Kingston Arms Atrim Designed Type XIV Arming Sword
IN STOCK & ON SPECIAL ALL NOVEMBER
Ultra Durable 9260 Spring Steel Blade designed and approved by none other than the legendary Gus Trim. MSRP $499
The second in a series of performance oriented swords designed by Gus Trim and produced by Kingston Arms, this early 13th Century style arming sword has a very slight forward balance... making it quick in the hand and devastating in the cut.
Based on Oakeshott's Type XIV specification these swords were used in the 13th to early 14th Century in that transitional period from mail armor to the full on plate worn in the 15th Century. This sword is therefore more cut oriented than later period swords with a more acute point than earlier examples. This melding of cut and thrust ability coincides perfectly with use of the sword and shield or buckler of the time.
Atrim Design Swords
We spent a lot of time discussing with Gus his methodology for developing what he would call a "performance-oriented" sword. Without getting too deep into it Gus, along with Tinker Pearce, was one of the pioneering sword makers to incorporate the notion of harmonic balance into his sword designs. Informed by historical examples and his own experimentation Gus has been making swords for decades now that seem to float in your hand. For this sword Gus left the aesthetics and materials up to us, it was the design (weight, balance, taper, harmonics) we had to get right. It took several rounds of samples (not to mention a botched first run) but we finally nailed it.
Not satisfied with just getting the design right we wanted to push it farther. We had the fundamentals down but chose to take the materials and fit and finish a step ahead. The blade is hand forged mono-tempered 9260 spring steel, flat ground with a handsome satin finish. The fittings are high quality stainless steel exactly matching Gus's design. The grip is a solid wood core, cord-wrapped for strength with a textured leather over-wrap. The scabbard is a solid wood core, with stainless steel chape and stitched leather wrap.
Bottom line, these are the best performing production medieval swords available.
ABOUT KINGSTON ARMS
From the battlefields of Crecy to the theater of Shakespeare and beyond, you will find no finer swords crafted for the practitioners and aficionados of the European Sword. Our sharp swords are made to period accurate specifications from pommel to tip and all in between. Re-enactment, Stage Combat and HEMA Sparring Swords though are our specialty! Featuring innovations such as the King-Peen system and tough through-hardened spring steel blades these swords last years of use under the most demanding conditions.
How to Use
Materials and Construction
Featured positive reviews:
I purchased this sword from SBG on special, $299 including tax and shipping, so that is what I weigh the review against. I own a few dozen swords in this price range, mostly Euro and Chinese swords, with a bunch of katana and miscellaneous shortswords thrown in for good measure.
Very nice pack job, arrived in pristine condition. This sword has all the usual minor flaws that you expect at this price. No surprises there, and you can read about them in the KOA review section. Most notable is the heavy-handed peen job which slightly deforms the bottom of the pommel. But again, I had already read about that, so no issue there. The fittings are tight and the grip is reasonably comfortable. The leather wrap has a seam that rubs on the fingers, but its not unpleasant and overall feels very tight and secure. I will most likely do my own leather wrap job whenever I get around to it.
The blade edge is a secondary bevel type, very sharp but a little jagged. Perfectly usable out of the box, but a few minutes with my fine-grit belt sander will clean it up nicely. The shape of the crossguard invites me to put my finger over it, but the blade is sharp all the way down into the recess, so I'd have to dull the last couple inches first. The lines of the fuller and central ridge are not laser precise, but still less meandering than the wavy lines on most of my other Euro swords. The blade is free of bends or twists, quite stiff, and handles vibration remarkably well. This particular sword weighs in at 2 pounds 1.5 oz on my kitchen scale.
I am not an expert at cutting so I won't review that, but my impression is that it will perform as well as other reviewers have commented. I am also not a highly skilled swordsman or HEMA practitioner, but I have fought in the SCA and I do practice sword forms in kung fu class, so I have spent some time handling various swords. I can't help but admire how great this thing feels when I move it around. Exactly as advertised, it feels like an expertly designed sword, even if the finish makes it obvious that it was made to be affordable. The length of the blade makes it a fully functional arming sword that would pair nicely with a shield (yes I do own and have fought in my suit of armor and shield), and yet it is just short enough to be agile up-close or indoors. I have to conclude that this isn't by accident, and the whole Gus Trim design thing isn't just marketing hype.
Final impressions: It's just a touch long to be my go-to sword for home defense (I like a gladius for that), but not so long that it wouldn't still be an excellent choice if that's what you are looking for. It's also not quite choppy enough to dismember a zombie (I like my dadao for that). That being said, if I could only choose one sword that I own to handle any potential situation, I would choose this one due to it's solid construction, versatility, and balanced design. And it's rustic enough that I won't feel bad about putting it through some abuse. Excellent bang-for-the-buck sword. They cut just enough corners to keep the cost down but didn't sacrifice what really counts. Well done, guys.
Oh and the scabbard is nice too.