Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

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Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 25 Jan 2017 18:00

Dear members with some experience in sword-ownership,

in 2017, once again I want to raise an often-discussed question:

Which single handed sword, both standard and/or customized, by which manufacturer, would be your choice for an actual fight against unarmoured opponents who carry single-handed swords themselves?

I’m asking you this because I want to buy one for myself. Since I’ve heard that this kind of choice is a matter of personal preferences and circumstances, let me tell you where I’m coming from:

I’m doing a certain kind of escrima for quite some years now, where we train all kinds of close combat and mainly differ between bar-handed fighting, fighting with blunt weapons, and fighting with sharp weapons. I’m especially into the fencing department and after years of doing this and winning some of our little tournaments I just like the idea of simply having a highly functional sword at home. However, we just train with sticks, declaring them sabers or rapiers or what. So, while I know how to wield a stick, how to hit and opponent without getting hit, how to develop powerful strikes by using my body and not just my arm, how to move tactically with all kinds of triangle steps, circle steps, side steps and shuffle steps, I don’t know the first thing about actual swords.

Well, I do have some presumptions. From handling one of my ancestors’ rusty sabers as well as one of cold steel and reading some posts in this forum, I think my kind of sword should

1. be solid enough to being handed down to my son one day,
2. not be floppy, but quite stiff
3. be a lively, dynamic thing
4. be good for cutting and for thrusting, so rather be straight than bent
5. well balanced, aka having a POB near the hand (however, I’ve read here that this idea is too simple?)
6. not be too heavy or even clumsy
7. be nonetheless rather for cutting than for thrusting
8. not cost more than 600 €/$

So I keep thinking a backsword should do the job for me. But by which manufacturer?

However, what would be your choice, your preferences? What do you think of mine, of my idea of swords and their traits and costs in general?

I’d be glad and honored to discuss these things with you.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby swordflasher » 26 Jan 2017 02:03

Hi Jakob,

If you are looking for a sharp single-handed sword, my first questions would be whether you are thinking of something medieval or later, European or elsewhere, hand-protection or not, single or double-edged, short or long?

With a backsword I guess that would be later, European [Scottish?], hand-protection, single-edged and longish?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 26 Jan 2017 07:08

Thank you for answering.

Actually, I do not care so much about the time period. I'd think a backsword is more precise than a crusader's sword and a better cutter than a rapier (and works indoors as well as outdoors because it's long but not overtly long). But that's just that: I'd hope to find out what sword can be considered as the most functional, most universally applyable one when it comes to single handed combat against an armed but unarmoured opponent?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby swordflasher » 27 Jan 2017 01:15

Well, its obviously subjective, but If you want something straight and single-edged [backsword] then I expect you could pick up a decent antique infantry officers sword for your budget. You could also get a reproduction for much less from windlass or universal to see it if this sort of weapon suits you.

http://www.kultofathena.com/windlass.asp http://www.kultofathena.com/universal.asp

Apart from backswords, If you want a double-edged single-hander sword you could try an albion knightly sword, and ask for it sharpened. https://www.albion-swords.com/swords/al ... squire.htm

or see if any sharp single-handers come up in stock on Arma Bohemia. http://www.armabohemia.cz/Novestr/handA.htm
I bought a really nice Viking training sword from them recently, which is my new favourite [best and functional] sword.

If you'd like something modern and fun, look at zombietools maybe? http://www.zombietools.net/

But to answer your original question, my own best sword for fighting an armed but unarmoured opponent would be shortish medieval sword [with a buckler and gauntlets].

https://www.albion-swords.com/swords/al ... eaux-x.htm
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 27 Jan 2017 07:46

swordflasher wrote:Apart from backswords, If you want a double-edged single-hander sword you could try an albion knightly sword, and ask for it sharpened (...). But to answer your original question, my own best sword for fighting an armed but unarmoured opponent would be shortish medieval sword


Thank you, Swordflasher, these are great tips.

My questions would be:

1. I've heard early medieval single handers would be rather clumsy and of little precision in comparison to 16th-19th century backswords, broadswords, rapiers and sabers. You wouldn't confirm that at all?

2. Which manufacturer do you see as the best of these three: Windlass Steelcraft, Armour Class or Univeral Swords? I hear all of them had their flaws, but how is it nowadays, and can you ask manufacturers to make their standards more sharp and/or more stiff, and they simply do that?

3. Let's start this one with a quote from the Admin of 2011:
admin wrote:I want to add some further comments on Armour Class.. (...) - their idea of making a sword 'well balanced' is to simply stick a heavy pommel on it... (...) it's simply how you make a sword rubbish for cutting anything, but hilt-heavy enough to convince the less educated that having a POB near the hand must be a good thing in a sword. Their standard blunts have no distal taper to speak of which leads to a very dead feeling sword (or a very floppy one).

