Author: Sir G. Tascius
The lists below are by no means comprehensive. Armour vendors tend to be small businesses. As such they are subject change far more than established corporations. I will provide links as I can but these links tend to only be good for about a year or two.
First some guidelines. Always consult the current SCA Society rules for Steel Fighting. You will find the Steel specific rules in section IX. Kingdom specific rules addendums should also be consulted. Currently (12/2020) Atlantia has no additional rules. Note SCA Steel tournaments will tend to require reasonable historic appearance standards. Plastics for example would need to be hidden should they appear clearly modern.
The rules call for 12 gauge mild steel or material of equivalent strength. Beware of getting a helmet that is made of a strong but light material. Titanium for example is strong enough but just doesn’t have the mass to properly protect against concussion. Most traditional SCA merchants sell mild steel or stainless (304) steel helmets. Lastly, the SCA helmet standards closely mirror the standards of US steel fighting organizations such as the IMCF,ACS or ACW. Merchants in other countries are not necessarily constructing helmets that meet our safety standards. This is especially true with regard to face guards. A good rule of thumb, if you can pass a quarter (quarter held face on, not edge on) through the face guard or a blade can enter a slot more than 1.5 inches long, that guard is almost certainly not compliant with our rules.
A 14 gauge 304 stainless steel helm has approximately the same strength as a 12 gauge mild helmet but the mild helmet will provide much better concussion protection. When reading vendor descriptions- spring steel does not necessarily mean tempered spring steel. There are vendors that sell un-hardened spring steel, be sure to specify “tempered spring steel” There are many metals used in armor shops, here is a link that will tell you the respective strengths of each.
Make sure the armor you purchase fits the SCA requirements for knees, elbows and hands. As an example, some overseas organizations allow finger gauntlets for steel combat, the SCA does not. Make sure elbow and knee protection cover the three points as in the SCA steel/ heavy combat rules. Many armor styles do not fit this requirement. As a general guideline it is easier to find european equipment (late 1200s and up) that fits these requirements.
Keep in mind the SCA is only allowing long swords and arming swords. The reason for this is the track record and lower injury rates of these weapons. Others shall probably be added in the future but for now we are restricting ourselves to weapons that have the most data regarding safety and durability. Generally speaking these weapons are known as blunts. I recommend sticking with known providers. A broken weapon is both dangerous and expensive. Weapon providers will have a (W) after name as they are rarer.
This is a partial list. There are many US armor shops that can make equipment to SCA steel fighting specifications, the list above is of armories that I know have done so.
The number of providers available is beyond the scope of this list. I will stick with the better known to be reliable providers. For ALL of these providers be sure to specify that your order must meet US armor requirements. (Especially for helmet face grills/shields.) Most are familiar with ACS/ACW/ACL/IMCF requirements.
Last Modified: 2021-02-11 Revision: 74b11c0