Pistol & orthopaedic type grips on real swords – sabre, kris, katar, pata

Pistol & orthopaedic type grips on real swords (rather than modern fencing weapons) – sabres – kris – kukri – katar – pata.

37 thoughts on “Pistol & orthopaedic type grips on real swords – sabre, kris, katar, pata

  1. Stroggoii says:

    I have a bunch of "push knives", they're a wonderfull line-cutting, fish-gutting, shell-popping tool to have while fishing. But I don't see myself punching anyone without it wobbling up/down as their grip is not designed for that like the katar is, and like most modern "push daggers" are designed to have.
    Maybe the idea that this was a weapon rather than a tool comes from rowdy rednecks showing off with pappa's fishing gear rather than some cool wild west headhunter conducting assassinations with his trusty hidden dagger.

  2. Gad Yariv says:

    Some medieval Arabian had a Straight "broadsword" kind of blade, while having a more saber like pistol grip.


    that always seemed odd to me, why would that be? is it for the same reason the British 1908 and 1912 Pattern cavalry swords had a Straight blade, but the hilt was slightly curved?

  3. christosvoskresye says:

    Having a sword yanked out of one's hand is always a bad thing, but if a finger is through a loop on the ricasso, it seems likely the finger would go with the sword. That's why using a rapier from horseback sounds crazy to me. Am I missing something?

  4. Christopher Jones says:

    Ah, the katar. Great for boxers and other fighters who want to focus on punching, and want or need something sharp and pointy to fight with. Those things can be nasty at close range. The pata takes the same concept and lets you hit further out, at the cost of some mobility and control. That ability to thrust by punching with my whole hand, rather than pushing with my thumb and index finger and just barely using the rest of my fingers, thereby resulting in a looser grip and thus a weaker attack, is why I like my German-grip electric foil when I want to fence seriously, such as in the occasional local tournament at the university I attend. I usually prefer a straight grip, especially for cut-and-thrust weapons or heavier ones where I want my whole arm in line with the blade (such as an epee), but for light thrusting weapons where control and speed need to be maximized, I prefer a finger-grooved orthopedic grip (i.e., German or Visconti). I'd also take a straight, rectangular grip with a small cross-guard for me to wrap my index and forefinger around, but those are illegal in sport fencing.

  5. Christopher Jones says:

    I love that 1895 Spanish Calvary Saber! The grip actually looks modern, and would be my top pick for a sabre hilt. Would that grip be legal in sport fencing? If so, I'd put it on my practice sabre asap! 🙂

  6. temperededge says:

    I strongly suspect the main reason katana occasionally sport an unorthodox curved hilt is because the curve of the blade itself is the product of a quenching process rather than something the swordsmith shaped himself. (When quenched, different sections of the blade cool at different rates, "warping" what was a nearly straight sword into something more sabre-like). Occasionally, the tang follows the curve quite acutely and rather than change the shape of the tang, the smith would follow that curve when designing the hilt.

    Some tangentially related points of interest:

    It should be noted that curved hilts were more common with older Tachi, a heavier cavalry katana with a more pronounced curve and worn edge down over armor. Their blades were usually affixed to the hilt with two pins as the weapon was not only heavy but would need to resist the shock of a mounted rider swinging at something at speed. The latter period katana favored straight hilts and were generally used on foot and worn edge up. These lighter, dueling weapons generally made do with a single pin to hold the hilt in place which probably freed the sword-maker up to design the hilt without having to closely follow the curve of the tang.

  7. kuntaosilat sweden says:

    Kerises and other malay weapons tend to have a canted grip and almost pistol like. This is in adition to the reasons you provide for other weapons with the same features, also made to fascilitate drawing the weapon from the scabbard.

  8. kuntaosilat sweden says:

    A lot of the malay weapons have "pistol" grip,both to make them faster/easier to draw and to fascilitate stabbing. There is also some who claim that you make the weapon slide between hammergrip and pistolgrip when cutting and thus make the limit of the weapons cutting arc unpredictable, the idea is that this makes the weapon harder to block. Im not entirely convinced as of this last function of the feature. Is this seen in european weapons as well, is this a tactic anyone has more documented use of?

  9. Formless Spawn says:

    When you talk about the kris you need to mention the Filipino version. It was a short sword, not a dagger, and had a grip with a pronounced cant. 

    Another very notable example, which really should be mentioned since you invoke Sir Richard Burton, is the yatagan. The blade almost always has a pronounced cant within the blade similar to but much less extreme than the kukri. 

  10. The Stoned Videogame Nerd says:

    Isnt ths Olympia fencing total bullshit?? I mean its basicaly "2 people rush forward in a kamikaze style,both get stabbed but the one getting stabbed 0,0001 sec later is the Winner?
    In Real the skill is to stab and enemy,and then retreat out of his Range and parry his counterattack.
    But modern Fencing is just a "Who can stab quicker" Contest ;(
    With sharp Weapons i guess none of them would survive 1x Olympia 😉

  11. TAsatorT says:

    The reason behind the way a Katana's hilt is oriented has to do with the way the Katana is used. The Katana is used with a "wrenching" motion sort of like wringing out a piece of cloth, whereas European swords are used with more of a "ratcheting" motion like you are throwing or levering the cut.

  12. clickhead says:

    I'm really interested in the katar, but I wonder how it feels when you are thrusting with it and encounter resistance. Does it have a strong tendency to tilt off of the center line when you thrust? Basically how comfortable is it to use?

  13. sagar chowdhary says:

    Pata(Gauntlet sword) or pati is a kind of flexible sword warriors who were expert in pata or pati have two patas or patis well it more of a cutting object imagine a whip with sharp edges so using them in the battle ground is quite deadly it is said that it can cut the human body in half well there are more flexible swords i know one name urumi from south india well the is a rare blade called has scissor katar when two grip handles of the katar is compressed then the outer blades freely open to reveal a third hidden blade open  forgive me if there is some mistakes in my explanation please correct ^_^ 

  14. Jonas Weselake-George says:

    For once I know something Matt didn't already know! Pata blades are generally extremely flexible (similar to those seen on the Urumi) – something which limits them to cutting and flail like motions. This means that the transverse grip must be used in a way which is completely different from the Katar (cultural influence or something to do with parrying??). Another outlier (like Asian two-handed cutting swords grips) and quite the mystery to be understood…

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