You've had any experience with a single handed sword from Armour Class, are they still either that clumsy or that floppy? How are they doing their job in 2017, do they customize their standards?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby swordflasher » 28 Jan 2017 00:40

Jakob von Schubert wrote:

1. I've heard early medieval single handers would be rather clumsy and of little precision in comparison to 16th-19th century backswords, broadswords, rapiers and sabers. You wouldn't confirm that at all?

No, I wouldn't confirm that. Any of the swords you mention could be badly made or well made, and the different sorts handle very differently from each other - which might not be apparent when using sticks to simulate them.

There is a myth that swords [and swordsmanship] have evolved from clumsy crow bars to precision tools. If this were so they would have done so in inverse proportion to how much they were actually relied on for self-protection and warfare, and the epitome of the sword would be the fencing foil, the machete or the wallhanger.

2. Which manufacturer do you see as the best of these three: Windlass Steelcraft, Armour Class or Univeral Swords? I hear all of them had their flaws, but how is it nowadays, and can you ask manufacturers to make their standards more sharp and/or more stiff, and they simply do that?


Well, none of them are great, I was just suggesting getting a cheap reproduction from Windlass or Universal to see if you like that kind of sword, for well under your budget, before investing in an antique. I haven't liked armour class swords I've tried, but I understand their appeal is they will have a go at custom designs. If you want a scottish backsword that might be the way to go, or look at Hanwei. http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp ... +Backsword . I think you might find either of these models quite clumsy compared to a decent medieval sword though.

Maybe look at more reviews and do more research before deciding? https://myarmoury.com/reviews.html

Once you've made your mind up - and maybe bought a couple of cheaper swords to see what suits, then maybe go to a maker like Peter Regenyei http://www.regenyei.com/

or Danelii http://www.danelliarmouries.com/index.p ... ds/rapiers

or Darkwood Armoury http://www.darkwoodarmory.com/

or Vladimir Cervenka http://www.sword.cz/eindex.htm

or Arms n Armor http://arms-n-armor.com/

or St George Armoury http://www.stgeorgearmoury.co.uk/

or Castle Keep http://www.castlekeep.co.uk/

or save up for an Albion https://www.albion-swords.com/swords/al ... extgen.htm

or even the remarkable Jake Powning http://powning.com/jake/

Expect waiting times and/ or going over budget with these makers though.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 28 Jan 2017 02:29

swordflasher wrote:Maybe look at more reviews and do more research before deciding?

Whew, these are quite some reasonable points to think about. Thank you for this, Swordflasher. It actually helps me a lot with my decision.

If someone else is reading this discussion, please tell me of your perspective, too. It's always good to get several hinches.

Let me give you guys the following scenario: two Europeans are sailing to, say, El Salvador. They're exited to go out to the cafés and stuff, but after seeing videos of Machete fights in the streets of San Salvador, they get a bit paranoid. Since they're European, they don't carry guns ('cause we don't, do we?), so one of them brings his sword while the other one buys one. They carry them in a quilt or so while going out. They don't want to go like Sigurd the Dragonslayer with his holy sword Balmung, but just have two solid arguments speaking for them in case of having a situation.

What kind of sword would these guys take with themselves?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 30 Jan 2017 13:18

Jakob von Schubert wrote:Let me give you guys the following scenario: two Europeans are sailing to, say, El Salvador. They're exited to go out to the cafés and stuff, but after seeing videos of Machete fights in the streets of San Salvador, they get a bit paranoid. Since they're European, they don't carry guns ('cause we don't, do we?), so one of them brings his sword while the other one buys one. They carry them in a quilt or so while going out. They don't want to go like Sigurd the Dragonslayer with his holy sword Balmung, but just have two solid arguments speaking for them in case of having a situation.

What kind of sword would these guys take with themselves?


Its all about context :lol:

In the situation you described I would say that street-smart is the best weapon and second to that a cane. I don't believe that its a good option to show of with swords on the streets. You will only provoke those machete-guys...

In general if you should choose a one handed sword (without the buckler option) to use against an unarmoured but armed opponent I would go for a sabre. Why? Easy to get, a lot of manuals and this were the preferred weapon in such situations during the 1900th century.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 30 Jan 2017 21:11

Lidsman wrote:Its all about context :lol:

That's true, for sure.

Well, I hope I didn't give you the impression of being a paranoid madman who goes out with a sword under his coat. I just like the idea of owning such a thing which I hypothetically could use for what I trained for so many years: fencing, aka close combat with long sticks treated as long blades.

But that's the point: I didn't learn that from a book, and my teachers and training mates didn't as well, even though many of us have read the classics. So fencing the historically correct sword with the historically correct techniques according to an original handbook isn't in any way important to me. It's just about functionality. Hit the man three times before he hits you once. Hit his fingers, neck, head, chest, leading arm, leg, before he hits yours.

