A foil is one of the three weapons used in fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular and weighs under a pound. As with the épée points are only scored by contact with the tip, which is capped with a spring-loaded button to detect points in electrically scored tournaments. A foil fencer's uniform features the lamé, a vest, electrically wired to record hits in such cases. It is the most commonly used weapon in competition.
The épée is the modern derivative of the dueling sword but it is the largest and heaviest of the three weapons used in sport fencing. Épée is French for "sword".
As a thrusting weapon the épée is similar to a foil (compared to a sabre), but has a stiffer blade which is triangular in cross-section with a V-shaped groove called a fuller, has a larger bell guard, and is heavier. The technique however, is somewhat different, as there are no rules regarding priority and right of way. In addition, the entire body is a valid target area.
The sabre is a type of backsword, usually with a curved, single-edged blade and a rather large hand guard, covering the knuckles of the hand as well as the thumb and forefinger.
Ultimately based on a medieval type of single-edged weapon, the sabre was adopted as the weapon of heavy cavalry in Early Modern warfare. Although sabres are typically thought of as curved-bladed slashing weapons, those used by the heavy cavalry of the 17th to 19th centuries often had straight and even double-edged blades more suitable for thrusting.