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  #1  
Old 04-24-2014, 12:43 AM
Kilibreaux Kilibreaux is offline
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Swords?

How many consider a sword an essential part of any survival kit?
I'm not talking fancified machetes, or quasi-swords, I mean the real deal.
I personally believe the Cold Steel 1917 Cutlass, or 1917 Sabre are "must have" tools for every BOB.
Cold Steel 1055 medium carbon steel is spring tempered and will handle an amazing level of abuse. They can be used to chop brush and tree limbs...even chop down trees, yet they are also a viable part of the survival arsenal. When people are in close a sword is an amazingly deadly weapon.

Oh, and not to "diss" other makes of swords...I own a couple of Cheness swords that are superbly made from 9260 silicon spring steel and 1095 HIGH carbon steel...and both are THE REAL DEAL...
The collective "we" does not like to abuse our swords, but if it came to survival of course we're bringing these bad boys to the party!

Last edited by Kilibreaux; 04-24-2014 at 12:46 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-24-2014, 01:07 AM
The Tourist The Tourist is offline
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After working for two decades in cutlery, I think the idea of a sword really passed over one hundred years ago. There are periodic movements, like the recent "tactical wakizashi" efforts, but the fact remains that armies of the world are even getting away from bayonets.

If professional soldiers can't find a use for one, then we probably can't either.

I would think that a machete would actually be of more use. If you still like the idea, I would recommend the ESEE Junglas. It's part knife, part machete and for your purposes, probably part gladius.
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  #3  
Old 04-24-2014, 01:19 AM
Kilibreaux Kilibreaux is offline
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Of course a sword cannot compete directly with cartridge weapons...in that you are absolutely correct.
But edged weapons do and WILL have a place in a world where ammunition is at a premium! Nobody is going to "waste a bullet" when they can accomplish the same task with a cutting instrument.
Having served in the Army for 8 years I know quite well that "the bayonet is a NECESSARY weapon for the forseable future...even when one still has bullets, being able to use the bayonet up close is needed.
We're talking about a world where AMMO is going to be in SHORT SUPPLY! A sword was an awesome weapon for over 5,000 years that we know of....Pretty sure it still is.
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  #4  
Old 04-24-2014, 01:52 AM
The Tourist The Tourist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilibreaux View Post
an awesome weapon for over 5,000 years that we know of....Pretty sure it still is.
I believe there is a facet of discussion in forums akin to "the white crow gambit." In other words, if someone can prove that one incident has happened, then they can justify that the premise is valid.

When troops first landed in the Mideast to search caves, the initial soldiers stumbled into the enemy at contact distances. One officer referred to the subsequent exchange as a "good old fashioned knife fight." I'm sorry he said that. Millions of kids living in their mom's basement immediately bought tactical knives.

In like manner, switchblades were made illegal in 1958, with the excuse that teenagers used them in crimes. Well, yes they did--but it was the teenagers portrayed in two Hollywood movies, "Rebel Without A Cause" and "Blackboard Jungle." There wasn't any knife fighting really happening, and there never has been.

I used to have a sig-line, "Lots of gravy, no blood." I said that because I'm a professional knife sharpener and a biker. I would repair the knives of lots of bikers coming back from Sturgis. Think of it, two weeks, hundreds of thousands of bikers packed together, rival MC activity, liquor, women, cash everywhere...

And yet, all I ever cleaned off a knife was gravy. Never any blood.

If you believe that an edged tool would be of value if society crumbled, then by all means get the best one possible. Again, I mention the Junglas. You'll also know that in that TEOTWAWKI scenario there will be no electricity, and ESEE knives are made from carbon steel. They can be sharpened with a wet rock from a river. They are a good value for the money, you can buy several.

I also repair knives for lots of returning vets. Again, no blood. Most report that they opened mail and MREs. By actual sales numbers the SAK was the most used knife in Vietnam. In short, I do not believe in white crows.
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  #5  
Old 04-24-2014, 07:51 AM
jkhouw1 jkhouw1 is offline
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in an end of the world scenario, I'd rather have a good machete or 10" inch hunting knife.
I'm more likely to need to cut wood than people and they would make decent defensive weapons having nothing else. I would think I'd be extraordinarily unlikely to run around with a sword strapped to me with all the other crap I'd probably be lugging for practical purposes or to keep it with me to prevent theft.

edit: actually the only use I could really think of would be if you had a stash of them you could trade them away to people with no cutting edge at all in exchange for more practical items you might need at the time.
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:09 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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The 2 swords you mentioned would be very poor tools for camp-type chores; long, light, flexible blades aren't very good brush clearing or wood chopping tools.

The Civil War era artillery short sword would be a much better multi purpose tool; they were designed to be used not primaraly as a weapon, but a tool to clear paths and trails to move horse drawn artillery.

