Weapons and Equipment

Please thoroughly study these guidelines in relation to safety kit and acceptable weapons for use in the AHF.

All training equipment and training weapons are to be purchased and owned by club members. The instructors will loan training weapons out to get you started, but it is your responsibility to acquire the suitable equipment as laid out in this guide as quickly as possible. No equipment is required for your first session, but after this you should quickly acquire a fencing mask and begin to get the rest of the minimum required equipment as and when it is possible. You are responsible for the equipment you are wearing, and the training weapons you are using, and must ensure they are safe and in good condition at all times to prevent injury to yourself and others.

Historical Fencing is an ever-growing hobby, and new products and manufacturers regularly appear. This guide is not an exhaustive list or limit on what is available to use at the club. If you have any questions or require any additional advice, please contact the instructors by email via the website, on Facebook (as individuals or through the AHF public page or members group) or talk to us in person at the sessions. All AHF members are eligible for a club discount on Red Dragon products, please contact us to find out how to get this discount.

The first things you should purchase are –

  • Fencing mask with back of head protector or overlay.
  • Red Dragon HEMA Sparring Gloves
  • HEMA Fencing Jacket
  • Elbow/Forearm Guards

Training Weapons

At the AHF there are three levels of training swords and sparring. For light contact foam weapons are used and require the least level of safety equipment. Synthetic swords are the most common training swords at the AHF for beginners and intermediate level fencers. Steel training swords are optional but highly recommended. Foam training swords are usually used with beginners (and loaned to newcomers by the instructors), or those looking for sparring with light to minimal gear. As we practice with a wide range of weapons and styles at the AHF, you may well find yourself wanting several different sword types, though certain models will be useful for a wide range of training, speak to the instructors about this.

Any new weapons brought into the club must be checked, inspected and approved by the instructors before use.

Level 1 – Foam/padded training swords

This is where beginners start, but foam weapons find many other uses in the AHF. They can be used on hot days, or for those looking for lighter gear for sparring. These require only a mask and we would recommend light gloves like gardening gloves or similar to prevent abrasions. Foam weapons allow full involvement in training and sparring and are also great for small group and melee sparring.

Level 2 – Synthetic Training Swords

Black Fencer synthetic training swords are recommended, but due to varying flexibility and weight of the blades of different models, extra care for striking power should be given to certain models. This is an extensive range and most of it can regularly be used in AHF training practices. Please ask for advice before purchasing. Knightshop synthetics are also permitted in the club, but Black Fencer are generally preferred.

Level 3 – Steel Training Swords

Steel weapons are the ultimate aim for fencers in the AHF, though it may take some time until you’re ready to fully participate. Training weapons are constructed specifically for historical fencing. Re-enactment weapons are generally not suitable due to lack of safe flex, safe tips, and incorrect weights.

Below is a list of recommended sword manufacturers. Not every model that each of them sell is well suited to our practice. Please ask for advice and recommendations on individual models. There are also many other suppliers with good products. All steel swords most be blunt, rust and burr free, and with suitable tip (rolled, fluted, or blunt and covered with a cap, such as Black Fencer rubber cap or bullet casing for rapiers) Level 3 is optional, but recommended for all AHF members due to the realism it affords, albeit it at the cost of more protective gear and training swords.

  • Kvetun Armoury
  • Black Fencer
  • Regenyei Armoury
  • Malleus Martialis
  • Sigi Forge
  • Historical Fencing Armoury
  • Krieger Historical Weapons
  • Poker Armoury
  • Kraken Swords
  • Castille Armoury

Special weapons – Polearms

Polearms can be especially dangerous due to their long reach, and high hitting power. We allow only certain polearms to be used, and even then under carefully controlled fights. All polearms with head/tips must be fitted with a flexible head of no less than 6 inches/15cm of flexible material and only strikes with the flexible heads will be counted and allowed. The only exception to this is staffs, in which case only gentle taps with the tips will be allowed. Staffs must be of a flexible material such as rattan. Hardwood staffs are for drill only.

