Wakizashi for Home Defence

by clint
(Petaluma, CA, USA)

QUESTION: I was considering purchasing a Wakizashi for home defense, as I'm opposed to guns. I'd love something that's both ornamental/display worthy, and something that's fully functional. I really like the look of the Hanwei Bushido Wakizashi, but I'm not quite sure how to tell how functional it is. I see that it's listed as being "folded" and "forged." I'm not planning on using it for backyard hack and slashing, but I'd like to have faith that it'd stand up well to a home invasion, and that it's balanced for use. Please let me know if you think it's not really a practical blade, and if my money would be better spent on the PK series.



This is a tricky question to answer, and there are actually quite a few reasons (both legal and practical) why it would NOT be a good idea to select a Wakizashi over a gun as a home defence weapon...

But, if we treat this as a hypothetical - I wouldn't trust my life on this particular product... Personally, I wouldn't even use a Wakizashi but rather a Ko Katana/Chisa Katana.

Because of the inherent problems associated with fighting indoors (lack of room, adrenalin included swings hitting walls, etc) you would want something extremely strong yet with powerful cutting abilities. As such, I would have to say that the Cold Steel Chisa Katana or the Cheness 9260 Spring Steel Ko-Katana would be your best bet...

Both of these are very tough swords (the Cheness Ko Katana, being made from 9260 Spring Steel is a bit stronger and more impact resistant) and the two handed grip means that there is minimal risk of a sweaty hand losing hold of the tsuka.

Ultimately though, I think that for home defence, the best choice is a baseball bat for driving off an attacker - or a shotgun if lethal force is called for...

Unless you are a trained killer, facing off against another human being with a sword can cause a moment of hesitation, while with a bat - you can go to town on them. And a shotgun, well - that one is pretty self expanitory.

I could go on, but must keep the Q&A short. But feel free to extrapolate in the comments! :-)

Kind Regards,

- Paul

Comments for Wakizashi for Home Defence

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Weapons are just tools
by: Anonymous

I find the poster's premise delusional: You're willing to kill someone with violent and bloody slashes but unwilling to use a modern weapon that gives you ability to control an area up to 25 yards away?

A weapon is a weapon, regardless of the technology involved.

The man and his mindset are the important parts. The mind wields the tool.

"Ultimately though, I think that for home defence, the best choice is a baseball bat for driving off an attacker - or a shotgun if lethal force is called for...

Unless you are a trained killer, facing off against another human being with a sword can cause a moment of hesitation, while with a bat - you can go to town on them. And a shotgun, well - that one is pretty self expanitory."

I am sorry to say this advice is terribly misinformed.

Anyone can hesitate at the moment of truth. The body will revert to training. The subconscious will have a running dialog with you while you're wondering who is shooting your weapon. This is why training is important: under the pressure of the fight and adrenaline. (Citation: Guns, Bullets, and Gunfights by Jim Cirillo).

A baseball bat constitutes the use of lethal force.

It requires a full swing and room is in short supply indoors. At the very least, in the confines of a close quarters fight, it can be very difficult to use.

If lethal force is justified according to state law, at least a sword gives you the option to thrust and slash.

Of course, a legally owned handgun is probably the most useful modern weapon because it can be pulled into the body for retention. It only requires one hand to use; this may be important if you have to control children or hold some sort of object. Most importantly

Shotguns are excellent weapons. However, they have different issues.

Any of the weapons mentioned require training. Be sure to follow local laws; any quality class will outline the justifications for each level of force. Failure to abide by the rules will cost you financially, emotionally and in prison time.

baseball bat ????
by: Anonymous

If there is not enough room to swing a Wakizashi there is not enough room to swing a bat.I would go with a sword over a bat because it also has piercing and cutting abilities.

You've gotta be kidding...
by: Anonymous

Quite personally, someone who is too much of a wimped-out liberal to own or use a gun should either learn how to escape and evade, or sit back and let the b/g have his way.

