Running the Gauntlet: Demi vs Full

A question that gets asked a lot: What gauntlets can I use for Combat Archery?

According to SCA Martial Law (XVIV. GLOSSARY. A), demi-gauntlets fit the bill. This is the minimum requirement, but as always check your Kingdom Marshal Law regarding same.

But is that what you really need? Depending on how active you plan to be in combat, it may be the perfect fit. However you may find that killing people on the field is so much fun, you need to invest in more diverse ways of dealing out death blows (spear, sword, etc).

If the latter seems your case then you may want to consider investing in good, articulated ‘full’ gauntlets. I suggest articulated because it will afford the dexterity you will need to handle Combat Archery equipment effectively and safely, yet allow you to switch the ‘heavy’ weapons as well.

It is true that most fighters try not to club Combat Archers like baby seals, but it can happen. When it comes to protection, wear the best and most padded you can without trading (too much) performance for protection. You can augment purchased gauntlets with additional layers of closed cell foam if needed. Get some industrial rubber cement, trim the foam, and slap it on! You can still get hit in the hand. Remember Combat Archers, always assume you will get hit!

It is true that ‘full’ gauntlets will run more. ‘Demis’ can be made very easily with leather and rivets with varying levels of quality. These look like a good standard well made demi set. You can even find patterns and instructions. Here is an example of articulated gauntlets. These will certainly be more expensive, but may be the last pair you ever buy.

For the cost of entry though, demis are generally very affordable. Dont spend too much time on the issue if you can afford a pair. If you find later you need to change up, you can. But it is always worth considering options as soon as possible. We all aren’t made of money you know!

Happy Fighting!

Getting ready to be a Combat Archer


you’ve decided you want to hit the road as a soldier of fortune shooting people in the face, sounds fantastic! A few things you may want to think about before starting your adventure! There are lots of considerations: ammo, weapon type, armor, tactics, authorizing… Lets take a brief look step by step, shall we?

SCA Battle Scene


What a topic this can be. Lets start with the easiest path, just go buy your stuff! Sitting down to make bolts or arrows can be a daunting, time consuming, and exacting task. After my last batch of crossbow bolts, at least 6 failed, and I’ve been making them for some time! Back to the drawing board with them, but it goes to show even a seasoned CA can make mistakes. For this reason I would suggest buying your first kit. I would start with no less than 25, but you will be better served by at least 50. This will account for scenarios where you wont have time to ‘glean’ your ammo in between. Take heart though, many people, myself included, if we have extra bolts and you ask, we will share in a pinch.

The general concept for ammo is this: Safety. each step or precaution is suggested or required with safety in mind. It never hurts to go above an beyond to ensure the safety of our fellow combatants. For more info, reference Section VII.G

Weapon Type:

Notice I didn’t just say ‘bows’? Because we can use pavices and thrown weapons as well.

Bows? I’d recommend for a starter a solid fiberglass bow. As a quick reference from the Marshals Handbook (MH) See: Section VII.F.7. Additionally get a string that isn’t crimped on at the ends. A nice Flemish String is solid and not too pricey.

You mainly have a choice of bow, or crossbow. The generally fall into the light and heavy category, but mostly light. Each time you get inspected, the bow will be measured for poundage. For this reason I would recommend a 25# recurve (if that is your choice) as this will afford some variance in poundage up or down.

What about thrown weapons? Wow these can be fun. I’ve even seen people take the field with ONLY thrown weapons in limited engagements, but remember the ammo issue, you can carry a ton of arrows/bolts, but only so many thrown weapons. This would include axes, maces, daggers, spears*, daggers being the easiet to carry a load of. There is also an issue of accuracy, thrown weapons tend to be less accurate and range.


There is a lot of resources available here. Go to any fighter practice or event and chat people up. The main thing to remember here is the only real difference is hand protection. Demi gauntlets are ok if you are only engaging in CA, as opposed to full gauntlets. There are some variances depending but this is the basic rule. Minimum armor requirements (Section VI): Head, gorget, elbows, kidneys, knees and hands. But Id encourage you to go further and get as close to a ‘heavy’  kit as possible. Depending on your ‘fighting’ style, you can find yourself right up in front taking hits with the best of them, at times like this, you will appreciate adequate protection. Even if you’re the type of combatant to hang back, you should still expect to be hit. In a pinch and missing a few pieces? Ask around, lots of people have loaner gear, especially if you’re looking to get authorized and expect to get a kit ready soon.


Use your friends and terrain effectively. If you are able, show up to war practices and work with our regular army. If you are unfamiliar with combat in general, go to a few events and watch battle scenarios and imagine yourself in the melee. How would you react if you were ‘there’ when that rush occurred, etc. Use your shield-mates. and communicate. Tell them you are behind them and foster a symbiotic relationship where they tell you who to take out, and they cover you. Once you can start to think like an archer, you can respond appropriately. Work in twos when possible. A lone archer can be a sitting duck.


In order to take the field as a CA you will need to authorize. I humbly suggest if you authorize as a CA, you additionally authorize as siege, and vice versa. This make you more versatile as an asset, and you can fill slots on an engine at a critical time, or if an engine dies, you can grab a bow and rejoin the fray.

What should you expect at an authorization? Study the rulebook for both Society and Atlantia. Know your weapon,  and ammo types, armor requirements, rules of engagement.


Look, I gotta stop somewhere… This is very brief (well maybe not), as it was meant to be. There is so much more ground to cover. But we are a very welcoming and helpful group. Please reach out if you ever need help. “We’re ready to believe you.”


*there is a difference between a melee spear, and throwing spear