The saber used in fencing competition has a maximum weight of 500 grams (but is usually less) and is at most 1,050 millimeters long, with a blade not longer than 880 mm. The guard must be small enough to pass through a hole 150 mm by 140 mm, keeping the flat of the blade parallel to the 150 mm sides of the hole.

While retaining its general dimensions, the fencing sabre has lost weight as fencing has increasingly emphasized speed. In the fencing schools of early 20ᵗʰ century Vienna, a sabre had to weigh at least 500 grams.

cavalry sabre and scabbard, period of French Revolution

French cavalry sabre, late 18ᵗʰ – early 19ᵗʰ centuries

© Kulakov

The last of the working swords were the cavalry sabre and the naval sabre.

The ceremonial swords worn by diplomats and military officers are sabres. Because they have been used to differentiate ranks, ceremonial sabres have been made in a bewildering array of sizes.


Timur Leng, on his conquest of Syria, about the beginning of the fourteenth century, conveyed all the celebrated manufactures of steel from Damascus into Persia. Since that period, its works in steel have been little memorable. They were formerly of the highest reputation in Europe and the East. The famous sabres appear to have been constructed, by a method now lost, of alternate layers, about two or three lines thick, of iron and steel: they never broke, though bent in the most violent manner, and yet retained the utmost power of edge; so that common iron, or even steel, would divide under their force.

William George Browne.
Travels in Africa, Egypt, and Syria, from the Year 1792 to 1798.
London: Printed for T. Cadell and W. Davies, Strand; and T. N. Longman and O. Rees, Paternoster Row, 1799.
Page 398.