Modern Sword Buyers Guide
If you are looking to buy a really cool sword, there are of course many different types to choose from, and moreover, different types from different time periods, then you have come to the right place.
What we are here to do today is to take a closer look at modern swords, what modern swords are made out of, and if there truly are any modern swords at all.
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What is a Modern Sword
Ok, so when you think of types of swords, you probably thing of ones like short swords, long swords, cutlasses, and more. Now, the question of what a modern sword is, is a difficult one to answer, because when it comes to the types of swords out there, technically speaking, there is really no such thing as a modern sword per say.
Besides various innovations and changes made to swords that have existed for hundreds of years, people have not really been inventing new types of swords at all.
Now, the reason for this should be quite obvious, because human society has advanced to the point where people just don’t really use swords anymore, at least not for their original purpose. Of course, swords were originally designed as weapons, as tools of war meant to maim and kill the opponent.
However, over the last century or so, the sword has taken a backseat to the rifle, the gun, the warplane, the battleship, and so on and so forth. Simply put, you wouldn’t ride into battle on horseback with nothing but a longsword, attempting to face down a squadron of modern-day tanks.
This is not to say that swords have completely disappeared from our world, but they definitely don’t have the same impact or functionality. Generally speaking, besides something like using a machete to chop down bushes, swords have taken on a far larger ceremonial role, such as high-ranking naval officers sometimes being gifted sabres and other types of naval swords.
When it comes down to it, besides some small exceptions, such as fencing (professional sword fighting as a sport, people just don’t really use swords in our modern age.
What are Modern Swords Made of
OK, so one distinction that we can make between modern swords and older swords is what those swords are made out of. In the very beginning, swords were made out of wood and then they were made out of iron. After a while as advancement in metallurgy happened, swords were made out of combinations of steel and iron.
Nowadays, modern day swords tend to be made out of extremely high quality high carbon steel with that high carbon content being known for producing extremely hard and durable swords that feature excellent edge retention.
Many modern day swords are also made out of Damascus steel, which is both functional and beautiful. You may also find swords made out of cold pressed steel. Between stainless steel, high carbon steel, Damascus steel, and various other steel alloys, modern swords are definitely made out of some pretty tough materials.
What Makes Modern Day Swords Modern
Inside the materials that modern day swords are made out of, there is one other thing that makes these swords modern, which is that they go through various enhancing processes, processes that have not been around for very long. Let’s take a look at a few of the enhancing processes that our modern day swords go through.
One of the most common methods of enhancing blade metal, something that had not been around for very long, is with heat treatment. Without getting too deep into the process, this involves very rapid heating and cooling of the metal, which makes it much less likely to break, shatter, or chip. Heat treating a blade makes it far more flexible and durable.
Quenching is technically part of the heat treatment process, but it is worth talking about. Quenching means that the metal is cooled down very quickly, which causes the microstructures achieved through the heat treatment to not revert back to their original state. Quenching is about getting rid of cracks and imperfections.
Modern day swords are also tempered, which means that the metal is heated to a temperature right below the melting point, and kept at that temperature for a specific amount of time. Tempering is a process that can make steel much tougher and more durable, but sometimes also softer as well.
Types of Modern Swords
The other thing that you might be wondering here is what kinds of swords could be considered modern (while keeping in mind that we just don’t ride into battle with them anymore).
One type of sword that could be considered modern is the machete, which is a blade that some people would consider to be a short sword. Machetes are generally used for functional purposes and for basic tasks such As for chopping down small trees and bushes for clearing pathways and even sometimes for cooking.
Although most people would assume that fencing only uses rapiers, this is actually not true. While rapiers were often used in fencing, generally speaking, the swords used in fencing today include the epee, the foil, and the sabre. With that being said, the epee does closely resemble a rapier, but it is not a true rapier. The bottom line is that one type of so-called modern sword you may be familiar with is the fencing sword, although modern versions incorporate electronic sensors into the mix to make it easy to tell when a strike has been successful.
The other type of modern sword worth taking a look at is the ceremonial sword. Of course, this is not a type of sword per say, not like a long sword or short sword. However, the bottom line is that there are some cutlasses, sabres, and other such swords that are used for ceremonial purposes. For instance, the naval cutlass is a type of sword used for ceremonial purposes by the British Royal Navy.
Larping or LARP stands for live action role play, and this is when people dress up in costumers and act out a certain scenario, usually something to do with fantasy or medieval times. To help Larpers play out these scenarios to their fullest, they will use a variety of foam swords, axes, maces, hammers, and other fake weapons made out of foam. Although these swords are fake, made of foam, and in no way fit for anything that resembles real battle, we suppose that they may still be classified as a type of sword.
Best Modern Swords
What are Modern Swords Used for
Seeing as someone would have to be completely insane to ride into battle with a sword nowadays, you might be wondering what modern day swords might actually be used for. There are of course a few purposes that modern day swords served, but nonetheless none of them include battle, at least not in an actual real life war. So, what are modern swords used for?
Although this one is a bit of a stretch, if we are being honest, there are some modern day swords that are used for basic everyday tasks. What we are actually referring to here is the machete, which could technically be classified as a short sword. In many areas of the world where there are lots of forests and jungles, people will use machetes to clear brush and to clear pathways. Although not nearly as glorious as fighting a battle with a short sword, chopping down bushes and trees does certainly serve a beneficial function.
Perhaps the most common use of a modern day sword is for sport fighting, but we like to call fencing. Fencing is a sport where two people face each other using special kinds of swords. Generally speaking, these swords are either sabers or rapiers. Of course, the aim of this sport is to simply touch your opponent with the tip of your sword, not to actually hurt or kill them. Swords used in fencing are generally blunted at the front and are not sharp with the main point. Of course, being to not hurt your opponent. It’s all just a sport for a good bit of fun. That said, fencing can be quite competitive and in some circumstances can also be dangerous.
The other thing that modern day swords are used for are for ceremonial purposes, such as when a naval officer receives a promotion, with a brand new saber, cutlass, or some other such type of swords being gifted as a sign of respect. In other words, in this sense, particularly when it comes to militaries and governmental institutions, swords are used as status symbols.
**Did you know that in the beginning of WWII, when the Germans attacked Poland, most of Poland’s forces consisted of cavalry using swords (and rifles), to face off against German tanks and dive bombers?** As you probably know, Poland did not fare so well**
As you can see, due to the advancements that our world has made in terms of technology, modern swords really don’t serve the same purpose that swords served two or three hundred years ago. Modern day swords are designed for ceremonial purposes, for functionality, and for sport combat.