Increasing the length of the blade poses safety risks, especially to those who are not familiar with the added length. The main concern is the increased chance of giving a hard shot from the change of range. Be aware of your range as you fight with a long sword and focus on Gauging or Breaking Shots.
Rapier blades vary in length. Blades on average are 36″–39″, but can range from 34″–45″. Anything longer than 40″ is considered a long sword and has the advantage of greater range.
Having a longer range allows you to stay further back and still be able to hit your opponent. With that extra range, you need to adjust how close you get to your opponent. Otherwise, you risk giving a lot of hard shots. Make sure that you are aware of your shots and break them appropriately. The disadvantage of a long sword is that it moves more slowly and can get trapped more easily when you engage in sword play. If you’re not careful with your range you will constantly overextend, leaving your opponent within your guard and able to kill you while you are bringing your point back on line.
Long swords in Melee
A long sword on the melee field should never go unnoticed. When you know someone is using a long sword, let your team know. Long swords are designed to pick people off quickly without getting in many extended fights.
You’re able to pick off opponents by using, what we call, the Snipe. A Snipe is a very controlled, highly accurate shot at an opponent. It is quick and just barely lands with positive pressure. A Snipe needs to be completely under control because one of the dangers of having a long sword is that if you are just slightly off with your range and gauging your shot, you will give a hard blow. If you find yourself in a position where you wouldn’t be able to perform a Snipe safely, you should disengage before going for a strike. It is necessary to improve your range awareness and control as you go forth with a long sword.
How does a long sword feel compared to a normal short sword? What additional benefits/challenges does it post?