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Colorado Knife Law

Colorado Knife Law

Knife laws in Colorado are tricky, luckily we are here to help. Below is a list of legal and illegal knives in Colorado written in plain English. We will also then give you more specific details with quotes from the law and case precedence.

Colorado Knife Laws in Brief

These knives are legal to own:

  • Dirks, daggers, push knives and stilettos are legal.
  • Bowie knives and other large blades are legal.
  • Disguised knives like belt knives, pen knives, cane knives, and lipstick knives are legal.
  • Balisong/butterfly knives are in a legal gray area.
  • Gravity knives and switchblades.

These knives are illegal to carry:

  • Ballistic knives

These knives are illegal to carry concealed:

  • Any knife with a blade over 3.5 inches in length

Knives that are Banned in Colorado

18-12-102. Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon – affirmative defense

(1) As used in this section, the term “dangerous weapon” means a firearm silencer, machine gun, short shotgun, short rifle, or ballistic knife.

(2) As used in this section, the term “illegal weapon” means a blackjack, gas gun, metallic knuckles, gravity knife, or switchblade knife.

(3) A person who knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon commits a class 5 felony. Each subsequent violation of this subsection (3) by the same person shall be a class 4 felony.

(4) A person who knowingly possesses an illegal weapon commits a class 1 misdemeanor.

What the Colorado knife law states is that it is a crime to possess a dangerous or illegal weapon. A ballistic knife is a dangerous weapon and is a felony offense (1 or more years in jail).

What Colorado Law Says About Concealed Knives

18-12-105. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon – unlawful possession of weapons

(1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:

(a) Carries a knife concealed on or about his or her person;

“Knife” means any dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length, or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds, but does not include a hunting or fishing knife carried for sports use. The issue that a knife is a hunting or fishing knife must be raised as an affirmative defense.

It is illegal to carry a knife other than a fishing or hunting knife that is greater than 3.5 inches concealed. Concealed means to be out of sight and close enough to be available for immediate use. It is not illegal to carry a concealed knife on your property. It is also not illegal to carry a concealed knife when you are driving if you are carrying the knife to protect yourself.

It is legal to carry concealed a push knife if it is less than 3.5 inches.
It is legal to carry concealed a push knife if it is less than 3.5 inches.

In the case A.P.E vs People in 2001, it was found that a knife that is less than 3.5 inches is not a weapon if the prosecution can not prove that the person intended on using it as a weapon. In the case, the defendant was found with a push knife that was less than 3.5 inches and the police charged him with unlawful carry of a concealed weapon. The prosecution could not prove that he intended to use it as a weapon and he was found not guilty of the charge.

Conclusion on Colorado Knife Law

In Colorado, you can own almost any knife as long as it is not a  ballistic knife.  All legal knives can be carried in the open. It is illegal to carry concealed a knife that is larger than 3.5 inches unless it is a fishing or hunting knife.  Any knife with a blade shorter than 3.5 inches can be carried openly or concealed.

This article is not exhaustive and there are city laws that also come into play. Check with your city before you consider doing anything.  For example, it is illegal to carry any knife concealed in Boulder County.

Note: this is not legal advice and I am not an attorney. Talk to a real attorney if you need legal advice. Post any question you have below and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my abilities. We are also trying to find an attorney in Colorado who is willing to do an interview.

*updated May 8, 2018


  1. Question, I’m a small person and git targeted because of it. I own a 22 inch short sword that I want to carry as a deterrent for said problem. Can I git a license to carry it? Thanks.

  2. Concealed carry permits are only for guns in Colorado. Also, a 22″ sword is not very mobile. You are better off with a 3.5″ knife.

  3. Since ANY “Knife” with a blade less than 3.5 inch “IS NOT A KNIFE” according to 2013 Current Colorado law then you can legaly carry any knifefolding or not whether or not a switchblade or assisted spring opening or out the front spring type or not and “ITS NOT A KNIFE”!!Perfectly Legal to Csaarry concealed.. Check your RULER before carrying to be lawful.

  4. Im sorry but your comment about carrying a 22 inch sword made me laugh. Im sorry grasshopper but you have not reached sword mastery yet.

  5. Not totally CORRECt any blade less than 3.5 Inch is NOT a knife. It si the Blade Lentgh NOT the Total langth that matters Even a switchblade is NOT a prohibited carry conceale item IF its blade is less than 3.5 inch

  6. Is an out-the-front knife illegal? I thought I read that if the opening mechanism is part of the blade, then it is not considered a switchblade…

  7. I own several Chinese broadswords and a 34″ Jian: steel spring sword that is not sharpened on the cutting edges, but could be used to impale Is it legal to practice/carry these in on public property in Denver?

  8. I want to carry a Bowie knife on my belt… its got a 11 inch blade and i was wondering if there are any restrictions on knife length when attached to a belt

  9. Hi. Is the 3.5″ overall length? Or just the length of the blade? If it is the blade length, do you start your measurement from the guard or handle if folding, or do you start from the beginning of the blade’s edge/cutting area? Thanks so much!

  10. What is the legal definition of concealed? My knife has a clip that I attach to the inside of my front pants pocket. The top 1/2-3/4 in of it is showing. Does the law state that 100% of the knife has to be visible or is it a lower percentage?

  11. In studying cases from a number of States, it seems that juries and the law are harder on people who use knives than guns in claimed self-defense situation.

    I have CCW to carry a concealed pistol in Colorado, but if I carry a knife with a greater than 3 1/2 inch blade I am likely illegal.

