I got me a new zombie chopper.
Today I received a Hanwei Tactical Wakizashi from Knifecenter.com. (Manufacturer's page with pics
.) I took a few pics of my sword tonight with my iPhone, I need to take some more under better lighting conditions. Anyway, this is my sword:
Weight is 1 lb. 14 oz. and an OAL of 31". It handles well even with one hand. There is plenty of room on the 8.5" long hilt (tsuka) for both hands, however. The 20" blade is made from 5160 spring steel with a single fuller (bo-hi) on each side. AIUI, the blade is through-hardened. Unlike most Japanese style swords, it has a full tang, with scales riveted to it. The scales are made from kraton, a hard rubber/plastic material. They are well fitted to the tang. Not shown in the pics on Hanwei's website is the paracord lanyard that is run through the last hole in the hilt.
The blade is moderately sharp, but you could probably still decapitate a zombie with it.
The guard (tsuba) is made from a blackened, non-magnetic metal.
The habaki (brass part which circles the blade near the hilt) and which serves to help retain the tsuba is not polished all that well. Other than that the sword is nicely finished. In particular, the bo-hi has a mirror polish.
The scabbard (saya) is made from fiberglass and holds the sword well. There is a slight rattle if you shake it, but the mouth of the scabbard grips the habaki securely. The tip of the saya has a drain hole. The saya has a partial wrap made from paracord, with loops, to allow you to attach it to a pack or belt for carrying.
After looking at a variety of swords including several gladii, falcatas, and kopises (kopii?), and reading many reviews, I went with the Hanwei Tac Wak. I agree that "tactical" is overplayed as a marketing term, and I can't think of too many tactical situations in which I'd be better off with a sword of any kind than a gun. OTH, if one was in an environment where guns weren't permitted, I think you could do a lot worse for defense than a good sword.
And of course, except for the zombpocalypse after running out of ammo.