Price range- $50-70
Flexibility- A lot of variability but I found some with a nice mix of stiff yet flexible; shot answer: medium
Weight- Relatively light
Durability- Criminally HORRIBLE
Where can you find it?- Blade Fencing, Fence Smart, PBT
When I started the bouting portion of my training regimen again at the beginning of this season, I realized that I didn’t have any blades. I had just been tossed out into the real world post-college where the university doesn’t provide them all for you so all of a sudden I would have to be smarter about my blade purchases.
I figured that I needed some cheaper blades, specifically for practice but I wanted the blade to at least kind of feel the same as the blades I will be using in competitions during the season. I figured something like an FIE STM would be ideal.
In desperate need of equipment, I went over to the Blade Fencing store in NY to pick something up that I could quickly slap together before practice and get on with fencing. They didn’t have any STMs but they did have these NNS blades which were technically FIE and even cheaper that I was expecting (The STMs I was thinking of cost around $95).
A wired FIE blade with a German tip for under $70?! Awesome! I’ll take 2 please.
I picked one up to feel the bend and it felt pretty good (pretty stiff but with just a little bend to allow for flicking).
I should have known it was too good to be true…
This blade is complete a piece of crap.
The first blade lasted only 2 weeks of bouting about 3 times per week. It was actually kind of cool how it broke in 2 places instantaneously but I forgot to take pictures. The second blade broke after 3 weeks (pics below). I am kind of rough on my blades when I fence but this is ridiculous. The STMs I have previously used for practice last me about a year give or take a month before snapping.
Also, one of the tips kept sticking into the barrel when the tip was compressed after I fenced with it the first 2 times. So adding crappy parts to an already crappy blade doesn’t help.
I started asking around and found out that a blade does not have to be maraging metal to get the FIE stamp of approval. Even so I would have thought the FIE would put these blades through some kind of durability testing. I actually felt a bit cheated after this whole experience…
[UPDATE: From what I understand, the NNS blades are no longer FIE certified. Some may still have the FIE stamp but that doesn’t mean they will let you fence with them at World Cups.]
In summary, this is NOT a good buy. Complete Rip-Off.
They are way more expensive in the long run if you have to buy a new one every month you fence.
There are cheaper options for crap blades that are not FIE and they will still last longer than these. If you actually need something that is FIE, just fork over the extra $$ and rest easy knowing that it is unlikely to break before you finish your pool.