Are Karambits Legal in Washington?

Karambits are uniquely designed knives that have become increasingly popular among knife enthusiasts and collectors worldwide. These curved-blade knives, which were originally used for agricultural purposes in Southeast Asia, have also gained attention for their potential self-defense applications. As a result, understanding the legality of owning and carrying karambits has become a topic of interest for many people.

Karambits are sometimes used as tools, but they are also deadly weapons. In Washington, karambits are generally legal to own, but there are restrictions on carrying them in certain situations.

This article delves into the details of Washington state knife laws, focusing on the specifics that apply to karambits, and provides essential information to ensure responsible and lawful karambit ownership. Stay informed and make educated decisions when it comes to karambit ownership and use.

Overview of Washington State Knife Laws

General restrictions and regulations

Washington state knife laws are relatively permissive, but they do impose certain restrictions on knife ownership and carry. The Revised Code of Washington (RCW) outlines the state’s laws on dangerous weapons, including knives. It is essential to familiarize yourself with these laws to ensure you are in compliance while owning or carrying a karambit.

In general, Washington state laws prohibit the possession or carry of:

  1. Switchblades, gravity knives, and other similar automatic-opening knives.
  2. Metal knuckles or any similar weapons designed to be worn over the knuckles.
  3. Any knife or blade that is considered a “dangerous weapon” when used with the intent to injure another person.

Local ordinances that may affect legality

While the state of Washington has overarching laws governing knife ownership and carry, it is crucial to be aware that local municipalities may have additional ordinances in place. These local laws can impose further restrictions on the types of knives that are legal to own or carry within a specific city or county.

For example, Seattle has its own set of knife laws that are more restrictive than the state’s regulations. Always research the local laws in your area to ensure that you are in compliance with all applicable regulations.

Importance of staying updated with changes in laws

Laws and regulations are constantly evolving, and staying informed about any changes is the responsibility of every knife owner. Regularly checking for updates to both state and local laws can help you avoid any legal issues related to your karambit ownership and use.

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Legality of Karambits in Washington

Definition of a karambit under Washington law

Washington state law does not specifically mention karambits in its statutes. However, karambits can be categorized under the broader definition of a knife or blade. This means that the general knife laws in Washington apply to karambits as well.

Legal status of karambits in Washington

As mentioned earlier, karambits are generally legal to own in Washington, but there are some restrictions on carrying them. The following factors can impact the legality of your karambit:

Blade length

Washington state law does not have any specific restrictions on blade length for karambits. However, local ordinances may impose limitations on blade lengths, particularly when it comes to carrying a knife in public. For example, in Seattle, it is illegal to carry a fixed-blade knife with a blade longer than 3.5 inches, or a folding knife with a blade longer than 3 inches, without a valid reason.

Fixed or folding blade

Washington state law does not differentiate between fixed and folding blade karambits. However, local ordinances may have different rules for fixed and folding blades, as previously mentioned with the example of Seattle.

Concealed or open carry

Washington state law does not explicitly prohibit the concealed or open carry of karambits. However, carrying a dangerous weapon (including a karambit) with the intent to intimidate or harm another person is illegal. Additionally, local ordinances may impose further restrictions on carrying karambits, so it is essential to consult your local laws before deciding to carry a karambit.

What are karambits used for?

Karambits are incredibly versatile blades that can be used for a variety of tasks. They’re often employed for everyday tasks like slicing, cutting and piercing as well as outdoor activities such as hunting and camping.

Karambits can also be used in self defense scenarios and martial arts styles such as silat, kung fu and kali employ them as a combat weapon.

It’s important to remember that karambits should always be handled responsibly and with appropriate safety precautions in place.

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Karambit Usage and Restrictions

Where karambits are generally allowed

In most places within Washington, karambits are allowed for personal ownership, collection, and use on private property. You may also be able to carry a karambit in areas where there are no specific local ordinances restricting their carry, as long as you do not have any intent to intimidate or harm others.

Prohibited places and situations for karambit possession

There are certain locations and situations where carrying a karambit is strictly prohibited, regardless of local laws. These places include:

  1. Schools and educational facilities, including their grounds.
  2. Courthouses and other government buildings.
  3. Airports and other transportation hubs.
  4. Private properties with posted signs prohibiting weapons.

Additionally, it is illegal to use a karambit in the commission of a crime or with the intent to harm another person.

