By Ray Gano
Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.
~ Jesus – Luke 22:36
I know that many gun lovers are going to make fun of this article and think it is ridiculous, but a sword is a perfect home defense weapon.
Here are some quick points…
Bullets go through walls, swords don’t.
Everyone has been cut badly, it hurts a lot. Very few people have been shot. There is a psychological effect just thinking of getting cut by a big huge sword causes people to run.
An average cost of a good sword that can be used for home defense, $125.00.
The average cost of a gun – $450 (glock) bullets – $25+ per 50 rounds FMJ, Hollow points cost even more.
Swords don’t need bullets.
Believe it or not, in a time of panic most people can use a sword. If you can swing a baseball bat, a golf club or a tennis racket, you can use a sword.
Ambushing an intruder with a sword is more effective that firing a gun at super close range, which like it or not is something that you will more likely encounter.
Man uses katana to stop home invasion, this is the gory aftermath
Let’s face it, we all know someone that has a few samurai swords. Whether they’re there to prevent a home invasion, or an attack by zombies after the SHTF has occurred, everyone has a reason for owning swords.
Well, in this case, the swords came to a very good use and helped to defend a man’s family from home invaders. This is the gory aftermath. The home invaders were stopped immediately upon entry into the man’s home. They bailed to their getaway car but did not make it very far due to massive blood loss. They were found by police shortly after driving away, both unconscious due to blood loss.
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The home owner who used the sword was 49 years old. The dirtbag thieves had guns. Who won? The guy with the sword.
When the home owner with the sword came at them and did some serious damage, the intruders then fled. The home owner cut them up so bad that due to the lose of blood, the thieves did not get very far and crashed their car into a pole just a short distance away.
Bullet Wound – Sword Wound
Believe it or not, a person who is doped up on drugs can sustain several bullet wounds if they are not in critical areas like the heart, brain, or hitting a major artery like the femoral artery, the major artery that runs down the inside of each leg.
If they have a gun, they can often return fire with several bullet wounds.
Simply said, just because someone is shot does not mean they are totally out of the game.
Where as with a cut from a sword your body goes into shock, it goes into shock with a bullet wound as well, but the effects are different.
When cut with a sword, your body goes into action and diverts a lot of energy to compressing the area around the cut so as to try to stop the bleeding. When this is happening the person who was cut will often stand there in a daze for a second or two.
Because the body is losing blood, thinking becomes very erratic and cloudy. What is happening now is that the body realizes that it can not stop the blood flow, so the next thing it does is try to send more blood to the effected area. So the brain is not getting as much blood it needs to act in an emergency.
Now both of these body actions take place pretty quickly, just a matter of seconds. What happens next is that instinct kicks in and “fight, flight or freeze” takes over.
In these precious few seconds you as the home owner have the chance to inflict more damage, especially if the intruder goes into “fight” mode.
A few more slashes and the person will be most likely out of the game and you will be needing to call 911, that is if they have not fled the scene yet like the perps in the story above.
The #1 Home Defense Weapon Globally – The Sword
Globally more people own some form of a sword and keep it as a home defense weapon.
In a lot of the world the machete, a form of a sword, is what many people own. The machete derives from the cutlass sword, at least when talking about the Central and South American countries. When pirates and tradesmen decided to stay in the Americas, they were equipped with a cutlass type weapon. These men transitioned their weapons into agricultural tools and thus the machete was born.
Today, a lot of the world uses some form of a machete as a daily tool of the trade. It is used to clear fields, hack out and clear trails, chop down trees, even used to mow a lawn. Just using this as a daily tool, one become pretty proficient in its use.
If you have a garden, lawn, shrubbery that needs to be cleared, what better way to get a good work out and also some training than attacking those evil bushes and weeds.
Espada y Daga (Sword & Knife)
In the days where everyone carried a sword, one also carried a knife and two handed fighting with both the knife and the sword was very common. This was especially so in Spain and thanks to the Spanish conquistadors traveling / exploring the world. This form of fighting became very popular the world over.
Today in the Philippines, carrying the Espada y Daga / Sword and Knife is common. The sword was used for offense and the knife was used as defense, but can also be leveraged when an opening presented itself and go in with a knife cut.
Now the set pictured is for someone who is trained in the martial arts and runs about $350 for the set. They are beautiful, but not practical when it comes to home defense, that is if you are not trained.
In Central America it is common to see men clearing fields or the side of the road using a machete in one hand and a stick to hold the grass back in the left hand. This is an offshoot of the Spanish conquistadors training from the old days and using the sword and the knife
But I am going down a rabbit trail.
Picking The Right Sword For Your Home Defense – Two Handed
There are a lot of factors that you need to consider when picking a proper sword for home defense.
