Best Fencing Equipment Reviewed & Rated
Fencing is popularly known for being an athletic sport. It has far-reaching historic roots as a weapon focused martial art. Believed to be developed in Spain in the 1450s, it wasn’t until the 18th century when it made the transition over to a sport. Furthermore, it has been featured in every modern Olympics as one of the five Olympic Sports aside from athletics, cycling, gymnastics, and swimming.
Under this sport are three schools of discipline. These three disciplines are known as Epee, Sabre, and Foil. Most people who are training chooses only one of these to hone all of their interest into, as opposed to getting deep into all three. Although these disciplines are extremely similar in most ways, they still have their differences. The main idea behind all of it is getting points by making contact with your sword to your opponent. The most notable difference between the three is where you can strike an opponent to get a point. Foil targets only the torso, excluding the arms and head. Epee targets the entire body, excluding nothing at all. Finally, Sabre, the newest of the three disciplines, targets only the upper torso, but unlike Foil, it includes the head and arms. There’s a lot of things that go into a sport with three disciplines.
Since there are a number of disciplines complete with their own rules, there is a need for different gear. Because this is a contact sport, you are gonna want gear that protects you from injury through said contact. Furthermore, that gear is going to differ between the three schools, since target zones change between them. To take this another step further, even the swords used will differ between the schools, given that they are named after the swords used. These factors and even more can make starting out an extremely overwhelming task.
- AFG Epee Mask
- Prevents Waffle Bruising
- AFG Electric Foil
- Replacement Blade
- Fencingfan NEPS Screw Kit
- Screwdriver Included
With so many options off and online, it can cause a beginner to be completely confused with where to start. Is there a sword that you most want to use? What are the rules for it? Which protective gear does it require? These are but some of the questions a beginner should be addressing. WIth many online vendors offering a range of equipment that varies in both price and quality, this is certainly a lot to take in. In this buyer’s guide, we will go over what we think is the best options on the internet in matters of general gear, in hopes of saving you both time and money. We also hope to give you a general idea of what you are in for with the sport by giving you both cheap and costly options. We then move on to explain in depth the criteria we used to determine what we think is the best. We hope to do the heavy lifting by spreading the knowledgeable word.
10 Best Fencing Equipment
1. AFG Epee Mask
This fencing mask has the ability to have its size adjusted. This doesn't mean that a size small can become a size large, but it means the size change is slight. The strap on the inside can be loosened or tightened to make a medium that is slightly too big or small, the size that is best for you. So, if your mask appears to be this case, and you are unsure of how to adjust it, check with your instructor.
Great For Beginners
Those just starting out can benefit greatly from this mask. AF is a widely recognized brand by professionals and novices all the same. The quality is good enough for someone who is beginning to take the sport seriously, and the price for this quality is affordable. If you decide you aren't into the sport, you can give up the mask without feeling like you've wasted your money.
Cost and Value
This mask is on the medium to high range of the pricing scale. Most gear is costly, so be expecting to pay a lot for them. However, for an authentic mask, this price is not all that bad. Furthermore, the mask is of actual good quality which makes this price even more reasonable. Beginners should really consider this option for these very reasons.
2. AFG Electric Foil
This fencing weapon was designed for the modern evolution. The rise of technology has brought us to an era where electric fencing has been made available. Electric fencing refers to specifically how the points are accumulated. With the use of a cord, each fencers target area and sword are plugged into a tallying machine and when either makes contact with one another, a tally is added automatically. This is a great improvement from having to rely solely on a referees decision.
This set comes with all necessary pieces, and more. These pieces include the pistol grip, hand guard, a foam hand guard cover, a two-pronged cord and a blade. It also comes with a replacement blade, in case something should happen to the original. The handle is interchangeable in case you are left handed since the handle is designed specifically and is not an ambidextrous item.
Cost and Value
This electric foil by AF is on the higher area on our buyer's guides pricing scale. Do not let this deter you from considering the purchase since most gear is costly. In truth, for a weapon, this price is more than acceptable, as these weapons tend to get extremely pricey. Throw in features like the cord, and even the replacement blade and you turn out with an extremely great value that should not be overlooked due to the price tag.
3. Fencingfan NEPS Screw Kit
NEPS Screws are a special type of screw used in weapons. The heads are unique and made with the idea of easy removal and insertion. Included with the deal is a screwdriver that is specially made for neps screws. The screws feature a collar that keeps the weapon safe from short-circuiting as well as breaking. The screw count is a total of 10 screws.