Not sure when your military time was, but the bayonet is functoinally obsolete in the 21 century military... certianly not "a necessary weapon". I can't remember the last time I was issued, or even saw, a bayonet. I jumped one into Panama in '89, not sure about after that. I haven't seen one issued in at least a decade. I don't even think bayonet training is part of Basic Training anymore.

I always had a good laugh at these kids in the box with giant fixed blade knives all over the place.... that NEVER get used. For the bulk of daily knife chores, a small folder is vastly superior to a large fixed blade. For the last ditch weapon, a knife of any sort is a poor choice.

In fairness, the youngsters had a chuckle at crazy ol' TM SGT/1SG wccountryboy with an RMJ tomahawk- though none were foolish enough to do it in my presence. That lasted only a few weeks, until they saw that it could actually be used on a regular basis, and was a much more effective weapon- particularly without formal training- than a knife. Knife fighting is a loosing proposition all the way around.

As Tourist said, the day of the sword is well in the past. Clinging to romantic notiions of the glory days of an obsolete tool isn't very practical. If it came down to it, there are much better edged tools that can serve multiple purposes than a sabre-style sword.
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  #7  
Old 04-24-2014, 08:28 AM
Rusty Bolts Rusty Bolts is offline
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A spear would be a better choice. More reach and keeps a bad guy/critter at a distance. Distance equals time and time equals options.

Rusty Bolts
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  #8  
Old 04-24-2014, 08:30 AM
The Tourist The Tourist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
giant fixed blade knives all over the place.... that NEVER get used. For the bulk of daily knife chores, a small folder is vastly superior to a large fixed blade.
I agree, however we must allow for people involved in outside jobs or remote locations were a strong fixed blade would be a good choice. The proviso is that it must be of practical use.

One member who haunts our blade section hails from Canada and says he relies on a ZT0121. For his purposes it meets the needs. It's a shorter blade, but with a thicker blade blank. In a pinch, it could baton wood, but it's smaller size means you always have it with you.

As for larger knives, they seem to peak in popularity when movies come out. For example, I remember when the first Predator movie debuted, and they released a bunch of the huge knives as "collector editions with letters of authenticity." I went over to Amazon before posting this, and there are still some of these knives for sale, and they dropped the price by fifty bucks.

The film was made in 1987. If it had any real use in the field--for anyone, by real-deal soldiers or just fanboys--they would have sold them out and then ordered subsequent runs.

http://www.amazon.com/Officially-Lic...or+bowie+knife
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  #9  
Old 04-24-2014, 09:03 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tourist View Post
I agree, however we must allow for people involved in outside jobs or remote locations were a strong fixed blade would be a good choice. The proviso is that it must be of practical use.

One member who haunts our blade section hails from Canada and says he relies on a ZT0121. For his purposes it meets the needs. It's a shorter blade, but with a thicker blade blank. In a pinch, it could baton wood, but it's smaller size means you always have it with you.
I don't disagree; there is a place for almost everything- and no one-size-fits-all solution.

I still have my old K-Bar that I used in the early 90s; it served me well in its time. I took an ESSE-4 on all of my GWOT tours, although it saw very little use. I found that the most bang for the buck, as far as utility is concerned, a different tool better met my needs. The only down side was size; 13" long and an 8" head... but I could dig, cut, chop, pry, puncture, and fight with it.

Everyone's needs and uses are different. Each must evaluate their own requirements, and choose accordingly. I just find it odd that so many base their choices on either nostalgia or pop-culture rather than research and analytical thinking...
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:11 AM
The Tourist The Tourist is offline
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Originally Posted by wccountryboy View Post
I just find it odd that so many base their choices on either nostalgia or pop-culture rather than research and analytical thinking...
That doesn't surprise me--you should see what some clients ask for!

The problem with our edged tools and "movie knives" is that they have two diverse jobs. Our knives are made to cut things at work, in the kitchen and to aid us in our hobbies.

A Hollywood knife is designed to be flashy and put butts in the seats.

Jimmy Lile is quoted that the "First Blood" redition was actually his answer to Sylvester Stallone's request for a knife. He stated he told the actor that no soldier would have ever carried the example he brought with him. Not that any guy needing a hard-use edge would ever pick anything without a full tang, but then, it is Hollywood. The hollow-handle, saw-back blade became a classic.

BTW, I own two ZT0121s. They might see use once per year--last year they were not used at all, not once. But then, you have to have the right tool for the right job. Most times, my ESEE Number 3 works just fine.
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  #11  
Old 04-24-2014, 11:38 AM
Jester122 Jester122 is offline
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I believe all outdoor.com had an article about using the katana in a shtf world. The author, even though he's a student of the sword, recommended the spear instead because of reach. The katana was the backup weapon for mounted archers, and sword dueling became popular during a couple hu red years of peace.

