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Much of the Roman partiality for short swords was due to the shortcomings of ancient metallurgy. In the classical era, longer iron swords would bend too easily. By the medieval period, metallurgy had advanced: steel was widespread, and wielding a longer blade at last became practicable.
Short swords do not have the reach to keep an opponent at bay. They have a decreased parrying ability and a decreased slashing ability, so for most of the Middle Ages they were relegated to either a close-quarters defense weapon for archers or a lightweight backup (secondary) weapon on a knight’s belt. Nevertheless, towards the later period of the Middle Ages the short sword made a huge come-back as a principle first-choice weapon. Knightly armour became so good that (in a sword fight) stabbing into the gaps became the only way of flooring an opponent. In such combat, a normal sword became ineffective – almost useless. The short sword, however, was far more accurate when thrust. It could even be utilized like a dagger. By the 1500’s better firearms slowly phased out the use of armour on the battlefield, and in turn, the use of the short sword finally passed into history.*
This medieval short sword's point of balance sits relatively close to the guard and is well balanced. The sword itself handles swiftly, tracks and points well; with the wide blade and heavy pommel contributing to an overall solid feel. Profile taper on the blade produces an acute point suitable for thrusting as well as quickly allowing the blade to develop into a wide, effective cutter for its size. The sword is also rather stiff (with a shallow fuller) and allows for strong, confident thrusts.
*Artillery troops in some 19th century European armies were issued with gladius style short swords, but we may surmise that they were rarely used in battle. French artillerymen nicknamed theirs, "the cabbage chopper" as it was often used as an over-sized kitchen knife! Chinese short swords, known as Jian or Double Swords were produced throughout the 19th century, and were worn as part of an imperial officer's dress uniform, but they were not considered a serious weapon to be drawn in battle.
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Firstly, I understand that at this price point, minor issues are a given. I hope that my review will at least shed some light on my mixed reception of this somewhat attractive little blade.
This piece is a looker; with a blade profile that is reminiscent of a type XIV, this 'short sword' is a happy marriage of form and function. The sword I received was polished very well, and shines quite beautifully after I removed the oil it was shipped in.
There was a small patch of rust half way up the fuller on one side of the blade, which is a quick fix with some sandpaper. I personally like to see this kind of thing as it makes all the more believable that the steel is not stainless.
I cannot comment as to whether the blade is properly tempered as it is quite rigid, which I assume is both due to it's inherent design and lack of size, but I am willing to cenciede that has a nice vibration to it when struck by the pommel.
On to the uglier sides of this piece, the crossguard is fitted at an angle, instead of dead-centre, and there is a lot of dead space between the blade and the interior of the crossguard, which is filled by what seems to be epoxy.
The angle is an expected on a piece this cheap, but the crossguard seems to be held in place by epoxy, more than anything, and does not inspire confidence when weilding the blade as a weapon.
The blade is seemingly too short on one side, as the shoulder is visible, with a gap between it and the crossguard that takes a lot away from clean lines that are exhibited throughout the rest of the design.
The handle is fairly square, which can get a little bit uncomfortable, but it's not a deal breaker in terms of functionality.
Finally, the pommel has no sign of a peen, and is likely screwed on. The only positive point to mention here is that is does seem to be secure, although I am contemplating unscrewing it if possible and losing some of the handle to peen it myself.
The scabbard is of fair quality, definitely what you would expect for the price. In this case, the scabbard is a loose fit and does very little to hold the sword in place when inverted, but I never expected it to perform any better so no loss there.
Overall, this is an attractive piece that has a few minor flaws and a couple of concerning manufacturing faults that could in fact make it potentially dangerous if used as a functional weapon.
I am far from "delighted", but I have fairly realistic expectations when it comes to budget blades, as this is not my first, not by a long shot.
I would love to see what the manufacturer can do on a good day, as I feel that my piece was perhaps an example of their worst work.
For now, I will refrain from making budget sword purchases, but I am open to any kind of discussion the seller or manufacturer might have about replacing this piece with a better example of the quality we both expect.
I feel as if I have been a little bit harsh, but I cannot recommend this sword based on the one I received. Jack R on 18th Aug 2018
I already own one of these and was rapt when I saw them for sale again as I wanted to practice with one in each hand. A very short sword it is ideal for close combat. Light, well balanced, and sharp, I trim the blade with bubble wrap for practice to avoid cuts. The first one had a better fit to the sheathe as the new one rattles a bit (in the scabbard) but at this price I am happy to work out a solution for that myself. Really good value. Tracy on 3rd Oct 2017
Great quality, excellent workmanship. I have no idea how they've even sourced the materials for this price! Let alone a fully constructed and ready to use sword. The only thing that I didn't like 100%, but is easily fixed, is the fact that it was delivered to me pre-sharpened. Normally I would have no problem with that, but for re-enactment and also safety purposes it would be better delivered bluntened, it is a very easy thing to do though, so no problem! Steve on 16th Aug 2016
Design & ergonomics
-Blade is quite short for even a short sword - but meets specs as listed.
handle size and grip/texture is excellent. pommel is unobtrusive.
-blade is what some companies would call 'live' but is not knife-sharp. could hone to 'knife sharp' quickly I'd imagine.
-Blade metal appears to be carbon steel, weight appropriate for length and width. quite quick to move as would be expected.
-handle securing method unclear. There is no peening and the pommel is not obviously threaded. It does feel solid and there is no rattle or indications of weakness in construction.
Fit & Finish:
The blade and metal furnishings were in nice clean un-corroded state. No burrs or faults visible.
scabbard is very nice - leather (?) looks and feels good - surprised at how good it is.
The leather(?) covering on the handle had damage near the cross guard - ripped about 4mm with the material folded back exposing the wood underneath. packing grease made a home fix difficult but decided to do this with some high quality glue and it looks fine now, still as this was a present it took a while to make it presentable and I didn't have the option to try to send back to have replaced. was able to fix and make very presentable, still... Also; the leather near the pommel was not cut to length and some flaps had to be trimmed. the sword is now excellent presentation wise and was given as a present and well received.
Overall - I'm please with this product. the minor issues I had were easily fixed with a bit of time spent. For the intended use it is perfect. Thanks, C. C on 21st Sep 2015