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Short Sword?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by ArfinGreebly, Mar 7, 2012.

  1. ArfinGreebly

    ArfinGreebly Moderator Emeritus

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    Nem, have you considered something like the Buck Hoodlum? It's something like 15 or 16 inches total, with a good 10 inches of blade. Light, tough, versatile.

    There are, of course, other large knife (almost-a-sword) solutions out there, but the Hoodlum stands out as being unusually light, very well balanced, and tough (as one might expect from 5160 steel).

    Also in that size range is the ESEE Junglas, a little longer, maybe an inch or a bit less, made of 1095 steel -- another well proven tough steel.

    The Hoodlum weighs less than a pound (14.6 oz), and the Junglas weighs almost a pound and a half (22.5 oz), so the Junglas is an extra half pound. If chopping is on the menu, the extra half pound works in your favor. If slashing brush is on the menu, the extra weight isn't much help. You kind of have to figure out what jobs you'll most likely need it for.

    Their street prices are pretty similar, being up around $150-$165. Careful shopping will shave some bucks off of that.


    I don't have any real objections to a "short sword" format, as long as I don't mislead myself into thinking that an actual sword blade (you know, really thick spine, dramatic grind, that kind of thing) is going to be of much use when I have to build a fire to stay warm.

    Swords are cool, but they generally make pretty crummy tools.

     
  2. AStone

    AStone Senior Member

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    The Hoodlum looks very interesting, Arf. Just watched a video about it. Cool concept.

    Thanks for pointing it out. It could take the place of an ax or machete in the kit.

    I totally agree.

    I don't see the short sword I'm seeking as that kind of tool, but as a fighting tool. (Yes, I agree, guns are better. But this one would fill a niche that a gun would not, under circumstances that I don't wish to discuss here.)

    I'd like to find something like a gladius, but a really short one, closer to 18", the length of my main SD tool, a simple stick.

    Cold Steel makes a gladius, but it's crude and too long.

    Seeking a shorter one.
     
  3. AStone

    AStone Senior Member

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    Earlier, I wrote:

    Let me explain, please.

    My favorite battle films are Braveheart, Gladiator and Apocalypto.
    (Matrix is in my top five also, but in a different way.)

    But if you want to grok what edged weapons can do -
    from knives to battle axes, arrows and swords short to long -
    then watch Ironclad repeatedly as I have done (two dozen times)
    pausing the action to study strikes, then practice them with sticks.

    Pay particular attention to the long sword
    that splits a man in half during the first castle battle.

    "CLEAR!!!!"

    Check.

    Swords.
     
  4. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    At what length do big knives qualify as short swords?
     
  5. AStone

    AStone Senior Member

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    Where's that 'like' button.

    Oh, right; it's not here.

    But we can do this anyway.

    How 'bout we define 'short sword' in this way.

    It's got a blade at least 3.6",
    but up to, what, 22"? 29"?

    Long swords seem to start at 36" and go up to 72" or so.

    So, we'll keep this short, and about what we have and what we want.

    Thoughts?
     
  6. AStone

    AStone Senior Member

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    I'd say somewhere around the length of that Hoodlum,
    or maybe as short as my Kabar fighter at 7".
     
  7. armoredman

    armoredman Senior Member

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    Ok, the only short sword I think I could reasonably use is the exact opposite of the gladius, as much as I admire the old Roman workhorse. The one that was the last civilian sword worn in public during the fading of the sword era, the Small Sword.

    http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=CS88SMS&name=Cold+Steel+Small+Sword

    Point only, stiff triangular spine, wish it came in black. :) My wife just saw this over my shoulder and said she'd kill me (figuratively), if I ordered that. Guns, yes, swords, no.
     
  8. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    The traditional definition of a short sword is something like longer than 12" but no longer than 24" ("something like" because you have to deal with various Asian and European/American measures). Think, blade lengths similar to arm lengths with "short" being forearm or elbow to fingertip.

    armoredman,

    You're thinking European. The Pacific, South Asian and even S. America still see what we'd recognize as swords in use. Parangs, barongs, machetes, ... I have an affection for short swords and have examples of wakizashis, parangs, bolos and other big knives/short swords that are devastating.

