Hanweis Practical Mortuary Hilt sword was designed for the reenactor and sport combat enthusiast in mind. The blade has a blunt edge that is 1/16 thick and it stays with this thickness all the way to and around the tip. The blade is crafted from 1065 high carbon steel with a tempered hardness of 50 HRC – this hardness is a good compromise to be both hard enough to reduce edge-notching to acceptable levels whilst being flexible enough to keep the blade from being brittle.
The guard and pommel are of steel and the grip is overlaid with black leather. The scabbard is of fiberglass with a steel throat and chape pieces.
Mortuary Hilt swords were so named because sword hilts used by Royalists in the English Civil War often had a portrait and the devices of Charles I, though swords without his portrait were certainly wielded by their Parliamentarian foes. These were typically thick-spined backswords – a cut-and-thrust design that was commonly used by the Cavalrymen of the conflict.
Good sword for the price, smaller than it looks. I bought this sword a few months ago for SCA cut-and-thrust sparring, and have put quite a few hours on it. The steel holds up pretty well, including the cheaper steel used in the guard. As always with Hanwei, its good for the price, but not necessarily good when matched against more expensive swords. It handles well, though the blade is too narrow to be accurate for a period backsword. However, in use, the blade feels quite short. 31″ seems fine, until you match it up against the 35-40″ blades put out by some other manufacturers. On a bright note, I do really like the three-screw arrangement on the pommel, as a cheap way of solving some of the problems of screw-on pommels. You will have to put a blunt on it for most kinds of sparring. The point is not safe otherwise. (I don’t know why Hanwei doesn’t use the nail-tip they use on their rapiers on all their practical swords. Especially this one, which is about as narrow as their rapier, though not as flexible)
However, I have to note that the basket/handle is EXTREMELY cramped. I have moderately large hands, but with a heavy leather glove on, I pretty much have to wedge my fist into the basket and hope for the best. It limits my wrist/finger control, and plays merry hell with my edge alignment. Even with bare hands, I notice that the bottom curves of the side bars cause the blade to turn in my hand at full extension. When I first started using it, the inside of the basket blistered my thumb, but that went away when I modified my grip a bit. If you have large hands, I strongly recommend you go for a different sword.
Sean M. –
Good Lighter Weight Basket Hilt Sword I’ve only used this once so can’t speak to the blades durability. I really like the hilt, and prefer the grip to a much more expensive sidesword I have. I have medium sized hands and can use the sword with one pair of lacrosse gloves I have but not one other pair, but leather gloves would be better. We did Rob Roy final fight style vs. small sword for want of other steel one handers that night. The blade is short and the tip could run someone through so needs a protector on it. Unlike with heavier swords it is possible to parry and riposte with this. I’ve seen and participated in some real crap one handed sword fencing with the heavier swords and think they are best used with a shield, but this one can go either way. Wish replacement blades were available as it will break sooner or later. P.S. – the small sword held its own against this and vice versa depending on who was the more skilled fighter, not me that night.
Great mortuary, not perfect but good enough to call it a 5 for me. My use: medium/heavy sparring against Darkwood italian swords and rapiers for about 4 months now. The blade is mostly square like a feder and has held up very well to abuse. The blade is sturdy and not very flexible- it passes SCA tests but is not whippy at all. The blade is indeed quite short, so you will feel disadvantaged against 38in or longer rapiers but the sword plays reasonably well otherwise(by design it is a short blade, not going to fault it for that).
The big plusses
1- Weight. You don’t get the full hand protection of a basket hilt, but this sword is 30% lighter than most basket hilts while not giving up much protection.
2-Tough. Blade is of good construction and full tang attached through the basket itself, so I have had no rattling. I know people who had the run from 10 years ago or so and their blade is still going strong today- this feels just as tough.
3- Price! not especially cheap but its a tough sword that should last the test of time while being at the lower end of sparring sword prices.
The only 2 cons here:
1- this will fit normal sized fencing leather gloves/padded gloves but not lacrosse/hockey gloves(Well it does but it locks your hand). The good news is you should not need that much protection, but you can get hit in the pinkie if you are unlucky, I have a few times and it has never been too bad. I have also seen people make a leather or plastic little screen insert to shove in along with your hand that can protect it as well(so you would not need gloves).
2-Hilt is a little slick. Full block or dealing a heavy hit will sometimes rotate the sword a bit in your hands with feels very unsettling. Not sure if I could sand down the grip a bit or put some athletic tape on it to fix this problem, but its a relatively minor complaint.
If you like basket hilts or looking for a quick, shorter one handed sword- this is an amazing pick.
Awesome but stiff This sword is great to use and is fast as hell. I use it for SCA Rapier and Cut and Thrust and the blade barely meets the Rapier rules. I love it, but be careful if you are going to thrust with it.