I like swords as much as the next guy, but aside from sorting through all the crap wall hangers out there, finding someone to teach you how to use it ain't easy either.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:43 AM
Arkie Arkie is offline
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I'll take a under 30bucks Ontario machete hands down any day. Excellent cutting tool, and any s.o.b. that don't take off running if you scream and start toward him with it,,, YOU better run the other way!

Bob
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:45 AM
USMM guy USMM guy is offline
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I have an original Ames Cavalry sabre.

Unless you are on horseback. It is pretty much useless. Sure you could stab somebody with it. But you can stab them with a pitch fork also. For the weight involved I can think of other tools that I would rather have.

Some here have discussed the merits of a larger fixed blade knife verses a smaller folder. they both have their merits as well as weaknesses. For the weight of your average sword. You could easily have several knives. Or a knife and a hawk which I think is much more useful than a sword.
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  #14  
Old 04-24-2014, 10:37 PM
Phaedrus/69 Phaedrus/69 is offline
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Even before the gun began to dominate the field the sword was obsolete, more or less. The spear and bow are superior, and even the samurai only began to rely on swords once they lost their status and power. The spear is a better battlefield weapon for the most part. A sword is handy against unarmed and unarmored people, though.

Hard to imagine any scenario where ammo would be scarce enough to make swords practical weapons.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:30 AM
Kilibreaux Kilibreaux is offline
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Interesting....
I see a lot of people fail to grasp what a limited supply of bullets equates too.
I ETS'd from the Army in 1983. At that time the bayonet was still VERY alive and kicking. If I were on active duty today I would not go into a combat zone without one....but then I was in the 82nd Abn. Perhaps leg units have a different take on bayonet needs.
Prior to the advent of the multi-shot, self-contained cartridge weapons, a large knife generally 8" or more was carried by all. At the same time, the sword was a valued and preferred WEAPON into the 20th century.
I know bullets beat swords...for the most part. But I also know "edged weapons" never run out of ammo...and a pocket knife is NOTHING like a REAL FIGHTING KNIFE.
In a world where civilization has collapsed, the sword will be every bit as important as it was back "in the day" when spears and arrows were quite common.
For those who presume the sword is dead...what will you do when you run out of bullets? Grab your Victorinox and deploy your 3" pocket blade? Granted a 3" blade will inflict a lethal wound, but your subject is NOT going to simply stand there and await your killing blow! And YOU better hope HE is not armed with a sword when your pea-shooter runs dry!
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:17 AM
wccountryboy wccountryboy is offline
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It has nothing to do with 82 v a leg unit; it has to do with the fact that its NOT the 80s anymore.... nobody uses ALICE kit either, or M16A1s. Times, techniques, and equipment evolves. The last US bayonet charge was during the Korean War.

Ammunition won dry up instantly, I'm confident that I'll be able to scavenge enough to last my lifetime. If I need non firearm options, compound or cross bow....

Regardless, a $200 stamped knock off sword being wildly swung by someone with zero training in the use of the sabre or cutlass isn't going to be particularly effective.

So, to get back to your original question: No, a sword is NOT essential kit. A more versatile cutting tool may be.
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  #17  
Old 04-25-2014, 08:24 AM
HarryO45 HarryO45 is offline
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In 1987 we still trained with the bayonet. As a junior leader I would never hesitated to have Soldier fix bayonets in an assault or defense. Our Battalion Commander was a huge fan of the bayonet. And a Well Decorated Vietnam Platoon Leader and Company Commander. During professional development he would explain how the bayonet is a huge psychological weapon...it scares the hell out of the enemy and let's him know you are prepared to close. I will argue that it also gives Soldiers with a fixed bayonet confidence in battle.

We lost the Bayonet when some Rambo Watching procurement officer decided that we needed a Multi-Tool Bayonet. The M9 "bayonet" is not well suited for sticking...the blade is thick, serrated top. A real piece of crap when you consider what bayonet are supposed to do. That is one of the biggest reasons the bayonet fell off the grid. Many of you mentioned a good weapon is a spear. the bayonet was a a type of spear. A bayonet should be edged on both sides and thin enough that it can punch thru clothing with a snag. Also we where taught after a "stick" and if not able to extract turn sideways to break the blade and drive on. I think the bayonet is not outdated.