The special screwdriver is included with the screws. Although other screwdrivers can be used with these screws, it is advisable that you only use the screwdriver included with the offer. The screwdrivers tip is made of magnetized steel for better screw collection. The shaft is covered in a sturdy and protective plastic handle that provides grip. It isn't the greatest of screwdrivers, but it gets the job done, to be sure.
Cost and Value
The screw kit comes in on the low end of the buyer's guides pricing scale. In addition to this, the kit is actually our best-valued item on the list. This means it is the most affordable item on our list. Keep in mind that this list is a mixed collection of gear ranging from simple screws to complete weapons. The prices are going to greatly contrast one another since the items themselves do. However, for a screw kit, you cannot beat this price!
4. Physical Chess Mask
This mask from Physical Chess is not just a normal epee mask, but one that is utilized for electric fencing. Again, this is a modernized version that does not rely on a referee primarily for point accumulation. When a connected cord makes contact with the plugged-in mask, the point is electronically tallied automatically. This makes it way more accurate than ever before.
This mask features a useful noise reduction. It has a vinyl headband that absorbs the sound waves created when struck with a sword, as well as muffles the sound of your own breathing. The noise produced from contact is known to be quite abrasive in most other cases and can be obnoxious for some, and downright painful to others. This feature is incredibly useful if you have sensitive ears or lose focus easily due to the impact.
Cost and Value
This electric epee mask from Physical Chess is rather costly. It sits on the high end of the buyer's guides pricing scale and is the most expensive item on our list. Once again, do not let this price deter you, as it is a rather normal pricing for an electric mask. Additionally, this mask is compared to smaller items, like a set of screws that are cheap naturally. The mask itself is an excellent choice for both beginners and professionals, so do not overlook this offer just because of its price tag.
5. Radical Fencing Gloves
These gloves will ensure that you will not lose your weapon during training or competitions. Also, coming in a left-handed option, both come standard with a rubber-like material along the palm and fingers. This is what gives the gloves its anti-slip features. Dropping your weapon is always a possibility, however, it will not be due to the gloves being slippery, that is for certain.
These gloves not only feature anti-grip but also are completely washer safe. Fencing is a competitive sport that requires a lot of rigorous training. Rigorous training is notorious for producing lots of sweat, especially in sports where you're holding something in your hands. Furthermore, sweat is known for being not exactly the most pleasant smell and is even known to cause fungal and bacteria growth in closed spaces, especially in gloves. These gloves having the ability to withstand a washer and dryer is truly a blessing indeed.
Cost and Value
These gloves are also on the high end of the pricing spectrum on our list. Gloves are typical, by comparison, somewhere on the midsection of pricing, however, these gloves are of great quality. It features anti-slip palms and is washer safe which is partially where it gets its value. Furthermore, this is a brand known for its high-end equipment that is loved by both professionals and novices alike. Although it isn't meant for someone with a tight budget, you'll find a great value in these gloves should you be able to afford it.
6. Radical Fencing Nasycon
This is a predominantly a right-handed competitive sport. Although some practitioners are left handed, most fencers you will find are right handed. Most swords have handles that are fashioned for a specific hand and are not able to be used comfortably in the other hand. This typically requires the purchase of a removable left handed pistol grip. This saber, however, has a handle that is not fashioned for a specific hand and can be moved from one hand to the other with no notable sacrifice in comfort.
This saber is completely safe to use for everyone. The "blade" is made of plastic that retains the flimsy and flexible qualities of a real metal rapier. It also has a soft rubber tip that adds to its safety features, as it relies heavily on thrust attacks. Since it is such a safe variant, it is even possible for kids of certain ages to use, that is if they can handle the length of the sword effectively. This safety ensures that neither you or your training partner will not suffer serious injury.
Cost and Value
This sabre falls into the mid-range pricing spot on the buyer's guide. It is the cheaper of the weapons featured on the list. Practitioners on a budget, as well as beginners and even children just starting out will greatly benefit from the items quality and low cost. Additionally, its safety will save you lots of money in hospital bills in the future, as it will not injure anybody as easily as a real blade would.