    A box cutter, the kind with the replaceable single edge razor blades is apparently legal to carry as it is lees the 3 1/2
    inches blade wise and it is not a gravity knife or switchblade.

    Most any lock back folder can be opened like a gravity knife so this term is not well defined legally.

  12. It’s legal to open carry any legal knife, anywhere. It’s frowned upon heavily in the cities, but legal none the less. State law superceeds any local law always. Pocket knives are generally accepted even in cities as long as you keep the blade under 3.5. I’ve carried up to 4.25 though and the cops never cared. I currently carry a 3.75 inch Gerber thumb action in my right pocket, or a 4.5 inch fixed blade MTech sheathed and open on my right hip belt. I get some hassle sometimes but never any trouble. Don’t be an idiot tho. Carrying a sword around is too much. In fact I am certain any type of sword, of any length is illegal to carry. Open or closed carry. I’ve been in CO most of my life. And been harrassed by the police enough to know. Back when I was a teen the law was 3.75 and not 3.5. I wonder when it changed?

    I wonder too what the definition of ballistic knife is exactly. Does that mean Tanto?

    Assisted Opening knives(aka auto folders), are in a legal grey area. Although the law pretty much classifies them as Switchblades. I’ve read some case law from all over. For the first 10 or so years they existed, auto folders were for military and police personnel only. I had to get one on EBay. Now they are everywhere. It’s hard to say something is illegal when it’s readily available for purchase at any store that sells knives. They really aren’t a threat. Switchblades are illegal because you could easily conceal it, walk right up next to your victim and stab them without all the commotion and stabbing motion. Just put the end to their body and open it. Auto folders are essentially no more dangerous then thumb action knives. Again, keep the blade legal and you should be fine.

    Gravity knives are not thumb action knives. Unless your blade is so loose it opens by itself, in which case you’re going to get stabbed in the leg soon. Just to clarify that. Gravity knives open by gravity or inertia(like a throwing or thrusting motion, i.e. a knife that opened out of your sleeve when your release it by a trigger or inertia you exert through motion. You’ve all seen them in the movies.)

  13. Hey so I was wondering. A lot if states have seperate laws banning throwing knives. What is Colorado’s position on shorter than 3.5 inch blade throwing knives.

  14. So these flipper knives as I read the code are illegal? The kind that are not spring assisted, but have a lever on the back of the knife you push down to open it up with.

  15. Air Force Reserve here, Just bought the Benchmade Infidel (3.91″ Blade length) Am I reading correctly that only in uniform I can carry this blade? Would the Police really make that big of a fuss about it? One team One fight..

    Colorado State law Exemptions:

    5-8-25 Exemptions From Chapter.

    Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to forbid United States marshals, sheriffs, constables and their deputies; any regular or ex-officio police officer; any other peace officers; or members of the United States Armed Forces, Colorado National Guard, or Reserve Officer Training Corps from having in their possession, displaying, concealing, or discharging such weapons as are necessary in the authorized and proper performance of their official duties.

    (Ordinance No. 5462 (1992))

    Direct Link:

  16. The amount of incorrect information here is staggering! Believe these back-alley lawyers at your own peril. The information that I just got from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department is as follows: In Colorado, a switchblade, gravity knife or ballistic knife of ANY LENGTH is still an illegal knife. This is based upon knife “type” and not blade length. It is illegal to conceal ANY knife with a blade longer than 3.5″ but perfectly legal to carry any folding or fixed blade utility, hunting, fishing or Bowie knife OPENLY on your belt. In cold weather, if your coat covers your knife, you are technically breaking the law, and you are at the mercy and discretion of any law enforcement officer, so be careful!

    • Right you are I was told by a police officer that you could even open carry a sword length weapon as long as it does not leave the sheath in a threatening way. He told me of a man that once a year protests this fact by wearing a claymore on his back. The officer went on to say that there have been times that this man has needed a police escort to allow his peaceful protest without major molestation. (I know this comment will probably cause quite a bit of immature replies so let me clear the air molestation also means “to annoy”) Also as long as you intend to use a large hunting knife to guard yourself from animal attack and or for use in camping(i.e chopping wood) then you can use fixed blade knifes that can even be as big as machetes. Granted the knifes DEFINITELY NEED to be OPEN CARRY.

  17. Neil C. – you are totally incorrect friend. You are confusing part of the law and then using that part incorrectly – hoping you can get away with something. ANY SIZE SWITCHBLADE – GRAVITY ASSIST – OR BALLISTIC KNIFE IS ILLEGAL. Don’t confuse knife blade lengths as being the only thing that matters. Read the law and read it again so you don’tend up in jail, and so you don’t spread bad information to others.

  18. I have a 10 inch (blade) bowie knife that I wish to carry, in a sheath next to my leg. I’m 18 and I’m curious to know how that would work, it would be just for self defense and to deter threats, I’m a small guy and I need a way to effectively defend myself.

  19. So does this law apply to swords or not? Law enforcement I asked was not too clear. Does anyone have definite proof one way or another?

  20. Here’s a perspective I’ve yet to hear… I’m a sushi chef in a small town and prefer pedestrian travel. I often carry a fistful of knives well over 9 inches in length in various carrying types. Can these be considered weapons? Also, If something awful were to happen, can I legally defend a life with them?

