Unlike the terms Swiss degen (Schweizerdegen) and Swiss dagger (Schweizerdolch) which are attested in the 16th century, Schweizersäbel is a modern term, coined by antiquarian and curator of the Swiss National Museum Eduard Achilles Gessler (1880-1947) in his 1914 publication on the topic.
Swiss sabres have single-edged, slightly curved blades which in the mid 16th century were set in regular sword hilts, including the variety of designs found there, with recurved quillions and/or rings and knuckle guards. By the late 16th century, specialized hilt forms begin to emerge, often with pommels shaped as a lion's head, or plated with silver.
- EA Gessler, Die Entwicklung des Schweizersäbels im 16. bis ins 17. Jahrhundert. In: Zeitschrift für historische Waffen- und Rüstungskunde 6, 1913,264-277.