    The big problem with short swords, in addition to carrying something 18+inches long, is the price. A real weapon of that size breaks $100 immediately and goes up quickly. They must be balanced, quick, durable, hold an edge and not be subject to breakage. OTOH, you can easily use a machete for a short sword if you don't want to invest in all the characteristics of a weapon that would see hard use on the battlefield. There are plenty of solid agricultural blades out there that with little effort can be adapted to serve as short swords (but isn't that what so many of them start out as anyway).
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  9. AStone

    AStone Senior Member

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    That makes so much sense.
     
  10. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    t'aint rocket surgery.;)

    It's all about biomechanics and ergonomics (form follows function).
     
  11. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Senior Member

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  12. Gordon

    Gordon Senior Member

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    Here is the original 19" Mad Dog Saxon Sword made by Kevin McClung for himself as a proto type. 1/4" O1 Starret differentially hardened to 63 on the blade edge and around 54 at the spine and tip then industrial hard chromed. This one is not fancy nor signed as are all the other $3000 Saxons he has made. The handle is two handed although it can be swung one handed as the flat grinding of Kevin's really lightens it surprisingly. I had to trade some good kit to someone to get this. This sword has been thru hell from testing by numerous folks as a demo for years but Kevin resharpened it to hair popping and cleaned it up for me after I got it . It will cut a 100 plus pound goat in half if you swing it right, I know! The Busse AK47 is similar in size but won't pull off that feat IMHO.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Chindo18Z

    Chindo18Z Senior Member

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    [​IMG]

    The Gen2 Mainz Gladius above has a 20" blade...from Kult of Athena...$199.
    This sword is a modern interpretation of the classic Roman weapon...but arguably a better blade than was ever issued to the average Legionnaire. It's heavier than the historical weapon and very sharp. It will chop, stab, or slice through damn near anything. You could quite literally lop off a limb...tree or man.

    The smaller Czech short sword next to it is one I picked up in Prague from a guy who was making them with an anvil and forge.

    -------------------------------------

    Kult of Athena carries a wide selection of functional short swords from different ages...at generally the lowest prices to be found on-line. They have a good reputation among retailers of edged weaponry, armor, accessories, etc.:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=IP0232&name=Generation+2+Roman+Maintz+Gladius

    Review of the Gen2 Mainz Gladius: http://www.sword-buyers-guide.com/roman-swords.html

    From the same retailer are a pair of modern tactical blades from Hanwei (Katana...$169 and Wakizashi...$120). Next on my to-buy list...

    [​IMG]
    http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=SH2432&name=Hanwei+Tactical+Wakizashi

    [​IMG]
    http://www.kultofathena.com/product.asp?item=SH2462&name=Hanwei+Tactical+Katana

    Review of the Hanwei Tactical Swords:

    http://www.woodsmonkey.com/index.ph...-tactical-wakizashi&catid=34:knives&Itemid=55




    For something smaller and lighter, the KA-BAR Zombie Killer War Sword (which comes with a second set of more conservatively colored black scales)...$50:

    [​IMG]

    http://www.knifecenter.com/item/KA5701/ka-bar-zk-zombie-killer-knives-war
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
  14. kamagong

    kamagong Member

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    I have a Kris Cutlery Gladius. Strong and sharp, I'd hate to face the pointy end of one. But if I had to choose a blade in the short sword class, I'd pick my HI M43.

    [​IMG]

    The specs are as follows:
    - Weight 28 oz.
    - OAL 17 1/2"
    - Blade length 11 1/2" from cho to tip
    - Handle length ~ 5" from buttcap to bolster
    - Spine thickness 3/8"
    - Handle dimension at the first rivet (vertically and horizontally) 1 5/16" wide & 1 1/8" thick
    - Handle dimension at the second rivet (vertically and horizontally) 1 3/16" wide & 15/16" thick

    It's not nearly as quick as a dedicated short sword, but because I use it as a tool I am more familiar with its use than I probably would otherwise.
     
  15. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Member

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    I had a very nice Gen 2 Gladius that was very wicked. Too wicked, really. I knew I'd end up losing a digit to the thing with my track record. Plus it wasn't really all that practical. A machete is better for clearing brush and there are shorter, stouter single edged blades that do better on wood. I also found the grip to be simultaneously too wide and too short for my hand. With a Gladius your grip options are limited. But it would certainly work for defense, either slashing or stabbing.

    I may just not be a sword guy. An axe or spear suits me better.

    I like that small sword idea though. Back in the day those were a standard part of formal attire for diplomats and gentlemen. You can carry it while wearing fmall clothes and drinking fmall beer.
     
