Atrim at Kingston Arms

Angus Trim

Atrim swords made by the legendary sword maker - Angus Trim - are generally regarded as the best made, and best handling, medieval swords on the market.

Historically, the problem has always been that the demand far outstrips Gus's ability to make them, especially as he advances in age. And even at the peak of his sword making endeavors, Gus would frequently bite off more than he could chew, resulting in wait times of several YEARS despite having paid up front.

It got to the stage that at one point, people started to think that Atrim Swords were done and dusted and that from now on, the only ones you will be able to get a hold of are those on the secondary market, or perhaps something designed by Angus Trim but not made by him.

But Kingston Arms, who had developed their sword line from original Atrim designs to Gus's exacting specifications, had a surprise in store for us all. And every now and again, a handful of Atrim swords of a particular model are suddenly available to purchase from STOCK - no waiting, no messing about..

This was one of those swords. So let's take a bit of a look as to what you can expect from Gus' most recent offerings.


ATrim XIIIa.2 Longsword  

(a.k.a. The ATrim Competition Cutting Longsword)

Review by SBG member Aikidoka "monstrous monk in training"


This sword is based on the Oakeshott Type XIIIa - a common 13th and 14th century 'Great Sword of War'.

For some time, I have wanted to test the ATrim Competition Cutting Longsword that is made by Angus Trim for CAS Iberia's Kingston Arms line. When I attended a recent HEMA tournament at which Gus Trim had a booth, I noticed he had an ATrim XIIIa.2 longsword, which is the same sword as the Competition Cutting Longsword.

The only difference is that the leather is oxblood instead of brown and the wheel pommel has a slightly different shape. When that sword did not sell at the event, Gus sent it to me to test and review.

The XIIIa.2 is one of four designs that Gus came up with as potentially effective swords to use in HEMA cutting events, as the name would suggest. The other three designs included two heavy hitting swords, the XVIIIb.5 and the XVIa.5, and the longsword that I currently use in cutting competitions, the XVIa.4.

The ATrim XIIIa.2 line of swords was developed exclusively for CAS Iberia. Previous ATrim type XIIIa longswords were all variations on the warsword theme, 13th and 14th century interpretations. Larger, heavier swords. The XIIIa.2 is interpreted from a fifteenth century sword found in Switzerland, with a wheel instead of the writhen pommel

Full disclosure

This sword was loaned to me by Angus Trim and I'm receiving no compensation for this review. After cutting with this sword, I will be returning it to him unless I decide I would like to buy it.

Statistics

  • Blade Length: 36 inches
  • Grip Length: 8.75 inches
  • Overall Length: 47 inches
  • Guard Width: 8 inches
  • POB (Point of Balance): 5.5 inches
  • Weight: 2 lbs 13 oz

The Blade

This sword has a type XIIIa blade with a hexagonal profile for most of its length. It has black fire scale in the fuller, as is characteristic of many ATrim blades. The lines are all very clean and straight on this sword.

I spent some time sharpening the edge in order to achieve the level of cutting ability seen in the videos.

Handling Characteristics

This sword is the same length and weight as my ATrim XVIa.4, but it handles very differently due to the substantially different mass distribution in the blade. The hexagonal profile extends to within about 1.5 inches of the tip and the sword has very little profile taper.

The result is a sword with much more blade presence and a POB nearly an inch forward of the POB on the XVIa.4. This sword hits harder, but takes a bit more effort to recover and accelerate the blade.  As can be seen in the cutting videos below, this different approach works quite well when cutting tatami.

Test Cutting

Today, I performed a couple of double cuts, one on a full length tatami mat target and one on a half length tatami mat scrap. As I mentioned above, this sword has a good bit of blade presence due to the mass distribution in the blade. Even so, it is quite capable of quick cut combinations, as can be seen in the footage of the double cut on the half mat piece.

This afternoon, I performed a double cut on two mats using the ATrim XIIIa.2 longsword . The increased blade presence helped to make the initial ascending cut through the mats fairly easy.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a hard hitting type XIIIa sword that cuts very well, I would highly recommend the ATrim XIIIa.2 longsword, also sold as the Kingston Arms ATrim Competition Cutting Longsword.

PROS

  • Beautiful blade with clean lines and distinctive fuller
  • Hard hitting sword that cuts tatami very well
  • Nicely wrapped leather grip

CONS

  • Needed additional sharpening to perform at the level in the videos

WHERE TO BUY

While they are rare, only appearing for a few days at a time 2 or 3 times a year, when they are available we list them for sale here in the Kingston Arms section of the official SBG Sword Store. Price is typically $1,200 but we have sold them before with a $100 discount - which is as low as they can possibly go.


I hope this review on the Atrim XIIIa.2 longsword has been helpful. To return to Affordable Replicas of Medieval Swords from Atrim at Kingston Arms, click here


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