Originally, it was a functional implement used to
direct military drill and maneuvers. Nowadays it is more often a traditional visual attribute. Swagger sticks are most familiarly
carried by military officers or more senior non-commissioned officers. They are also often carried by officers in police and
United Kingdom Armed Forces:
In the British Army
and other militaries following the Commonwealth traditions, commissioned officers carry swagger sticks when in formal uniform
as a symbol of rank. Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs carry longer pace sticks or regimental sticks instead, although a Regimental
Sergeant Major may be seen sporting a swagger stick. British swagger sticks are often topped with a silver cap, bearing regimental
insignia. A swagger stick remains an essential part of an officer's equipment, and they are supplied by traditional
British military tailors such as Gieves & Hawkes and Goldings. Cavalry officers will often carry a riding crop rather
than a swagger stick, in deference to their mounted traditions.
United States Armed Forces
In the Marine Corps, the swagger stick came into vogue
in the latter part of the 19th century, and was a required article of uniform until WWI. The first actual presentation of
the swagger stick was made in 1569 when Charles IX of France made his brother Henry a Generalissimo and gave him one to signify
"Swagger sticks" evolved from the "leading
cane" prescribed for British officers in a General Order of 1702. On parade, this cane was used for leading men.
Currently the swagger stick is no longer military issued,however:you will find some officers and drill instructors
have them and often are accessories for formal events as well as having them on display with their medals and memorabillia.
US Army General George S. Patton carried a swagger stick throughout World War II; however
his contained a concealed dagger, similar to a Victorian gentlemen's sword cane.