Protective Equipment for Sparring

With Padded/foam Swords

  • Fencing Mask – from a reputable manufacturer (see below)

With Synthetic/Steel Swords

  • Fencing Mask with back of the head protector.
  • HEMA fencing jacket.
  • Suitable gloves depending on weapon/guard type
  • Rigid Knee and Elbow protection (for anything heavier than rapier).
  • Throat protector

Additional Recommended Protective Equipment

  • Groin guard
  • Shin/forearm guards
  • Plastic chest protector
  • HEMA fencing breeches

Equipment Recommendations

The following equipment has been found to be the most useful to our training. However, this protective equipment is not a guarantee against injury, and must be used appropriately and with care for contact levels and your training partners.

Fencing Masks

  • Red Dragon HEMA Fencing Mask
  • Leon Paul Club Mask
  • Leon Paul Titan X-Change HEMA Mask
  • Rearguard Mask
  • Garjadoni
  • Wukusi Cobra Mask

Back of the head protector/Overlay

  • SPES Vectir, Unity or Trinity.
  • Red Dragon Full or leather Overlay
  • Superior Fencing SF HEMA Full Fencing Mask Overlay

HEMA fencing jacket

  • SPES AP 350N
  • SPES AP Light 350N
  • SPES AP Light NG 800N
  • Red Dragon HEMA Sparring Jacket
  • Red Dragon HEMA Light Sparring Jacket
  • Superior Fencing SF Thermo Ventilation HEMA Jacket 800N
  • Superior Fencing SF Angelo Jacket 800N
  • Superior Fencing SF Mercenary Jacket 350N

 Suitable gloves depending on weapon/guard type

Suitable gloves must be worn on both hands when sparring. Sometimes this means different glove types for certain combinations of weapons, such as a light glove for rapier, and a medium glove for the dagger that is paired with it, or even if no secondary weapon is used,

Light Gloves (for basket hilts, rapier and similar)

  • Any Sport Fencing or HEMA light glove
  • Leather police riot gloves
  • Any leather glove with long cuff (to overlap jacket sleeve)

Medium Gloves (for most synthetic sparring hilts, & steel complex hilts)

  • Red Dragon with SPES or similar tip protectors in at least little finger and thumb.
  • HFA Firestone gloves

Heavy Gloves (for steel sparring weapons)

  • “Sparring Glove” Mittens or Special models.
  • SPES lobster HEMA heavy gloves
  • HFA Black Knight Mittens
  • Kvetun Mittens
  • Thokk Weaponmaster
  • Superior Fencing Impact Resistant Gloves
  • Progauntlet

Rigid Knee and Elbow protection (for anything heavier than rapier)

  • SPES shell knee protectors (if using breeches)
  • Red Dragon HEMA knee protectors (if using breeches)
  • Red Dragon Knee and shin protectors

Throat protector

  • Destroyer Modz Roughneck gorget
  • Red Dragon gorget
  • Superior Fencing gorget

Additional Recommended Protective Equipment

Groin guard

  • Any martial arts/sport or HEMA groin protector

Shin/forearm guards

  • SPES Vectir forearm and elbow protectors
  • Red Dragon Forearm and Elbow protectors
  • SPES light forearm protectors, with shell elbow caps
  • Police riot forearm/elbow guards

Plastic chest protector

  • Leon Paul Econoguard or Masterguard chest protector, or equivalents from PBT, Allstar etc.

HEMA fencing breeches

  • Spes Locust Fencing Pants
  • Red Dragon HEMA Sparring Pants
  • Superior Fencing SF Hema Pants
  • Superior Fencing Pluderhose Pants

Shin Guards

  • Adidas Lux Shin Guards (If using Breeches/Socks)
  • Red Dragon Knee and shin protectors
  • Socks are recommended when wearing breeches to ensure skin is covered