Are Self Defense Weapons Allowed in New York?

If you are living in New York City, it definitely can be a good indicator that you have arrived. However, the Big Apple is host to a whole assortment of characters, so it’s a sad fact of life that you have to plan for your self-defense needs. First and foremost, you should be aware of what the laws say.

Keeping safe in New York City is not a guessing game. That’s why I researched the local laws to see what weapons you are allowed to have to keep yourself safe and also to avoid getting arrested. What self-defense weapons are legal in New York? I learned some very surprising answers to that question.

Nobody wants to spend a night in jail just because they defended themselves when they were attacked by someone. Of course, it a natural instinct to protect yourself from danger. However, many people don’t realize just how difficult it can be to do this in a fully legal fashion. Either way, you shouldn’t just grab the first weapon you come across and start practicing your skills with it. To protect yourself both figuratively and legally, you should be in the know.

The Weapon Statutes of New York State

Be aware that I don’t have any legal experience. That being said, the laws regarding weapons in New York City and New York state are all completely available online. The state of New York is much like other states; they too have many different laws on the books in New York regarding the use, ownership, and carrying of weapons. Of course, there are some weapons that New York will forbid you from having at all. S 26.501 is a list of these prohibited weapons.

The following is a list of items (besides knives) that the New York legislature has deemed to be forbidden:

Billy Clubs – This is comprised of a stick with a loop that is attached to one end along with another handle

Blackjacks – This is a leather item that is over a piece of metal that usually has a springing handle. Some would compare it to a sand club.

Bludgeons – This weapon is also known as a truncheon, bat, stick or cudgel.

Nunchucks – two sticks connected by a chain or ropes.

Electric Dart Guns – Guns that possess a power source and shoot darts

Electric Stun Guns – These would include tasers.

Metal Knuckles – Knuckle coverings made out of metal.

Plastic Knuckles – Knuckle coverings made out of hard plastic.

Sand Bag – This is quite self-explanatory. It is a sand-filled bag that can be used as a weapon.

Kung-Fu Star (AKA Shuriken) – These are either referred to as throwing stars or ninja stars.

Slingshot – A monkey fist-style of rope that can be worn around the wrist. It is used to throw the rope around.

Wrist and Brace-Shaped Slingshot – This is affixed to the wrist, and it can be worn to be easily concealed.


There is no question that both the state of New York and the city of New York are some of the toughest jurisdictions in the country when it comes to firearms. While they don’t explicitly prohibit open carry, they will only issue permits for concealed carry. You will have to be licensed to carry a firearm. Thus, probably the best way to interpret the open-carry laws in New York is that it simply isn’t allowed. Of course, if in doubt, you should plan ahead and ask an experienced attorney. You definitely wouldn’t want to risk getting ticketed or getting arrested!

Am I Allowed to Carry a Knife?

Someone once asked me if knives were illegal in New York City. To say this question struck me as a huge surprise would be an understatement. Of course, a normal law-abiding citizen doesn’t have the experience to know the answer to that question. The short answer is no, knives are not illegal in New York City, as long as you are sure to choose the knife wisely. You will also need a better reason than just “personal protection” to carry a knife within the city limits.

First of all, you need to realize that the great majority of New York state residents are those who also live in New York City. You should be aware that city law will not always be in full alignment with state law. In New York state, you are allowed to carry a gravity knife. In New York, not so much, and you could end up spending a night or two in the slammer.

Risking your freedom on a silly thing like this is a good way for you to get cross-ways with New York City’s Finest and also for you to have difficulties with background checks in the future as well! Don’t do it. If you’re going to the city, the best thing to do is to simply skip carrying the gravity knife altogether.

The first thing you need to remember is that choosing a knife for self-defense means you will need to learn how to use it well. You will soon discover that your knife skills are only effective for a first-time crook. A more experienced street thug will quickly be able to figure out how to take that knife from you and use it against you before you even know it. Invest in a self-defense class and practice at home.

New York and their Unusual Affinity For Machetes

One of the strangest developments in recent years would have to be the fact that many New Yorkers seem to be gravitating to machetes – both as a tool for self-defense and as a way to commit horrible crimes. Indeed, there were actually 24 criminal incidents in the state of New York involving machetes from 2010 to 2014.

Machetes are considered to be a farming tool, but that doesn’t make them legal in New York City at all. The Big Apple might be an extremely large place, but not one inch of it is farmland. Thugs don’t care if machetes are illegal in the city, and so many of them use this as a weapon. Unfortunately, the penalty for possessing a machete is only fifteen days in jail or a two hundred dollar fine.

Interestingly enough, there are shops in New York City that will sell this as a novelty item. This means “buyer beware”. Just because something can be obtained in the city doesn’t necessarily mean that it is legal for you to carry it!

New York’s Top Five Self Defense Weapons

You are allowed to carry pepper spray and a firearm within the city limits as long as you do your research. However, finding a law-abiding to ship these items to you would be near impossible. Here are some other items you can get much easier:

1. WUBEN 1200 LUMENS LED Flashlight

New York is a place where you could end up in every bit as much trouble as your attacker even though you are only using your weapons as self-defense. This is why you need to think as out-of-the-box as possible. Thus, you will need a weapon that is not only tactical and functional but also practical as well.