  16. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    check coldsteel.com
     
  17. lemaymiami

    lemaymiami Senior Member

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    Don't think I'd ever have a use for a "short sword". I can, however, think of lots of uses for a short, broad machete (the bolo machete comes to mind). I do keep two Forschner breaking knives for fish cleaning duties (a 10" and a much heavier scimitar with a 13 or 14" blade) that are nearly in the short sword category. Most of my knives are strictly working items and see some hard use from time to time. I do enjoy looking at the various collectibles, though....
     
  18. armoredman

    armoredman Senior Member

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    Cosmo, the Gladius was made for stabbing, not slashing, that was the main "thrust" of the Roman army, step, stab, etc., from what little research I did. Finest heavy infantry for the day. As for ax, the traditional bearded axe was the main weapon of peasants and royalty alike on several continents, and very functional.
    Gordon, very nice blade, no way would I pay $3000 for a weapon like that, not unless I won the lottery. :)
    hso, what would you suggest, then? I am not a swordsman par excellence, of course, no training, but a blade suitable for use in "emergencies" is always nice to have. That Tactical, (ugh, can we ever get away from that word?), Wakizashi from Kult of Athena looks interesting. BTW, love that website.
     
  19. Persev

    Persev New Member

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  20. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I'm not hso, but you can buy a decent Ontario machete for $20. Spend an hour or two to sharpen it up, use it frequently, and you'll be well on your way.

    John
     
  21. jdh

    jdh Member

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    A properly sharpened and heat treated GI issue machete will take off a leg with ease and is more easily explained away as a garden tool than a weapon.
     
  22. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Senior Member

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    The gladius was primarily used for thrusting attacks in traditional formation, but could also be used to slice tendons with undercuts and to hack off important body parts. The truth is there are scant few detailed descriptions of the Roman legion in battle. There are some descriptions of the *aftermath* of a legion's work, and these describe body parts lying all over. So it wasn't just formation stabbing. Particularly as the gladius evolved into something longer and more wasp-waisted.
     
  23. Owen Sparks

    Owen Sparks member

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    jdh said:
    Funny how history repeats itself.

    Weapons have usually been denied to commoners and reserved only to the oligarchy and their henchmen. When swords were illegal the peasants adapted common tools as weapons such as axes and other farm implements. Many traditional martial arts weapons look exotic and outlandish, NOT because it made them more effective, but because it made them legal. For example, the side handle police baton, the PR-24 is a direct descendant of the Okinawan tonfa which is an adaptation of a mill wheel handle which was legal for farmers to possess while swords and clubs were not.

    We are seeing the same pattern emerge here as the Second Amendment has been largely usurped by the courts.

    A prime example is the walking cane which is legal everywhere yet in trained hands it can be superior to practically anything that does not launch a projectile. There have been a number of posts about that. Shorter sticks can also be carried legally provided that they appear to serve some other function. The best way to carry a weapon in post-constitutional times is not concealed, but disguised. If I have to go into the city I often carry a two pice pool cue in a sheath slung over my shoulder like a scabbard. The small half is just a prop. The butt half is a weapon. I can draw that club and put it into action as fast as any sword yet like the Okinawan farmer, I am still within the paramaters of the law.
     
  24. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    You do realize that was a movie, right?

    Archeology digs have failed to turn up too many solders split in half by broadswords.

    rc
     
  25. blindhari

    blindhari Member

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    In general Romans fought in checkerboard formations almost like the squares. They succeeded because they stood shoulder to shoulder with protective shields. This gave them a man and a half to face one man. The legionnaire was trained to fight the man to his left, while the man to his right covered him. The best of all possible worlds was when the gladius, short sword, could be inserted in his opponent's armpit, hard to armor and uncovered when the right arm of the opponent was raised to strike. This is why the gladius was sized as a short sword. Behind the first row, the second rank generally held on to one of 3 pilum spears that were thrust over and through gaps in the first rank to hold off opponents until they could be chopped up by the first rank. At the time and place of Roman legions a gladius in your armpit was almost universally lethal. A short sword in medieval times was used as a main-gauche to block the opponent's blade. Since gun powder a short sword has almost universally been relegated to use in very confined areas such as action at sea. If all things are equal, training etc.., a walking staff or cane will overcome a short sword. Don't take my word on this, ask any Irish, Filipino,Thai, Chinese, or qualified martial arts instructor.
     

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