Full Tang vs. Rat Tail Tang

Full Tang with Mekugi pegs
When looking for a functional sword you want to see that it has a FULL TANG. In other words, the blade is one solid piece and goes through the entire handle of the sword. It can be kept in place via mekugi pegs (katana) or peened on the end (medieval style). But it must be part of the solid blade.
Full Tang that is Peened

A rat tail tang is usually a small piece that goes through the handle and is spot welded onto the blade. That point where it is spot welded is most likely the spot where it breaks when being swung around or when taking a hit. That means the blade will most likely go flying out and could possibly injure or kill someone or even you. You never want to swing or use a rat tail tang sword for cutting. EVER. If you like fantasy swords, then 9 times of of 10 they will be wall hangers or SLO's (Sword Like Objects) and they will have a rat tail tang. Below are examples of a rat tail tang:





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