WUBEN’s 1200 Lumen LED Flashlight is the prototypical example of this. This flashlight is great for illuminating certain areas. You should also realize that this handy tool will be effective in temporarily blinding and stunning your attacker and allowing you to get away from the situation. These characteristics make this a tremendous asset, to say the least.


Proof Everything – This item is both waterproof and dust proof. Not only that, but this LED Flashlight is also made of a high-grade aluminum body. Simply put, you will have no concerns about accidental bumps wrecking your light or the bulb of this flashlight. Moreover, WUBEN has always stood by their product with a 30-day return policy and round-the-clock customer service.

Photochemical Glass Lens – This little addition possesses about 99% of the light. This is one of the things that will make this flashlight shine brightly, powerfully, and directly on any of your problems!


This item is very small. This means you can’t hit the attacker with it because of its only 5 1/2 inches and seven ounces.

You will have to get ready to run after this simply because this isn’t really a weapon.


Check out this light here!

2. Talker Personal Alarm Self-Defense Alarm Keychain

This little device could one day save your life or save your family’s life. The only thing you have to do is pull the pin, and it will issue out a shrieking warning that will be audible for miles around and letting bystanders know that something is amiss.


Super Portable – This device is simply comprised of a small key-chain. It can go with you wherever you go. Moreover, you can clip it to your belt loop, carry it with your keys, or add it to a zipper.

Easy to Use – Just pull the pin and cover your ears. This little machine will put out 140 decibels, harming any potential attacker’s ears.

Bonus LED – There is a light on the end of the device that will be a huge asset and give you advance notice of what’s up ahead of you. Any company with that much planning is solid and is definitely worth your business.


This device is more into “loving but not fighting” – Either way, you look at it, this device is only good for bringing attention. It isn’t necessarily good for a dust-up. It doesn’t help in a physical confrontation unless you shove the device in someone’s ear.

This device is a bit “too good” – The company that designs this product did such a good job with it that there are cheap knock-offs of it hitting the market. Be sure to study any listing and make sure you are getting the real deal.

Be sure to look here is where you get your own real, true-life example!

3. The Hyperwhistle

This product is not very well-known yet, but it will be soon enough. This is because it has proven to be an excellent tool for survivalists, campers, and hikers. It will benefit you in the unfortunate event that you are in a remote area and you have an injury. Moreover, a potential attacker will not get very far because they will be concerned with the potential loss of their hearing than attacking you!


Hearing Protection Provided – This is indeed considered the world’s loudest whistle, but it also has reusable hearing protection tools provided as well.

Sturdy – This product is built for tough environments. This is one of the main reasons why it is popular with sports coaches, rugged survivalists, and tough outdoors-men everywhere.

Floating Capabilities – Are you worried about dropping this item in the water? Don’t be. It floats!


Damage – This can cause you to have hearing damage. No, this super whistle isn’t meant to be a weapon, but it’s so loud it would do the trick anyway.

Dark-Colored – This product comes with a detachable lanyard which caused it to blend in. This means there might be some occasions where it might be difficult to find.

Blow the bad guys’ ears off right here.

4. Get Back Whip

Of all of these featured products, this one is probably most like a self-defense item. This is because in most jurisdictions whips are indeed considered to be weapons. Thus, these whips will not be forbidden per se, but you will need to have a very good reason to carry one on your person. How do you go about doing this without getting the attention of the Boys in Blue? Probably the best guise would be through adding it to a jacket because “it looks neat.” That way, you have a readily available excuse.

Go ahead and get yourself a small biker whip, and you will be able to manage quite well, especially in close quarters for sure.


Hand-Made – Support personal artisans! They take pride in making this hand-braided leather as robust and flexible as possible.

Clasp – The clasp end is very useful because you can attach it to your gear, clothing or other personal accessories. Alternately, you can flip the clasp around and use it for self-defense, stopping any would-be attacker cold.

A Decorative Look – This whip not only would make a good defense item, but it also has a nice decorative touch. It makes for a nice conversation piece with the skull at the end.


Whips Can Be Painful – If you practice a lot and have become skilled at using it, you might have a bit of a “tough sell” explaining how this whip isn’t a weapon.

Marketed as a Weapon – This whip is considered to be a weapon anyway. Ask any retailer, and they will tell you the same thing: they are used to keep attackers away from you and away from your motorcycle if you have one.

Even the playing field with any criminals here!

5. The “Atomic Bear” Tactical Pen

Any tactical pen that is worth its salt is going to quickly become a great tool for you. It will be especially useful to you if you need to get into your car because you have locked the keys inside. Of course, you can also use this pen to sign different documents as well. The aircraft-level aluminum and solid design will give you a good grip.


Free Carry Pouch- Atomic Bear includes a free pouch to go along with your tactical pen when you order this product on Amazon.

Bonus Ink Cartridges- This pen would be no good if you couldn’t even write with it!

Well-Respected Company- Atomic Bear is known for making top-notch products.


High Profile- Atomic Bear is a well-known company, so police and prosecutors know about these products as well.

It Appears Macho- No soft edges and curves here, so it might freak some people out.

Take a look at this self-defense product right here.

Final Thoughts

It’s pretty easy to find a good self-defense weapon. Finding one for New York is a bit more difficult. Make sure you do your homework before you venture into the city with your weapon of choice.