Since the first lightsaber graced our screens over 4 decades ago, fans (and even non-fans) of the Star Wars franchise have been fascinated with the weapon. Who could blame them? The lightsaber is, after all, one of the greatest movie weapons of all time.
It is safe to even say that every Star Wars fan has at some point fantasized about engaging in the ultimate duel while wielding one of these weapons, and thanks to modern-day replica lightsabers, these fantasies can be made a reality.
Why is a Good Replica Lightsaber Important for Dueling?
Lightsaber dueling is quite similar to martial arts. It is essentially an artistic form of expression that is rooted in Jedi tradition. Regardless of your reasons for engaging in lightsaber dueling (friendly sparring or full-contact duels), one thing you will have to develop is your very own lightsaber fighting style.
You can even base the style on some of the different lightsaber fighting forms (Shii-Cho, Makashi, Soresu, Ataru, Shien & Djem So, Niman, and Juyo) that exist in the Star Wars universe. To properly hone your skills and master your lightsaber fighting style, you will also need a proper duel-ready replica lightsaber by your side.
If you’re looking to get yourself a replica lightsaber that is perfect for your style of dueling, below are some tips that can help.
Start by Evaluating the Hilt Material and Integrity
For a replica lightsaber to be even classified as duel-ready, its hilt needs to be made from a highly durable and sturdy material like metal. Although, replicas with good-quality plastic hilts are also available.
In addition to being made from a durable material, the saber’s hilt should also have more than two retention screws holding the blade at its emitter so as to hold the blade sturdy when swinging and striking with full force.
Consider the Hilt’s Design
If you are into full-contact dueling, one other very important consideration for choosing a replica lightsaber is the hilt design. Hilts with edges, points and raised areas are a no-no for full-contact lightsaber dueling. Companies like Padawan Outpost provide lightsabers with the very best hilts, to enhance your experience even further.
This is because these edges and points could poke or cut you or your opponent during dueling. Some dark-side lightsaber replicas have hilts that use claws around the saber’s emitter area. While this may look cool aesthetically, it can be dangerous for close combat. Hilts with bulky and raised features, such as activation boxes are also not suitable for dueling as they can obstruct your grip and put you at risk for injury. Opt for hilts with slim features and recessed buttons instead.
Saber blades with pointed or bullet tips should also be avoided.
Selecting the Proper Blade Material
Another feature that determines a replica lightsaber’s duel-worthiness is its blade quality. Most replica lightsaber models have polycarbonate blades, although their thickness may vary. As a duelist, what you should be looking for is a heavy-grade polycarbonate blade.
These blades are twice as thick as regular mid-grade blades. They also have twice the weight. The thickness of these heavy-grade blades makes them suitable for withstanding the heavy swings and strikes that come with full-contact dueling. If you, however, plan on engaging in light sparring, a mid-grade blade will suffice.
Consider Blade Diameter and Length
In addition to the material, the blade’s diameter and length should also be considered. Many replica lightsaber models come with 1-inch diameter blades. 7-8 inches and 3-4 blades are also available. However, 3-4 inch blades are much less common. Typically, 1-inch blades are recommended for dueling, while 3-4 and 7-8 should be avoided. In terms of blade length, you can either get a 32-36 inch blade (if you’re over 6ft tall) or a 32-inch blade (if you’re below 5.5ft).
Evaluate the Lightsaber’s Internals (Electronics)
Another feature that strongly influences the duel-worthiness of a lightsaber is its electronics. The protection of these electronics should also be considered. An ideal duel-ready replica lightsaber should have good colour visibility (preferably in-hilt LED), colour-changing features, movie-accurate sounds, motion-sensitive sound effects, a power source, and even a speaker. The saber’s hilt should house most of these electronics, so they don’t get damaged during combat.
A duel-ready replica lightsaber is a must-have for any type of lightsaber dueling. It is what makes the dueling experience more authentic and engaging. The above tips should help you choose a replica lightsaber that is right for your style.