  21. I have a Gerber lever lock knife which I purchased about 10 years back. I also got my son one. He does serious mountain climbing and thought a one handed openining knife might help when your 500+ ft. above the ground. Are these legal in Colorado (Latimer County in particular)? The use the thumb to swing the blade. I have arthritis and it makes it easy to open. Currently I use it at home but a few times I’ve forgotten to take it out of my pocket and went in public. Is this currently legal to carry (3″ blade)? Wayne

  22. so its illegal to carry a stilettos (aka) a switchblade but its ok to own them ? can some tell a little about this i live in az but ill be in colorado for a week and i want to know if i can have my stiletto

    • Might be too late but I’ll reply anyways – You cannot carry a switchblade with you in CO. Of course, I don’t know how much the local law enforcement cares.

        • Just for future reference, LEO’s in Colorado don’t actively look for that kind of stuff, but being pulled over/stopped at a mall or some such would certainly result in at least the confiscation of the knife. Depending on the day/season/time, you could be let off due to being out of State, but more often than not, that’s just added motivation for some of them.

          I would recommend that while in Colorado, particularly in Colorado Springs or Denver, to make do with an A/O or other pocket knife. Don’t chance your Stiletto~

  23. So, it’s legal for balisongs to be owned, but not gravity knives? A balisong IS a gravity knife. Someone mind clearing that up for me? I’m not looking to buy one, not at all, I already own one trainer and have a comb trainer and the BaliYo pen coming in the mail.

    • I don’t think the law is very clear. A knife has to lock open to be considered a gravity knife, at least in Colorado. Many butterfly knives have latches that lock them in the open position, but in most cases they can be removed. Your hand is really the locking mechanism.

      I think in the 1950s when the knife laws were made they had more in mind something like a switchblade with one handle that could be quickly flung open with one hand, but that’s really true of most folding knives if you practice opening them enough. Butterfly knives weren’t even made in the US until the early 80’s and I think it’s just too obscure and recent of an issue for the law to have really developed.

      There’s also the issue that a person has to intend on using a knife as a weapon for it to be considered one, and many people own butterfly knives for the sole reason of learning tricks with them. If you were taking it on say a camping trip or to a friend’s house, I don’t really see how that’s really different from a chef carrying his knives home from work.

      Ultimately I think whether a police officer would charge you and a court would convict you for having a questionably legal knife or let you off the hook would have more to do with the situation he or she caught you with it in than the nature of the knife itself.

  24. I don’t know why switchblades are illegal its a knife that is spring loaded and a regular knife is hour hand opening it, isn’t the same thing

  25. I don’t know why switchblades are illegal its a knife that is spring loaded and a regular knife is hour hand opening it, isn’t the same thing

  26. I am confused as to what “concealed” means. Would it be okay for me to stick a 5 inch folding knife in my pocket with the pocket clip attached to the outside? Or would that be interpreted as concealed?

    • I asked this question to the Larimer County S.O. a couple months ago, part of the reply was:

      “With regard to your question of whether the visibility of a belt clip would matter, that might be a question for the Courts. Although one could argue that the clip denotes a knife, it most likely does not constitute plain view as the length of the blade is the focus of the question.

      By statute, if the blade is 3.5 inches or less it’s considered a pocket knife and is not considered “Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon”. Knife blades greater than 3.5 inches should be in plain view, displayed in a sheath.”

      Since the length of the blade is what determines it to be legally concealed or not, the presence of the clip denotes the presence of a knife. So if the knife (ie: the blade) cannot be seen (hidden from plain view), then it is considered concealed.

      This is just my take on it, based off the email reply from the sheriff’s office.

      • But carrying a knife in a sheath conceals the blade which, by this definition, essentially means it is concealed. Furthermore, carrying any folding knife in a sheath conceals the blade within the knife as well as within the sheath. Going by this definition there is no possible way to carry a folding knife with a blade over 3.5″ without it being considered “concealed”.

        • “Concealed” means covered by clothing. If you strap a 4″ knife (bare or in a sheath) to your forearm and wear a short sleeve shirt, the knife is not concealed. If you wear a long sleeved shirt, the knife would be concealed. With a pistol, if you strap the holster to your pants belt, it is not concealed. If you put on a coat that covers the pistol, it is now concealed.

  27. Are bowie with back cuts legal there,we camp regularly out there and I have a big bowie just want to be legal in town on traveling down n around..

  28. Are bowie with back cuts legal there,we camp regularly out there and I have a big bowie just want to be legal in town on traveling down n around..

    • There are two kinds of spring loaded knives. The first is a switchblade which uses a button or lever on the handle to release the blade without physical contact with the blade itself. They can be owned inside your own house, but can’t be carried. The other is similar, but with an important difference. Automatic knives or spring assisted knives require you to physically push on the blade, typically from a thumb stub toward the top, to get it to open and are perfectly legal to carry. If you ask for an automatic or spring assisted knife at any sporting goods store they should give you the right kind. As long as you find one without the exterior release button, you should be good to go.

  29. Lets do an experiment, take your dull butter knife and thrust/Jab it into your upper thigh. Did it penetrate your leg? Even your butter knife can be considered a dangerous weapon. You would not think a fork could hurt either. How about a pencil, pen, or high heel?

  30. How legal would it be considered to carry (unconcealed) a full length sword within city limits with no intent on use other than possible self defense?

  31. i was once in a controlled scholastic environment where someone complained in the cafeteria that they wouldn’t give us steak knives, a friend of mine made a show of pocketing a butter knife after that and once we had exited the cafeteria forcibly inserted it 2.5 inches into a tree from a distance of 20 feet, tell me that isn’t a weapon tell me that wouldn’t be as effective or more effective against a flesh and blood human being then it was against that poor tree which hadn’t done anyone any harm.

