Messer (German for "knife", also großes Messer "great knife", Hiebmesser "cutting knife", Kriegsmesser "war knife", etc.) during the German Late Middle Ages and Renaissance (14th to 16th centuries) was a term for the class of single-edged bladed weapons, deriving from the medieval falchion and preceding the modern sabre.
Its hilt included a straight cross-guard and Nagel: a nail-like (Nagel literally means 'nail') protrusion that juts out from the right side of the cross-guard away from the flat of the blade, to protect the wielder's hands. Quite notable in its construction was the attachment of blade to the hilt via a slab tang sandwiched between two wooden grip plates that were pegged into place. Also of note is that many pommels were 'drawn out' or curved to one side of the hilt (edge side), a feature known as a "hat-shaped pommel". Extant examples seem to have an overall length of 30 inches with a 24.5 in (62 cm) blade, and a weight between 2–2.5 lb (0.91–1.1 kg).
Although often confused with the Kriegsmesser ("War Knife"), it has to be clearly distinguished from the Grossmesser, being more than 1500 mm long and shaped more like a scimitar, originating as the Hungarian version of the German Zweihänder. Kriegsmessers were used by professional soldiers, typically Landsknechts. An example of this, also called a "Long Knife", is preserved in the Hofjagd- und Rüstkammer, Vienna.