Equipment Recommendations

 

One question I get asked a lot is where to buy a sword from. It’s difficult to answer usefully, because I’ve had most of my swords for a long time, and as a professional I can justify getting the best. I am also often offered discounts etc. because if I'm using a particular sword in one of my books or videos, others are likely to buy it. Location also matters; the shipping and import duties can make a cheap option on one continent not cheap at all on another. All this to say- just because I use it, doesn't mean it's necessarily the best option for you. Most of my students have significant budget concerns and also can’t write the purchase off against tax.

If you would like to make a recommendation, or let us know about a negative experience with one of the listed suppliers, please use this form: https://forms.gle/8VVes1WsJJG8pWXa8 This page is intended as a continually updatable work in progress. I look forward to adding new options as my students recommend them to me.

Where I have personal experience of dealing with the supplier, I’ll note it. I welcome recommendations from satisfied sword buyers, but am not interested in hearing from manufacturers, and it is not possible to advertise on this page. To be useful, this has to be completely impartial. The purpose of this page is as a reference resource, not to sell gear, which is why it's not filled up with fancy images etc.

 

Swords

If you are wondering about how to choose a sword, then my short book on the subject may be helpful. You can get it by signing up to my mailing list, below. (It's perfectly ok to immediately unsubscribe if you want to!)

Rapiers

USA:

My own training rapier is from Arms and Armor, their “French hilt” on a training blade. https://www.arms-n-armor.com/collections/training-collection/products/training-rapier-1

Darkwood Armory has provided most of my School’s training rapiers and sideswords for many years. https://rapiers.darkwoodarmory.com/

Europe:

Pike Armory comes highly recommended by my students for budget rapiers. https://www.pikearmory.com/catalog/rapiry/

Medieval Swords

USA:

I have been using an Arms and Armor fechterspiele as my longsword trainer for well over a decade, and it’s still going strong: https://www.arms-n-armor.com/collections/training-collection/products/fechterspiel-sword

Albion Swords: several of my students have used their training swords, and they are very good. https://www.albion-swords.com/

Europe:

My arming sword of choice comes from Malleus Martialis. It’s gorgeous. https://www.malleusmartialis.com/ (you can see an unboxing video of it here: https://vimeo.com/663627397)

Peter Regenyi has provided most of the training longswords (and feders) for my School for a very long time. https://regenyei.com/swords/longswords/

Pavel Moc makes excellent longswords (I haven't used his other swords yet). https://web.swords.cz/swords_en.html#products_1H5

Sharps:

USA:

Designed by Peter Johnsson, and made to the highest standard, Albion Swords make amazing blades. I have one of their longswords (the Agincourt). https://www.albion-swords.com/

Angus Trim has been designing and making superb swords for a long time; I have several. He is no longer selling them directly, but you can sometimes snag one through Kult of Athena.

My sharp rapier comes from Arms and Armor: https://www.arms-n-armor.com/

Custom-Made swords

JT Pälikkö makes astonishingly gorgeous knives and swords. Apart from an incredible Swiss Sabre, he tends to focus on pre-1500 styles, especially Viking and Migration-era swords. https://www.kp-art.fi/jt/index_eng.html

 

Other training gear

Such as non-steel swords, protective gear, etc. Please note: I don't personally engage with the modern tournament scene, and I absolutely do not recommend using a “heavy weapons” or any other kind of adapted sports fencing mask from any supplier for freeplay with longswords or similar weapons.  The ONLY mask I do recommend for longsword fencing is the Terry Tindill mask mentioned below.

I also absolutely do not recommend plastic gauntlets from any supplier- they almost invariably interfere with your grip, and offer either inadequate protection or excessive bulk, or both. This extends to the various hi-tech options too. Hand protection from sword blows was a solved problem five hundred years ago, and I've yet to see an improvement on well made steel gauntlets. If your club or an event you want to attend insists on them, then you may have to get a pair, in which case any supplier mentioned below that stocks them is probably a good choice.

USA:

Raven Studios: handmade wasters from Carina Cirrincione; http://www.little-raven.com/

Purpleheart Armoury rock-solid wasters and other training gear: https://www.woodenswords.com/

Terry Tindill-style fencing masks: these are the ONLY fencing masks I use for sparring etc. as they have a proper suspension system. You only have one head. Get the full upgrade, and I’d recommend the stainless steel as you’ll sweat a lot. You can find them here: https://horsebows.com/fencing-masks.php

Triplette Competition Arms: I’ve been using only Triplette “Tunic style” jackets since 2001, and they have provided dozens, maybe hundreds, of jackets, masks, and gloves to my school over the years, through their Zen Warrior Armory brand: https://www.zenwarriorarmory.com/product/tunic-style-fencing-jacket/ Note, I don’t currently recommend their rapiers for historical martial arts use.

For period-style gear, especially gambesons and wrestling jackets, Revival Clothing are excellent: https://revivalclothing.com/product-category/all-products/hema-wear/

Europe:

Leon Paul produce excellent modern fencing gear, such as fencing masks and gloves. I haven't used any of their “HEMA” gear, so don't know how good it may be. Their website has multiple country options, so you can probably find a local-ish one. https://www.leonpaul.com/

France: Black Armoury: https://www.blackarmoury.com/en/

UK: The Knight Shop: https://www.theknightshop.com/

My gauntlets come from Jiri Krondak of Fabri Armorum in the Czech Republic. I've had them about 15 years now, so can only hope he's still making them so well! The closest model to mine that he currently offers is his “fingered gauntlet long”. https://www.fabri-armorum.com/en/c/gauntlets/

Many of my students use and recommend Spes for padded fencing jackets, and some have gone for fully customised options: http://histfenc.com/categorylist/hema-gear/torso

Something missing? If there's a supplier you'd like to recommend, or you have a negative experience to report regarding one of the suppliers above, please let me know using the form: https://forms.gle/8VVes1WsJJG8pWXa8

You may also find these blog posts helpful:

The Tools of my Trade

Improvised Training Tools