We provide practice equipment for group classes and private lessons, but we do not provide electrical gear for Sparring. Therefore, at some point you'll probably want to buy your own equipment. This is especially true if you are interested in trying some tournaments (see below for equipment lists). Most people start buying their gear after they have been fencing for two or three months. While we try to stock some of the more essential equipment for weapon maintenance, including wires and blades, we encourage our fencers to use one of the vendors shown below.
Suggested Equipment Vendors on the Internet
Although there are a lot of vendors online, we tend to use these four. If their catalogues seem confusing, we will be happy to make recommendations on brands and types of equipment according to your needs.
- The Fencing Post - www.thefencingpost.com
- The Fencing Post is located in Escondido, CA. If you need something fast, they can usually get it to you the next day, without additional shipping charges
- Leon Paul - www.leonpaulusa.com
- Leon Paul is very innovative when it comes to fencing equipment, especially their blades and their clothing. Consider Leon Paul if you want to get the top-of-the-line. In our opinioin, their Xchange masks are the best you can get; and their "Phoenix" line of jackets and pants are the best non-FIE clothing on the market. Note: since their goods are made in London, you are going to pay British Pounds, and there will be a foreign exchange fee.
- Triplette Competition Arms -- www.triplette.com
- The great thing about Triplette is that all their house brand equipment is made in the good old U-S-of-A. Their prices may be a little higher than Absolute, but the clothing is good quality.
What to buy (and estimated costs)
Most fencers tend to pick up their equipment and assemble their arsenal one or two items at a time. For that reason, I tried to list equipment in order of importance. I put an electrical weapon first because owning one is necessary to participate at Advanced Sparring classes. Please contact us for specifications on what type of weapon to buy. Prices shown are estimates and reflect both the low and the high-end of what is available at the sites listed above. Obviously, those new to the sport should consider the cheaper equipment (especially those younger fencers who seem to outgrow their clothes every other month). In most cases, though, the more expensive items do last longer.
- Electric Weapon: $45 -- $150
- Mask: $60 -- $200
- Jacket: $70 -- $200
- Glove for weapon-hand: $12 -- $20
- Underarm protector and Chest Plate: $25/each
- Body cords: $30 - $40
- Electrical Jacket (Lamé): $40 -- $150
- Fencing Shoes (or indoor court shoes): $50 -- $200
- Fencing Pants (Knickers): $45 -- $200
- A bag to carry everything: $20 -- $80
- More weapons and body cords (most fencers have at least 3 of each)
- A toolkit (see below)
French v. German? Too many different options!
There are different makes of foil and epee parts. The majority are either "French" or "German," but there are also British (aka, Leon Paul) and "New German." We recommend the following tips for buying your weaons:
- Blade size: children aged 8-10 use a Size 2 blade; Ages 11-12 use a Size 4; Ages 13+ use a Size 5.
- Tip type: we recommend buying German points, tips, wires, etc. whenever possible. The French makes are cheaper. But they tend to break more.
- Socket: get a 2-prong socket. We prefer the "Prieur" 2-prong sockets. Any socket will suffice.
- Body cord: if you get the "Prieur" socket, the get the "Prieur" bodycord. We love them. They are very easy to fix. If you do not get a "Prieur" bodycord, though, then get a "Favero" cord. It has less moving parts than the standard "German" cord, and is easier to fix.
- Handle: most people at the club use a "Visconte" style pistol grip. The orange ones are xtra small. Yellow are small. Blue are medium. Red are large. Some people at the club use "French" grips, which are the straight ones that look like traditional sword handles.
- Blade type: we recommend getting whatever you can afford. "FIE" blades are unnecessary for new fencers. They are held to higher standards than non-FIE weapons. They break cleaner and tend to last longer.
- Mask: purchase a 350 Newton Foil mask, with a conductive bib. Also pick up a mask cord.
- Clothing: most people purchase the least expensive, or second least expensive gear from Absolute Fencing or the Fencing Post. We recommend getting whatever your personal budget can handle. If you are fencing foil, pick up a foil lame. There are usually only two choices: one is around $65, and the other is around $130. The $130 lame lasts more than twice as long as the $65 one. If you can afford it, then I recommend it.
Every competitive fencer needs to know how to work on his or her weapons. Below is a list of some tools you will need. Many of these items can be bought at local hardware stores.
- set of small screwdrivers (find at any hardware store)
- foil or epee weight
- test box
- 6mm hex wrench
- 7mm and 8mm open face wrenches for sockets
- slightly larger flat-head screwdriver
- small crescent wrench
- needle nose pliers
- wire strippers
- small Vise Grip or locking pliers
- super glue for wires (I suggest the Office Works glue that you buy at grocery stores. Look for a 2-pack)
- miscellaneous parts: extra wires, lock washers, tip tape, tips, barrels, screws, springs, etc.