The number of people who want to protect themselves with weapons against possible attacks is increasing. Especially for people who do not know martial arts, self-protection weapons are a way to defend themselves in emergency situations. However, there are a few aspects that you should consider both when buying and carrying weapons. While you can legally purchase some self-protection weapons, you are not necessarily allowed to carry them in public

In the following article we bring light into the darkness and explain to you which weapons you can buy even without a gun license and what you should pay attention to.

List of legal weapons in Germany

In contrast to the USA, the purchase of weapons in Germany is strictly regulated. However, there are a number of weapons that can be purchased without a firearms license

The legal basis in this regard is always the Weapons Act. It defines the acquisition, trade, storage, transport, possession and repair of weapons.

Quick overview:

  • The purchase is possible for all self-protection weapons without any problems. From 18 years of age, all can be purchased or are even free of age restrictions.
  • When“carrying” the weapon there are stricter rules. At gatherings, for example, you may not carry weapons with you (according to § 42 WaffG). This applies to disco attendance, public events, markets, etc.
  • You may onlyuse weapons in self-defense, for example if you are attacked while jogging

The following free weapons do not require a firearms license for purchase

Pepper spray

Pepper spray is one of the most popular means of self-defense. The sprays have many advantages, because they are cheap, convenient and can be stored almost anywhere. They contain an active ingredient “capsaicin” from the chili plant, which is fired through the spray in a jet against the target. After impact, the pepper spray acts directly in just a few seconds. It is just as effective against animals of all kinds as it is against human attackers

In Germany, pepper spray is declared as an animal defense spray. Therefore, it is not subject to the Weapons Act and may be purchased and carried by anyone. Only at public gatherings such as demonstrations it is prohibited

But be careful: You may only use it against animals. Only in case of self-defense, i.e. if you are attacked or assaulted, it can also be used against humans

  • Besides pepper spray, there is also pepper gel. The latter is heavier, which is why the jet is more wind-stable and can bridge longer distances. Pepper foam has the advantage that the active ingredient is bound to the target. Accordingly, uninvolved persons cannot be hit
  • In addition, pepper spray is available in a mist and a jet version. The jet is more wind-stable and allows higher ranges, while the mist has a larger effective area and is particularly useful when you are facing several attackers.
  • The cost is usually less than 5€. In addition to pepper spray, there are also “pepper guns”.

Defense Umbrella

A somewhat unusual idea pursues the self-defense umbrella. From a normal umbrella, the variant for self-defense differs only by its increased stability. It is made in such a way that it is almost unbreakable. Apart from that, it looks like a normal umbrella and can be used like one in the rain. If you use the self-defense umbrella as a defensive weapon, you can use it to ward off attacks, punches and kicks. It is a useful addition, especially if you know self-defense sports.

The umbrella weighs 700 grams and is much heavier than a normal umbrella. Visually, it looks simple and elegant, so you can take it anywhere without hesitation. Against rain, the umbrella works well and it is not apparent at first glancethat this is actually an umbrella that is suitable for Abehr

This has the advantage that you will have no difficulties even at security checks – such as at airports – according to product descriptions. The handle is made of polyamide and the tip is made of metal. This is a very sturdy umbrella

All in all, the defense umbrella is a good thing. However, it is problematic that you would actually have to carry the umbrella even when the sky is blue and the sun is shining. Moreover, the handling is not that easy and requires practice.


A Kubotan is a short and small pen. Originally it was developed as a keychain. In various martial arts you can learn and train the use of a Kubotan. Usually it is only a few centimeters longer than your hand. You can hold it in your fist so that it protrudes slightly on both sides. Thus, the average Kubotan is 12 to 16 centimeters long. There are also variants that look like a ballpoint pen or even have the functions of a ballpoint pen. Then we talk about tactical pens. You can take one of these with you wherever you go and use it as a defensive weapon in an emergency

Neither the Kubotan nor the Tacticalpen are subject to the German weapons law. Accordingly, they are freely available for sale and may also be carried – but they are prohibited at gatherings

It makes sense to train with the Kubotan to learn how to use it safely and effectively. Since it is a close combat weapon, the Kubotan is only suitable for people with a good physical constitution.

Stun Gun

Stun guns are handy devices that work with one or more 9-volt blocks. When triggered, the stun gun emits a pulse of electricity at an extremely high voltage. This is intended to incapacitate attackers. In Germany, only models that have an official safety test seal from the Physikalische Technische Prüfanstalt (PTB) may be sold

Such stun guns are freely available for sale to persons over the age of 18. Stun guns that also work at a distance and are known as “tasers” may no longer be sold or carried since April 1, 2008.

Permitted stun guns therefore only have a good effect in close combat. There must be direct contact between the attacker and the stun gun. Especially for women such a weapon is therefore rather unsuitable. If the attacker is physically superior, the victim cannot use the shocker or the device is used against the victim himself. Therefore, we can recommend stun guns for self-defense rather professionals, because the handling is too complicated for inexperienced users to be successful in defense with it.

Tactical flashlight

The main function of a tactical flashlight is to blind the attacker. This won’t permanently incapacitate him, but you can buy yourself a little time to attack or flee. If the blinding doesn’t work as hoped, for example because the attacker protects himself from the light beam with his hand in front of his eyes, you can still use the flashlight as a Kubotan

The biggest advantage of the self-defense flashlight is that anyone can use it – regardless of age or body stature. However, only flashlights for self-defense that do not have any unauthorized additional functions are freely available for sale. Not allowed are tactical flashlights equipped with a stun gun.

