I recently wrote a guide to buying and getting your knife from overseas and that made me realize something else:
How easy is it to mail a knife? Do courier companies frown on mailing knives? Which courier companies in the US and beyond will mail and ship your knives for you? Within the US, what is the best service to mail your knives?
These, and many more, are the topics that I’ll be touching on today.
At the end of this guide, you should already know how to send your knives in the mail without incurring any legal wrath, additional costs, or other unpleasant situations.
Table of Contents
Can You Ship Your Knives With USPS?
The USPS prides itself on being able to reach every mail address in the country, so they are a big deal for you if you are mailing knives in the US.
So, would you be able to send knives in the mail via USPS?
Knives can be sent via the USPS service legally to any location in the US. Knives are not on the restrictions list of the USPS which bars certain items from the mail service, provided the knives are packaged in a suitable container.
USPS relies on the seller/ sender of the knives to package them in a way that ensures maximum safety to the handler and receiver of the package. Such containers and packages should also ensure minimal damage is done to the packaging while the knife is in transit.
Once those conditions are met, the USPS will take on your knife package and deliver it anywhere in the US for you.
Can the USPS ship your knives internationally?
The USPS’ International Service is a great option to sell, transfer or distribute knives internationally. However, the buck does not stop there.
Just like we have knife laws in the US, other countries also have different knife laws that they live by. Thus, you should be aware of the knife laws in those countries so that you don’t break them.
If you are selling the knife, it is the responsibility of your buyer to be aware of their local knife laws before placing a purchase order. Where possible, have it stated in your terms so that the buyers know this and they cannot dispute the payment if they do not conduct their due diligence before ordering knives from you.
Can automatic knives be shipped by USPS?
One of the most common automatic knives that you know is the switchblade. There are others, but I will use this as a specific example in this case.
Automatic knives can be shipped via the USPS if the sender is a procurement officer. Manufacturers of these kinds of blades can also mail them via USPS, but the destination would have to be that of a procurement officer.
USPS does this to limit the spread of these knives to civilian users in the country as they have been deemed illegal under most state and federal laws.
Important Tips to Ship Knives Via USPS
When using the USPS to ship your knives in the US, you want to ensure a high rate of success.
That means you don’t want to get any calls about how your package has been confiscated, or have any issue on the delivery end either.
To make sure of that, make sure you check these items off the list:
- Package the knives thoroughly – USPS doesn’t want the pointy tip breaking the box and hurting anybody. If the knives are not packaged right, they might be refused at the point of sending or delivery.
- Cushion the knives properly – Make sure the knife (or knives) isn’t loosely moving about inside the package. Cushion the blade on all sides so that it is firmly seated inside the package.
- Do NOT declare – This sounds counterintuitive but that’s the best thing to do. You don’t have to declare on the body of the package that you’re sending knives. This is especially true when you’re sending automatic knives, gravity knives, and the likes.
- Consider knife laws – This responsibility falls on you if you are simply transferring or distributing a knife. If you were selling, though, your customers should be the ones to understand their knife laws before they order one from you. In any case, it is never a bad idea to be familiar with the knife laws yourself.
- Get tracking information – Yes, this comes at a slightly higher cost but you also get some peace of mind with it. Things get lost in the mail service from time to time, and your knife might even be stuck at some stage that you do not know just cos you don’t have tracking. For sellers, it is almost a no-brainer to have a tracking setup for your sent packages.
Should you ship your knives with USPS?
One thing with shipping services is that they could work great for one person and be absolute trash for the next person.
With that in mind, we cannot categorically say that the service is good or bad based on the experiences of both people.
That said, USPS is a great choice when you consider the costs and relative reliability. Even though they do not explicitly state that knives are banned, I have seen, read, and heard multiple cases of USPS officers taking knives out of packages.
Of course, this is not the only item in contention here. Other people (not me) also have stories of how they’ve had some of their items stolen before they got to them.
Now, that said, some users have shipped hundreds of knives via the USPS service without any problems.
I believe it boils down to the numbers. In the long run, you should have better experiences shipping knives with the USPS than poor experiences.
Always remember that the USPS is a postal carrier which means that they have a load of packages going through their system every day. It would be physically impossible or a gross waste of resources to want to physically inspect all packages. That is why they only inspect a minority (a very small number) which reduces your chances of being the one they’d select on any given day.
Can You Ship Knives Via FedEx or UPS?
Most people believe that FedEx and UPS are even better options for shipping and mailing knives than USPS can ever be. The reasons for that are not far-fetched:
- Private brands: while the USPS is a national postal carrier, both FedEx and UPS are private brands. That means they are not as strict on the law and will provide a more lenient front when knives and other tools which could be considered weapons are concerned.
- Accommodating special instructions: As I said earlier, the USPS has a lot of orders to process so those are not the best ones to give you personalized services. While FedEx and UPS also get busy, they will still cater to any special needs and instructions around your shipment.
- Tracking: If nothing else, the amazing tracking features that you get from UPS and FedEx make the experience well worth it. You don’t get generic information like where the knife generally is but you are also updated on the current, real-time approximated location and status of your package.
- Insurance: A stellar insurance package means that you will get back the value of your item if it ever gets damaged or lost in transit. You and I know that we would rather prefer to get our package in one piece than have to fight for insurance, but it is nice to have this option officially supported anyway.
- Speed: Did I mention the speed? These services are fast and reliable. They’ve been here for some time so they are not just a flash in the pan either.
USPS vs FedEx vs UPS: Which Is Better to Mail Knives?
These three are all great services to mail your knives within the US or ship them internationally.
When it comes down to it, USPS is the most affordable of the bunch by a good mile. That boils down to the fact that it is a government-owned service, and the government is not necessarily looking to turn a profit.
The game changes with the privately-owned FedEx and UPS. However, these latter two services compensate for that by offering personalized services, taking on custom instructions from the sender, and offering you advanced tracking.
Furthermore, they frown even lesser on the mailing and shipping of knives, so you can have better overall success with them for a little more money on top.
One poor report that I’ve heard about the UPS guys is that there is a chance to lose something of value when you ship via UPS, as long as the package is insured. After all, anyone who took it believes that you’d get your money back once you win the insurance claim.
This has never happened to me but that does not mean I can rule it out as being untrue. Just putting it out there for you to consider.
That said, I would prefer that you open an account with FedEx or UPS if you’ll be mailing a lot of knives. Test out USPS too to see if they hold something better for you rather than those two. Overall, though, you are in good hands with these services.