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thumb|From left to right: two bayonets, a short curved infantry or artillery briquet, a straight infantry officers' sabre, and a carbine.
The sabre or saber (see spelling differences) traces its origins to the European backsword and usually but not always has a curved, single-edged blade and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger. Although sabres are typically thought of as curved-bladed slashing weapons, those used by the world's heavy cavalry often had straight and even double-edged blades more suitable for thrusting. The length of sabres varied, and most were carried in a scabbard hanging from a shoulder belt known as a baldric or from a waist-mounted sword belt. Exceptions not intended for personal carry include the famed Patton sabre adopted by the U.S. Army in 1913 and always mounted to the cavalryman's saddle.