Altaïr Ibn-La'Ahad's short blade was returned to him after he had reached the third rank. Like the sword, his skill with the short blade increased as he climbed up the 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 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.
Several of his allies, such as thieves and courtesans, also used short blades in battle. Certain guards and assassination targets, such as agiles and Rodrigo Borgia, made use of short blades as well. However, none of these held their weapons in an icepick grip.
Short blade strike more quickly than medium weapons, which makes them ideal for dispatching large numbers of low-ranked enemies. However, as an enemy's rank increases, the short blade's effectiveness diminishes, due to the higher quality armor they use.
For Altaïr, the special, close-ranged attack of most short blades can only be performed from behind, slitting an enemy's throat, or stabbing them in the shoulder or the back, which will always result in an instant kill.
When used with the short blade, Altaïr can throw a single throwing knife mid-combat. Similarly, Ezio can dual-wield the short blade with throwing knives, and can throw multiple throwing knives at once.