Equipment – What to Buy

Basic Advice on Buying Equipment

If you are starting fencing with us then the club will supply everything you need for your training course.  When you become a member we also have kit that you can borrow but it is nice to have your own kit and the longer you continue fencing the more we will encourage you to do so!

A complete set of kit can be quite expensive and many people choose to build up their kit gradually in the beginning.  Some suppliers offer savings for buying a full basic set this is also a reasonable option.  Another option is to buy some kit second hand.

Be wary of buying from online auction sites and some of the cheaper suppliers.  British Fencing has barred some kit from certain suppliers and kit can become out of date as rules and standards change.

Bath Sword Club has a healthy 2nd hand kit market both held monthly on club night and here and there is a Facebook group dedicated to 2nd hand kit.

Always ask for advice from the club coaches before buying kit.  Regulations are different for younger age groups but they can offer guidance on suppliers, types of kit and what to buy when.

Different people have different priorities for the order in which they purchase kit and again it is worth discussing this with one of the coaches or the Bath Sword Club equipment manager if you would like advice.

Choosing and buying fencing jackets, breeches and other equipment

Fencing by virtue of being a combat sport is potentially dangerous. Broken blades pose a particular threat and appropriate clothing and equipment is important in reducing the risk of serious injury.  The requirements for fencing equipment are set out in the British Standard EN 13567:2007 and its updates. You should receive a product information sheet with all jackets, breeches and masks which conform to the standard. This provides mandatory safety and care information.

There are two levels of equipment:

Level 1:  350 Newton. This standard of protective clothing is suitable for use at clubs and national competitions. 800N plastrons are also required for all electric fencing with size 5 weapons.

Level 2: 800 Newton.  FIE (Federation Internationale d’Escrime) This standard of protective clothing is suitable for the Olympic Games, World Championships and all ‘A’ grade/ World Cup events. 800N plastrons are also required for all electric fencing with size 5 weapons.

The main items of equipment are:

The Jacket covers the whole torso including a blade catcher at the neck line. Jackets must be brought as specifically left or right handed for front zip items. Back zip items can be used by all fencers and are therefore often purchased by clubs, but a front zip is more convenient.

The Plastron this is a one armed garment worn under your jacket on your sword arm and gives extra protection to the most commonly hit part of your body including the armpit, and part of the chest. This must therefore be brought as left or right handed. For non-electric fencing a 350N plastron is ok, however a 800N plastron will allow you to fence electric as it is mandatory for all adult electric fencing (see above).

Breeches this is the name given to the short trousers worn to just below the knee. Due to the protective material covering over the zip fastening they must be brought for left or right handed fencing.Masks protective item covering the face and sides of the head and incorporate a bib of protective material over the front of the neck. They include a back strap to keep them in place. Masks are weapon specific.

Gloves are worn only on the weapon hand for protection. Foil and epee gloves are the same. Sabre gloves incorporate a conductive cuff.  

Weapons – the first decision is what weapon foil, epee or sabre? Then for foil and epee a style of grip “french” or “pistol”? The best advice is to have a go with all these at club and see which suits you best for the fencing you are doing. If you are an adult you will need a size 5 blade, for young fencers under 13 they should use the following size blades:

Under 90 (775mm)0 (775mm)0 (765mm)
Under 133 (850mm)2 (825mm)2 (820mm)

The Bodywire for electric fencing.  A bodywire is placed underneath the fencer’s clothing and attached to the connector in the weapons guard, then to a wire leading to the scoring box. 

The Lame (pronounced La-may) is the conductive over jacket that is used for electric scoring in both foil and sabre. They must be brought as either left or right handed – also available in back zip.

Fencing Shoes as you advance in the sport specific fencing footwear will give you better grip where you need it.