First think of your physical abilities.
Are you active?
Do you play any sports like tennis, golf, baseball, etc?
Do you have any physical limitations that prevent you from fully or partially swinging a sword?
One handed sword or two handed sword ?
For example, over the years of being in the military, working security, practicing martial arts my right shoulder is not what it used to be. I can swing a sword easily one handed, but I personally would feel more comfortable using a two handed sword so that I can get even more power and strength behind the weapon.
This is one the main reasons that I gravitate to more of a samurai sword / two handed type of weapon.
I also like a two handed Katana (samurai sword) because it really does not take much training to use this in a home defense manner. Again, if you can swing bat., racket or golf club, you have the basic moves to use a Katana (samurai sword).
There are many good swords out there that run around $125 that would be very dependable in a home defense situation.
What you DO NOT want to do is get some cheap katana. The reason is that most $50 and below katana that advertised as “Sharp” also do not have a “full tang” or thicker piece of metal in the handle that will help strengthen the sword.
Instead they have what is called a “rat tail” tang.
The problem with these is that they are often welded at the hilt or hand guard. If you need to swing this type of sword, the act of swinging it with full force will often snap that weld and your blade will go flying off. It will also snap on the very first blow at full force if you hit something or someone.
No matter what, when it snaps off, you no longer have a weapon to defend your home.
SO one of the first things you need to look for, is the sword “full tang.”
As you can see in this picture the tang, or the metal that slides up into the handle is pretty thick and wide. This will give your sword strength when you swing it and also come in contact with a target.
The type of steel is also something that you want to watch out for. A lot of cheap swords are made of 1040 steel. This is great for hacking bushes and such, but 1040 will not hold an edge and in fact it is pretty hard to get a really good razor edge on cheap steel like this.
My recommendation is that you look for steel that is at least 1060, which many swords out there are made from
If you can get a 1060 DH or deferentially hardened that is even better. What DH or deferentially hardened means that the blade’s edge is hardened more than the spine of the sword. The DH edge will hold a sharpened edge much better and you can actually get a literal razor’s edge with a 1060 DH sword.
How they achieve this is the sword maker will put liquid clay on the edge of the sword, this will help keep the edge hotter for a millisecond when the sword is quenched in water or oil to cool the sword down. Because the spine of the sword is exposed, that metal will be softer, where the edge that has the clay will remain hotter, thus making the edge’s steel harder. This hardened steel edge will hold the razor sharpness while the softer spine gives the sword some flexibility.
You can often tell a deferentially hardened sword when you see what is often referred to as a “hamon.”
1060 high carbon steel blade with clay the temper process, hamon and hardness created by applying liquid clay during the final forging process.
Note the line in the steel, this is where the clay was painted on the blades edge and when put in the water; “stained” the steel to give the wavy line appearance.
One thing you want to look out for is what is called a “brushed hamon.” This is a sign of a cheaper sword. This is made by using a steel brush on the sword’s edge to give it a “hamon” look as you can see in the image below.
When buying a sword you look to see if the hamon is made with the clay tempering process or is it brushed on like you see above.
If the sword description DOES NOT talk about the clay tempering process, then be leery. Sometimes it is mentioned and sometimes it is not. Looking at pictures of the blade, you can often tell the brushed look verses the clay tempered blade.
A company that I really like and recommend is a company called Musashi. They have a 1060 DH series of swords that for the price, are really great. In fact, I own two of them, both are the “eternity wheel” style.
Musashi’s 1060DH Shirakawa series are basically the same sword but with different hardware, meaning that the hand guard and the pommel cap have different styles.
Mine is called the “eternity wheel.” Other styles are The Bamboo Warrior, Crane or Musashi. There are about 20 sword styles in this series. All are basically the hand forged, hand sharpened 1060 deferentially hardened sword.
A couple of years ago I produced a video Here is a video review of my Musashi 1060 Clay DH hardened katana. I wanted to share my first cuts with this Katana. This is a great starter / first live katana that one can own. This sword is the “Eternity Wheel” sword and is from Musashi Swords “Shirakawa” series. This is the same series that the very popular “Bamboo Warrior” katana also comes from.
WATCH NOW – Musashi 1060 DH Katana First Cuts – https://youtu.be/TOUq2sMH_0M
For $120.00 with Amazon Prime free shipping you can get the same sword that I have and that I love. I have a number of swords and this is my “go to” sword. This is why I now have two of them because I use my first sword and I want to have a backup just in case finally end up destroying it due to all the cutting and practice that I do.
Order My Musashi DH 1060 Sword – http://tinyurl.com/Musashi-1060-DH-Katana
Here is another 1060 DH from the same series and it is only $105.98 and that is with Amazon Prime shipping as well.
