Arms & Armor Smallsword
A hands-on review by Stephen Fisher
The smallsword was as elegant as it was deadly. This smallsword that Arms & Armor chose to replicate is based upon an original c.1715-1730, located in The Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The hilt of this smallsword is typical of those found during the first quarter of the 18th century, they can be characterized by their large, rounded, pas d' ane (finger rings) and plain decoration of the hilt. This is a great example of a functional smallsword that is made to withstand a lot of use.
Measurements and Specifications:
Replica created by Arms & Armor of Minnesota
The Arms & Armor smallsword handles just as well as its antique counterparts. Weighing in at a little less than a pound, it is very lively in the hand. The grip is square in shape, as preferred by many fencing masters of the day, and tapers towards the pommel making for a comfortable and secure grip.
Fit and Finish
This piece is nearly perfect. The steel hilt is polished to a satin finish, and while being very plain in appearance, is very pleasing to the eye. The wire-wrapped grip features two strands of straight followed by two strand of twisted wire, all of which have been tightly wound. A pommel nut over the tang holds the construction together tightly and is then peened for added security. The blade, which is known as a double-wide epee blade (a.k.a. musketeer), is triangular in cross-section and is based upon the thinner blades which are commonly found on late 18th century smallswords. The French forge, Blaise Freres, makes it for Triplette Competition Arms. Arms & Armor has shortened the blade to conform to the original and then rounded off the point making it blunt.
All in all, this is the best reproduction of a smallsword that I have yet come across. I purchased this sword for $320 US; this was before Arms & Armor had their last price increase. Even at the current price, it is a good value. You would be hard pressed to find a functional replica anywhere else that would parallel the quality of this piece without going for custom work.
About the Author
Stephen Fisher is a member of the Army National Guard and is an assistant sport fencing instructor and student at Western Kentucky University. His interest in edged weapons stemmed from watching one too many swashbuckling movies years ago. It has since grown into a serious study of swords and their use. He is a collector of both reproduction and antique swords ranging from the 17th to late 19th century.
Photographer: Stephen Fisher