On a sword or some knives, the crossguard (or cross-guard) is a flat bar of metal at right angles to the blade, placed between the blade and the hilt. The crossguard stops other blades from sliding down onto the hand of the weapon wielder during combat.

The bar crossguard is the simplest form of guard. As swords evolved into lighter, faster duelling weapons, the crossguard became more elaborate, forming first quillons and then, through the addition of guard branches, the Basket hilt, which offered more protection to the swordbearer's hand.

Oriental swords such as the Japanese katana usually have circular or occasionally squarish crossguards known as tsuba, the artistic design of which is often emphasized. Due to the importance of such weapons in the East, swords are often painstakingly decorated, and crossguards are found in a variety of elaborate designs.

Crossguards sometimes contained openings through which the swordbearer could insert his fingers to improve his grip while fighting.

See also

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