipulation to open and close.

Multitools/Swiss Army Knives:

Swiss Army knives and multitools are used daily.

Unless the blade length exceeds 2.5 inches when opened, these instruments are permissible.

Military and Police:

Military and law enforcement knife laws differ.

They can carry longer-bladed knives since their jobs may demand them to.

California Legal Knife Length FAQs

Can I carry a visible pocket knife with a longer blade?

California allows pocket knives with longer blades as long as they are visible. However, openly carrying a knife may make others uneasy.

California’s knife length limit?

California has no knife length limit. However, use the knife safely and legally.

Is carrying knives in public prohibited?

California bans blades in public. Schools, government buildings, airports, and other secure sites forbid knives. Know your local laws.

What if law enforcement stops me with a knife?

If police stop you with a knife, stay calm and comply. Inform them promptly about the knife and its purpose. Maintain hand visibility and avoid unexpected movements. Understanding and following their directions might help avoid miscommunication.

California knife carry age restrictions?

California has knife age limits. Switchblades and butterfly knives are illegal for under-18s. To avoid legal issues, familiarise oneself with California Penal Code age requirements.


Knowing the permissible knife length in California is crucial to prevent legal difficulties. Hunting, fishing, folding knives, multitools, and law enforcement/military personnel can hide dirks or daggers with blades longer than 2.5 inches. Know your situation’s rules and exceptions.

Carrying a knife requires safety, responsibility, and respect. Legal advice or authoritative sources are best for California knife law updates.

I love knives and love reviewing them. Knives have been a part of our lives for as long as we can remember. We grew up using knives in the kitchen and in outdoors.