Hanwei Antiqued Gustav Rapier
Original: First half of 16th century
Hanwei has copied this rapier's design from the sword carried by King Gustav II Adolf. I purchased this mostly out of curiosity and with the intention of replacing the blade with a flexible fencing one if I did not like it. The rapier is offered in an antiqued version as well as a standard finish. I purchased the antique version just to see how well it looked.
For its price, Hanwei has produced a decent looking sword, though the antiquing process that they use is very poor. It is some sort of coating that looks more like some form of chunky matte spray paint.
In terms of handling, this is a very strange sword. Hanwei did a nice job of keeping this sword lightweight and balanced, but its balance ended up being wrong for this type of sword. This does not feel at all like a 16th or early 17th century rapier, but instead feels like a 19th century Italian-gripped epee. It is too light to feel comfortable with the standard single-time fencing actions of a rapier, but feels great for the parry-riposte actions of later dueling swords. I fear that Hanwei did this on purpose due to the fact that many of their customers would be ignorant of this fact, and would actually expect rapiers to feel like fencing foils due to popular myth.
Nonetheless, I did turn this sword into a fencing blade that I could use as a loaner sword for beginning students, because I can never have too many of those. I didn't even have to replace the blade: The standard blade is shockingly flexible, to the point that it bends as easily as a modern sport-fencing weapon. It is far too flexible for a Renaissance duelist, but after a good filing and the addition of a rubber blunt over the tip it became perfect for a fencing tool.
Has a matching parrying dagger
See our hands-on review
for more information on this sword.
Overall length: 45.5"
Weight: 2.25 pounds
Width of guard: 8"
Blade: 39" long (including ricasso); .75" wide tapering to .375"
Grip length: 3.375"
Point of Balance (PoB): .5" from guard
Center of Percussion (CoP): ~26" from guard
Maker: CAS Iberia / Hanwei