Many of these are produced in Asia and therefore do not have the PTB test mark. Therefore, these flashlights are considered prohibited weapons under the Weapons Act. The reason: These integrated stun guns have a much stronger effect than the approved models and can quickly lead to unintended permanent damage

It is not entirely clear whether you are allowed to carry a tactical flashlight that has the size and shape of a baton

This is because, according to the Weapons Act, batons are a cutting weapon that may not be carried in public. However, it is not clearly defined at what length or strength the flashlight is considered a baton. Therefore, if in doubt, ask the police so that you do not unintentionally make yourself liable to prosecution – such cases have already been reported.


A baton is a cutting weapon that can be made of metal, rubber or wood. Thanks to its length and weight, the baton is designed to increase the force of the blow you apply yourself through leverage. In addition, you can use any part of the stick for thrusting. However, using it requires a certain amount of your own strength. Therefore, this weapon is only suitable for people who have a basic fitness

Basically, it is legal to buy and own a baton in Germany. However, this does not apply to steel rods and billy clubs. You should also know that according to §42a WaffG it is forbidden to carry a baton in public without a legitimate interest

Such a legitimate interest exists, for example, in the performance of certain professions, but not for self-defense. Attention: Even storing in a car is considered as carrying and is a punishable offense. The same applies to storage in the trunk, which can therefore also lead to problems during a police check. You may only carry a baton if you keep it in a lockable case. Of course, you may keep the baton at home for self-defense, but it may not be carried in public.


Whether or not a knife falls under the Weapons Act depends on its nature. If you are carrying a knife that falls under any of the following, it may be a criminal offense:

  • The blade springs forth at the push of a lever or button, or it is possible to lock the blade with the release of the locking device. This applies to so-called switchblade knives.
  • The blade springs out of the handle by gravity or a slingshot motion when the locking device is released, and can be fixed independently or with the release of the locking device. This is true of drop point knives.
  • The knife has a handle that is transverse to the lockable or fixed blade. These folding knives are used or guided in a closed fist.
  • The folding knife is equipped with pivoting handles divided into two parts. Then there is talk of butterfly knives.

Furthermore, fixed knives that have a blade length of more than twelve centimeters may also not be carried in public. Such knives are usually not foldable. The blade length is measured from the tip to the base of the handle.

Whether or not a knife is useful for self-defense is a matter of controversy. In any case, good training is necessary for safe handling. Those who do not have the necessary knowledge should not defend themselves with a knife. In an emergency, a knife can easily be stolen and used against the victim himself.

Attention: Transport & Carrying Weapons

Basically, only people 18 years and older are allowed to handle weapons. This means that you may also buy free weapons only when you are of age. The only exception is irritant sprayers with an official license plate. They can be purchased and carried in public by young people as young as 14.

If you own legal weapons, you should also always find out exactly what you should pay attention to in terms of transporting the weapons. You are not always allowed to carry the weapons just because they are freely available for sale. The best example of this is the baton, which may only be carried in a locked case. In addition, many free and legal weapons are not allowed in crowds such as demonstrations or gatherings.

In addition, weapons may only be used in an emergency to protect yourself from attack. With some weapons it is recommended to practice with them in advance. However, you should never do this in public, but only within your own four walls or – even better – as part of a self-defense course.


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When firearms license & firearms ownership card are necessary

It is also important to know that there is a weapons possession card in Germany, which should not be confused with the weapons license.


  • Weapons possession card is only necessary for weapons requiring a permit (e.g. sharp firearms)
  • Small firearms license is necessary for carrying e.g. alarm firearms

The weapon possession card is important if you want to own or carry a weapon that requires a permit. In this case, you need a weapon possession card, which allows you to possess weapons. It concerns only firearms and their ammunition that require a permit.

  • For stabbing and cutting weapons you do not need such a possession permit. Either these weapons are generally prohibited or they may be possessed. All firearms that the holder is allowed to possess are entered in the firearms possession card. Usually only hunters, gun collectors, heirs or sport shooters have such a card. It indicates that the holder is authorized to possess these firearms that require a permit.
  • If such weapons are transported, you must take the weapon possession card with you. In order to apply for a weapons possession card and thus permission to possess a firearm, hunters, weapons collectors, heirs of weapons and sports shooters can contact the relevant weapons authority.

What you need a firearms license for

Thepossession of free, legal weapons is less problematic than the carrying of weapons. Therefore, if you want to own a gun not only to defend yourself from attackers within your own four walls, but also to carry it outside your property, you need to provide additional qualifications. Hunters, for example, need a hunting license, while other people need a firearms license. According to the Weapons Protection Act, a basic distinction is made between the small firearms license and the large firearms license:

  1. Small firearms license: it entitles the owner to carry free weapons, also known as SRS weapons. This applies to all irritant weapons – which does not, however, include pepper spray – alarm guns and signal weapons. They must bear the PTB approval mark and be carried and stored separately from ammunition.
  2. Large firearms license: The holder has the right to carry weapons that are ready for access, both visible and non-visible, even if they do not have a PTB approval mark. An exception is made for festivals, parades and events. The large firearms license is only granted to people who demonstrate a special need.

If you want to apply for a firearms license, you must meet the same requirements as when applying for a firearms possession card. However, other conditions must be met.

  • Despite a weapons license, you are not allowed to carry your weapon everywhere. According to Section 42 of the Weapons Act, for example, it is forbidden to carry a weapon at public gatherings, exhibitions, trade fairs and public festivals.
  • Very important: Firing a weapon in public is not permitted despite a weapons possession card and weapons license. For this you need a shooting permit.
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FAQ about free weapons

Attention: Our content has been carefully prepared, however, legal standards change and some are subject to interpretation. We can not guarantee the following information, for a legally sound advice please consult a lawyer. Status: 04/ 2020

Update: 2023-05-28 / Affiliate Links / Bilder von der Amazon Product Advertising API