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a type of silent weapon used for cutting.
There are many different kinds of sabers. They appeared in the Orient in the sixth to seventh centuries and were mentioned in the Russian chronicles from the tenth century. The saber consists of a steel blade and handle (hilt) and fits into a scabbard. The blade is curved, with the cutting edge on the convex side and the back edge on the concave side. The saber has a cutting point (sometimes with grooves) and a tailpiece that fits the handle. Sabers are 800–900 mm long and 30–35 mm wide.
The effectiveness of a saber is measured by a combination of blade curve and position of the center of gravity that reduces the angle of cutting and increases the force of the blow. The blades of Oriental sabers, which were intended only for slashing, have a rise of up to 100 mm, whereas European sabers, including late Russian ones, were designed for slashing and piercing, and the rise is 10 mm. The handles have various designs—with bar guards and crosspieces and with one to three arc-shaped guards. Scabbards may be made of wood, and they may be covered with leather, morocco, or velvet or be decorated with metallic inserts, frequently gold, silver, and sometimes precious stones. In the 19th and 20th centuries, saber scabbards were metal, nickel-plated, chrome-plated, or burnished.
In Russia in the 16th century the calvary and infantry strel’-tsy (semiprofessional musketeers) were armed with sabers. In the 18th century sabers were adopted in the European and Russian armies for light cavalry and the command personnel of all combat arms. In 1881 the saber was replaced in the Russian Army by a conventional sword and kept only in the guards as a parade weapon. Parade sabers for generals were introduced in the USSR in 1940 and then in 1949 were replaced by dirks.
V. F. KOVALEVSKII
a cutting and piercing weapon used in sport fencing.
The fencing saber consists of an elastic steel blade and a hilt, with a cup-shaped elongated guard to protect the hand and the handle. The blade has a variable trapeziform cross section that tapers proportionally toward the apex and ends with an enlarged tip (4 × 4 mm). Saber blades may have longitudinal grooves on the lateral and wide top sides. The total length is not more than 105 cm (the blade not more than 88 cm), and maximum weight is 500g.