My own choice - and some might think I'm crazy - is a muzzle-loading, 20 gauge howdah pistol, loaded with buckshot. A nice, legal alternative to a sawed-off double-barrel shotgun - a hand-held claymore mine, as it were. Musket caps, for more reliable ignition. Pull the loads and reload with fresh powder every so often to insure reliability. Use real black powder instead of the hygroscopic "noncorrosive" substitutes. It's just as powerful as a modern 20-gauge shotgun, just smokier and slower to reload. If I need more than two shots, I've got bigger problems anyway...THEN it's time for the sword! :D

Use most effective weapon at hand to protect lives.
by: Dan

An edged weapon would be my last resort in a life or death situation, I would get the most effective weapon at hand, in my home that would be one of 3 firearms, living room= Glock 21 .45ACP, kitchen= Ruger P9045 .45ACP, bedroom= Mossberg 500 12gauge x2, loaded with #4 buckshot (wife has 1 on her side) then 1911 Kimber, now I also have knives & sword/machetes in several rooms & of course large part of collection is in our office. Let me say that I-we would use whatever is at hand & with as much ferocity needed to neutralise the threat, lastly we would call 911 for medical help for the intruders as we are not savages.

sword for home defence
by: kublai

This is an interesting argument from my point of view as I am in England. Over here hand guns are banned and there are very stringent rules for owning shotguns and small rifles ie, .22lr. I personally keep a Katana and a longsword, and a variety of knives and bows. from my point of view a sword is THE best weapon available to me for home defence, as most of the burglars will be unarmed, or at most have knives on them, if you have training in the use of swords as i do, i would feel confident against any burglar on my property. I would use the longsword over the Katana because it is a better thrusting weapon in limited spaces, and it can cut with both edges with very little movement, it also has the length advatage. Practice round your house, finding out the best angles for defense and attack, practice the strokes needed at these points. 35 inches of razorsharp steel can be a hell of a detterant!!!

sword for home defence
by: kublai

This is an interesting argument from my point of view as I am in England. Over here hand guns are banned and there are very stringent rules for owning shotguns and small rifles ie, .22lr. I personally keep a Katana and a longsword, and a variety of knives and bows. from my point of view a sword is THE best weapon available to me for home defence, as most of the burglars will be unarmed, or at most have knives on them, if you have training in the use of swords as i do, i would feel confident against any burglar on my property. I would use the longsword over the Katana because it is a better thrusting weapon in limited spaces, and it can cut with both edges with very little movement, it also has the length advatage. Practice round your house, finding out the best angles for defense and attack, practice the strokes needed at these points. 35 inches of razorsharp steel can be a hell of a detterant!!!

for Home Defence
by: Adam Pendragon

You guy are way too macho for me. I think my "boys" just fell off!

Seriously though, you're all making a very good point here, although I doubt any of you are aware of it. That point being: Other than spending vast hours playing computer games and watching Kill Bill (parts 1 - 16) I really doubt many, if any, of us have any ACTUAL martial training. And it's this super-macho attitude that always gets us in to trouble--or dead.

Allow me to tell you this true story: Several years ago, 3 men forced their way into my appartment and held me hostage for about half an hour. Being my girlfriends relatives, they were trying to kidnap her. I called 911, but they pulled the phone out of the wall. While two of them were holding me against the wall and screeming "I'm going to kill you, mother f___er!" over and over, I was looking around the place for anything that I might use for a weapon, if need be. I knew, of course, that if they really wanted to hurt me they would have already done so. There was a fork next to me on the table, a really sharp butcher knife on the counter, but out of reach, etc. And then, all my swords, an axe, and a spear were in my bedroom closet. When they turned their attention away from me and to my girlfriend, I attempted to get to my room, but was stopped by them. My girlfriend thought they really were going to kill me, and broke an emptly bottle over her step-dad's head, knocking him out cold. I shouted "That's enough!" and convinced them to let me plug the phone back in and call an ambulance--by now he was bleeding all over my floor. Fortunately, they were not the brightest bunch, and actually let me do it. I called 911 and told the operator to send the cops, NOW! The knocked-out guy recovered and told the others to run for it, and they did.

The cops showed-up in record time thanks to the 911 operator--she erroneously told them she thought she heard gun shots (but she didn't really). Good girl. Anyway, the three were held at shotgun point by five cops and arrested for Breaking and Entering, Assult, Attempted Kidnaping, and a few other things I can't remember.

The point is, I really have been in many dangerous situations, and although it might not seem so, I was the one in control of this situation, not they! I remained calm while others around me were losing their heads; if I had thought for a moment that they were really going to hurt me, I was aware of every possible weapon in the appartment, they were not. I have also used edged-weapons in REAL fights, more than once. I have been cut and stabbed, and I have cut and stabbed others. HONESTLY, how many of you can say the same?

