Affordable "functional"/"Battle-ready" swords? Need help finding one!


December 10, 2008, 10:48 AM
I have been interested in getting a high quality sword. I searched the internet and some companies claim to have functional or battle ready swords. But Albion armors says that those terms don't hold any meaning. However the swords that Albion offers are a lot more expensive that I thought. I am not against paying $400-$500 for a quality piece, but is it worth it? or can a $200 sword be just as useful? To clarify, honestly, I want a sword that will hack like it was meant to in the days of old. Something that could be worthy of medieval combat. SO, if anyone is an expert here and can lead me in the right direction, any advice is much appreciated. I post this simply because i have been quite impressed with some of the knowledge of steelcraft and knifework that some here display. Thanks in advance!

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December 10, 2008, 11:37 AM
I have been interested in getting a high quality sword.

That's going to be more expensive than you think. Consider what's involved in making one and that you're essentially purchasing a hand made item. Read through the sword threads here for more information.

Exactly what sort of sword are you looking for? Western? Eastern? IndoPersian?

or can a $200 sword be just as useful?

No, not usually. You might find a deal on a Paul Chen for near $200, but you'd have to be pretty lucky.

Check ( for a real education.

December 10, 2008, 12:04 PM
I am interested in western hand and a half sword. Obviously I am new to this arena. I wouldnt feel bad about splurging on good steel, but I just want as much info as I can get so i dont regret my purchase. I am not a practitioner of western martial arts or anything. So I don't need a super fancy blade.
p.s. HSO, thanks for the advice, you have answered two or three of my posts in the last few days. I appreciate your help!

December 10, 2008, 12:44 PM
This guy's got a pretty good site....obviously he is selling swords but he seems to find the balance between money/quality.
Check out the Darksword blades that he reviews/sells...they are made in Canada eh! :)

December 10, 2008, 12:51 PM
leadhead, thanks for that link, that website has lots of good info!

December 10, 2008, 01:17 PM

December 10, 2008, 02:08 PM
$500 for a good western sword is pretty cheap. Traditionally a sword cost about as much as a good horse. If a horse is equivalent to a car, then a good sword should cost $15k plus.

most of the stuff doesn't cost anywhere near that...thank goodness.

December 10, 2008, 09:57 PM
In a Japanese style blade, I have this Cheness sword ( which is really a great deal. The 9260 silicon steel ( is quite a good steel.

December 11, 2008, 12:57 AM
I like the Ko-Katana, shorter blade but with the longer two hand handle very nice!

December 11, 2008, 01:11 AM
Cold steel is very resonable and good quality too. They do have a hand and a half IIRC.

For real self defense, you'd probably be better served with a nepalese kukri or a filipino bolo.

December 11, 2008, 02:12 AM
Thanks Loomis, i hadnt yet considered those options. The Bolo looks like something that would suit my purposes! I do have an affinity towards european, but functionality must come first. Thanks for your post!

December 11, 2008, 04:14 AM
upon doin some more research, I think I may be more inclined to a single handed euro sword. I am only 5'6, so a hand and a half might be a bit cumbersome to swing about.

December 11, 2008, 04:17 PM
One point that needs to be made here is the vast difference between sport fencing and sword fighting. Fencing is a sport that pits two equally armed individuals against one another according to rules that provide for safety. And so it should. Sword fighting emphasizes techniques that you can employ against one or more opponents that may possess weapons different from yours. In sword fighting there is but one valid rule: don't die. What you do to achieve that result is anything but sportsman behavior. I make this seemingly obvious point because some individuals think of sword and knife fighting as though it is a duel fought according to rules. It is not. Please remember what I have stated here if you intend upon purchasing a sword for a home defense weapon. Realistic fighting techniques are not what you see in Hollywood films. I hope this information is useful. Good luck with your sword selection and train hard.


December 11, 2008, 06:08 PM
Two companies you should look at are Himalayan Imports and Kris Cutlery. Both sell swords that are hand-forged, by people who grew up with a blade in their hand.

