Cold Steel Broad Sword Review


This sword has been discontinued and is no longer in production or available, but is preserved on the site for informational purposes.

The Cold Steel Broad Sword is often photographed in such a way that it looks more like something out of a science fiction movie than a replica of a historical Horsemans basket hilt sword…

In this review, we will be taking a close look at this sword with Thomas Kinder, an experienced SCA fighter, and seeing how it REALLY looks close up, and most importantly, how this battle ready labeled sword actually performs.

Cold Steel Horsemans Basket Hilt Broad Sword

Review by Thomas W. Kinder, Goose Creek, USA

Point of Balance    
Price Range

1050 Carbon Steel
US$200 to $249

I have done a lot of fighting in the SCA with basket hilted broad swords and I was looking for a live bladed sword that was as close a match to my SCA sticks as possible so I could try out my SCA skills and techniques in real live cutting. Looking around some I decided that Cold Steel's Horseman's Broad sword fit the bill nicely and at $209 USD from I was sold.

After forking over my hard earned cash on Sunday the 22nd of June I was surprised to come home and find a huge box waiting for me on the morning of Thursday the 26th of June. Talk about fast delivery!

Right away I noticed the box took a little damage in transit.

But not to fear, there was another box inside that one and it was bubble wrapped!

What great packaging, I'm not sure if that’s Trueswords doing or Cold Steel's but I like it. Upon slicing the tape with a knife and opening the inner box I found more great packing.

As you can see in the picture the sword hilt was boxed up and protected, the blade was supported and the scabbard was hung securely underneath the sword.

Once I had unwrapped all the protective paper wrap and plastic sheeting over the well blade and cleaned the grease off I saw I had before me a beautiful broad sword with barely a single imperfection immediately noticeable (there was one slight scuff on the blade but nothing a little metal glo won't take out).

One of my original concerns was immediately laid to rest as I looked at it for the first time. The basket hilt did not look "sci-fi" at all in person like it did in the Cold Steel promotional photos of this broad sword.

The scabbard did look a little cheesy but I wasn't expecting much.

The blade seemed to sag a little suggesting a floppy blade. I wasn't expecting that from Cold Steel. Well, we'll see how it holds up.

Finally, I raised my new broad sword to get a feel for it and it felt good, very good.

She was slightly heavy but nothing to live up to Cold Steel's reputation of making swords that handle like crowbars. The thing that made my eyes light up though was the balance. The sword's reaction time was excellent and coupled with enough weight to feel authoritative. It has an excellent mixture of power and agility.

Before I get too far along here are the vital statistics.

Steel: 1050
Blade length: 33.5 inches
Blade width (at basket): 1 3/4 inch (just past fuller): 1 1/8 inch.
Hilt length: 4 inches of grip pus 2 inches of pommel (only about 1" is grippable because then the basket gets in the way) = 5 inches total
Width of basket opening: 5 1/4 inches
Overall: 40 inches
POB: 4 1/4 inches from basket
COP: 19 1/2 inches from hilt or 14 inches from point.
Weight: 1 ketchup bottle and 32 cookies (for those of you who can't convert kitchen-metric to standard that's just shy of 3 pounds give or take a few ounces since I don't have a scale).

Ok, it's time to look at all the little details.

The blade is nicely polished, very thin in cross-section, and has a triple fuller with the longest ending six and a half inches from the point. The two secondary fullers don't end in the same place either but they are close enough you really have to look to see the difference. It is sharpened only on the forward half and that was done with an obvious secondary bevel.

When I took the hilt off I found that only one of the tang shoulders had been rounded at all, so I filed out the other. The tang is threaded but at least it isn't a welded on rat-tail; looks solid enough. The blade is springy and bends more freely than I would have guessed but it doesn’t seem to be a problem; could be described as a little "whippy".

The grip is one of my favorite things about this sword. It has a wooden core wrapped tightly and evenly in black ray-skin and that is bound by a twist of silver wire sandwiched between two straight silver wires that spirals down the grip. The grip is attractive, comfortable, tight and very non-slip.

The pommel is a heavy steel egg that serves to extend the grip just a little for us modern guys with fat hands. Functional and very attractive.

I find the basket hilt very attractive. It has a different pattern on the right side than the left. It is very sturdy and has been both riveted and welded. The opening in the basket is nice and wide and the basket offers enough room and range of motion I think I could use it with full clam-shell gauntlets. As it is it offers wider range of motion than most human wrists are capable.

One thing I am NOT a fan of is that the hilt is threaded and not peened. To be honest though it was threaded so tight that I didn't know for sure it was threaded until after I cut with it and loosened it up a little. And it is tightened in two places: right at the end of the grip and then again at the very end of the pommel.

The scabbard is basically a rolled over, presses, stitched and finished single piece of leather with a stainless throat and chape. No mounting hardware to hang it from, nothing. It's almost functional, but nothing to complain about too loudly.

This is all very nice but how does it cut? Well, I took it outside to answer that question and did a mini-review on camera at the same time.

VIDEO: Water Bottle and Proof Tests

Tom Tests the Basket Hilt Sword on some progressively harder water filled targets and then does the old 'British proof test' - a durability test that supposedly every one of these swords is subjected to before leaving the forge

I'm pretty happy with it. Yes, there are a few things that I would like to fix but all in all it's a really nice sword and it is what I was looking for.


  • Beautifully balanced between power and speed

  • Attractive and well sized, non-slip grip


  • Slightly 'whippy' blade

  • Threaded tang rather than peened traditionally (but can be retightened or disassembled)


Like almost all the Renaissance swords we are looking at, this blade has gone the way of the do-do..

However, bearing the good and bad points of this blade in mind, for anyone looking for something similar we strongly suggest you check out the range of Renaissance swords available HERE at Kult of Athena

I hope this review of the Cold Steel Horseman’s Basket Hilt Broad Sword has been helpful. To return to Renaissance Swords from Cold Steel Broad Sword Review, click here

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