Is a machete legal in Germany? Is a machete a weapon?

Is the machete a weapon or a tool? Is it legal? What is the German legal stance on machetes Learn now whether you are allowed to carry them?

from Martin Gebhardt | Laws | reading time 3 Min
Updated on 12 July 2023 78.724 views 95% found this guide helpful
Is a machete legal in Germany? Is a machete a weapon?

Martin Gebhardt

From Martin Gebhardt. Check out my “About me” page.


👉 The key facts from this guide

  • You are allowed to own a machete in Germany because it is defined as a tool and not as a weapon.
  • However, carrying a machete in public in Germany is prohibited because the blade is longer than 12 cm.
  • Exceptions for carrying a machete in public exist, for example, for photo, film, or theater recordings or when there is a legitimate interest.
  • Bushcraft or survival training are not legal justifications for carrying a machete.
  • If you need the machete for your profession, for example as a gardener or forest worker, you are allowed to carry it, but only in a closed container.

Machetes are not uncommon in the outdoor sector, such as in Bushcraft or survival training.

And if you've been wondering whether a machete is a weapon or if a machete is legal, then you've come to the right place.

I will now clarify how German jurisprudence deals with the machete.

What is a Machete?

A machete is a fixed blade knife. The machete is simply longer and is ideal for chopping and hacking. It is also referred to as a "chopping knife".

To check: A fixed knife is a cutting device consisting of a handle and a blade with an edge.

A machete is a particularly long fixed blade knife
A machete is a particularly long fixed blade knife

Is a machete a weapon or a tool?

Since the machete is a fixed (very long) knife, it is in Germany a tool and not a weapon. Knives are generally tools that are part of everyday life. However, there are knives that are considered weapons. This is regulated by the Weapons Act (WaffG) § 42a.

The machete, which is a long-fixed blade knife, is not classified as a weapon.

Is a machete in Germany legal?

Since the machete is a fixed blade knife (meaning it is a tool and not a weapon), it is legal in Germany, and you are allowed to possess it. However, since the blade of a machete is longer than 12 centimeters, you are not allowed to carry it. There are exceptions, however, that allow and regulate the carrying of a machete.

Why is that so? I'll explain it to you.

We have determined that the machete is a tool - it is a fixed blade knife.

Now we need to take a closer look at the German Weapons Act (WaffG) § 42a, which states about fixed-blade knives.

The passage can be found in paragraph 1:

(1) It is prohibited

  1. Imitation firearms,
  2. Blunt and thrusting weapons according to Annex 1 Section 1 Subsection 2 No. 1.1 or
  3. One-handed folding knives (pocket knives) or fixed-blade knives with a blade length over 12 cm

to carry.

The machete is not a simulated weapon and also not a cutting and thrusting weapon.

She is a fixed blade knife with a blade length of over 12 cm. This means you are allowed to own a machete, but not carry it.

Leading means that you are not allowed to have the machete unlocked in public. Of course, you can use a machete on your property, such as in your garden, as you please.

If you have to drive to your garden with your car, you must transport the machete in a solid and locked object.

The machete is a tool, not a weapon
The machete is a tool, not a weapon

Are there any exceptions that allow me to carry a machete?

There are exceptions that allow and regulate the carrying of a machete.

The passage can be found in the Weapons Act (WaffG) § 42a, paragraph 2:

Paragraph 1 (of the Weapons Act § 42a) does not apply

  1. for use in photo, film or television recordings or theater performances,
  2. for transportation in a sealed container,
  3. for carrying the objects mentioned in paragraph 1 no. 2 and 3, if there is a legitimate interest.

Further regulations remain unaffected.

A legitimate interest according to paragraph 2 sentence 1 no. 3 exists in particular when carrying the objects is done in connection with professional activities, cultural heritage preservation, sports or a generally recognized purpose.

So, that means: If you want to photograph your machete, that is allowed. However, you must transport the machete in a locked and sturdy container up to the shooting location.

Locked means that no one can open this container without your permission. So, for example, it must be locked with a lock.

Is Bushcraft a "legitimate interest"?

I have to disappoint you because bushcraft, survival training, hiking or trekking are not recognized professions or customs, sports activities or "generally recognized purposes" that allow the carrying of a machete.

Bushcraft or survival are not legal justifications for carrying a machete
Bushcraft or survival are not legal justifications for carrying a machete

The question is, what do you do with a machete in the forest that justifies carrying it?

You want to safely chop and work on branches, foliage, or plants with her (here's a review of the Gerber Machete Gator JR).

Now, it is the case that all forests have an owner, such as communities, institutions, or private owners. They allow you to visit the forest for recreational purposes.

Would you like to build something there, like a Bushcraft Shelter or make a fire (are you even allowed to do that?), then you need the permission of the owner.

The Great Bushcraft 'Law and Order' Test

So basically, you are not entitled to uproot plants or chop branches. Therefore, it is also not necessary for you to bring a machete as a tool into the forest.

If, however, you are a gardener or forest worker by profession and require the machete as a tool to remove shrubs and branches, you are allowed to carry it with you - but transport is only permitted in a sealed and solid container.

If you need a machete for professional use, carrying a machete is allowed
If you need a machete for professional use, carrying a machete is allowed

Also read my guide: "Can I collect branches and wood in the forest? (for firewood, construction wood, carving wood)".

Summary

You can buy a machete without any concerns, as it is defined as a tool. The machete, a "hacking knife", is legal.

You are only allowed to use and carry a machete on your private property or within your own four walls. It is not permitted to carry a machete in public, as the blade is longer than 12 cm. We have already looked at the exceptions that regulate carrying.

At the end, I highly recommend my comprehensive guide: "Knife Law in Germany - Is my knife allowed? Is it prohibited?".

Take care, Martin
Martin Gebhardt

Martin Gebhardt

Hey, I'm Martin. On my blog, you will learn the basics and numerous details about living in the wild. I think survival, bushcraft and the good life in nature are the keys to happiness. Find me here on Instagram or on YouTube. You can find more about my mission on the About Me page.

Was this guide helpful?

89 people found this guide helpful.

YesNo

4.83 out of 5 points (93 Ratings)