7. FEG Chest Protector
This chest protector is not restricted to a specific gender, allowing both males and females the ability to wear it. This has a number of benefits to some circumstances. If a man and woman are married, for example, and both practice at different times, the protector can be borrowed by the other when one is using it without having to compromise comfort. In truth, there is seldom an instance when not being restricted due to your gender-specific physical form is a bad thing. Another benefit of this item being unisex is passing it on to someone else will be an easier task immediately.
Youth, Novice, Instructors
In any contact sport protection is very important. Although this type of chest protection is not a requirement in professional fencing, beginners and youth will find its importance easily. Those who are learning how to properly wield a weapon efficiently and safely will greatly benefit, considering an injury is more likely to happen where inexperience is concerned. Parents can rest assured their child wont get harmed during training. Also, instructors who undergo endless strikes as per the way of tutelage, basically have great need of better protection than a trainee.
Cost and Value
The chest protector is in the mid-range of the pricing scale on our buyer's guide. This is fairly affordable in matters of gear since the gear is infamous for its high cost. The unisex feature increases this item's value quite easily, as there are no restrictions to who can wear it. If the size permits it, even children can make use of this. beginner, children, and Instructors all can get great use out of this decently priced, but not required piece of gear.
8. Fencing Equipment Gear Tips
These rubber tips are used only with practice blades. Standard weapons do not employ the use of rubber tips since the protective gear that is worn is sufficient protection from the flimsy and already non-lethal design of authentic weaponry. However, practice blades that are made of plastic are surprisingly more dangerous than the metal variants. This is mostly due to training sessions not requiring the full get up of protection.
Pack of 10
This offer of rubber foil tips come in a pack with many replacements. When fitting onto a metal blade they are easily worn out due to the stress they are put under, since they undergo a lot of strikes and thrusts. Training requires a lot of striking and because of this, you will find you are going to need more than just one, especially if you are an avid trainee. Without them, you can really end up hurting your partner or getting hurt yourself.
Cost and Value
These foil tips from FEG fall into the low to medium range on the buyer's guides pricing spectrum. This is comparatively affordable when put up against the more expensive items. These are affordable, but considering all they are and how many you get, they are a bit steep in price. Fencing, in general, is a sport that somebody on a budget might not be able to pull off since the gear is many and most of that gear is pricey.
9. BodycordZ Cord
These cords are mostly used in tournaments. They are used in all schools whether it is epee, foil or saber. However, tournament prices cost an arm and a leg due to their quality being made to fit tournament standards. These cords are durable and still meet these standards but at a fraction of the cost. Which is great, since it is already an expensive sport.
Despite being a fraction of the cost, these cords still meet tournament standards. This particular cord is in limited edition green but can come in other colors. They can be customed ordered and are additionally sold in bulk if so desired. It seems as simple and straightforward as it really is, which can only be a good thing in this day and age.
Cost and Value
These cords sit in the low end of the pricing scale of our list. This low cost has a lot to do with the fact that this is simply a single cord, as opposed to a mask or sword. Additionally, you can order different amounts of cords as well as request different colors. A perfect choice for a fencer needing a quick and easy replacement.
10. Blade Practice Epee
This epee was designed with the beginner in mind. It comes stock with a french handle, as opposed to a pistol grip. Light and durable, this weapon will be sure to give the beginner a good idea of how fencing is done without overwhelming anyone who is just trying to get the basics down. It can be used to hit targets or do basic drills with, but be sure that you will have to move on to a more advanced style of epee eventually.
Choice of Hand Orientation
What makes this offer great is the choices you have with it. In this case, you can select whether you want a right handed or left handed orientation. This is crucial, as are most sports that rely on a primary hand. Although the sport is dominated by mostly people of the right-handed orientation, there is still room for those of the left-hand persuasion. Having options for these kinds of things is always a bonus.
Cost and Value
This practice epee falls into the middle to high range of the buyer's guide pricing scale. For a practice weapon, this is not too bad of a price, making it a great choice for a beginner or a youth. The light design and sturdiness of the weapon only add additional value to this selection.
Our selections should give you a basic idea of what equipment you are going to need. Furthermore, our list should give you an idea of the options available for online purchase, as well as how much you are going to be looking to spend. These selections are some of what we think are the more important, as well as the better quality of the bunch. Reviewing these ourselves saves you time from having to do it yourself. However, there are some that are looking for a deeper explanation. For those curiosities, we have the criteria section of our buyer’s guide. This next section will go over the criteria we used to determine the best from all the rest. Since your time is as precious of a commodity as your dollar, we hope to save you both by lightly educating you on your options.
