Shashka Sword


The Shashka sword is known as the legendary weapon of the Cossacks which appears as a beautiful yet lethally dangerous sabre that was introduced to Ukraine and Russia from Caucasus.

The shashka sword can be considered as a special type of sabre since it featured an extremely sharp and single-edged blade that was single-handed and was also guardless, unlike other swords. The adaptability of the shashka fated it to be part of the military future which is definitely beyond its simple and rather humble origins all the way from the mountain tribes of the Caucasus.

The sword was given to young boys who were considered as future warriors, then eventually passed down to the next generations. The blade exhibited a fearsome trail from the southern battlefields of Russia to the destruction of Hitler’s Berlin.

Origin of the Shashka Sword

The shashka originated from the Caucasus mountain tribes during the twelfth century and was first copied by the Caucasus Highlanders. When it comes to the appearance of the shashka, it can be described as a compact, lightweight, and easy to use a weapon but was extremely lethal when wielded by a skilled fighter.

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The weapon was usually designed with a fancily decorated hilt and blade, plus it was also considered as the classic sidearm of the Circassian hillfolk; it has been their chosen sidearm for centuries before it rose in popularity in the 1900s in the Russian troops. Later in time, most Russian Cossacks have adopted and utilized the weapon.

Two specific styles of the shashka exist and these include the Circassian / Caucasian Shashka and the Cossack Shashka. At some point in history, specifically during the nineteenth century, the weapon gradually took the place of the sabre in all of the cavalry units except for the hussars.

Russian soldiers preferred the shashka over their issued sabres so because of this, the shashka eventually became the Russian troop and police’s official weapon in the year 1881. By the beginning of The First World War, the weapon slowly became a unique symbol of the Russian army just at the same time it found glory among the border guards of the Cossacks.

After the Revolution in 1917, the shashka ended up becoming the main edged weapon of the Red Army the army, and air force of Russia and it remained a vital battle tool in the Soviet Cavalry troops during The Second World War.

Gmihail at Serbian Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0 RS

Characteristics of the Shashka Sword

When it comes to the appearance of the shashka, it was somewhat between the straight sword and a full sabre; it featured a slightly arched blade and can be very efficient for thrusting and slashing techniques. The blade of the shashka sword can either be fullered or hollowed and it had no guard yet it featured a hugely curved pommel.

As opposed to the Russian version of the shashka, the ones from the Caucasus tribe are often carried in a scabbard made of wood that enclosed the portion of the sword’s hilt. Additionally, it was also worn with the cutting edge which was close to the rear yet opposite the sabre. The weapon also resembled a tapered and thin machete with a blade that gently curved.

The blade of the shashka can reach up to 3.3 feet in length while its weight can be around 2.2 pounds in total. The design and proportions of the weapon were said to be ideal for mountain battles, as well as battles on narrow winding roads or in the forest.

The absence of a guard has been taken from the classic Caucasian construction and form wherein the shashka is almost fully hidden within the scabbard along with its hilt. As for its hilt, it was slightly arched down which provides additional leverage that was excellent for pulling the weapon.

When it comes to its handle, the shashka sword was created to have a built-in pommel as well as a little guard which commonly stretched out to only one portion of the hilt.

Types of Shashka Sword

Caucasian Shashka

The Caucasus shashka had a grip that almost sat within the scabbard and this type of sword was mostly utilized by Kuban Cossack as well as the ethnic groups from Caucasus. This was an effective weapon but the only issue with it was during the rain since water could easily drip into the scabbard.

Despite the problem, the blade was still a good weapon for battle since it was extremely lightweight at just three hundred to four hundred grams. The sword was also extremely flexible, sharp, and durable.

Cossack Shashka

Because of the Cossacks, the shashka sword quickly became the most favored weapon throughout the Russian troops, and by the middle of the nineteenth century, numerous units were already wielding the weapon.

By the second half of the century, the Cossack Shashka replaced the sabre as the primary cavalry weapon. The weight of this shashka was just about one kilogram; the other type of sword would be the Terek Cossack which has a handle that does not enter the scabbard.

cossack shashka with scabbard, isolated on white backround

Baklanov Shashka

In the year 1838, a better and improved type of shashka appeared; it was called the Baklanov shashka which was eventually utilized by the Cossack units. This specific weapon was named after the legendary Cossack general and bane of the Chechens and Circassians, Yakov Baklanov.

This weapon was a combination of the shashka and the saber thus featuring a curved blade that allowed the wielder to easily decapitate an opponent with just a single blow.

Shashka Sword for Sale

Although production of this weapon was canceled in the Soviet Union in the year 1950, the creation of this piece was eventually resumed in Russia came the year 1998.

Fortunately, there are enthusiasts and various individuals who restored the art of utilizing the shashka, as well as various elements of the shashka fighting method were preserved in the national and traditional dances of the Cossack.

This is the reason why there is a variety of shashka for sale and these can readily be purchased from numerous online weapon shops. The shashka comes in the decorative and fully functional pieces which are only made different by the fact that fully functional swords feature a sharpened blade while the decorative piece features a blunt and unsharpened blade.

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