HEMA used to have a massive problem with equipment suppliers, borrowing on items made for other activities like reenactment, sport fencing or other contact sports. Thankfully, in recent years, there has been an explosion of both manufactures and suppliers of HEMA gear. This page lists all of the major suppliers that are convenient to use for people living in the UK. These sell either their own products, a range of equipment from different suppliers, or both. Details listed below.
The HEMA Shop (Members Discount) – https://www.thehemashop.com/
The HEMA Shop is both the manufacturer of the Red Dragon protective gear and Rawlings nylon longswords and a reseller for a number of other manufactures. Club members get a discount between 10-25% on a wide range of products (primarily their own). This combined with free shipping on orders over £200 and their being based in the UK make them the easiest, cheapest and quickest option to buy a lot of basic gear. As well as their own equipment, you can buy most SPES protective gear and some non-synthetic weapons, although not all of these are appropriate for sparring so please speak to an instructor before purchasing this.
If you’re a member and not seeing the discount, please email us to make sure you’ve been added.
Faits D’Armes – http://www.faitsdarmes.com/en/
Faits D’armes produce some of their own gear, including several very good options for combined box and thigh protection that you can’t get elsewhere. However, their main strength is that they are one of the few shops that stock excellent options from a range of suppliers for pretty much any piece of gear you could need. If you’re looking for a one stop shop to dump £1,000 and get everything you need for steel longsword very quickly, they’re a good option for you.
Corsairs Wares – http://www.corsairs-wares.com/martial-arts/
The trading arm of the Academy of Historical Arts in Scotland. They are a small organisation so stock can vary, but if the items in stock you’ll get quick and efficient service. They mostly sell protective equipment from other manufactures, but have their own range of high quality books (Fallen Rook Publishing) as well as the gear.
Leon Paul – http://www.leonpaul.com/
Probably the most famous olympic fencing brand in the UK, Leon Paul have taken up making HEMA gear. You can buy basically anything from them, and they have some genuinely innovative products – but make sure to check the stock before purchase. The one downside is that they are a little more expensive than average. They do sell a good quality smallsword trainer and a high quality but very expensive longsword. They also have a London shop that you can visit if you want to try gear on. As an added bonus, they sell fencing socks in a range of colours if you want to look distinctive.
Black Armoury – http://www.blackarmoury.com/en/
Black Armoury both manufacture their own gear and sell equipment from other suppliers. You can also buy basically everything you might need directly from them. Of particular note is their jacket, which is the only jacket on the market that is designed to go over your mask bib. They produce their own swords as well as protection, but we have never seen or used them so cannot particular recommend for or against them.
SPES Historical Fencing Gear – http://histfenc.com/
SPES manufacture a wide range of good quality protective equipment. They are best known for their jackets, and have been the defacto standard for quite some time, with their AP Jacket probably being the most common HEMA jacket in Europe. Despite that, they have been innovating recent years and have a number of options, ranging from light jackets suitable for rapier to premium heavy jackets with integrated hard protection. Their gloves are also some of the best available.
PBT Historical Fencing – http://pbthistoricalfencing.com/
PBT is a well respected sport fencing brand that branched out into HEMA some time back. They sell their own versions of most types of protective equipment, with the exception of gloves for heavy weapons.
All-Star Fencing – https://www.allstar-fencing.co.uk
All-Star fencing are not a HEMA manufacturer. They produce high quality Olympic fencing equipment. Some of their instructor equipment is suitable for rapier and smallsword, however the main reason we’ve included them is that their Comfort Plus 1600N Coaching Mask is one of the few excellent 1600N masks with removable lining. It is a pain to get though as it’s not stocked by the UK online shop – if you want it, you need to call them up and they can order it in from Germany for you.
Regenyei Armouries – http://www.regenyei.com/
Regenyei Armouries are the defacto standard for longswords in Europe. At any tournament, 90% of fencers will be using one (including most of our club), and they are used by Swordfish and the Nordic league as the tournament sword of choice. They have recently released a rapier as well, but this has some issues with the grip & guard for the styles we do, as it has been designed for relatively large gloves.
Southen Swords – https://southernswords.co.uk/
Southern Swords are one of a number of places you can buy Hanwei rapiers. Whilst we do NOT recommend either the long (39″) rapier or ANY Hanwei longsword, the 37″ practical cup hilt rapier is a decent, relatively low cost option. However, it should be noted that Hanwei blades suffer from slightly haphazard quality control & a degree of variance, making it hard to predict how the purchased blade will handle.
Again: we do NOT recommend purchasing any longsword by Hanwei, as they are banned in most tournaments due to a high number of broken blades.