  32. Would it be legal to carry a “butterfly” knife with a 3.5 inch blade? I have a concealed carry permit but I guess I don’t fully understand what that covers. I mean knife is way less “dangerous” than the XDS .45 I carry. Anybody’s insight on this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    • Yes, Karambits are legal in Colorado under the laws they have set forth to us. It is not considered a ballistic knife (a blade that is fired by a spring via a firing mechanism on a knife handle), a gravity knife (a knife in which gravity opens the blade, so let’s say you unlatch a mechanism that releases the blade all helped by the force of gravity), and a switch blade (a knife in which where you push a button it automatically opens). As long as the knife blade is 3.5 inches or less, you can have it concealed. It is not considered a hunting or fishing knife, so you can not conceal it if the blade is over 3.5 inches long. If it is more than 3.5 inches, you can not have it concealed on your person unless you are on your property or in your car. Karambits are okay as long as they fit the parameters above as a fixed bladed Karambit (not a ballistic, gravity, or switchblade; laws regarding blade length). If the Karambit is fully assisted (where as if you push a button and it opens fully), it is considered a switchblade and as such is illegal. If a Karambit is toyed with so that it functions as a ballistic or gravity knife, it is illegal.

      Really, this stuff is easy to deduce. Look your knife, test it, and if it goes against any of the laws it is illegal.

    • I carry one, a 5.11 made of aus8, in a holster for self-defense. It’s blade, as sharp as they are, is only 2.25″. Most Karambit blades are between 2″ & 2.5″. They are also considered tactical defense weapons and most any cop in a big city like Denver is probably going to know that. They’ll most likely know it, and that it is strictly used for self-defense. If you’re approached by an officer, do immediately let them know you carry a self-defense weapon, where it is and what it is. Never reach for it, especially in a car, and always have your hands visible. If they need to, let them unholster it. Always be patient and polite, try to remember that officers have a risky job to do. Stay within the laws of Colorado, don’t go asking for trouble, and you should be fine. Stay Safe.

    • Yes they are as long as the blade length is under 3.5″ I contacted the state patrol about this question and they told me there is no law against karambits in Colorado. I carry the Emerson Combat Karambit.

  33. What about a switchblade that technically a switchblade it doesn’t have a button it’s assisted opening yes but it has a clip but it has a “switch” on the side like a regular assisted opening knife but it looks like a switchblade

    • If it opens via a mechanical mechanism (you dont actually touch the blade to open it) or gravity (ballisong/butterfly knife) it is illegal to own or at the very least carry in Colorado.

    • As long as it is not a fully spring-operated blade, you’ll be fine. I assume you’re talking about the locking mechanism, which comes in the form of a switch on many knives, especially Gerbers, but as long as it’s not used toopen the knife, there shouldn’t be any problem.

    • If the “switch” is a lock, safety, or other device and does not open the blade, then it is fine. Assisted opening knives which require pressure on the blade are legal. It is only a switchblade if there is a button, switch, or lever on the handle which opens the blade. The presence of a clip has no bearing on the legality of the knife.

    • You mean like the Kershaw blur? Most states consider assisted knives of this sort to be legal, though they may fall in a weird gray area like butterfly knives do. I’m gonna say it’s legal as long as the other requirements are met, but I’m not expert.

    • The current language on switchblades and gravity knives should be changing shortly. SB17-008 passed both the Colorado House and Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. Just waiting on it to be signed by the Governor.

    • Lucktmike117Luck, the latest update was May 5, 2017 and took affect TODAY, Aug 1, 2017. That law now allows a person of legal age to carry an OTF also known as a ‘Switchblade”. It was introduced and passed at the behest of the Colorado Farmers and Ranchers, who, for many years, carried them on their person during their person to cut ; twine ; hay bales. When you have both hands occupied with a just born calf, and your trying to make a quick & clean cut in -5 degree weather, an OTF is the tool of choice! I just hope the feed and supply stores begin stocking this item. Additionally, I hope the On Line sports stores also follow suite. PLEASE TRY TO GET THE WORD OUT! Thanks, Lucktmike117luck for addressing that question.

  34. I own a beautiful Microtech OTF Halo and am moving to Colorado Springs. Certainly I can still own it as long as I don’t carry it outside my home, right?

    • Do not take my words as fact, but I believe it is legal for a minor to carry any knife AS LONG as it correlates with the Colorado knife laws (assuming, of course, you live in Colorado). As I said, don’t take this as fact. I suggest you ask your local attorney or something.

    • Yeah, you’re fine. I have my basic EDC Gerber Ripstop II that I’m using until I can muster up the cash to buy a Benchmade or Emerson, it’s a 3.5-inch blade and I’ve never had any problems. I’ve actually used it to clean my nails in front of an officer without any response, so I’m sure you’ll be fine.

  35. So I own an amazing mtech USA ballistic and I was wounded if it was legal to carry because I am going to Colorado in 2 days and I wanted to know if it was legal to carry it since when I measure it from the handle and up its is a little over 3 inches

  36. I am a security guard, I can tell you that anything that represents it’s self as a weapon technically is not allowed in any public business unless permitted by the establishment, although they are a business open to the public they are still privately owned and therefore concidered private property and they would have the right to ask you to remove such an item from the premises.

