A decision is easy when things are either good or bad. Is a product good? Great, get it. Is it bad? Easy, don’t get it. But the choice gets tricky when things fall between the two. They have good features and they have bad features AND you have to perform a value calculation to see if you can live with the bad to enjoy the good.
Luckily, the Messer Trainer from Comfort Fencer makes things easy by being mostly (but not entirely) bad.
I purchased my Feder second hand from a club mate. I received it in good condition with light use (mostly incurred by me, borrowing it). I had no intention of reviewing it when I got it. I have had no contact with Comfort Fencing and they are unaware that I am writing this review.
I have been using the blade for about three months of regular, intensive practice with a training partner who also has the same Comfort Fencing Messer. I will take into account the performance of theirs to enlarge the sample size of this review, but all opinions expressed here are mine. Normally I would wait six months before reviewing but for reasons that will become clear below, I don’t feel confident I will still be using it that long.
It is relevant to mention that I have had a terrible experience with Comfort Fencing before. I am very suspicious of them and their products. I write this review as fairly and equitably as I can but I have been vocal about my distrust of this company in the past and I want to be upfront about that going into this review.
Length: 37.8” (96cm) Total; 8.7” (22cm) grip; 29” (73.6cm) blade
Point of Balance: ~4.5 (11.5cm) from the guard
Weight: 2lb (950g)
Base Price: $205+S&H
I will start by saying that I like the look of this Messer. The triangle blade profile, the long grip, the hooked hilt, I like its style. Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up well.
On my Messer, the rolled tip snapped off. On my partner’s, the cross guard began to rattle slightly. Both of these occurred in the second and third week of training respectively. After two months of regular training both Messers are chewed up. The blades and the cross guards have continuous overlapping dents and divots. These impacts also create many burs and catches where the metal from the dent has been displaced over the edge. I will continue to use this Messer for a little while longer but if it continues this rate of wear I do not believe it will last a full six months continuous use.
A final note, while I like the look of the handle, both my partner and I found it to be too narrow. It has a tight, well lacquered cord wrap but the circumference of it is small which makes it hard to grip properly especially in a bulkier glove. This is not too hard to fix, various sporting wraps will do the trick, but it is worth noting.
The CF Messer is not an elegant tool. It does not have the refined balance of an Albion or the quick handling of a Chlebowski. I find it a little heavy in the hand. But it is functional. It does not feel like a saber or an arming sword but like a Messer, which is a good baseline to hit. It is perhaps most analogous to the earlier generation Regenyei Longswords: basic, serviceable, a good place to start. I look forward to acquiring a Messer that handles more deftly once the CF one wears out but as a beginners Messer, it worked fine for me.
I purchased my Messer from a club mate, second hand and so did not deal directly with a vendor for it. Comfort Fencing’s United States Distributor is Wild Geese Fencing, who have a good and well deserved reputation. However, I would be remiss if I did not say that Comfort Fencing themselves have an abysmal reputation for customer service and have treated many people in the community very poorly, including myself. If you are interested in this or one of their other products I would highly recommend going through Wild Geese Fencing. Going through Comfort Fencing themselves is not recommended and should be done only at your own risk, and with full awareness of their behavior and habits.
This product is not without its merits. It handles acceptably and it looks good. Its price is relatively low compared to other options on the market. To me, these do not outweigh the problems in the quality and durability of the sword. If it was a little cheaper one may advocate it as a basic, beginner Messer. If it handled a little better it may worth the cost. As it is, this Messer is a compromise at best.