Musashi – 1060 Carbon Steel – Clay Tempered Samurai Sword *SHARP* – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-Musashi-Clay-Temprd-Katana
Now another sword that I am very impressed with is Dark Sentinel Sword by Paul Chen / CAS Hanwei.
I really like this sword because it is a “hi-Bred” sort of sword that was designed by Paul Chen, a very well-known sword smith and sword designer.
This sword combines the slashing power of the Samurai Katana and characteristics of European dueling swords make it lite and agile enough that you can use this sword with one handed, but can easily go to two handed.
This sword is made with 1566 high carbon steel. This is the same sort of steel that saw blades are made of. So this sword maintains and holds an edge and because of the steel’s strength it is not as thick as a standard Katana.
One of the reasons I got this sword is because this is a sword that my wife can also use and use effectively.
It is very easy to swing and hold on to due to the leather wrapped and studded handled. The handle is not large and my wife can easily hold it without it falling out of her hands.
When I purchased this sword a few years ago, Amazon did not carry it and in fact it is still not being offered on Amazon.
I asked around on the sword forums and found a great store where I was able to get the Dark Sentinel. That store is LG Martial Arts and the owner is Luis Garza. Luis is now my go to man when I am looking for hard to find swords. His prices are spot on and his knowledge is great. He ordered my Dark Sentinel and when he got it in, he checked it out from tip to pommel to make sure that before he shipped it to me it was in perfect shape.
LG Martial Arts – Luis Garza – http://www.lgmartialarts.com
NOTE #1 – if the item (or items) you are looking for isn’t on the store’s page, contact Luis at email@example.com and he can hunt down the sword you are looking for. (more on this later)
NOTE #2 – Please let Luis know that you read about him in my article. He is a good guy and I want him to know that I am helping him by referring him business.
Picking The Right Sword For Your Home Defense – Single Hand
Single handed sword fighting has some advantages and disadvantages. In a home defense situation, the need to hack and slash is your greatest asset in the fight. Thrusting and stabbing also play a part, depending on the sword you are looking at.
Learning to have a flick of the wrist so that the sword tip does the most damage is something that needs to be practiced a bit as well if you are using more of a European type sword, but more on that later.
If you wish to use a single hand then there are a lot of great swords as well as machetes offered by Cold Steel.
Cold Steel Machetes
I am a HUGE fan of Cold Steel and I have a number of their machetes.
Folks, these are not your standard run of the mill machete. The machetes that Cold Steel produce are thicker 1055 carbon steel and they are made to take a beating. You can put a pretty good edge on them and they will get your hacking and slashing job done.
The great thing about the Cold Steel line of machetes is that they are priced right.
It is made of 1055 Carbon Steel and has a solid full tang. The blade length is 19 inches and the overall length is 27 inches.
This sword is on the short side which is why I think it is a great single hand sword. With the dual edge, it is able to cut in both directions and the point will easily stab and go deep into a bad guy with no problems at all.
Learning some simple sword cutting sequences with this is very easy and even if you do not hit the intruder with the blade edge, the point itself will do a world of damage, easily slicing someone open. Looking at this sword, you can understand why Rome’s Armies carried it into battle. It is quick, effective and will do damage.
Another point I like about this is that if you have a low ceiling, using this in somewhat confined quarters is still very viable. Point two is that you can use two hands with this sword by using the circular pommel. That means that a petite woman could also use this sword and use both hands to swing it.
Cold Steel Gladius Machete – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-Gladius
The next cost effective sword that I want to recommend is also a Cold Steel Machete and that is the Cold Steel Barong Machete. This sword is also 1055 carbon steel, about 24 inches long with a great edge and a serious spear point. I like how the Polypropylene handle wraps around the bottom of your hand, thus allowing you to whip / flick your wrist and really speed up the tip of this sword, which would do a lot of damage to an intruder. This sword is short like the Gladius, in fact it is 4 inches shorter which makes it a little easier to hack, slash and thrust.
Amazon has these for $20 and change along with Amazon Prime free shipping. At this sort of price, it is worth getting several of these and placing them in strategic areas in your home so that no matter where you are, you will have access to one of these weapons.
Cold Steel Barong Machete – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-Barong-Machete
The next machete that I want to recommend is the Cold Steel Cutlass Machete. Feel like being a pirate for a day and beating back those scallywag weeds? This is the machete.
This also acts as a great home defense weapon as well. With the over all length of this sword being 30 inches, it falls within the standard sword length, which means if you have low ceilings, this may not be the sword for you. But if you do have over 8 foot ceilings, then this is a great sword and once you give it a few swings, you’ll understand why it was the favored sword for pirates and mariners alike.