Consequences of breaking karambit laws

Violating Washington state knife laws or local ordinances can result in serious consequences. Depending on the severity of the violation, you may face fines, confiscation of your karambit, or even criminal charges.

Traveling with Karambits

Interstate travel considerations

When traveling to other states, it is important to be aware of the knife laws in each jurisdiction you will be passing through. Laws regarding karambits can vary significantly from state to state, and some states may have more restrictive regulations than Washington. Research the laws of each state you plan to visit and adjust your carry practices accordingly to avoid any legal issues.

International travel considerations

Traveling internationally with a karambit can be even more complicated. Many countries have strict regulations regarding the import and possession of knives, and some may even ban karambits outright. Before traveling internationally, consult the customs regulations for each country you plan to visit and obtain any necessary permits or documentation.

Best practices for transporting karambits

When transporting a karambit, whether locally or across state lines, it is essential to follow best practices to ensure your safety and compliance with the law:

  1. Store your karambit in a secure, locked container.
  2. Keep the container separate from your person, ideally in the trunk of your vehicle.
  3. Familiarize yourself with the knife laws in each jurisdiction you will be passing through.
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Who should consider carrying a karambit?

Karambits are incredibly versatile blades that offer great benefits to a wide range of users. They’re ideal for anyone looking for an EDC knife that is lightweight, efficient and highly functional.

Karambits are also perfect for those in search of a tool for hunting and outdoor activities or anyone who needs a reliable self defense weapon in times of need.

No matter your needs, it’s important to remember that karambits are not toys and should always be used with appropriate safety precautions.

So if you’re looking for an EDC knife that is both stylish and functional, the karambit might just be the perfect blade for you.

Is the karambit a fighting knife?

Historically, many martial arts styles used the karambit as a combat weapon and there are still some who believe it’s best employed in this capacity. However, the modern karambit can be used for much more than just self defense.

In fact, the vast majority of people using karambits do so for utilitarian purposes like cutting, slicing, piercing and scraping. Though it can be used as a weapon.

Most modern karambit designs are intended to fill the needs of everyday life and utilitarian uses.

Are Karambits Legal in California?

Yes, Karambits are legal in California, so long as they are carried openly. You cannot carry a Karambit in a concealed manner, nor can you carry one into certain areas, including federal buildings and schools.

Additionally, the sale of switchblade knives is prohibited in California, although it is legal to own one. If caught carrying a Karambit or other knife unlawfully, you may be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.

What Knives are Illegal in Washington State?

In Washington state, any knife that is classified as a “dangerous weapon” is illegal. This includes knives that have a blade longer than 3 inches, switchblades, daggers, dirks, stilettos, and ballistic knives.

There are also some other restrictions on carrying knives, such as not being able to carry them openly in public or concealed on your person without a valid permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I carry a karambit for self-defense?

In Washington, you may carry a karambit for self-defense purposes as long as you do not have the intent to intimidate or harm another person without legal justification. However, be aware that local ordinances may impose additional restrictions on carrying karambits, so always check the laws in your area.

Are there age restrictions for owning a karambit in Washington?

Washington state law does not impose any specific age restrictions on knife ownership, including karambits. However, individual cities or counties may have their own age restrictions, so always consult your local laws before purchasing a karambit for yourself or as a gift for someone else.

Can I be held liable for using a karambit in self-defense?

In Washington, you have the right to use reasonable force, including the use of a karambit, in self-defense or defense of others if you believe you are in imminent danger. However, you may be held liable if you use excessive force or if the circumstances do not justify the use of a karambit. It is crucial to understand Washington’s self-defense laws and act responsibly in self-defense situations.


Karambits are unique and versatile knives that have gained popularity for various uses, including self-defense. In Washington, karambits are generally legal to own, but there are restrictions on carrying them depending on factors such as blade length and local ordinances. Being well-informed about Washington state knife laws and any applicable local regulations is crucial for responsible karambit ownership.

While this comprehensive guide aims to provide a clear understanding of the relevant laws and regulations in Washington, it is always recommended to consult a legal expert for personalized advice if you have specific questions or concerns.


I'm Justin, co-founder of AllofKitchen and your knife and steel specialist. My extensive experience ensures accurate and hands-on advice on every topic. Turn to me for insights on selecting the best knife or maintaining your steel tools to perfection. Knives aren't just tools; they're an extension of the chef, and I'm here to guide you to the perfect fit.

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