99.99 percent of the time you don't need any weapon, Clint, just your brain. If you're really so concerned, perhaps you should consider moving to a safer neighborhood.

use your head
by: Anonymous

one mind ANY weapon . Martial arts is the key to any weapon you choose. Case in point , a rifle is better than a pistol but very difficult for edc but if you can't hit the broad side of a barn with it it does nothing for you but make you a danger to everyone around you. A 13inch bowie is a superior fighting knife compared to a 3inch folder but most state laws make carrying anything over 3-4 inches illegal at those close ranges you better have some clue as to what you are doing or risk having your own knife used against you. The best weapon is your mind . Use your cell phone dial 911 , use a flashlight, use a broom ,a machete an axe handle, a baseball bat , a shotgun , use anything appropiate to the situation.

to Dan
by: Anonymous

thats why people like you get killed on spot, because you think ur a man.. u have a small penis and ur guns wont help shit

Can't beat a Ko-Katana/Wakizashi
by: Anonymous

Think about attacker can strip you of a baseball bat, axe, hatchet, or a gun for that matter, if you don't hit them right the first time. Police get shot with their own guns for this reason, that's a fact. The difference with a Japanese style sword is they are razor sharp. Any attempt to grab it or overpower you will result in some type of cut. I think it's the best option for home defense, especially if you have other people in the house that could be hit by stray bullets. Not to mention the fact that if you fire a gun in the house you'll probably go deaf because of blown eardrums. Don't get me wrong, I own firearms for home defense, but in a real world home break in, I truly believe a Ko-Katana is a perfect weapon. I am shopping for one, as I own a Katana and it is too long for indoor use. The Ko-Katana and Wakizashi seem to have the same blade length, but I want a good two handed baseball bat style grip, so my vote goes with the Ko-Katana.

by: Anonymous

First: Condolences to our English cousins who have given up or lost almost all of their rights to arms and self defense.

Second: If you are serious about defending yourself against an aggressor, you really need to reconsider your position on firearms. A handgun or shotgun is absolutely the best weapon you can have at your disposal. You do not have to have physical strength, dexterity, or extensive martial arts training to use a firearm. You do not have to be in contact distance to deal with an opponent. You can engage multiple opponents rapidly.

In some free states here we have the "castle doctrine" : when a person uses force against you in a place you have a right to be (like your home)
you have a right to use lethal force to stop them, and they cannot sue you in civil court.

Free Citizen of the Republic of Texas.

Ko Katana
by: Anonymous

After reading this post a while back I decided to purchase a cheness tenchi ko katana for home defense. Today is the first day I got it and it is very dull and the grip is a bit to narrow for my hands. Besides getting it and noticing scratches on the blade as well as other quality control imperfections. I think I will return it and purchase a force recon marine ginunting instead. Closest thing I have ever had to a sword are machetes and I am comfortable with them so I am hoping the ginunting will be a better fit for me.

by: karl

I just bought a 1900-1940 japanese katana from e-pay (haha) I cant wait to slash an intruder... Yeah 1911 will suit my fine. Hell, I could tell the burglar to grab the sword from above the fireplace...& as he reaches for it, (i wouldnt actually let him touch my sword)) I would cock the sauer & go from there.... Excellent read tho, & I agree, the mind is the true weapon : )

opposed to guns
by: Moose

Hey Clint,
You don't deserve a weapon of any kind if you're opposed to guns you dumb ass liberal pinko freak. Why don't you just buy yourself a teenage mutant ninja turtles toy. California is obviously where you belong.

Moose (gun lover)

by: Anonymous

There are good reasons for wanting a sword over a gun. I don't know why there is so much hate over the concept... I suspect it is just fueled by simple propaganda (yes, there is plenty of pro-gun propaganda... not just anti-gun).
For one thing, if I have children in the house, a sword is definitely preferable to a gun:
With swords, most kids learn fairly early to watch out for sharp blades (otherwise you couldn't even let them into the kitchen) and it's harder to self-inflict a rapidly fatal wound accidentally.
With a gun in a house with small kids, it is harder for them to distinguish it from a toy and much easier for them to fatally harm themselves or others while just playing with it. Sure you can lock it in a safe, but then it is much slower to get to it in an emergency.
Furthermore, if you are staying in practice with a gun, you are exposing yourself to lead. That may also not be desirable--especially if one happens to be a woman who plans on having children.

