The Infamous Darksword Tang Issue

The Darksword Tang issue is something that has become a rather contentious one in recent years. But it all came to a head in October 2017 when YouTuber Matthew Brown posted a somewhat inflammatory video entitled 'Darksword Armory - Enough is Enough' (we would normally present it below, but it has been deleted from YouTube).

In the video, Matthew goes on to suggest that a Darksword representative has gone on the defensive, claiming that most of the pictures shown of pencil thin Darksword tangs are from earlier production models and that a lot has been done since then to beef them up to meet the expectations of modern sword collectors..

And yet, as Matthew notes (rather gleefully I might add), pictures of thin tangs continue to surface.

His is not the only complaint online - another prominent one is posted to a blog called 'savage steel' who goes on to answer the question 'should I buy swords from Darksword Armory' and answers his own question with 'the simple answer is: NO' and goes on to single out, you guessed it, the Darksword Tang..

So what is going on here? Is the information outdated? Has the infamous Darksword tang actually improved? Are they posting pictures of old models? And did the tangs actually need improving in the first place?

Let's cut through all the BS and hyperbole and get to the truth of it..

The early Darksword Tang

It is true that the early Darksword Tang was on the thin side. But it was never, as some people claim, a rat-tail tang..

Below is a picture of a true rat tail tang..

THIS is a rat tail tang

Compare that with the tang of an early Darksword Armory sword I personally reviewed way back in 2008 and you can see that even the earliest Darksword Tang, while thin, was certainly not a rat tail tang..

It may not be all that beefy, but it is certainly NOT a rat tail tang

Is this the sturdiest tang on the market? No, absolutely not. But, despite appearing thin, it held up to severe stress testing and did not break, snap or deform.. And neither did anything untoward happen to any of the other Darksword Armory swords I have tested over the years, all with similar, narrow tangs..

That is not to say that their swords never break - freak accidents can and do happen - both historically on the battlefield and in the backyard.

Below are a couple of pictures of broken tangs from other sword manufacturers who are never questioned like Darksword about the integrity of their tangs..

Not a Darksword..
And neither is this one..

But here is where it gets interesting..

The 'beefy' tang is more of a modern creation and was not all that common historically

Google 'antique medieval sword' and you will see that quite a few historical swords, swords that were used in actual combat and whose owners depended on them for their lives, often had tangs that would have modern sword collectors up in arms..

The Tang of an actual antique - modern sword collectors would hate it!

When it is put into context - it is pretty clear - the Darksword tang that everyone is jumping on the bandwagon to complain about was not only historically accurate, it is also sturdy enough to more than do what is expected of it, and while yes - there have been a reported breakage, that's not unique to Darksword and it seems a bit strange that they have been singled out like this..

Indeed, in a thread on the SBG forum entitled 'beware DSA' one of the posters, who later notes that he worked for a company who was destroyed by a negative social media campaign, makes an astute observation "I get it, a lot of people don't like Darksword, but I'm almost starting to think there is deliberate sabotage going around.."

Sadly, this was reported as early back as the early 2000s, when Darkswords reputation was attacked by a competitor with a series of unfair and untrue accusations, setting the tone for anyone who likes to bash to bash away.. And it has not stopped since..

Darksword takes a stand

If we step back and take a big picture view we can see that:

A) The older tangs that many people like to besmirch was actually quite common historically..

B) Their tangs held up to use as well as any other sword and have been tested, and passed those tests, many times and..

C) The beefy tang that some modern collectors hold up as the ideal is actually rare historically and is a modern adaptation..

But despite all this, as the original video poster notes, Darksword have claimed to have taken steps to meet customer expectation and significantly beefed up the tangs of their swords..

Here is what the current Darksword Tang looks like:

Current Darksword Tang

Indeed, this campaign against their tangs has gotten to the point where they show what is under the hood on the vast majority of their swords - an unprecedented move, and something that no-other manufacturer does or has had to do..


At the end of the day, it is clear that bashing Darksword Armory has become something of a sport on social media and sword forums - a trend that started way back in the early 2000s and has compounded and become worse over time instead of better..

No doubt even the recent drastic action of beefing up their tangs and posting pictures of them on the internet will not be enough for the people who like to attack them. They will simply find something else to attack..

But there has been one positive spin off - as has often been the case - Darksword Armory have acted based on negative feedback and the detractors have actually, inadvertently, helped to improve their product offerings over the years..

While it is unfortunate that they have been more or less forced to take these actions, being able to see the tang and having it change to a beefier version is a good thing and I would like to see more manufacturers take a pro-active stance like this..

But at the same time, I would like to see less people jump on bandwagons and unfairly bash sword manufacturers as a sport when they are just trying to do their best to service the needs of the sword community..

I hope this information on the Darksword Tang issue has been helpful. To return to Darksword Armory from The Infamous Darksword Tang Issue, click here

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