Thursday, 20 January 2011

By Paul Southren

You'd think that the term "battle ready sword" would be pretty much self explanatory wouldn't you?
Unfortunately, many of the swords being described as "battle ready" are anything but. And to quote Adrian Ko from Sword Forum International, "a lot of these swords I wouldn't want to take into battle even if they were strapped to a M-16. And even then I'd be worried!"

Don't let that put you off though. You'll find that there are actually some pretty good swords to be found in this broad category, IF you know what to look for.

The first thing you need to look for in a truly "functional" sword is the type of steel it is made from. To keep it simple, 99% of all real battle ready swords are made from properly heat treated high carbon steel.

Stainless steel swords are a big no no. Why? Well basically, stainless steel is great for making knives. But any stainless steel blade over 12" in length tends to become brittle, which is clearly not the kind of thing you want for a "battle ready sword." So steer well away from sales pitches that describe "fully functional stainless steel blade"!
There really is no such thing...
The second thing to look out for is the swords handle, or more specifically the tang (the bit of metal which attaches the sword to the handle).

Most cheap "wall hanger" swords have what is known as a rat tail tang, in other words the tang is just a thin bit of metal welded to the sword blade. Rat tail tangs are a major cause of a sword breaking when swung through the air, and can be extremely dangerous, creating what sword enthusiasts refer to as a "helicopter". (very scary stuff when this happens, trust me!)

What you should be looking for is a sword that has a "full tang", in other words a tang that has been forged as part of the sword, not tacked on afterwards...

Finally, it's also important to consider a swords overall weight and balance.

Contrary to popular belief, a heavy sword is NOT a good sword. Historically, nearly all swords weighed under 3lbs, and this was because to reach maximum speed and deliver the most powerful blow, they needed to be relatively light and well balanced. So swords over 3lbs should be viewed with a very cautious and suspicious eye.

Of course, it's not always possible to see immediately in a swords description if it has all these essential characteristics. So if you see a sword being described as "battle ready" or functional, but aren't sure if it really has all the above characteristics - either ASK the seller what kind of steel the sword is made from, how it has been heat treated, what kind of tang it has or how much it weighs, or look for another listing that does.

Otherwise, you'll probably end up with a sword that snaps in half the first time you swing it really hard, or worse still, shatters into shards of steel when you try and hack up a cardboard box...

For more information on choosing a good battle ready sword, as well as some easy ways to find them, including reviews and tests of some of the most affordable yet high quality blades on the market, check out my website

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Buying Your First Sword - Tips and Suggestions

By Dirk Mathers

If you've always had an intense desire to own your own sword, you're not alone. Many people share your interest and spend thousands of dollars on their huge sword collections. Sword collecting is a popular and fun hobby, but if you're new to the game, there are definitely some things you should take into consideration before plunking down a huge wad of cash on your first sword. You'll want to find the perfect sword, so it's incredibly important think about function, quality and style.

There are three main types of swords on the market: decorative, battle-ready and combat. Decorative swords are exactly that, decorative. They often offer great intricate details, but they are not intended for actual use. If you're looking for a beautiful sword to display in your home, then a decorative sword may be perfect for you. In general, these swords range in price from as low as $10 to upwards of $300. If you are looking to use your sword for more than just decoration, you might want to consider purchasing a battle-ready sword. They are great for battle reenactments or just messing around with your friends. Similar to decorative swords, they offer plenty of intricate details, but they are usually made from carbon steel.

These swords start at about $100. While battle-ready swords are a great combination of style and function, they are still prone to damage if used frequently. If you are less concerned with aesthetics and are looking for a more durable weapon, then you'll want to consider a combat sword. These swords often appear cruder and thus are less visually appealing, however they are much thicker and heavier than your typical battle-ready sword. They are made to endure the wear and tear of frequent usage. They also start at about $100.
Once you've decided on the type of sword you want to add to your collection, you should take quality and style into account. When it comes to quality, price really matters.

You shouldn't be surprised to hear that the more you spend, the higher quality sword it will be. More money means that more time and better materials have been put into the sword's construction, so don't be cheap. Define your budget, then shop around and compare prices so that you know you're getting the best possible deal. As far as style is concerned, your options are really endless. There are swords to fit everyone's interests, whether it be anime or medieval.

Do plenty of research so that your first sword will reflect your personal interests. If you follow these tips, you're sure to have a great collection in now time.
Find a whole slew of perfect swords for you at

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Traditional Making of a Samurai Sword