How to Tell the Difference Between Real Brass Knuckles & Fake

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Things You'll Need

  • Rubbing alcohol

  • Eyedropper

Brass knuckles are used for fist fighting.

You have to look closely to tell the difference between real and fake brass knuckles, but it's an important distinction. Because of their weight and strength, real brass knuckles can result in catastrophic damage when struck to the head or face. As a result, they should be obtained for collection purposes only. While weapons collectors and those who collect precious and semi-precious metals might desire the brass version of the weapon, people dressing up for costume parties or using brass knuckles for fight reenactments should use only fake ones.


Step 1

Look at the knuckles to see if you can view your reflection in the surface of the material. Real brass knuckles are made from polished zinc and copper – making for a reflective surface. If you cannot see your reflection, you are likely looking at faux brass knuckles.

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Step 2

Remove several drops of rubbing alcohol from its container with an eye dropper. Release the drops onto the surface of the knuckles. Look to see if the brass color dissolves in any way. Real brass will not react to rubbing alcohol, while acrylic paint or water color will fade or dissolve.


Step 3

Hold the pair of brass knuckles in the palm of your hand or place them on a scale. Real brass knuckles often weigh well more than 1 pound. Faux brass knuckles usually are lighter, often weighing in at a half-pound or less.

Step 4

Press and feel the surface of the knuckles. Real brass knuckles will have a hard and inflexible surface. Knock on the surface and listen for the sound of an impervious metal clink. Fake brass knuckles can be identified if the surface bends or is flexible when you press into it. Or identify non-brass knuckles by knocking on the surface; if there is no metal clink or if the knuckles sound hollow, they are not made of brass.


Never use real or fake brass knuckles on another person, animal or object.


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