  37. What about a veteran with only one arm? Does Federal Law that allows disabled to carry assisted opening (switchblades ) override local or state law?

  38. Assisted knives are legal however the mechanism in which you use to open the knife must be a part of the blade. A good example is a flipper assisted knife. An assited opening knife with a button is illegal.

    • technically no, because carrying a short sword (Assuming the above mentioned dimensions are the entire length and not tip to ricasso.) you will have no chance outside of divine intervention. Explaining to a jury that it was indeed self defense that you were carrying the weapon that has claimed more lives then any other in history. And simultaneously proving your fitness to stand trial. I’m not trying to judge here. I’ve studied Iaido and European fencing since I was 10. If I had the option you best believe I’d carry a daisho everywhere. But modern America frowns upon the idea of carrying large blades. And to be brutally honest I’ve seen absolutely gruesome wounds inflicted with Bokken and Iaito. So a 21/2 to 3 lb razor sharp piece of tempered steel would be absolutely horrific, as there are credible account of Battou-jutsu techniques with wakizashi that emitted thunder cracks. The tip of the blade literally broke the sound barrier. Convincing a jury you weren’t looking for an excuse to make test cuts on some poor defenseless mugger. I’d say impossible.

    • Yes, as long as it correlates with the laws in your state (in which I am assuming you live in Colorado). As long as the blade isn’t concealed, you are alright. You can conceal the blade IF it is on your property or in your car.

    • Colorado’s open carry, you could walk down the street with an AR-15 or 50 BMG over your back if you could provide a good reason for it. Besides, blades over 3.5 inches are legal as long as they’re not concealed, so unless you plan on sticking a two- to three-foot sword under your shirt or down your pant leg, you’ll be fine.

    • Austyn, technically, as long as the sword is not concealed it can be carried; however, I would strongly advise against it. Keep in mind that we are talking about state law here and that many cities (especially “home rule” cities) may have their own laws prohibiting such things.

    • Colorado doesn’t have a blade length limit if it is openly carried, so in theory yes, a sword would be allowed so long as it is not concealed. (A sword cane or other hidden sword would probably be illegal).

  39. What about a dull unsharpened blade(Prop) longer than 3.5″ concealed as a walking stick? Could be argued that it would not be capable of inflicting harm.

  40. Ok, so the magic number in Colorado is 3.5″

    That measurement applies to the weaponized sharpened edge or the entire thing including its handle?
    Suppose someone crafted an instrument with a 3.5 inch blade and an 9 inch handle making what I’d call a knife measuring 12.5″. Could they legally conceal carry that in Colorado?

    Would the state care to specify what it means when it says the length of a legally concealable “knife?” Or does it need to replace the terminology used to “blade?”

    If someone wanted to and was able to conceal a spear/naginata with a 3.5″ blade, is that a Colorado legal knife?

  41. I’m 17 and Received a Bowie knife from for Christmas, I haven’t taken it out in public due to fear of it being illegal. I know it said it was legal here but I wasn’t sure if that applies to minors as well. It’s a really cool knife but I just want to know can I carry it out in public

  42. I have a knife barely over 3 and a half inches is is illegal to carry in my back pack plz I rele need to have a direct answer to this question I don’t need any more charges from the police

  43. The current language on switchblades and gravity knives should be changing shortly. SB17-008 passed both the Colorado House and Senate with an overwhelming bipartisan majority. Just waiting on it to be signed by the Governor, hopefully by the end of March.

  44. Effective today March 24, 2017 Colorado SB-008 approved the possession and sale of automatic knives. Go to or call RMGO.org to confirm this. RMGO is the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners organization based in Windsor Colorado.

  45. Ive seen a few comments but im still going to ask. Since balisongs are in a legal grey area, would it be illegal to conceal cary a balisong following colorado blade lengths? I make a leather belt sheaths for mine and it can easily me conceald with my shirt covering it. (its rests in the front of my belt) I have been flipping balisongs for almost 2 years and im very serious about my flipping so i wanna know if i can flip in public.

  46. Can a fixed blade knife over 4 ” have to be completely exposed? Can a portion of the handle be partially concealed? ie like a vest or shirt that covers a portion of the handle, but you can clearly see it is a knife.

  47. Define concealed for example a folder clipped to the inside of a pocket where the clip and part of the knives are visible?

  48. I believe so, had one in my pocket one time when the cops got called for me and my friends mbeing to loud at night. Cops saw it but didnt give me any penalty for it just wuestioned me about it

  49. I believe switchblades become legal in Colorado on August 1, 2017. Not legal advice. Additionally, concealed weapons (certainly firearms) may be carried concealed in ones home, office or car.

  50. Gravity knives and switchblades are legal in Colorado as of August 9th 2017 a law was passed and went into affect on that date.

  51. As of August 9th 2017 Gravity and Switch blades are legal to own :). However they still fall under the 3.5” Concealed carry law.

  52. Automatic knives have been legal in Colorado since 09/AUG/2017. Along with “Gravity Knives”.
    Just thought I would give an update. Please look further into our new laws, and post them. It would be very helpful.
    Thank you.
    Col. Thomas Mulcahy

  53. See the law changed with sb 17-008. Have heard that as long as a metal clip is seen outside of pocket that a deep-carry knife is still not considered concealed. Is this true?

    Also, do you have a list of counties where the new state law does not apply? Guess some legal mumbo-jumbo makes some areas exempt.

