The Long and Short of It: Military Sword Lengths and Why They Were Used

Posted by Devin on 11/5/2013 to U.S. Military Swords
Military sword lengths are cut to government specifications. These sword lengths include 28-inch, 30-inch, 32-inch and 34-inch lengths. Military sword lengths are not chosen arbitrarily; instead, they have a long history going back to the early days of the United States when the nation's military regularly used swords in hand-to-hand combat. 

Military swords need to be balanced efficiently to allow for maximum use in combat. A sword that is too long or too short hinders the officer using the sword and renders him less capable of defending himself or striking decisive blows. Likewise, military swords must distinguish between the standard sword, which is used while on the ground, and the saber, which is used while mounted on a horse. Each of these swords has different specified lengths to allow for maximum damage and protection.

At present, the U.S. military no longer uses swords in battle; however, many officers wear swords or sabers as part of their dress uniform. In this case, people in the military choose between the 28-inch, 30-inch, 32-inch and 34-inch lengths depending on one simple criteria: when the sword is held in carry position, the tip of the blade must be at eye height. This means that people with longer torsos need longer swords, and vice versa. 

If you are choosing a military sword to display in your home, you do not need to worry about the length of the sword. Simply choose a sword or saber that looks good in your display, and proudly show your support for the military. If you are selecting a military sword for use with a dress uniform, try different sword lengths to find the one that reaches eye height when held in carry position. This formal, uniform look is a symbol of the precision and discipline of the U.S. military.