Criteria for Evaluating the Best Fencing Equipment
There is a lot of things you will need in order to effectively train. Furthermore, not having some of this gear will get you laughed out of any gym that teaches it, as you cannot participate without it. From masks, swords, to cords and gloves, the number of items that go into the sport is varied and many. So many that it is important to go over the list, as this will be useful to anyone just starting the sport out. Doing so will surely make one more knowledgeable if they were not before.
There are three kinds of swords. Each is what the disciplines are named after and each has their own targeting rules. There is the Foil, the Sabre, and the Epee. They are all thin and flexible bladed weapons used primarily for thrusting attacks. The saber is used for cutting attacks as well as thrusts, and its targeting is the entirety of the torso. Epee is a thrusting weapon in which the target is the entire body. Lastly, the foil is barely any different from the Epee as a weapon as it is primarily a thrusting weapon.
Masks are a little more obvious. Masks are the protective force that keeps your face from getting struck or stabbed. The face part of the mask is made up entirely of a steel mesh that both keeps swords out, but also makes vision possible with little to no obscurity. There are a few styles to choose from as there is a little deviation that won’t end up preventing mobility or vision.
Gloves cover the hands and lower part of a swordsman’s arm. The gloves do a couple things for a fencer. First and foremost, the gloves protect the hands and arms from being struck to the point of injury. In addition to safety, gloves can also provide the benefit of improved grip, allowing one to have better control over their preferred weapon.
Jackets cover the upper torso area of the body. Some are cut off at the waist, whereas others cover all the way down between the legs where they fasten. The jacket is of course used for protecting the torso from injury and does little else in the way of that. Instructors have been known to wear heavier jackets since they endure many strikes from their pupils. Also, in this modern age, there are jackets lined with electric cords that can detect when a sword makes contact with it.
The plastron is another part of the protective uniform. It covers the side of the torso closer to the sword arm, as well as the upper arm. The left arm is typically sleeveless since it is the swordless hand. The sword hand gets extra protection.
The breeches or knickers are what we typically refer to as pants. The pants always go down to the knee and cut off there. The socks are made to go up over the breeches cut off point. This makes for better mobility and helps give the iconic look.
The socks are pretty much like the socks we wear every day. However, there are some differences, unlike everyday socks. The socks are designed to go up and over the knee, covering up any potential bare spot. Some socks even cover a lot of the thigh, which further ensures there aren’t any open spots in the uniform.
The shoes used are a bit different than normal shoes. They do have flat soles like some normal shoes do. However, the insides are reinforced in a way to prevent damage from wear and tear that may happen from lunging. The inside of the front foot is reinforced with plastic, whereas the back foot’s heel is reinforced with plastic since that is the foot you use to lunge off with.
There are several minor pieces and some optional pieces of gear that are not as important as the aforementioned pieces of gear. Instructors will wear reinforced pieces of gear since they undergo a lot of strikes. Cords, buzzers, electrical jackets, and electrical masks are others, as modernized fencing relies on technology to detect points. Plastic chest protectors are often worn by women for obvious reasons.
Now that we have gone over the list of most prominent gear, you should be prepared to make your own decisions. The criteria section is designed to give anyone who is interested more of an in-depth look at what we decided should make the list. Additionally, it gives someone a look at other equipment that one might be interested in getting even though it was not featured on our list of ten items. No matter the reason, we hope to have saved you some studying time as well as some potential cash.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What weapons are used?
A: There are three weapons used, each one being a different discipline from the other, as well as different rules and scoring. They are the foil, epee, and saber.
Q: Do I have to use all three weapons?
A: No. Most fencers prefer to focus on just one discipline. Usually, everyone starts out just getting familiar with all three, then they choose one to focus their skill on.
Q: Is there gear for left-handed people?
A: Yes. Although fencing is predominantly a right-handed sport, most claim that it feels weird facing off against left-handers. Also, pros claim that lefties have a big advantage over right-handed counterparts.
Q: Is Fencing a martial art?
A: It has its origin story of being a martial art and being used in battle, however, once dueling became banned, it has since been turned primarily into a sport. There are some instances that it could be used practically, but for the most part, it is not.