Brass knuckles

Brass knuckles
Brass knuckles carried by Abraham Lincoln's bodyguards during his train ride through Baltimore.

Brass knuckles, also sometimes called Cocks, Knuckles, knucks, brass knucks, or knuckledusters, are weapons used in hand-to-hand combat. Brass knuckles are pieces of metal, usually steel despite their name, shaped to fit around the knuckles. Designed to preserve and concentrate a punch's force by directing it toward a harder and smaller contact area, they result in increased tissue disruption, including an increased likelihood of fracturing the victim's bones on impact. The extended and rounded palm grip also spreads across the attacker's palm the counter-force that would otherwise be absorbed primarily by the attacker's fingers, reducing the likelihood of damage to the attacker's fingers.


History and variations

Metal ring and knuckle style weapons date back to ancient times and have been used all over the world for many hundreds of years. Cast iron, brass, lead, and wood knuckles were made in the United States during the American Civil War (1861–1865). Soldiers would often buy cast iron or brass knuckles and if they could not buy them they would carve their own from wood or make a mold in the dirt and cast them at camp by melting lead bullets.[1] By the late 19th century, knuckledusters were incorporated into various kinds of pistols like the Apache revolvers used by criminals in France in the late 19th century to early 20th century.[2] During World War I the US Army issued two different knuckle knives, the US model 1917 and US model 1918 trench knives. Knuckles and knuckle knives were also being made in England at the time and purchased privately by British soldiers. By World War II, knuckles and knuckle knives were quite popular with both American and British soldiers. The Model 1918 trench knives were reissued to American paratroopers and British Commandos even had their very own "Death's Head" knuckle knife featuring a skull shaped brass knuckle handle. Some knuckledusters have rounded rings which increase the impact of blows, however some can be particularly dangerous having spikes, sharp points and cutting edges at the point of impact to cause serious injury. A notable knuckle knife still in use is the Cuchillo de Paracaidista issued to Argentinian paratroopers,[3]; current issue models come with an emergency blade in the crossguard.[4]

Legality and distribution

In Canada, brass knuckles or any similar devices are listed as prohibited weapons,[5] and possession of such weapon is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.[6] Similar legislation has been instituted in Russia and Australia.

In France, brass knuckles are legal, and freely sold to people of legal age (18 year-old) but carrying them is forbidden. The French term is 'coup de poing américain', literally 'an American punch'.[7]

In Brazil, brass knuckles are legal, and freely sold. The Brazilian name for this object is "Soco Inglês" which means "English Punch."

Brass knuckles are illegal in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Austria, Germany and the Netherlands, carrying significant jail sentences and fines for possession of a dangerous weapon.[citation needed]

In the United States, brass knuckles are legal and not federally outlawed but certain state, county and city laws prohibit them. Some laws require purchasers to be 18 or older. Most states do not allow them to be carried, though where they are legal, brass knuckles can normally be purchased at flea markets, swap meets, and some sword and weapon shops legally or online. To bypass legalities, some companies manufacture belt buckles or novelty paper weights that function as brass knuckles and are sold "for entertainment purposes only".[8] This is, however, of dubious legal standing. Devices that are made of hardened plastic, rather than metal, exist. Some are marketed as "undetectable by airport metal detectors."[9] A number of states that ban brass knuckles also ban plastic knuckles.

See also


  1. ^ Photo site with picture and description
  2. ^ Weapon auction site with pictures and descriptions
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Department of Justice Canada (1998-12-01). "Part 3. Section 15.". Regulations Prescribing Certain Firearms and other Weapons, Components and Parts of Weapons, Accessories, Cartridge Magazines, Ammunition and Projectiles as Prohibited or Restricted (SOR/98-462). Retrieved 2011-11-02. 
  6. ^ Department of Justice Canada (1985). "Part 3. Section 91.". Criminal Code ( R.S., 1985, c. C-46 ). Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  7. ^ Pocket Oxford-Hachette French Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2005. ISBN 10: 0198610718. 
  8. ^ "14,000 Brass Knuckles Found Disguised As Belt Buckles". Local 6 News. WKMG-TV. 10 April 2006. Retrieved 8 November 2008. 
  9. ^ ABC News: "New Undetectable Weapon Could Slip By Security At Airports This Summer"

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brass Knuckles — Альбом Nelly Дата выпуска 16 сентября 2008 Жанр Хип хоп Длительность 58:07 Продюсеры Nelly …   Википедия

  • Brass Knuckles — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Brass Knuckles Álbum de Nelly Publicación 19 de agosto de 2008 Grabación 2005 2 …   Wikipedia Español

  • brass knuckles — knuckles knuc kles n. pl. a small metal weapon, worn over the knuckles on the back of the hand; called also {brass knuckles} and {knuckle duster}. Syn: brass knucks, knucks, brass knuckles, knuckle duster. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • brass knuckles — or knucks A weapon worn on the hand for the purposes of offense or defense, so made that in hitting with the fist considerable damage is inflicted. It is called brass knuckles because it was originally made of brass. The term is now used as the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • brass knuckles — or knucks A weapon worn on the hand for the purposes of offense or defense, so made that in hitting with the fist considerable damage is inflicted. It is called brass knuckles because it was originally made of brass. The term is now used as the… …   Black's law dictionary

  • brass knuckles — n [plural] AmE a set of connected metal rings worn over a person s fingers, used as a weapon British Equivalent: knuckleduster …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • brass knuckles — noun plural AMERICAN a weapon consisting of a piece of metal that someone wears over their fingers when they PUNCH someone (=hit them with their closed hand) …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • brass knuckles — ☆ brass knuckles n. linked metal rings or a metal bar with holes for the fingers, worn for rough fighting …   English World dictionary

  • brass knuckles — noun a small metal weapon; worn over the knuckles on the back of the hand • Syn: ↑brass knucks, ↑knucks, ↑knuckles, ↑knuckle duster • Usage Domain: ↑plural, ↑plural form • Hypern …   Useful english dictionary

  • brass knuckles — Knuckle Knuc kle, n. [OE. knokel, knokil, AS. cuncel; akin to D. knokkel, OFries. knokele, knokle, G. kn[ o]chel, Sw. knoge, Dan. knokkel, G. knochen bone, and perh. to E. knock.] 1. The joint of a finger, particularly when made prominent by the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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