As far a sword in a kit bag... Not for me.
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Old 04-25-2014, 10:16 AM
steviesterno steviesterno is offline
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I want a sword, because it looks like a ton of fun. But I would much rather have a suppressed 22 and the 6" knife I made. The knife is heavy duty enough to chop, dig, split wood, cut rope, whatever. And by the time I run out of 500 or so rounds of 22, it's probably not worth it to live anymore.
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Old 04-25-2014, 06:25 PM
Jester122 Jester122 is offline
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Your modern day, mass produced sword is a piece of crap. They are made out of crap metal, they aren't tempered properly, and they are made to hang on the wall and look pretty. Case in point:
http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_N4hprpRJhM

I think the Cold Steel swords are marginally better, but the Samurai swords they make are reportedly beefier and aren't recomended for actual sword play. Swords require more metal to make than a spear or axe. They take more skill to use. Nobility used swords because they could dedicate the time to use them. Peasant warriors and foot soldiers used spears, halberds, pikes, etc.

I like swords. I always have. If I could have a battle ready version of the United Cutlery Glamdring, the Atlantean broad sword from Conan, an ACTUAL katana, or John Cage's tactical gladius I would be a happy man. If I run out of ammo though, there are better options in shtf.
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Old 04-26-2014, 12:31 PM
CavCop CavCop is offline
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IMHO swords are outdated. To many styles for less uses. A light thin sword will get broken and not stand up well to abuse as the light thin blade will not hold up well, will dent, will flex, will bend, will break. A heavy wide blade will be slow and cumbersome, limit movement and other things.

I would take a good knife over a sword for long term survival. The sword is too long, not good indoors where there are hallways, corners, walls, and large house hold items. With a large blade knife or E-Tool I think I could cut more large branches with less damage to the blade.
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Old 04-26-2014, 03:25 PM
Jester122 Jester122 is offline
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Wait a minute......if the light sabre is an option my stance is changing.
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Old 04-26-2014, 11:23 PM
glocktogo glocktogo is offline
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Wait a minute......if the light sabre is an option my stance is changing.


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Old 04-27-2014, 05:45 AM
flyinrock flyinrock is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilibreaux View Post
Interesting....
I see a lot of people fail to grasp what a limited supply of bullets equates too.
I ETS'd from the Army in 1983. At that time the bayonet was still VERY alive and kicking. If I were on active duty today I would not go into a combat zone without one....but then I was in the 82nd Abn. Perhaps leg units have a different take on bayonet needs.
Prior to the advent of the multi-shot, self-contained cartridge weapons, a large knife generally 8" or more was carried by all. At the same time, the sword was a valued and preferred WEAPON into the 20th century.
I know bullets beat swords...for the most part. But I also know "edged weapons" never run out of ammo...and a pocket knife is NOTHING like a REAL FIGHTING KNIFE.
In a world where civilization has collapsed, the sword will be every bit as important as it was back "in the day" when spears and arrows were quite common.
For those who presume the sword is dead...what will you do when you run out of bullets? Grab your Victorinox and deploy your 3" pocket blade? Granted a 3" blade will inflict a lethal wound, but your subject is NOT going to simply stand there and await your killing blow! And YOU better hope HE is not armed with a sword when your pea-shooter runs dry!
And what is the assailant armed with? And how many people can even use a pocket knife with great result? I've been a fan of primitive weapons for many years as well as a student of Aikido. A blow gun can be used to great affect and so can slings and rocks. A slingshot with marbles or steel bearings can ruin your day. I think using a sword requires a lot more training and practice than other primitive weapons. All have their place. I have several handy in the event some fool tries to invade my space.
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:44 PM
Jester122 Jester122 is offline
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:d
ha!
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Old 04-28-2014, 02:52 AM
Amos Iron Wolf Amos Iron Wolf is offline
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First off consider that a bayonet fixed on a rifle is... A spear!

Machetes have been in use as close quarter weapons as long as they have been around. Look at many of the traditional bladed weapons from the larger Khukuri, Parang, Barong, and the machetes of Latin America. Machetes have even been used for criminal use in Manhatten, NYC.

Look at things like the Kershaw Camp 10, 14, & 18. Usable as machete, yet with a little practice they would make formidable slashers.

It takes training and practice to truly wield a proper sword in an effective way. In terms of a true survival, zombie apocalypse device, why carry the extra weight of a single function item like a dedicated sword when you could just carry a well balance, sharp, machete or large camp blade like the Camp 18. Then you could chop, slice, clear brush, and employ it as a weapon. Just like has been done in places from Latin America to the Philippines.

As cool as swords are, it was the battle axes and pikes that handled most melee fighting. Sure, the Romans fought well with the Gladius as their primary arm. However, they fought in groups behind interlocked shields and with tremendous discipline gained through extensive practice.

Don't overlook the basic E-Tool as a multi-use tool with one of those tools being fighting. Again, it serves several purposes which makes it useful weight.

So no. I don't consider a sword part of an essential survival kit.
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