Buckler (fist shield)

A buckler (French bouclier 'shield', from Old French bocle, boucle 'boss') is a small shield, 15 to 45cm (6 in to 18 in) in diameter, gripped in the fist; it was generally used as a companion weapon in hand-to-hand combat during the Middle Ages, as its size made it poor protection against missile weapons (e.g., arrows) but useful in deflecting the blow of an opponent's sword or mace. More information...

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Buckler (fist shield)

Specifications of the buckler:

  • Diameter 25cm
  • Gauge 14 steel boss / 2mm
  • Gauge 16 resting parts / 1,5mm
  • Made of carbon steel (not stainless)
  • Grip made of steel and hard wood

There are two major forms of medievally documented bucklers.

  1. The first is a simple round shield with the fist positioned directly behind the boss with a variety of shapes of face and depths of rim. These could also have projections from the top and bottom as in Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbücher or serrated rings around the boss as in one example in the Wallace Collection.
  2. The second major form is a corrugated rectangle as suggested by Achille Marozzo in his Opera Nova.


MS I.33, considered the earliest extant armed-combat manual, (around 1300) contains an early description of a system of combat with buckler and sword. Source

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