Hanwei Hand-cup Shield (Buckler)
Original: Renaissance Europe
The buckler was a common shield held in the fist, used by both civilians and in the military alike. It was handy because it could be hung from the belt and out of the way while not fighting or while using another primary weapon such as a pike or bow. When it was time for the sword, the buckler could be drawn as well and would have provided a good defense in the hands of a skilled user. There were a large variety of styles of bucklers, varying in shape and size. Very small bucklers, barely larger than the fist, were sometimes employed. Such small shields stayed out of the way when worn, and their size could easily allow a number of grappling techniques to be employed where larger bucklers would only hinder.
Hanwei has reproduced this small buckler and it has served as a very inexpensive but well made piece for my sword and buckler training. Using such a small buckler really forces the practitioner to rely on proper form rather than tricks, as there is less margin for error. The buckler is attractive and comes with a leather thong with which it could be tied to a belt. The finish is slightly odd looking, as if coated with some sort of protective agent that also doubles to make it look slightly aged. Hanwei often does this with the stainless steel hilts of their swords as well.