The Kingston Arms Club Sport Feder is pitched as an affordable (i.e. ‘entry-level’) weapon for clubs, beginners and “even seasoned practitioners”. It fits the bill for a reasonably light, quick, safe sparring sword for HEMA longsword sparring at an entry-level price.
We picked one up earlier in the year while we were looking for entry-level feders and it fitted three criteria: price, looks, and not being a Hanwei feder, despite Kingston Arms being a Hanwei subsidiary (more on Hanwei in another post).
Everyone who handles it falls for the same optical illusion that it is a short weapon. It isn’t. The blade is wide at the base, while the two handed grip is longer than most feders; in comparison with our other feders it is within a centimetre or so’s overall length.
The whole construction is solid, the blade itself is quite stiff, with sufficient distal taper and flex in the top third to be safe in the thrust, while the body remains stiff in the bind. The tip is spatulated – flattened and rounded – so it can be used as-is; however we’ll be fitting a safety tip as a straight thrust from that narrow tip is quite capable of creasing the mesh in a coaching mask.
The cross section of the blade is very rectangular; it’s flat, there’s no profiling and four very distinct ‘corners’, which means the blade takes nicks and burrs easily; the steel is decent enough that the burrs don’t go deep and are easily taken out with a file. The steel is clearly not of the same standard as a Regenyei, for example.
The schilt is practical and no-nonsense, no fuss in design, with flat shoulders and no tongues or hooks.
At the back end, there’s a ramped thumb guard to aid blade transitions and binds. The quillons of the cross guard are solid and flare slightly to button tips, more for safety than any technical advantage in parries and binds.
The wood core grip is nicely indexed to the edge alignment of the blade, comfortably rounded and tightly bound with a cord overwrap, provinding good grip. You always know where the weapon is aligned and there’s never any slippage in the hand.
How does it handle? Sword handling is so often a question of personal taste. There’s nothing flimsy about this weapon, being so much more solid than, say, the Hanwei’s. The point of balance will suit some fencers better than others. It is supposedly 8cm from the hilt, but can feel like it wanders as you move through cuts and parries and the back end wants to follow through in unexpected moments. It may be that I’m used to a ring-hilted Regenyei; the Club Sport absolutely suits t couple of our club fencers in style and handling [update: one of them bought it in the recent sale at 20% off, smiley face].
Overall the Club Sport has substance at a decent entry-level price. The handling won’t suit everyone but it offers a sound introduction to steel sparring.
Kingston Arms Club Sport Federschwert
£171.00 (sale price at The Knight Shop £136.00, 06/09/19)
Overall Length: 131cm
Blade Length: 97cm
Handle Length: 28cm
Point of Balance: 8cm (at schilt)
Blade: 9260 High Carbon Steel