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Kolin Roberts

Location: Florida
Joined: 09 Nov 2011

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2011 8:32 am    Post subject: Review: Hanwei Practical Rapier 43"         Reply with quote

Hey there,

I wanted to say I've been a big fan of this site for quite a little while now, and I wanted to join in the conversations and topics, but never really did get around to it. But I have signed up, and for my first post a review. Please redirect this topic if it is not in the correct area. I am sorry if it is not.

Please note the following is a draft, if anyone has comments, additions or corrections, I am more than happy to add, subtract or edit this. I had also searched to see if there was a review of this item as well, and could not find one.

I will be posting pictures hopefully tomorrow or over the weekend. I hope this pleases you all.

Hanwei/CAS Practical Rapier (43 inch)
Iíve been practicing western martial arts now for a little while, mostly longsword and dussack, and wanted to continue practicing at home. I was able to get a copy of Meyers book, and while I was at it, a copy of Capoferroís manual as well. I had not really practiced rapier at all, so I figured it would be a good thing to just kind of dive right in. I started looking around for a good entry rapier, and several sites kept bringing up the Hanwei rapier. For the sub 100 dollar range I took it without much extra thought. A week later itís finally at my doorstep, and Iím quite happy with it. However it is not perfect, and as this is my first review I want to be as objective as possible. So wish me luck, as well as the sword.

Looking at the style, length and weight, it seems to fit into Capoferroís plates just about right. It seems it would feel at home at the turn of the 1600ís, but Iím not that much of a historian. I also cannot classifly the typology of the rapier, so I cannot state if this model has any historical merit or not. What this rapier is however, is a trainer, button tipped and dull for practice. Due to the button tip it comes with no sheath, though I may make one for it later.

Overall Length: 49 1/4 In Blade: 43 In
Weight: 2 lb 7.6 oz
P.O.B.: 2 1/4''
Thickness: 5.3 mm - 3 mm
Width: 24.8 mm
Grip Length: 4''
Pommel: Threaded

Handling Characteristics

At two and half pounds the sword is well balanced. There only slight moments when you feel the weight of the sword through disengages and actions. After the second day of practice, Iíve gotten used to this and hardly notice it.
The blade is fairly floppy, as Hanwei seems to do this with trainers, putting safety at the top of their list. It is floppy enough however that at point, there is an obvious sag in the blade perhaps a little less than an inch at the tip in mine. But at 43 inches in length this should be expected I suppose.
Practicing through the Capoferro plates seem to not be as much of an issue with the sword, it is light and able. Through the thrust, the sword glides with little trouble to where you want it to go, though you may have to aim a tad higher than you may be used to. Iím not sure if it is the sword or my own inexperience, however the tip seems to want to pierce lower than what Iím aiming for.
The thrust is harmless, both me and my partner were only wearing sweaters and our masks I put the rapier through the rounds (we had just moved so I could not find the rest of our gear) The thrust is felt but there isnít any sting unlike the Hanwei Side Sword which I wish was a tad more flexible.
The guard however is where things fall apart. Simply put, it is far too big. It should only be half the size as what it is. If you do buy this, please wear some form of padded or lacrosse gloves. The second spar or so my friendís sword slipped right into the guard without trouble. In fact, it makes a fairly good target.
The handle provides good grip, a wire wrap over wood. I had heard some complaints that the grip was made of plastic. This is first thing I checked on mine, it is wood. I had heard the same issue for the side sword as well, but once again, a wooden handle. Perhaps I have later models than the others, as this issue seems to have been cleared up.
The pommel balances the sword fairly. It could do to be a tad heavier. Either it be a larger pommel (not such a bad thing as it would help secure the grip I feel,) or get rid of the fluting.

Fit and Finish
When I look at it, I feel as if Hanwei is trying to hard with this rapier. The pommel is heavily fluted, the grip is dual wire wrapped, the swept hilt design all look great, on their own. When looking at the finished rapier I find there is something missing, definition. It may be my preference for a leather wrapped handle, but I feel I would have preferred it on a training blade.
The swept hilt while nice is plainÖ and large. I myself have fairly large hands and find it to be far too big. For reasons stated previously I practice with lacrosse gloves, they fit fine inside the guard with room needed. This may be in fact what it was intended for, but we could have gotten something half the size with no problems.
The rest of the pieces fit together with no issue. I have had no issue with rattling or the pommel coming loose during practice, even after having taken it apart and putting it back together.

For the sub 100 dollar price range, it is a nice practice weapon. It certainly is no competitor to the higher end custom swords and rapier or A&A, ATrim, and the like, but for a beater, and a cheap one at that, it will do.

I will say I am as objective as I can be for the review, but of my own personal feelings, I love this trainer. For the price you really canít go wrong to just pick one up and have it.
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Lee O'Hagan

Location: Northamptonshire,England
Joined: 30 Sep 2003
Likes: 6 pages

Posts: 529

PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Kolin,
Welcome to MA,officially,lol,
Excellent first post,
being one of those without a rapier or too much experience of the specific type compared to others,very informative,thankyou,
one to keep an eye out for,
more so at the price point,hard to go wrong at the price,
look forward to the pics.
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Kolin Roberts

Location: Florida
Joined: 09 Nov 2011

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Lee, glad to see it's informative. I'll have some pics up, but sadly I don't have a light box or a decent camera. I'll be posting them up soon though.

A few new notes for the rapier however.

I will be seeing what I can do with the tip, either putting something over it, or having to wear more padding, this evening I gave my partner a fairly good cut on his arm when I went in for a thrust, the tip skidded up his arm leaving a U shaped cut and a fairly large bruise. These are of course the normal risks we take, but still a little sad to see the damage made by it.

Had a few more incidences with the opposing blade tip entering the guard, once again requiring padded gloves, I have good pictures of the size. I may be seeing if I cant put leather into the swept hilt to better guard against this.
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Kolin Roberts

Location: Florida
Joined: 09 Nov 2011

Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu 10 Nov, 2011 7:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ok so here are some of the pictures, I will have more soon.

 Attachment: 117.13 KB
The rapier hilt of the right side. [ Download ]

 Attachment: 121.07 KB
Rapier hilt of the left side. [ Download ]

 Attachment: 110.5 KB
You can see the size left in the guard, but not nearly as much as the top view. [ Download ]

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And you can see with the lacrosse glove, the guard still has ample room. [ Download ]

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From the top you can see the space leaves ample room for a blade tip to slip through [ Download ]

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Same view from the top but with the glove. [ Download ]
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