Nothing wrong with a wakizashi for HD
by: The Ferry-Man

The man wants a wakizashi, give him some advice about getting one. OMG, never seen so much unsolicited crap b/s trying to pose as advice. For every problem you can think of with a wakizashi, there are just as many problems with a gun. Unless you're going to be wearing a loaded gun in a holster 24 hours a day 365 days a year, chances are that a criminal will enter when you least expect it, probably when you're in bed and asleep. So if you're keeping your gun unloaded, with a trigger lock or in a gun safe, when are you going to get that thing out and load it? Wakizashi and other short swords make good home defense weapons. A full length katana is too long for most homes. There's not enough room and you'll end up slashing doorways, plaster walls and ceilings. Whatever weapon you get, learn how to use it and practice to keep getting better. As far as those cheap swords you find on most websites, most of 'em are crap and you shouldn't bet your life on 'em. A custom made one will cost you a thousand dollars, maybe a little more, but if you want to be sure, that's the way to go. They will be made of a good carbon steel or tool steel, like 1050, 5160 or A2. Something tough and highly impact resistant.

My choice: Gladius or Telescopic Baton
by: Anonymous

The Japanese used in rooms the Wakizashi, as Katanas were too long and required a lot of space to deliver slashes.

How about a Roman Gladius? It's compact and perfect for confined rooms. It's cheaper than a Japanese sword, the blade is thicker and won't break. And it's made primarily for stabbing. Stabbing is much easier to learn than slashes. You can practice with a wooden Gladius.

I wouldn't use a baseball bat, it's too big and requires a lot of room to do swings. If legal, buy a telescopic baton. Very handy, very effective. Easily concealable. Easy to break bones and less lethal than a sword. Buy a quality one. Best baton is Bonowi Camlock. Make sure to check the laws in your area!!

An approach to your decision
by: Anonymous

1. Understand that the human ergonomics used effectively with a wakizashi sword are the same movements used in fighting with an escrima stick, a bokken, a fixed blade knife or even an entrenching tool.

2. Bokken is basically a wooden sword used in practice as a substitute for a katana sword. The wood sword, if used with the proper technique can be as deadly as a"real sword."

3. Understanding points 1 and 2, you find training in the use of an escrima or a bokken (easier to find than knife fighting instruction).

4. Then after some basic training, you can examine the wakizashi offerings on the market. Without debating the merits of a $5500 sword and a $500 sword, you can simply pick up one from Cold Steel.

5. If you buy a sword and have no training, you have a problem.

6. If you have some basic training, you can use a stick, a piece of pipe, a rolled newspaper, a hammer or other tool effectively.

Post script - ignore the smart ass comments from others. They will never pay for training, whether with a baseball bat or a knife or a firearm.

skills are the only thing that counts
by: Anonymous

1. you are asking for too much in your price range: display quality, functional, and inexpensive
2. if you never PAY FOR INSTRUCTION in the usage of a defensive weapon, you will never have the SKILLS to use the same when you are under pressure;
3. you waste your money and delude yourself by purchasing a defensive weapon and you do not have skills;
4. the skills are the same in using a folder knife, fixed blade knife, baseball bat, escrima stick, wakizashi, or a katana. You must have knowledge of human ergonomics in both delivering and receiving a blow. In plain language, an 18 inch piece of capped water pipe is as effective as a $50,000 katana within the confines of a bedroom.
5. the discussion about "legality" and "guns" is pure pap. A rolled up newspaper, a screwdriver, a hardbound book edge are possibilities as a defensive weapon. No enraged charging bear, guy high on speed, or hulky teenager is ever going to be intimidated by a handgun/wicked looking sword/baseball bat.

A wise choice!
by: Alex Ligon

I have kids, so my gun is under lock and key. Thus my ko katana is the go-to weapon when there is no time to fiddle with locks.

I think a ko- kat or Wak is a great home defense tool. I got mine from Hanbon, and I would buy it again in a heartbeat if I didn't already have one.

Home defense - bedroom and small child
by: Anonymous

Ok. I did the following when I had a young child at home. I wasn't leaving a firearm out. Each bedroom door had a clothes hook on the inside, up high where a child couldn't reach.

When you see a katana or wakazashi sword, you notice the upswept nature of the blade. I had a couple of knives from Barry Dawson that were shortened versions. I also designed one that was two-handed and had Barry make it for me.

The knives were in decent sheaths with metal snaps. When a knife was put upside down within the sheath on the door hook, it would be released with a downward, sharp movement of the hand clutching the knife.

