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Thread: Hanwei Raptor Katana Review

  1. #1
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    Hanwei Raptor Katana Review

    Since I had already reviewed the Hanwei Raptor Wakizashi, I decided to review the katana part of the daisho as well. I will compare the Raptor Katana (shobu zukuri) to other swords similar in a variety of factors.

    First impressions:

    Honestly, I was not impressed when I opened the shipping box. Although very similar in make to its companion sword, for some reason I was hoping for more. My biggest issue is the tsuka ito. For MSRP of $375, I expected a tighter maki with higher grade material. Secondly, the length of the tsuka (13") & blade (29") are much longer than what I am accustomed to. In addition a deep sori & long kissaki can be troublesome for noto. Basically, I thought that this would be a heavy, cumbersome sword. Please go here for specifications... http://www.wiwingtiswordsupply.com/SH2417.html

    Pleasantly surprised:

    After performing kata & tameshigiri, I changed my mind a bit. Please go here for a visual record of the review http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgA952qsU6A. To my surprise, I acclimated to the long dimensions quickly. In addition, the green bamboo (1"-2" diameter) cut rather well. I attempted techniques which put a great deal of stress on the blade, required quick stop & go movement & needed rapid angle alignment. The sword handled all 3 challenges to my satisfaction. For a thick heavy sword, I did not feel myself falling forward needlessly.

    Comparisons:

    Last Legend-
    As I mentioned earlier, I do not like the Raptor's tsuka ito, The like-priced Last Legend Shinryu that I reviewed a couple years back had the same katate maki, However, LL's is a better quality wrap in terms of both material & application. Secondly, the iris leaf kissaki is similar to LL Bear Katana but again the LL is crafted better. To the Raptor's defense, the Bear was twice the price.

    MAS-
    Although MAS (Martial Art Swords) is way above the Raptor's price category, both are advertised as being able to handle hard targets. As I mentioned earlier, the Raptor did cut green bamboo rather well but for continued stressful cutting, it would not last as long IMO. I have cut over 1000 bamboo poles with my MAS Sunflower & there is no damage other than some surface scratches. After my cutting session, there was no set in the blade but I did notice a few tiny nicks on the Raptor's monouchi. Fortunately, I was able to true the edge with a couple swipes of a sharpening stone so the sword did not receive any structural failure. While being accurately advertised that it can safely tackle hard targets, I personally would not cut dense bamboo for the bulk of the sword's use.

    Conclusion:
    The Raptor Katana's performance changed my opinion positively from my first impression. While I feel that there are other similarly priced options out there that may be better in some ways, my opinion is that it is accurately advertised, "...created for the cutting practitioner who does not necessarily have access to mats but who wishes to practice and perfect his cutting technique". Since many retailers have this line on sale, one can even pick it up for a better price.

    Thanks for reading.

  2. #2
    Thank you for sharing the informative review and video.

    I wonder how the Raptor shobu compares to the DF musha shobu.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joo-Hwan Lee View Post
    Thank you for sharing the informative review and video.

    I wonder how the Raptor shobu compares to the DF musha shobu.
    You're quite welcome! Unfortunately, I have not cut with DF products before so I am unable to make an accurate comparison.

  4. #4
    In recent months, I decided to buy a sword that was to support my MAS, L6 version. I was tempted to buy the Raptor, but at the same price, I preferred the PP Elite Hanwei: it is differentially hardened and what I find most suitable for cutting.
    Aesthetically, the Raptor is done better, but the tsuka too long ( why in all the replicas the tsuka are long over 24 cm ?) and the lack of differentially hardened do not fall under the sword to turn the attention.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tiziano s. View Post
    In recent months, I decided to buy a sword that was to support my MAS, L6 version. I was tempted to buy the Raptor, but at the same price, I preferred the PP Elite Hanwei: it is differentially hardened and what I find most suitable for cutting.
    Aesthetically, the Raptor is done better, but the tsuka too long ( why in all the replicas the tsuka are long over 24 cm ?) and the lack of differentially hardened do not fall under the sword to turn the attention.
    Why the long tsuka?...well, I believe the Raptor series was designed or influenced by James Williams of Nami ryu/Bugei Trading Co. For whatever reason, Mr. Williams favors a long handle.

    It is my understanding that the Raptors are through-hardened in order to be better able to resist a set. As I wrote in my review, the quality & ability of the Raptor is not in the same league as a MAS but it handled my test reasonably well. Again, I wouldn't use bamboo all the time but it performed sufficiently for an entry-level blade.

  6. #6
    Thanks for pointing this out.
    It was I do not trust in blades no differentially hardened because I think be subject to cracking.
    Therefore, while admiring the beauty of Raptor, I have chosen, always Hanwei, but Practical Plus Elite as second sword for my training.
    Thank you again.

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