The most obvious image of a pirate portrays him with a cutlass in his hand. This is perhaps the favorite and most used pirate’s close-ranged weapon, especially during the 17th and 18th century. With weight around three pounds and length of about two feet, cutlass was ideal weapon for fighting in confined areas like on boards or below decks of the ship.
The weapon’s blade is a slightly curved, single edged and sharpened on the outer side. The origin of the cutlass is Buccaneers long knife called the “Boucan”, used for cutting meat. The cutlass is heavier and shorter than a look-alike weapon, saber. However, that was not disadvantage because it had better usability, not only for hurting opponents. With cutlass, a skilful pirate could easily break down heavy doors, cut down canvas and heavy ropes.
Broadsword was one of the most common weapons of the Vikings. This type of sword is particularly heavy and long. It was not very useful on board so it was certainly not pirates’ favorite. Still it was used at sea by the buccaneers and naval soldiers. The only reason, pirates sometimes used broadsword, is that it causes deadly blows with just one swing. Broadsword is slashing weapon and had either one or both sharpened edge.
Small sword is a thrusting weapon. Later types of short swords were slightly curved but most short swords had straight blade with only one cutting edge and a sharp point. They were almost useless in ship battles. They did not cause much damage and could be easily broken by any heavier weapon. Nevertheless, pirates widely used small swords as a personal dueling weapon.