LARP weapon reviews
I’m gonna put reviews here of the weapons I’ve ever actually used. This is also in the context of informing somebody noobish on choosing a weapon.
I’m gonna break weapons into two categories, Boffers and Latex.
Uncle Scotty, why would I use a boffer?
Use a Boffer if you want to pwn face and if you want to practice a lot. Boffers hurt a LOT less than latex, which means you can swing faster and still be safe. They hurt less because they have more padding than latex weapons, and broader striking surfaces. There’s also a residual effect of the cloth covering diffusing. They are also usually thrust-safe, or capable of being thrust-safe*
Boffers are also much more durable than latex in most incarnations, and you can easily change the sock, or reblade the core yourself. As a result, you can practice with them pretty much indefinitely.
Uncle Scotty, why would I use a latex weapon?
Use a latex weapon if you do not intend to fight or practice a lot, and appearance is more important to you. This is especially true for Calamacil brand weapons. They are the prettiest latex out there, but they really hurt to get hit with. I’ve had a few show up at practices and after a few shots said “wow, that’s really not a practice weapon, it fuckin’ stings”.
Does this suck (i.e. the pretty weapons are not the best stick jock weapons). Yes, it does. I doubt there’s a solution unless the game requires armor, or we get datajacks installed behind our ears. I vote for datajacks.
This is an 8 oz. pillow boffer. For those that don’t know, that’s really light. Most latex and boffers start at 12 oz, and go up from there. Seriously, this is 50% lighter than most weapons. I have modified mine to add stabbing tips (and 2” of reach).
I have not found a mass marketed boffer that is better. The general internet foam-collective in general agrees. Warlord Sports is the “industry standard” for medium-combat LARPs (Amt/Bel/Dag), and this weapon is very applicable to the light-combat in Socal LARPs.
Yes, they are ugly. However, they are light and indestructible. I’ve used the hell out of these things, and there’s no degradation of the foam.
I can hit myself full power on the shinbone with these things and there’s no pain. Not “a little pain”. No pain.
One warning about Warlord Sports – make sure you get this light version. This company makes weapons primarily for LARP groups that have weight minimums on weapons. Yes, they make their weapons heavier on purpose. These system even say that it’s possible to hit “too light”. As a result, the majority of their stock are brick blades, and heavy. I’ve bought some in the past and not been pleased (i.e. the weapons were good for pell work on a punching bag, or setting barrier lines for Orc Ball).
This thing is awesome. It’s a foot longer than any latex polearm you’ll see. It’s super light (29 oz), and everybody at practice loves this thing, since it’s basically “cheat mode”.
Chris Vrem – many weapons over the years
Chris is the best foamsmith on the planet. He’s made tons technological advances in over two decades of foamsmithing. Not only that, his craftsmanship is just superb.
Chris doesn’t build for toughness, but lightness and minimal foam. As a result, his weapons are more “light touch” than the weapons listed above. I’ve used Vrem blades (or vrem technology blades) most of my LARP career, and there’s no comparison.
If you do manage to get a Vrem weapon, I’d recommend babying it and using only for tourneys and games.
This company is no longer around. They did make a sword at the inception of the company that was a “hybrid”, a latex hilt with a cloth covered blade. This sword is just perfect and gorgeous.
I later ordered two other weapons from the company, and they had switched to using solid fiberglass in their cores to appease their customer base out in the 909 that hit a lot harder and were breaking hollow fiberglass. As a result, both of these weapons were pretty much crap, being much too heavy for use.
I won’t get into the “took my money and never answered emails” issues either.
Iron Liege is more of a cautionary tale than anything else. There’s a lot of “small” vendors out there, and unless you put your hands on something, or can spare the disappointment/loss of cash, I wouldn’t recommend going with them.
This is a beautiful weapon, and it’s very light. I found the haft to be a bit thicker and slicker than I would like from a practical sense.* I modified mine with black grip tape, and I torque-wrapped a section at the base with black cord to make a slimmer handle.
This spear has alot of padding on the striking surface, so you can swing faster with this one.
*I thought I could go my whole life without saying the words “the haft was thicker and slicker than I like”.
This thing is pretty, cheap, and painful <insert mom joke>. It has a hard sharp edge, minimal padding, and the foam seems “harder” than the usual larp foam. This thing fucking hurts for anything but the lightest touch. As a result, this weapon isn’t usable by me, but I do keep it as a loaner.
This is on Amazon, and I got it on Prime at the time for free shipping.
Of special note: The amazon site has the description of this weapon has having a 40″ blade length. That is not correct, it is 40″ overall.
This is an an entirely adequate, but bland weapon. It’s light, but it has a bit less padding than I need for stick-jock work. I can use it, but I have to be cognizant of it. The core has some whip to it as well. I have used other weapons in their line which are more stylized (elven curves and such), and they appear to be of the same quality.
————————*Appendix — “Thrust-Safe?”————————
There are really two things to consider when asking if a weapon is thrust-safe.
#1 — Does your group have requirements about thrust safety?
Obviously, your group will tell you if you can thrust with a weapon or not. Often this is an amount of padding on the tip, and the width of the thrust tip.
#2 — Should you thrust with it, period?
Regardless of the rules, in my opinion, there are no latex weapons that are safe for a normal thrust. Vrem style boffers aren’t even good for those either. The surface area of the tip is just so small, and the foam can bend so much on these weapons.
You can do what is called a “cut thrust”, which accomplishes much of the effectiveness of a thrust, but is much more controlled. The cut thrust can only be accomplished with one-handed swords, however. I’ll be happy to demonstrate the technique to anybody in RL if you are interested.
Georg the Blacksmith (etsy)