Now, I had a protective weapon in each bedroom that was safe and worked with sweeping moves in close quarters.

Been there, hope-pray never again!
by: Dan

One anonymous person responded in less than polite way but hey it takes all kinds to make a world.
I am a Vietnam Vet, I served from 71-79 (11B to 75Z), I also was in LE for several years. In 1981 had the unfortunate experience of having an intruder in our home at a little past 1am, as he was making his up to second floor he saw me at top of stairs, he fired two shots that sounded like a 105 going off, I responded by shooting two rounds also from my 1911 Commander .45acp, he missed by almost two feet (police found his bullets in the wall just above and to the left of where I was standing), I didn't, he was sitting on one of the stair deceased, this event haunted me for months, nightmares etc... However I strongly feel that in such a confrontation it is much better for the opponent to suffer than for myself and family to suffer. It was a tragic event, the person had just been released from prison 3-4 months before. I am blessed that to this day I have not had to defend my family,myself or others! As a side bar, I have been a practitioner of American Kenpo for many years, my current health and disability is now preventing me from this hobby. I still practice with my numerous firearms on a monthly basis. I still collect all types of edged weapons, all of those are classified as "Battle Ready" as I will not purchase any decorative/wall hangers.
I wish you all a great and safe day.

Never bring a knife to a gunfight.
by: Anonymous

Only a fool brings a knife to a gunfight.

Don't get me wrong, I keep a machete and a KaBar along with a Wakasashi I happened to find recently in my armory...and have kept the Machete and KaBar for several years until suing to get firearms legal for self defense and hand guns and calibers above .22 LR legalized where I live (US Territory of the Northern Marianas Islands)...but I think only a fool would rely on a sword when a firearm is far more practical, effective and available.

I relied on my machete and knife, only because guns were outlawed for home defense where I lived. I sued because my wife, was beaten nearly to death by an assailent in my home when I went to work. She is only 4'9 and 100 pounds...In her hand a machete would be hardly effective, but her J Frame, .357 magnum is!

Not everyone is fit enough, or strong enough to fight off an attacker, even with an edged weapon. Also letting the bad guy get close to you opens up too much opportunity to get yourself killed!

A gun, has as much, if not more deterrent factor and in fact in Detroit, I used one to stop a burglar, who crapped his pants and ran and I never got more that 20 feet from him. A gun gives you stand-off, and a high probability of stopping the bad guy if you need to use it. A .38 special, .45 ACP or 9mm Hollow point to the chest from 20 feet away has an extremely high chance of stopping the bad guy, whereas a cut with a sword, though deadly, may not stop the bad might cut a main cable, but he may still have enough in him to end you!

I keep my knife and machete for backup, also as tools, but I keep several handguns and would rather grab for my .22 rifle before any knife, because only a fool brings a knife to a gun fight. If the bad guy breaks in your house with a gun, and you have a sword, you are pretty much screwed. If he has a knife or bat, and you have a knife or bat...even odds, he will kill you before you kill him. NEVER FIGHT FAIR, your life is at stake! It is much better to be better armed than a bad guy! Get a reliable handgun, shotgun or rifle, learn your state's laws, train yourself and family and be prepared. I recommend a revolver for a first gun. Much easier to learn, reliable, accurate and .38 special/.357 Magnum are proven defense rounds.

But do what you want to do, so long as its legal. For you folks in Britain, I feel you. Glad my lawsuit (which was inspired by my home invasion) won and I have a nice .357 magnum, a .45 and a 9mm available next time a methhead tries to mess with my family. Better to be judged by 12 than carried by six!

Excellent for Home Defense
by: Shinobi No Mono

I have an inexpensive Pakistani made wakizashi that I always bring with me when I travel for hotel room defense. It was so inexpensive, I used it as a machete for clearing brush and cutting back tree limbs around my house. It was so indestructible and such a good cutter that I promoted it to defensive weapon.

A wakizashi is to a katana as a carbine is to a rifle. If you ever tried to wield a katana indoors with a low ceiling, you'll know what I mean.

Yes, at home I'll use a firearm, but it's kind of a hassle flying with firearms, and you can just toss a wakizashi in a suitcase. Not many katanas fit in a suitcase.

Just like firearms, you need training though. If you've never taken a martial arts class that emphasizes traditional Japanese weapons, the criminals will take that wakizashi and shove it up your...

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