    Lastly, would like to have a slightly longer blade in pocket with the clip visible as mentioned above. Does a knife have to be solely for hunting fishing to have longer blade or can it be EDC? I use knife every day for opening this or that, cutting this or that *and* want a slightly larger knife to fit in my larger hands better.

  54. Nowhere in this article does it say how a knife’s length is determined. Obviously 3.5 inches cannot include the handle, but exactly where are the measurements made?

  55. Any knife law is absolutely stupid. “Carry concealed?” Are you kidding? Who carries their POCKETKNIFE out on the open? It’s a POCKETKNIFE. I just decided to find another vacation destination, how ridiculous….

  56. Not according to this. It’s a switch, and the blade is 4.5″. I love the Halo, by the way, I have a beautiful bright blue halo V. I love microtechs.

  57. So, the Spyderco Military, a legendary, iconic pocket knife, designed and produced in Golden, Colorado, is illegal to carry in Colorado… That makes a whole lot of sense, huh?

  58. Update on the Laws;
    As of August 9th, 2017, switchblade are now legal in Colorado. Blade length is still the same and concealed part is the same. I can and do carry a Microtech Halo V on my duty belt. The blade length exceeds 4.35 inches but is legal because it is visible on the belt.
    Just an update.

  59. Trying to determine if any state of Colorado Statute specifically lists a length limit for OPEN CARRY. All I can find is that a concealed knife over 3.5 inches CANNOT BE CONCEALED. However, I can find no specifics to open carry length limits.

    Last night while waiting for the kids at the public indoor pool, I had a self-appointed “security” person tell me my knife was too long and could not be carried in public. Now, I have carried this same knife on my side daily for several years without incident. He stated that it “Was Illegal in Colorado to Carry a knife “Over 3.5” openly in public. This seems to be the exact opposite of what I am finding.

  60. It is my understanding (keep in mind that I’m not an attorney) that any karambit having a blade less than 3½” in length can be carried concealed. And that any karambit not capable of ballistic release is legal to open carry.

  61. You really need to do an update. Colorado has made it legal to own carry use etc. any and all knives, to include gravity knives, auto knives, and so on. Denver does not follow state law, though they keep failing to win any cases that have brought against anyone who complies with the state laws.
    COL. Thomas Mulcahy

  62. Age requirement to carry a knife or large blade in public? I didn’t see anything but don’t want to assume it’s okay only to end up regretting it.

  63. Does having a pocket clip on the knife, that can easily be seen , keep the knife from being defined as concealed? For example, I have a folding SOG with a 5” blade, but the clip keeps it from falling down in my pocket and can be seen at a distance. I use it for work.

  64. Anyone know the definition of “concealed”? I carry a knife that is clipped to my front pocket, clip and top 1/2″ of knife are showing, knife has a 4″ blade. Is that concealed or open?

  65. this page appears to be out of date now as well as some of the comments are no longer correct.


    “(2) As used in this section, the term “illegal weapon” means a blackjack, gas gun, metallic knuckles, gravity knife, or switchblade knife”

    this section as presented here is no longer correct. as gravity knife or switchblade have been removed with the link I noted at the top.

    the law has changed. anyone looking here should go read the current law, as this page appears to not be maintained.

  66. This Website/page need to be updated, as of September 9, 2017 switchblades, automatics, and gravity knives are now legal in Colorado . So long as said knife is under 3.5 inches as is the case with all carry knives in Colorado with the exeption of fixed blade hunting knives or fishing knives.

  67. These are two contradictory statements

    All fishing and hunting knives of any length are legal.
    All knives over 3.5 inches are illegal.

  68. What is Colorado’s definition of “concealed” and does that include folding knives that clip to a pocket so that they can be easily seen and accessed?

  69. You need to update this site. The following is from the Colorado General Assembly:

    The bill legalizes the possession of a gravity knife or switchblade knife by removing such knives from the definition of ‘illegal weapon’.

  70. Doesn’t these knife LAWS infringe on my 2nd Amendment rights? The 2nd Amendment doesn’t just talk about guns, so why can people carry guns but I cannot carry my sword? It is my 2nd Amendment right? I want to enforce my 2nd Amendment right to carry a sword, your rights should not infringe upon my own, the 2nd Amendment is not a right just for guns, they are for most weapons and that included my swords, I want my 2nd Amendment right to carry my swords!!

  71. Colorado State Bill SB17-008 reversed the switchblade/gravity knife law. So as of March 2017, it is no longer illegal to carry a switchblade in Colorado.

  72. I have a concealed knife that the blade is 3.3 inches it’s a straight knife Non Folding

    it’s it’s in a quick draw holster in the middle of my back

    can I carry this in Denver Colorado

  73. I have a concealed knife that the blade is 3.3 in it is a straight knife non folding it is in a quick draw holster in the middle of my back can I carry this in Denver Coloradoin

  74. Your Post does not make any sense.

    These knives are illegal to carry concealed:

    All knives less than 3.5 inches are legal.
    All fishing and hunting knives of any length are legal.
    All knives over 3.5 inches are illegal.

    So which is it. Are they legal or illegal.

  75. Colorado repealed restrictions on switchblades and gravity knives in 2017. All are completely legal now, subject to the length and concealment restrictions for other knives.

  76. Ok, what defines a hunting or fishing knife? The law in the article states I can carry a concealed hunting or fishing knife in my pocket that exceeds 3.5″ in length. I have a favorite folding knife I’ve been carrying for 15 years now. Has a 3.8″ drop point blade, half serrated. I use it for work, around the house, and yeah, sometimes when I’m fishing. I’ve never used it for self defense or to threaten someone, even though I might as a last ditch defense. Am I carrying around an illegal knife, could end up in jail or with a felony on my record?

