Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's short blade was returned to him after he had reached the third rank in the Assassin Order, following his demotion. Like the sword, his skill with the short blade increased as he progressed higher through the Order's ranks.
The first short blade he obtained had a wooden handle, though he received an all metal variation at a later rank. In both instances, he carried the short blade in a sheath strapped across his back, with the handle facing down.
In a similar fashion to Altaïr, Ezio Auditore da Firenze was equipped with both a medium weapon and a short blade, though they were sheathed together at his side. He could purchase various types of short blades from blacksmiths, each with unique speed, damage and deflection properties.
In battle, he would wield the short blade much as Altaïr did, utilizing the same icepick grip, though he did not learn to use it alongside throwing knives until he became a Master Assassin.
Short blades strike more quickly than medium weapons, which made them ideal for dispatching large numbers of low-ranked enemies. However, as an enemy's rank increases, the short blade's effectiveness diminished, due to the higher quality armor they wore.
For Altaïr, the special, close-ranged attack of most short blades could only be performed from behind – slitting an enemy's throat, or stabbing them in the shoulder or back – which would always result in an instant kill.
When used with the short blade, Altaïr could throw a single throwing knife mid-combat. Similarly, Ezio could dual-wield the short blade with throwing knives, and could throw multiple throwing knives at once.