This page lists most of the gear that you will need to get on the field as a combat archer.
You will need a recurve bow or longbow with a draw weight that doesn’t exceed 30 pounds at 28 inches of draw. Bows often get shot, bumped, and tripped over on the war field, so consider how much you are willing to spend.
Some combat archers use rigid quivers to prevent having to reinspect arrows if your quiver gets shot, but it isn’t required. You will need something to hold a dozen or more arrows.
The blunt arrows that we use for combat in Lochac are different from what is in use by the rest of the Society.
Shafts must have a diameter of 8 mm or 5/16 inch.
Shafts must be made from one of the following woods:
- Port Orford Cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana)
- Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
- Silver Ash (Flindersia bourjotiana, F. schottiana)
- Tasmanian Oak (Eucalyptus regnans, E. delegatensis, E. obliqua.)
- Ramin (Gonystylus sp.) – Note – this timber a protected species under CITES – From 7 July 2015, no new ramin timber may be purchased for the purpose of making combat arrows. Current stocks held by SCA particpants may be traded and sold, but as these arrows break they should be replaced with a different timber. This timber will be banned entirely once stocks have depleted sufficiently to not be a significant financial loss.
The maximum length for an arrow is 711mm (28 inches), measured from the bottom of the nock slot to where the blunt joins the shaft.
Arrows must be tipped with a mark II or III Riverhaven black rubber blunt affixed to the shaft.
The shaft of the arrow shall be spirally or longitudinally wrapped with fibreglass filament tape, totally covering the surface from the front of the fletching to the tip of the shaft. The taping must be in good condition without any sign of the fibres lifting from the shaft.
Metal points, if any, must be removed prior to mounting the blunts. The front end of the shaft must be flat, not pointed.
Blunts must be secured using a strip of good quality 13mm-wide electrical or fibre tape wound down around the sides of the blunt for at least 13mm, and then up onto the shaft of the arrow for 25mm. Blunts must be firmly secured to the shaft so that they
cannot come off on impact or if the shaft is broken. To allow inspection of possible punch-through the face of the blunt must not be covered.
They must have the owner’s name, and group clearly and legibly printed on it for identification.
This is just a bit of a summary, complete current armour specifications can be found in the Lochac Combat Handbook – http://lochac.sca.org/marshal/
Areas of the body which must be armoured are:
- The head and neck, including the face, throat, and the cervical and first thoracic vertebrae.
- The kidneys and floating ribs.
- The elbow joints.
- The hands and wrists.
- The groin.
- The knee joints.
Your helmet needs to be made of 1.6mm steel at a minimum, padded with 12.7mm (1/2 inch) of resilient material, or a suspension harness. It needs a bar grill, mesh, and a plume.
The mesh is required to protect the face, including the delicate facial features what would not survive an unintended helm penetration such as eyes and teeth. Mesh is not required to fill the skull holes on Vendal style helmets. As with all armour, the design is to prevent traumatic and unrecoverable injury, pain however is up to the tolerance level of the individual and what level they are willing to accept.
Helms worn by plumed participants must have a plume of a high-visibility colour extending at least 30cm vertically above the highest point of the helm. Plumes must have sufficient bulk through its entire height to be easily visible from all angles. Sticks, arrows, or other tall but thin objects are not acceptable.
The plume must be able to flex and return to its original position if struck or bent without becoming detached from the helm. Mine starts with a gate spring to provide the necessary flex.
Plumes must be securely attached to the rear or top of the helm in such a way that there is minimal chance they will become detached in combat.
During typical combat situations including turning the head, lifting the chin etc, the neck, including the larynx, cervical vertebrae, and first thoracic vertebra must be covered by one or a combination of:
- The helm; or
- A gorget of rigid material padded with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material; or
- A mail or heavy leather camail or aventail that hangs or drapes to absorb the force of a blow. If the camail or aventail lies against the larynx, cervical vertebrae, or first thoracic vertebra or can be pushed into contact with those areas by a blow from a weapon, that section must be padded with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material.
- A collar of heavy leather lined with a minimum of 6mm of resilient material.
Male combatants must have their groin covered by a minimum of a rigid athletic box (eg. a karate or cricket box), worn in a supporter or fighting garment designed to hold the box in place, or equivalent armour.
Female combatants must have their pubic bone area covered by groin protection of closed cell foam or heavy leather or equivalent. Commercially available female groin protection is considered equivalent, eg. female martial arts groin guard.
Your kidney area and floating ribs need to be covered by a minimum of heavy leather worn over 6mm of closed cell foam or equivalent padding.
It is highly recommended, but not required, that women wear breast protection of rigid material. If breast protection is worn, separate floating breast cups are prohibited unless they are connected by an interconnecting rigid piece such as a heavy leather or metal breastplate.
Both elbows, including the point and both sides of the elbow joint must be covered by rigid material underlain by at least 6.35mm (1/4 inch) of resilient material or equivalent padding. This armour shall be attached in such a way that the elbow remains covered during combat.
While operating archery or siege equipment, combat archers and siege engineers may use as a minimum hand protection half gauntlets made of rigid material, lined with 6.35mm (1/4 inch) of resilient material, or equivalent, protecting the outer surfaces of the hand and wrist including the wrist, the back and sides of the hand, and the inner points of the wrist bones.
This is your standard demi-gauntlet that most heavies use.
The knee, including the knee cap, the areas 2.54mm (1 inch) above and below the kneecap, and both sides of the knee joint must be covered by rigid material lined with at least 6.35mm (1/4 inch) of resilient material or equivalent. This armour shall be attached in such a way that the knee remains covered during combat.
All participants must wear sturdy footwear which provides adequate protection and support of the foot and ankle for the terrain and activity of combat.
Here’s a bit of a summary of some of the things you could use for the rigid bits of armour.
- Steel of no less than 1.2mm (18 gauge), or aluminium of no less than 1.9mm (1/16 inch), or
- Other metals or high-impact-resistant plastics such as ABS or polyethylene of sufficient thickness to be equivalent, or
- Heavy leather (stiff, oak-tanned leather nominally 4.4mm (11/64 inch, or 11oz) thick) that has been treated in such a manner as to permanently harden the leather, or
- Two layers of untreated heavy leather.