This sword is about 2 lbs in weight which again makes it more of a standard sword vs a machete. The blade thickness is 2.8mm thick as with all the Cold Steel Machetes and 1055 carbon steel.
What I like about this sword is that it has the full encased handle that your hand will slip into, much like that standard cutlass.
For $25 and change at Amazon you can’t go wrong for getting basically a fully functional sword disguised as a machete.
Cold Steel Cutlass Machete – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-Cutlass-Machete
Now I am going to jump up in price and since we are talking about the Cutlass, I want to recommend the Cold Steel 1917 Cutlass Sword. Cold Steel has done a great job reproducing an authentic 19th century dutch klewang . This design is one of the most effective swords EVER designed. It is very well made, sturdy, sharp, affordable, hyper-battle-ready, very attractive, an excellent addition to anyone’s “Zombie Apocalypse Bug-Out Bag” / Home Defense sword. I also like the fact that it comes with an attractive leather and brass scabbard with a removable “frog” that will attach the sword and scabbard to a belt.
For single hand fighting / home defense I like swords that have a basket or hand guard. The Cold Steel 1917 Cutlass sports a half basket for a right handed user and they also make a left handed model as well.
This is a heavy sword at 2.3 lbs and when in a home defense situation, you will appreciate the weight that will help as you come crashing done on an intruder. The half basket also aids in punching and assists in swinging the sword. Because this sword is heat treated, you are able to put a razor’s edge on it and its “point” you have a weapon that can also be used to thrust. Although hacking and slashing will be the primary use when dealing with bad guys and this one will cut deep.
Cold Steel 1917 Cutlass – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-1917-Cutlass
The next sword that I want to recommend is an English Back Sword / Mortuary Sword. This sword will take a bit of getting used to and you will need to practice with this one. The weight of these types of swords are more in the basket and making the tip of the sword light and quick. This means learning to work your wrist and forearm. But if you can get the hang of this, it is a pretty deadly sword with some good slashing but also strong stab and thrust ability. Like the basket with the cutlass, this type of sword really leans to using the basket in the battle to punch with and coming down on the skull with the pommel.
Another thing with the basket type of swords is that the user should only sharpen the first upper third of the sword. The middle will be partially sharp and the base near the hilt is dull to very dull. The reason is that in a fight you use the first 1/3 to cut and thrust. The middle is to use to deflect and the base is to absorb the hard blows and “trap” the other person’s sword. There are instances where one can grab the base of the sword above the basket with the left hand and use it to give the sword more leverage. One can also place the left hand on the back or spine of the sword, again to help give more leverage in cutting.
You will have to be careful about boxing yourself in when using this sword. Small hallways and low ceilings will catch you if you are not aware. In areas like that more thrusting, stabbing and parrying will be the better tactic.
Because these types of swords are longer, it will also give you a little distance between you and the home invader. If you keep your sword tip razor sharp, this is a great weapon once you get the hang of using your wrist and forearm in conjunction with the heavy basket.
Cold Steel English Back Sword http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-Back-Sword
CAS Hanwei Mortuary Sword – Contact LG Martial Arts
One last sword that I want to mention is the Scottish Broadsword. This is a double edged sword and it is a deadly sword. Again, you sharpen the upper 1/3 razor sharp, the middle somewhat and the base is dull. You can use the same left hand on the dull part, but you need to be careful due to the fact that you are using a double edged sword and if you hand slides up the blade in the fight, you can cut your hand wide open where with the backsword you would just cut fingers.
The same heavy basket technique is used when using this sword but also learning to pull up for upper cuts can be used due to the double edge. With the back sword you have to rotate the wrist to gain the upper cut, the broad sword you just pull the basket back and up and achieve the same cut using the back edge.
This is a beautiful sword and deadly sword once you learn how to use it. It is one that one day I would like to have in my collection.
Cold Steel Scottish Broadsword – http://tinyurl.com/PZ-CS-Scottish-Broadsword
As you know I am a huge fan of steel blades and there are so many advantages when using a long knife, machete or sword when defending the home.
Learning to use these swords is also a great way to get in shape. One of the things I do is keep all my plastic bottles and I have built a stand where I can put these plastic bottles that have been filled with water and I go out and practice cutting. This is a lot of fun and you would be amazed at how much of a workout you get when doing back yard bottle cutting.
I hope that this article has given you some other options to think about. Just so you know, I am all in favor of using a gun, but there are times where a gun is not the answer and having options like the sword puts more weapons at your disposal when the rubber meets the road and you have a home invader.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Now go out, buy a sword and push back those dreaded weeds and shrubs.