Angus Trim Makers Mark XIIa Longsword Review

Seattle based Angus "Gus" Trim is easily one of the most recognizable and respected sword makers around.

Gus was with Albion back in the early days and his swords have always been in high demand, but they became so popular that some customers ended up waiting 3 or 4 years for their swords to come in, and several ventures have tried - and never quite succeeded (yet) at bringing them in at a reasonable time frame. The demand is THAT strong, but Gus is only one man.

In this review, Marc Ridgeway, who usually prefers Japanese swords manages to get his hands on one. And is soon seduced by the 'Dark Side' as it is commonly called..

ATrim Makers Mark XIIa Longsword Review

Review by Marc Ridgeway Atlanta, GA, UNITED STATES



Point of Balance 

Price Range

5160 Spring Steel

2lbs 6oz

4.0" from guard


Occasionally I get offered a chance to test swords and write reviews on them, but seldom does a powerhouse like Gus Trim call me up and offer me a couple of prototypes to play with. Naturally, when he did, I jumped at the chance.

In the world of European sword replicas, especially amongst practioners of WMA , there are what is known as the Big Three ... that is : Albion, Arms and Armour and Angus Trim.

Of these three, the swords of Gus Trim have always been known for their performance and Albion for their histrocity... well Gus is making changes.

The performance is still there, but now Gus is throwing in little bonuses... like primary bevels, a smoother, less machined finish, and permanent construction.

The sword in this review is prototype/first production model of a sword being created for the alliance between Gus and Sonny, of Valiant Armoury. Judging from the two I've gotten, it should be a VERY happy marriage.

Aesthetics: Fit And Finish

This is a XII a longsword, common in the 13th century and pretty typical of the form. The 7.5 inch wooden grip is wound with cord and wrapped with English brown leather.

The pommel is a type J and the guard is a gorgeous style 2. Machine marks are virtually non-existant , and it is all joined together by a nice peen.

The polish is a nice high satin and I am unable to discern a secondary bevel. Lines are all crisp and the entire package flows together into a beautiful sword.

The permanent assembly is tight and solid , and the peice as a whole just feels " seamless ".

The 5160 blade is is even with no hint of waviness, and is tempered to extremely durable spring temper through Gus's famous Aero-space heat treaters.

Handling Characteristics

This being an Angus Trim , handling is one of the areas you expect it to shine, and being an Atrim, it does not disappoint.

The balance point is 5.5 inches , but this doesn't even begin to tell the story. The story, in fact, is a mystery, because I dont have a clue how Gus makes a sword with the balance of a katana move so well.

This longsword functions almost as well one-handed, and when dry handled it has a sense of blade presence but almost no inertial drag, or feeling of tip-weight. It corners like a Lotus Esprit, and stops on a dime.

The grip makes a great handlebar, with the oval shape near the guard tapering to a slightly squarish shape at the pommel.


Along with the incredible handling, this sword also feels indestructable in hand. It's solid.

The nimbleness also belies how well this sword tracks in the cut.

I am VERY inexperienced with western swords, but despite this , IO went straight to the bamboo, skipping the bottles, as the sword seems biased well for heavy targets... and indeed, it handled bamboo with ease, despite my horrible form.

VIDEO: Cutting Bamboo

Cutting fun the whole family can enjoy!

The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Again, this is my critical section, where I point out all the little flaws on a sword. Sometimes this is a easy section to complete, and occasionally it is near impossible, as it is this time.

There is really nothing bad to say about this sword.. the handling, cutting appearance, construction... all top notch as you would expect to find from a giant like Gus.

Were I to really nit-pick I could point out that the handle wrap is not quite flush with the crossguard, but is a bit wider , which is a sticking point with some people, but not me. Also I'm not sure what the wrapping set up will be moving forward. I know these swords will be a limited production run through Sonny, and I know Sonny does leather Who knows who will be doing the handle wrapping? Not I ... I do know that Gus isnt that fond of it... LOL.

At any rate, thats the only thing I could find to flesh out this section, and it is really not an issue to any but the pickiest of collectors.


This is another winning design for Gus, with the performance characteristic of what we've come to expect from him. Further, this is another step in a departure that is leading away from the utilitarian performers of Gus past, and moving towards a world in a sword that has more cosmetic characteristics of an Albion can still perform like an Atrim ... that's a world in which I'd feel right at home.

By cosmetics of an Albion, I mean : primary bevels, permanent construction , upgraded polish, and a variety of other changes... like any one notice the leather's NOT black?

It's a sure bet to say that Gus, together with Christian and Sonny are forever changing the world of Western sword replicas; and changing it for the better.

This prototype, that will be a limited run production piece for VA, is a huge way-station on that route.

In this time of rising Albion prices, along comes Gus Trim stepping up to the plate with an incredible array of choices in every level of the market. From the VA performance, Signature and Regal lines... to the Chimera and Prestige lines ... the Legacy line and the Makers Mark series, and now these new protypes... Gus together with Sonny and Christian is truly creating an unheard of new-renaissance in the Euro sword market...

lucky us.

This sword is so great , because it is what it is... a sword designed , created, mounted, finished in entire by the master sword fabricater, Angus Trim. This is not some blade created by a 3rd world laborer... this is essentially a custom sword from a HUGE maker for production prices... now how can you go wrong with that?

Thanks for reading.


  • It's an Atrim for Heavens Sake!


  • Availability. An ongoing problem unfortunately..


Well, this is where it gets tricky..

Such is the popularily of Gus Trims swords that everytime they are open for orders somewhere, he gets swamped and it can take years to fulfil the backlog. Numerous projects have been attempted, and there are some in the works right now, but to date none have been commerically successful - other than perhaps the Gus Trim designed Atrim and Sigature Series Valiant Armory swords we encountered earlier..

But for the real deal, at the time of writing this information - the only real place to pick up REAL Gus Trim made Atrims is in the classifieds section of the various sword forums

However, there is always a chance that someone will come up with a workable model so Gus can get down to the business of producing enough in stock swords to fulfil demand, and if and when it does - we will do our best to update you with the details.

They are worth it.

I hope you enjoyed this review of the Angus Trim Makers Mark XIIa Longsword as much as I did. What a beautiful sword. To return to Affordable Replicas of Medieval Swords from Angus Trim Makers Mark XIIa Longsword Review, click here

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