And there is my basic problem: the sword should be not too heavy, should be able to cut, but still not have its weight/POB too close to its point, but remain lively and precise. You can't have it all, I guess. But what's the best compromise, what'd you think?

You'd suggest a sabre, Lidsman? Which one, made by whom?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 31 Jan 2017 12:51

Jakob von Schubert wrote:
Lidsman wrote:Its all about context :lol:

That's true, for sure.

You'd suggest a sabre, Lidsman? Which one, made by whom?


Well, any infantry officers sabre would work well but you could also consider a cutlass. I think that Matt could answer this question better than me but I would choose a light not to long weapon if I where to bear it during the day.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 31 Jan 2017 22:48

Lidsman wrote: Well, any infantry officers sabre would work well but you could also consider a cutlass.

Hmm. Not too long sounds reasonable. However, I only know the cutlass from cold steel, which was kind of the definition of clunky for me. But what you said about sabres is pretty true. Today I once again had my ancestor's rusty old infantry officer's sabre in my hands. This sabre indeed is a lively thing and has a good flow. There is just something... too "vulnerable" about its curved blade. Imagine you're in a small room and someone would undermine your stroke, feels like you couldn't even hold it low and effectively thrust with it.

You've had any experiences with backswords and/or broadswords, Lidsman?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 01 Feb 2017 08:12

Jakob von Schubert wrote:... This sabre indeed is a lively thing and has a good flow. There is just something... too "vulnerable" about its curved blade. Imagine you're in a small room and someone would undermine your stroke, feels like you couldn't even hold it low and effectively thrust with it.


I guess that this depends on which weapon your opponent is using. I believe that its not problem against a weapon of similar weight and against a heavier weapon you'll have an advantage with the faster sabre.

Jakob von Schubert wrote:You've had any experiences with backswords and/or broadswords, Lidsman?


No practical but I guess that they would do the job. But as a German you should consider the messer. Relatively short, good for both cut and thrust, and not to long. The hand protection is not as good as the complex hilted weapons but I guess that you can live with that.

Anyway, I have not the experience nor the knowledge to give you the proper answers so I hope that Matt or some other heavyweight can help you.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 01 Feb 2017 08:17

By the way, this is my sabre:

http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21655

Its a nice weapon of high quality and would be my choice if any intruders pays a visit...
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 01 Feb 2017 19:58

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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 01 Feb 2017 21:38

Thank you, Lidsman, these are actually some pretty good tips and considerations.

Lidsman wrote:But as a German you should consider the messer.


When it comes to the "Messer": yeah, this thing does look nice and functional, but pretty top-heavy, too. I have a cold steel smatchet machete with seems to follow a similar principle. I think one of 'em is enough. And when it comes to "my culture" of craftsmanship, I rather feel all-European than just German. ;)

I'm in negotiatons with the guys of armour class these days, regarding a solution for a back/broadsword. The one from cold steel does look fine but I've heard it's both too floppy AND clunky.

Your sabre is really damn cool.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 02 Feb 2017 18:21

We are all Europeans, this is true. We have so much in common and a long history. Like all members of a big family we have our differences and have had our quarrels, but we are brothers.

I think that a broad/backsword would be a good choice. If I would look for a such weapon this would be mine main concerns:

1. Good hand protection
2. Good hand protection
3. Good hand protection
4. Not to long
5. Not to heavy

My sabre works well within these five concerns but it could be a little shorter. A cutlass would be nice.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 02 Feb 2017 18:32

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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 02 Feb 2017 19:33

Yeah, this cutlass in the link really doesn't look too top-heavy. Nice.

However, ...
Lidsman wrote:1. Good hand protection
2. Good hand protection
3. Good hand protection
4. Not to long
5. Not to heavy

... to what extent have you perveived length as a problem? Is it a problem concerning the pure handling, or does it concern the space in smaller rooms? For the latter, I'd think it should'nt be that much of a problem if the sword isn't too vulnerable (e.g. only for thrusting/cutting) and as long as it's not exactly below the deck on a ship or in a cell or so.

Or what have been your experiences?
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Lidsman » 02 Feb 2017 20:57

I have som marks at the roof in my house after my sword but I'm rather tall (190cm)

For a sword that's to be used for self protection today I think that usability in limited spaces is important. The cutlasses vere a bit shorter, say around 90cm, to work better in just limited spaces. But as I wrote before, I hope that Matt or someone else could share their thoughts.
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Re: Which and by whom is your best functional sword in 2017?

Postby Jakob von Schubert » 02 Feb 2017 22:44

Lidsman wrote: For a sword that's to be used for self protection today I think that usability in limited spaces is important.(...) But as I wrote before, I hope that Matt or someone else could share their thoughts.


Two sentences, two truths. :)
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