There are so many people out there with the misconception of what battle-ready really means. In simple words, a battle ready sword is forged in the same manner as they were in history, and these can be used as a real weapon, as well as a decorative display piece.
However, even if a sword is called battle-ready, it does not mean that it can take the abuse one want to dish out on it! Just be careful there mate! With so many online stores and merchants, there is no knowing if what you are buying is a true battle ready sword or just a spoof. Hence, before you go around throwing away your hard earned money on a so-called “battle ready” sword, you need to know a few things.
If you do not understand few of these matters, you will not be able to differentiate the functional swords from a spoof. So let’s get down to business!
Steel & Tempering
You must have seen those really shiny and gleaming swords online, those are usually made from stainless steel. But be warned, anything made from stainless steel is not a real sword, but just a decorative one.
Even if a stainless steel sword takes less maintenance, they are fragile and break easily. Hence, not strong enough to take the harsh treatment the swords used to take in the middle ages.
Here is the deal, real swords are made from Carbon Steel. The most common battle ready swords forged from carbon steel are made from AISI 10xx and AISI 5160.
- The AISI 10xx is a great choice for swords, especially the Japanese Swords. It contains iron, carbon, and manganese. The last two digits of this category tell the percentage of carbon present in it.
- The AISI 5160 is considered to the best material for swords. It contains low chromium and silicon content, which helps the sword in being much stronger and durable.
Moreover, you will find other types of carbon steels, tool steels, and others. But the ones mentioned above are the most common.
But there is one other crucial part of sword forgery, carbon steel alone does not make a battle ready sword exceptional. For the battle ready sword to be functional it needs to heat treated.
Why does it need to be heat treated? To attain the balance between the hardness and the toughness of the blade. A soft blade means splitting of the blade, and a very hard blade means brittle. Hence, the balancing of a blade through heat treatment is important.
You will come across many sword sellers who claim the sword to be of great quality, but they fail to mention if the blade has been heat-treated. This is probably because the people selling them believe that having high carbon steel is enough to deem a sword as battle-ready. In such case, it’s better if you get yourself a stainless steel sword!
Hilt & Tang
The weakest point of a sword is its handle, and a sword is said to be strong just as much as its weakest point. Especially the tang of the blade and its attachment to the handle.
The commonly used term, “full tang” is quite misleading. Because the real meaning behind the term is having two halves of a handle sandwiching the blade’s tang. However, people usually think of it as a tang that is forged as part of the sword.
You will find Japanese swords encased as partial tang in the handle with one or two pegs. However, half tang and rat-tail tangs are easily breakable whenever the swords are swung around with force. Additionally, push tangs are prone towards flying right out of the handle. Now, we wouldn’t want a blade flying through the air like a missile!
While you are purchasing your battle ready sword, you’ll be able to clearly see the tang of the sword. However, mostly the tang of the sword is hidden in the handle and not clearly seen in the picture.
Hence, the best advice is to buy your battle ready sword from a trusted retailer or see if the description clearly stated the tang type.
The Yin and Yang of the Battle-Ready Sword…
The four qualities of a battle ready sword defined here are the essential halves that make up a complete, functional battle ready sword. Even though these four qualities do not guarantee a perfect battle ready sword; however, they will help you in weeding out the bad ones.