This Tachi Gunto sword from Handmade Swords combines modern high carbon steel with traditional hand forging and clay tempering techniques. The fully functional and combat ready blade seats in a metal-sheathed scabbard inspired by the dress swords of the modern Japanese military.
Instead of the traditional rayskin-and-cord grip and lacquered wood scabbard, brass plate completely encases both grip and scabbard of this modern Japanese sword. Gold-plated brass fittings on the scabbard display engravings of scenes from samurai life and legendary battles. Other brass hardware shows sea-life symbols including the snail, shrimp, sea horse, and octopus, with a sea dragon emblem on the cast brass tsuba. Without gold plating on the handle, the sword’s grip holds up to tameshigiri or target cutting without unusual wear. The 44-inch full tang blade — signed by the smith who hand-forged the piece in China — features high carbon 1095 tool steel in the best grade Handmade Swords offers. Straps and accessories are genuine cowhide, and the sword arrives in a well-made sandalwood display box. Total weight of the sword with scabbard is 6 pounds 2 ounces.
Traditional clay tempering created the hamon mark on the polished blade’s edge. The harder edge is rated HRC60, while the tough shock-absorbing spine of the blade measures HRC40. Handmade Swords recommends this quality of blade for ordinary target cutting of green bamboo and rolled tatami mats. The sword performs best at a striking angle of 45 degrees. The curved blade of the tachi originally was meant for fighting from horseback with slashing attacks and historically was replaced by the straighter katana blade for fighting from the ground.
Early Gunto swords designed for the Japanese military followed the styles of European weapons, but shifted again towards traditional patterns after 1934.
For a battle-ready collector’s sword in the traditional katana style, see the Sengoku General Katana.