    • You have to be engaged in hunting or fishing to carry the hunting or fishing knife concealed. You could get charged with the class 2 M with the 3.8″ knife.

  77. Thanks for you time. Ive got 2, i have cane w the long concealed blade inside and a K-bar w the small blade on top thats been sharpened so it has 3 or so in. of duel edge. Can i use the cane and and carry the knife in public in the city of Ft Collins Co.

  78. I’m wondering if there’s a certain license that allows me, a person who can’t conceal carry a gun because I’m under 21, to conceal carry a knife longer than 3.5 inches in Colorado.

    • “It is illegal to carry a knife other than a fishing or hunting knife that is greater than 3.5 inches concealed.”

      Note: other than a (fishing or hunting) knife – this you can still conceal. However, always check your local county law.

    • There is no license to carry a knife longer than 3.5 inches concealed in CO. You can open carry the longer knife or conceal a 3.5 inch knife, which should get you by.

    • If you are in the military, you can get a concealed carry license at 18, if you aren’t in the military, then you have to wait till 21. With the military you can carry a knife that is licensed and legally accepted. A concealed carry license is what I would recommend.

  79. A knife is considered arms as protected by the 2 nd , how are they getting away with this, citizens not paying attention that’s how. Colorado lost its western ideals when the first east and west coaster moved there.

    • Some of us “east coasters” are actually good, freedom loving people. I would love to live in Colorado, but I moved to Texas instead. I openly carry a bayonet almost everywhere I go and rarely get a second glance.

      Colorado has a serious problem with criminally insane young people. Columbine and Aurora come to mind. There is no hope for Colorado, until the liberal do-gooders are run out of Denver on the brooms they swept in on. Live Free or Die wasn’t just a saying 250 years ago. We need to reclaim that, or risk completely losing our identity.

    • Yes, you can open carry both at the same time as long as you are in a place that allows open carry to begin with.

    • Hey Zach;
      If the blade is over 3.5 inches (which the XL Voyager Tanto is), then it’s ILLEGAL to carry it concealed. You’ll have to open carry, but even then, the burden of proof is on you (if a cop confronts you, you’ll have to give a reason for its use as a sporting knife and why you have it etc.). I’m not sure how that will all go down, but officially the law says you can’t conceal carry any knife with a blade over 3.5 inches in Colorado.
      Good luck,

    • Thank you Peter – likely the only time I’d carry the knife is hiking off the beaten path with my family. Good small knife, excellent self defense, if ever needed.

  80. I’m moving from southern Louisiana to Colorado in a month just wanted to make sure that it was ok to carry a xl tanto voyager in my pocket

    • Hey Jim;
      If it’s not super-obvious to everyone that you’re carrying a knife, then it’s concealed. Open carry is technically the act of carrying the entire knife outside of your pocket (but still sheathed). I’m sure you’ll get lots of grey area depending on the context, but I’d suggest an EDC in your pocket with a clip that shows a tiny bit is concealed – especially if your shirt covers a bit of the clip and top of knife handle.
      Thanks for your question/comment,

      • Hey Dean;
        Thanks for the question! Technically, the answer to your question is NO, it’s not illegal if the karambit has a blade of LESS than 3.5 inches. However, I’d still do everything in my power to never get “caught” with it by a cop since anyone carrying a karambit will (to them) look like someone up to no good. It kinda irks me because once I was working on an apartment building I managed years ago and I was carrying a simple box cutter with a 1-inch blade, when I had to make a stop at a courthouse building (in Ontario, Canada). I gladly surrendered it to security, but the fact that I even had such an “offensive” weapon, made him hesitant to even let me in! I’d probably have been better off not showing it! Some laws can get out of hand, but that’s the way it is. Keep your 3-inch karambit hidden and your conscience should do just fine!

  81. I have a knife with a blade that is approximately 3.5″ (not any bigger for sure). I am a very big amateur so I apologize for knowing nothing but I was curious if I could legally have this in my car. It has a a seat belt cutter and window breaker so I assume it is okay but wanted to double-check. Please let me know and thank you!

  82. Hello, I recently gave my pocket knife to my 15 year old cousin, I’ve been looking for a pocket knife under 3.5 inches for self-defense and I’m just wondering. I’m 14 and obviously I don’t know if I can legally concealed carry a pocket knife and say it’s for self defense without going to jail. As far as I can tell, as long as its under 3.5 inches, it should be fine for me to carry, but please disprove me if I’m wrong.

    • Hi Isaiah;
      Regarding the issue of self-defense; No police officer wants to hear you have a knife for self-defense. Most will take it from you and even charge you. If you say you have it because you were on your way to a hiking trail, then you’re okay. Your age may be an issue, so I’d do everything possible to avoid being stopped by an officer, and if you do, don’t say you have it for self-defense. I hate to tell you to lie, but in this case, it’s a technicality that is a part of an unjust law, so it doesn’t drive me crazy to “bend” the rules a bit – as long as you are legitimately NOT looking to use the knife in an offensive manner or purposefully hurt anyone.

  83. So I am curious. There are a lot of comments and responses talking about how you cant be using a knife for self defense. Or at least don’t tell the cops. But then I don’t understand how a cane knife is legal. There is no good reason to have a cane knife other than self defense. In relation to that I want to buy a sword umbrella cane thing, and I guess while legal, what would be my reason for having it. Thanks.

