Real swords are made of Carbon Steel.
These are NOT the swords that hang as a trophy on your wall, forgotten and gathering dust until you have someone over and you’ve run out of any other conversation topics. These are swords that are forged, battle-ready, and won’t shatter into pieces if you hit the blade against another blade. (Because that would be unfortunate, and probably result in a few band-aids.)
Though we advocate for use of Carbon Steel swords in general, it is a necessity in the Sawtooth Renaissance Players’ sword-fighting troupe, The Royal Dragoons. The reason behind this is fairly simple: Stainless Steel swords, though shiny and cheap, will result in injury and were NOT built for combat, whether choreographed or not. They are about as useful in battle as a sharpened stick.
If you are shopping around elsewhere and aren’t sure whether the sword you found is allowable, check the description for things like “Carbon Steel”, “Battle-Ready”, “Functional Swords”, and the like. Yes, everyone loves Legolas’s twin blades from Lord of the Rings, but unless you can find carbon steel versions, you’re out of luck. Check twice. Then check again. If you STILL aren’t sure, send us an email with a link to your confusing blade and we’ll check it out for you. FYI: The Royal Dragoons usually fight with rapiers, though other swords are acceptable too.
Another thing to watch for is whether the blade is sharpened or not. Though a sharp blade is good for fending off burglars in your house, it isn’t good for combat. Always get unsharpened blades. This is usually the default wherever you go, but keep an eye out for it just in case.
Below is a list of sites with a good array of swords for the choosing, to help you get started.
Each site belongs to its respective owner, and not to us.
Dark Knight Armory is a HUGE site filled with more than just swords. You can find practically anything there. The prices are also very reasonable, with great sales popping up every now and then.
The swords at Strongblade.com are affordable above all else. The Swept Hilt Rapier, which is the favorite sword style of the Royal Dragoons, is only $89. However, with cheap prices usually comes lesser quality, so it’s a gamble, and out-of-stock swords are frequent.
Museum Replicas (.com) is a site that pays a lot of attention to ensuring the accuracy of the time period. It has a great selection, but can get pricey. Sales also are great finds here, and they have nice subcategories for the type of blade you’re looking for.
SwordsSwords.com is another great place to find blades, though they have multiple sections to browse through and a larger selection of Japanese swords than anything else. Take extra care to check descriptions if you want to wander around here. Prices are pretty good, sales are better! A good place to get sword accessories as well.
These guys are serious about their stuff. Though the brand is better known for their knives (hence the picture above), they also have a good selection of hand-forged longer blades. They test their swords for battle readiness, and have videos to prove it, which is nice. You DO pay for the quality in this case, though, and cold steel swords are pretty spendy. Their customer service is great.
Darkwood Armory is another alternative. There’s less of a selection but the blades are all high-quality, and have length options as well as options for the steel itself. It’s safer to go with the bated blade for the little bit of extra cost, if you’re already going to spend the money.The other equipment and kits are also of good quality. Also, you can order for left or right hands!!!