Generally, Kris Cutlery's offerings are pretty functional overall. Himalayan Imports blades are for people who like to chop down trees and cut apart cars (I've got two of theirs on the way).

December 11, 2008, 06:26 PM
I've had a couple of Angus Trims.
Both were good swords. IIRC one was a 1321, which was sort of a light bastard sword. The blade was a little too light for my tastes. It required a pretty much "perfect" cut to get it to cut - not very forgiving.
The other was a custom falchion. The story on this one went pretty bad.
I placed an order with a 6 week wait for a single hand falchion with a 22" blade and a 5" handle. Over a year later, after all kinds of excuses and sob stories from them, I got a two handed falchion with a 26" blade instead. I played around with it some and eventually sold it - it wasn't what I'd ordered but I was glad to have at least recovered my money.
The A-Trims I owned were good swords but I definitely wouldn't buy another one unless I could get it used. I just wouldn't have faith in them to deliver again.
The last one was an Albion Stamford that I picked up for around $500 in really nice shape. I liked it but I came to the conclusion that there just isn't a whole lot that a 27 year old man can really do with a Saxon style sword. So I sold it too.
But I'd try another of their swords. I'd kind of like to try one of their squire line Viking swords some day.
I've also thought that it would very cool to own a lang-seax. I've mostly had these thoughts after reading Bernard Cornwell novels though...

But I'll stick with guns for now.
I could have an SP-101 or a pair of Ishapore Enfields or five Mosin Nagants for the price of one sword.
Kind of a no-brainer for me.

FWIW, I think you should save a little money up and start watching on the sword forum and . Sometimes you find some good deals on there when someone is motivated to sell so they can buy a new sword. Or you may also be able to pick up an older model from a good maker at a good price. Both places are also a great place to find information and learn about history and old school warfare/whoop-ass.

December 11, 2008, 07:12 PM
I'm partial to the nepalese kukri. In function, it's like a cross between a hatchet and a machette. No special skills required. Just chop. The bolo is similar in function, but a little less of the "hatchet" characteristics, and a little more of the machette characteristics, and a whole lot better for maybe 25% hatchet and 75% machette.

if I wanted something more european flavored, I'd probably look for something between a smallsword and a rapier...or go with something more portable like a naval dirk or a civil war era "D" handle bowie...aka D-guard bowie.

small sword:




Actually, if the kukri is not an option, I think it would have to be the D-handle for me.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 11, 2008, 08:41 PM
There are several excellent threads right here in this subforum if you do a search, with excellent information.

As mentioned, peruse that sword-buyers-guide site thoroughly and then make your decision. Most people end up, for good reason, going with a japanese katana style sword as you get the best bang for your buck with these, in terms of sheer functionality, due to the many makers. If you're looking for economy/value, you'll probably end up with a Cheness, Musachi, or Paul Chen/Hanwei. I have two Cheness's and couldn't be happier. Don't buy junk and reward the junk makers.

Look at this review of the Cheness I would recommend first on a budget:

Either the Kazi or the Tenchi in katana or ko-katana format:

Here's all the 9260 steel katanas, which are super strong:

Here's the Tenchi "Ko-Katana" (a shorter one) - talk about a fighting mo-sheen for just two bills! :

December 12, 2008, 12:09 AM
cold steel kukri:

check out the specs on that blade. Specifically, look at the thickness of the blade. It's more that a quarter inch thick!

Aka Zero
December 15, 2008, 02:51 PM
Some one mentioned Cheness, only make katanas, but They are one wicked cutter. Bought the SGC series, which was made for cutting tatami/ goza. Got the "tsukikgage" Katana. I paid $300 for mine (they are $400 now). And These will go through ( with a correct cut ) a 4" tree. I HAVE done this. Not "saw on youtube"

And even when my form wasn't so great, the sword dug in, twisted in the tree, took some work to get out. And the edge wasn't even rolled. Never seen anything twist in a tree and not have anything happen.

The SGC series may not be what you are looking for, at 3lbs they are a little heavy. Not really quick single handed. The SGC ko-katana would be an awesome size for general cutting needs.