    • I have an 8 inch knife that has a leather belt sheath. If I wear it openly on my belt, and it’s protected by its sheath, is it legal? I just moved to Colorado and I’m used to any covered knife being allowed for open carry in California. Any advice?

  84. Several years ago I took a defensive knife class taught by a LEO. In the class he showed students a field-expedient method LE uses(d?) to check blade length, which I have relied upon…but now find myself questioning as it isn’t precise.

    Question 1: How, exactly, is a blade length measured to determine whether a blade is legally conceal carried in Colorado? Many knives have curved blades, and measurements along the edge, spine, and centerline will yield different measurements.

    I ask this question as I carry an auto right on the edge of the edge of the legal limit.

    Question 2: I sometimes carry the auto in a pair of BDU/ tactical type pants that have a pouch with a flap sewn onto the front, which is ideal to carry the auto for both comfort and accessibility. The flap covers the knife however the clip is readily visible below the flap. Thoughts on whether this would be considered concealed carry?

  85. You wrote, “It is illegal to carry any knife concealed in Boulder County.”

    Correction: that’s Boulder City, not Boulder County.

    “5-8-9. – Carrying a Concealed Weapon. No person shall have a knife or firearm concealed on or about such person’s body.”

    But a “knife” is defined as longer than 3.5 inches, and is not a “hunting or fishing knife carried for sports use”:

    “Knife means any dagger, dirk, knife or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half inches in length, or any other dangerous instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing or tearing wounds, but does not include a hunting or fishing knife carried for sports use.”

    So you only have to open carry knives longer than 3.5″ in Boulder, if you’re not clearly going hunting (which you are correct to point out that you’d have to prove to the court). Knives under 3.5″ in length can be carried in a pocket or purse legally in the city of Boulder. If you have a longer knife and live in Boulder, you must open carry it, which is the same as Colorado law generally.

    Denver is the weird one. In Denver you can’t conceal carry OR even *open carry* a knife longer than 3.5″:

    “Sec. 38-117. – Dangerous or deadly weapons—Prohibitions.

    “(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement officer in the performance of duty, to wear under their clothes, or concealed about their person any dangerous or deadly weapon, including, but not by way of limitation, any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, air gun, gas operated gun, spring gun, sling shot, blackjack, nunchaku, brass knuckles or artificial knuckles of any substance whatsoever, or any switchblade knife, gravity knife, or any knife having a blade greater than three and one-half (3½) inches in length, or any explosive device, incendiary device or bomb, or other dangerous or deadly weapon.

    “(b) It shall be unlawful for any person, except a law enforcement officer in the performance of duty, to carry, use or wear any dangerous or deadly weapon, including, but not by way of limitation, any pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, air gun, gas operated gun, spring gun, sling shot, blackjack, nunchaku, brass knuckles or artificial knuckles of any substance whatsoever, or switchblade knife, gravity knife, or any knife having a blade greater than three and one-half (3½) inches in length, or any explosive device, incendiary device or bomb, or any other dangerous or deadly weapon.”

    If you have a permit you’re ok, but I don’t think there are knife permits only gun permits. You can legally have a knife longer than 3.5″ in your car though.

    “It shall not be an offense under 38-117(a) or 38-117(b) if:

    “(1) The person, at the time of carrying the concealed weapon, holds a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, C.R.S., prior to its repeal, or, if the weapon involved was a handgun, holds a valid permit or a temporary emergency permit to carry a concealed handgun issued pursuant to state law and is otherwise carrying the handgun in conformance with any applicable state or local law; or

    “(2) The person is carrying the weapon concealed within a private automobile or other private means of conveyance, for hunting or for lawful protection of such person’s or another person’s person or property, while travelling, and the weapon is not an explosive device, incendiary device, or a bomb. If the weapon is a firearm being transported for hunting, it shall be unloaded while being carried within the private automobile or other private means of conveyance.”

    There are several exceptions, but all of them put the burden on the individual, such as it being a “household knife” or that you are moving from one house to another and just moving your stuff.

  86. so can i open carry a 33″ sword? while i find it hard that you would be able to conceal carry that, i understand that it is significantly over the 3.5″ limit. funny thought though.

  87. Peter Stec,

    I know this article says you updated it on 8 Jan 2021, but some of the info in it is years out of date.

    Colorado state knife laws are not “tricky”. They are actually pretty simple:

    1) Ballistic knives are illegal. Everything else is fine.
    2) Concealed carry of any knife with a blade over 3.5 inches is illegal, unless you can raise one of the “affirmative defenses” (example: the knife “is a hunting or fishing knife”)

    That is about it.

    For open carry, you can basically carry anything you want including swords.

    The law 18-12-102 that you quote has been obsolete since 2017. In that year, the law was revised removing the words “gravity knife, or switchblade knife.”

    18-12-102(2) currently reads: “As used in this section, the term “illegal weapon” means a blackjack, a gas gun, or metallic knuckles.”

    Gravity knives, balisongs/butterfly knives, assisted opening knives, auto-opening knives AKA “switchblades” to include out-the-side and out-the-front, “dirks”, “daggers”, swords, double edged knives, push daggers are all perfectly legal so long as they are not carried concealed if they have a blade greater than 3.5 inches.

    The only “tricky” part of Colorado’s law is that there is no state preemption law regarding knives and therefore municipalities can pass more restrictive laws than the state.

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