Need Fencing Equipment

Fencers need to purchase their own equipment to participate in our program. Use one of the vendors listed below, or check out what second-hand gear might be available by following this link.

Or perhaps you want to sell or donate your old gear. Post the information to our online swap meet instead of using Craigslist or dropping it off at thrift store. 

Suggested Vendors

Although there are a lot of vendors online, we tend to use these five.

  • The Fencing Post
    The Fencing Post, run by Saul and Vicki, is our preferred vendor. Their prices are reasonable and, since they are located in Escondido, CA, they can get you equipment fast -- often the next day, and without additional shipping charges! Tim bought his first pair of fencing shoes and a glove from The Fencing Post over 25 years ago and has continued to shop there.
  • Radical Fencing
    How can we not plug Radical Fencing? One of UC Santa Barbara's very own epee fencers is an armorer at Radical, having moved to New York to continue fencing. We would trust him with our gear, and you should too.
  • Absolute Fencing Gear 
    Amanda and Gary, owners at Absolute, have a wide selection of fencing gear at reasonable prices. We have been purchasing gear from them since 2006.
  • Leon Paul USA
    Leon Paul, a London-based fencing supplier, is very innovative when it comes to fencing equipment, especially their clothing.
  • Triplette Competition Arms
    The great thing about Triplette is that all their house brand equipment is made in the good old U-S-of-A. They can tailor fencing jackets, and their gear tends to be of a high quality. UCSB Fencing still has a few Triplette jackets that are probably 25 years old!

Equipment Options

French v. German: What's the difference? And what should you buy?

There are a ton of different options available to you when you purchase gear. Many of those options have to do with the make of the fencing equipment. For the most part, things are either "French" or "German," but there are also British (aka, Leon Paul) and "New German" (a cross between French and German -- aka, Flemish). 

  • We recommend the following when buying your weapons:
  • Blade size: children aged 8-10 use a Size 2 blade. Do not buy one, though. We will provide it.
    Ages 11-12 use a Size 4 or 5; Ages 13+ use a Size 5.
  • Tip type: we recommend buying "German" points. The French tips are less expensive. But they tend to break more. British points are OK, but only Leon Paul sells them.
  • Pad and Bell guard: the clear, see-through pads are the best. Lighter bell guards are great for smaller fencers.
  • Socket: get a standard 3-prong socket.
  • Handle/Grip: most people at the club use a "Visconte" style pistol grip. Ask around; try out weapons; see what you like. And remember the color of the grip you like. Sizes tend to be color coded: the orange ones are extra small. Yellow are small. Blue are medium. Red are large. Some people at the club use "French" grips, which are the straight ones that look like traditional sword handles. Some people at the club use Belgian and Russian grips. When in doubt, get a small Visconte or small Belgian grip.

    The "straight" grips -- the ones that look more like a traditional sword -- are called "French grips." Learning to use a French grip takes time and a lot of finger strength. We consider them for advanced fencers only.
  • Blade type: Get whichever blade you can afford. Some blades are rated "FIE" (which stands for International Fencing Federation). When equipment is approved by the FIE, it is generally held to a higher standard. FIE equipment is required for international competitions. It is not required for domestic events (or new fencers).

    Our favorite blade is the "stiff BF FIE." The medium and soft BF FIE blades are OK, but they lose their shape sooner than the stiff do. The Vniti FIE blades are our second favorite blade type, but they tend to be a little heavier than the BF. The AF FIE (from Absolute Fencing) is a good FIE blade for newer fencers; however, newer fencers will probably purchase the StM or Linea brand blades from the Fencing Post
  • Mask:Just purchase a 350 Newton Foil mask to start. Eventually, when you stop growing, invest in the FIE-rated mask. Make sure it is an epee mask, and not a foil or saber mask.
  • Clothing: most people purchase the least expensive, or second least expensive gear from The Fencing Post or Absolute Fencing. We recommend getting whatever your personal budget can handle.

A Shopping List (and estimated costs)

Below is a list of equipment with links to The Fencing Post's website. Prices shown are estimates and reflect the low, mid, and the high-end. Sales tax and shipping are not included in these estimates. In most cases, the more expensive items do last longer, but those new to the sport should consider the less-expensive equipment (especially those younger fencers who seem to outgrow their clothes every other month).  Note: the item numbers shown reflect men's sizing. Women and children should use these items as guides. The Fencing Post has a sizing page to help customers, but if you have questions, just call them. They are happy to help.

High End
Jacket UAPS10
no stock
Underarm Protector
Chest Plate
The sport requires all women and girls to wear a chest plate. We have found that many women with smaller bust sizes prefer the men's chest plates.

We require all youth under 13 years of age to use a chest plate while fencing epee, too.

Optional for boys and men over 13, but highly recommended during Drills class.
Weapon (Epee)
Body Cord

Epee body cords are pretty standard, but the more expensive ones tend to last longer. Not to worry, though, because they can be easily repaired.
Fencing Pants (aka, Knickers)

Optional until attending larger tournaments.
A bag to carry everything
Fencing Shoes (Optional)
Fencing shoes are optional, but they really make a difference. The problem is that they're difficult to try on because you can only buy them online, or at large tournaments. Many people seek out indoor court shoes (volleyball or soccer) that allow strong lateral mobility and are light weight.
More electric weapons and body cords (most fencers have at least 3 of each)

A toolkit (see below)


Armoring and Repairs

Once you have gear, you need to know how to fix and maintain it (i.e. how to armor). Below is a list of tools we recommend all fencers acquire. Many of them can be found at local hardware stores. Also, a quick search on YouTube will reveal plenty of videos on how to repair fencing equipment.

  1. set of small screwdrivers (find at any hardware store)
  2. foil or epee weight test box
  3. 6mm hex key
  4. 7mm and 8mm open face wrenches for sockets
  5. flat-head screwdriver
  6. small crescent wrench
  7. needle nose pliers
  8. wire strippers
  9. small Vise Grip or locking pliers
  10. super glue for wires (we suggest the Office Works glue that you buy at grocery stores. Look for a 2-pack)
  11. miscellaneous parts: extra wires, lock washers, tip tape, tips, barrels, screws, springs, etc.