Easily cuts water bottles, bamboo, any type of mat, and if you want to test it. Pretty big trees.

On a "cheaper" note
If you want something, user friendly, and "battle ready" you can also buy a cold steel machete. Have a 24" and the kukri machete. Stamped high carbon steel, requires some sharpening. But... In a situation I needed a blade. What I would grab first. Paid $16 for the kukri, $9 for the machete. Just ordered some shorter ones for about $9 a piece. I Would trust one of these more with my life than most " battle ready" swords. Because they work, and never break.
The kukri took apart a few pallets, nails and all. Had a few nicks in the blade where it hit the nails. little bit of grinder, good as new, and near shaving sharp.

If you want something indestructible, Buy a machete. You could buy a truckload for $500. Or a good kukri "never broken in battle" is always a good thing to have said about a battle weapon.
If you want a functional sword, buy cold steel or cheness.
Paul chen (hanwei) sword are a good sword, if you know how to use it. But they Are not as tough as others.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
December 15, 2008, 04:51 PM
+1 on the Machetes - Cold Steel has a bunch of different kinds for about $20 each - I have two of them, and plan to get the other ones - they are 1050 or 1060 and capable of being quite deadly:

Check out the long 24" machete in the "latin" machete family. It's really a true 1-handed sword, for most intents/ purposes. And the two-handed machete there is a nice fighting short sword as well.

AKA ZERO, I have one SGC series Cheness (9260)(the "Yamakami" which is the exact same thing as the Tsukkikage except with brown wrap), and one "regular" Cheness (also 9260)(it's a Ko-katana, forget the designation, but it's just like the "Tenchi" except for different guard). But I didn't like the SGC nearly as much as I thought I would. It's a good cutter, yes, but it's not really a much better cutter than the regular one - since it's heavier, your swing speed (mine anyway) is not as high, so it evens out. And, being heavier, they're not as nimble. Plus, they're not as pretty to look at as the regular one. So I'd recommend a "regular" Cheness of some kind in any of their steels, but espec. 9260, either with or without the bo-hi (blood groove)...personally I prefer it WITH bo-hi, for looks.

Guys, don't forget the Ontario Knifeworks "Blackwind" katana, for a really cheap but good sword. They have a great reputation.

The 20" sword has been discontinued!!!???!!! WTfH? :eek: :mad: Only the 15" wakizashi left now???

December 15, 2008, 11:28 PM
Here's a "sword" I got from Himalayan Imports.

24" long, 59 ounces, 0.440" thick blade. And yet the thing balances only 3.5" ahead of the guard! It essentially handles exactly like a bastard sword, only shorter. It really does not feel like it weighs 59 ounces. And the center of percussion is 6" from the tip, perfect for a heavy chopping blade. Those guys in Nepal really know what they're doing.

December 16, 2008, 09:14 PM
I'd second the suggestion of checking out swordforum ( and myarmoury (

I like my Paul Chen sword, and I understand Cold Steel makes ok swords. For cheap functional swords/kukris I've also heard good things about Himalayan Imports (, though I don't have any. But I'd say the best, yet most cost effective swords come from Angus Trim and Albion (

August 10, 2009, 07:17 PM
The big problem with the cheaper blades is the hilt constuction. A spot welded bolt used to hold the pommel on can break while you are cutting with the sword, sending the blade flying off somewhere...

August 10, 2009, 07:28 PM
There's always the Cold Steel Cutlass as well

Or as I call it, "The Machete of Swords"

August 14, 2009, 05:49 AM
Here's another potential problem with cheap swords!!!


August 27, 2009, 04:30 PM
If you want this for self-defense, I would strongly recommend that you consider a blunt impact weapon. A baseball bat or pickaxe handle will likely fare better against a crack head than a sword due to their effects on bone, and will be much cheaper and easier to use also.

August 28, 2009, 12:02 AM
The problem with resurrecting zombie threads- especially those asking where to find certain items- is that some information may have changed. Many manufacturers have had to increase prices in the last year and a half.

Y'all are welcome to start a current thread on the subject.


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