Legacy Arms “Black Prince” Longsword Review
by Matt Blazek
I recently purchased a Legacy Arms “Black Prince” long sword. I needed a decent late 14th, early 15th, century suitable sword for light cutting and school presentations. This sword seemed to fit the need and was in my price range of sub-$300.
I purchased it on sale from online-sword seller Swords Direct. This was my first time purchasing from this company, as I usually purchase from private sellers, or from Kult of Athena, which has a good reputation. I am pleased with my transaction with Swords Direct and would consider purchasing from them again if they had what I was looking for.
This design from Legacy Arms is the third incarnation of the Generation 2 (Gen 2) Longsword, and LA really upped their game on the look for this version creating a replica much closer in appearance to the inspiration.
A classic Oakshott Type XVa, the slender blade with the acutely tapering tip, designed to seek out and take advantage of the gaps in the armor of the heavily armed Men at Arms but also able to deliver ferocious cuts to more lightly armored opponents, and a long grip able to accommodate two hands and beefy wheel pommel for leverage and better control.
This version has a diamond cross-section to the blade, and sports a type J pommel (wheel with peen block) and a type 8 Guard (Thick at the center that tapers out to downturned quillions).
When I first unboxed it, I was really surprised at how big this sword is. At 44 inches (tip to peen block) with a 34-inch, 5160 High Carbon Steel, blade it really is a beast and has a definite heft to it. Weighing in at 3lbs 12oz (Kult of Athena shows the weight of 3lbs 6oz, Swords Direct at 3lbs 3oz) that’s only 10oz heavier than the Hanweii Tinker Practical Longsword sharp; though I am nearly certain all of that weight is in the grip and pommel. Still, this sword balances more blade heavy, but with a point of balance at 3.5 inches from the guard, it is quite nimble for its size.
At this time I have only used it in light cutting demonstrations, using gallon water jugs. The LA Black Prince sliced through the plastic with minimum effort, leaving clean cuts on the down and backstrokes. Its weight makes it a little sluggish on the back cut, but that also may be due to my novice experience with cutting.
The fit and finish to this sword is, not surprisingly, inconsistent. While the guard, grip, and pommel are all tight (the tang is actually peened through the pommel and peen block, not threaded) and there is not rattling when using the blade, the grip and scabbard are afterthoughts. I found the grip to be bulky. Not so much to make the sword unusable but its girth could be reduced a little for a more comfortable hand feel. The leather used on the grip is also very thin and only glued on, not stitched. While the advertisement on all platforms says the scabbard is leather-wrapped with steel fittings, I believe mine to just be painted wood. Or it is the thinnest leather ever. Those being the only drawbacks, I find this to be a good investment for my portrayal.
Matt is the Executive Director of History Live! North East, a 501c3 Non-Profit organization providing high-fidelity, accurate, informative, interactive and engaging living history education to schools. With over 25 years of experience as a reenactor, medievalist, and theater performer Matt has a unique blend of skills and passions to bring history to life for school age children and adults.
Have an idea for a great guest article? Tell me about it!