History of modern swords. Modern swords in service. Sword history.
The advances made in combat have relegated the sword to an ancillary and ceremonial role in modern armies; the shift to reliable medium- and long-range weaponry such as the assault rifle and the handgun have negated the need for a close range melee weapon such as the sword, and soldiers in most contemporary armies carry little more than a multi-purpose knife beside their normal projectile weaponry.
Swords still play a part in modern armies as ceremonial arms. United States Marines commissioned officers, for instance, must own a sword, which are worn when dress uniform is required and the non-commissioned soldiers are under arms. In such cases, non-commissioned officers may also be required to carry sabres with similar hilt designs of the officer’s swords. The same is true of many other national armies.
The Japanese Self-Defence Force still issues katanas and similar swords to their officers and infantry, and in India the curved blade Kukri is still considered the official melee weapon of the national army. In most cases, though, the sword has become a weapon for collectors or hobbyists, very rarely being used for the purpose for which it was originally intended. With fencing still an Olympic sport, the most common combative use of swords is in such tournaments. Some Eastern martial arts such as Kendo require the use of a sword, but these are mainly made of bamboo. In the 2011 Libyan uprising, some rebels have been seen to carry swords as offensive weapons.