Pirate Weapons

Avast ye blackguard, or be cleaved to the brisket! At PirateClothingStore.com you’ll learn all about the weapons commonly used by the pirates of the 17th and 18th centuries, and what you will need to recreate the genuine look and complete an authentic pirate costume.

If you’re wondering what were pirate guns called, or what swords did pirates actually use? PirateClothingStore.com has the answers?

Pirates used a variety of weapons in battle, depending on the time period and location. However, some of the most common pirate weapons used by pirates during the Golden Age of Piracy in the 17th and 18th centuries included:

Pirate Swords

Pirate weapons evolved over time, but the sword would play a major role in the life of a 17th-century pirate. Pirates used swords as their primary weapon during boarding and hand-to-hand combat. It was essential for a pirate to be proficient in sword fighting, as it could mean the difference between life and death in battle. Small swords or short swords were most common although sabers and other long swords were also popular with pirates.

A pirate’s sword was also a symbol of his status and reputation. It was common for pirate swords to be personalized and they were often ornate and decorated with engravings or precious stones. Additionally, pirate swords were used for everyday tasks, such as cutting ropes, opening barrels, or slicing through food.

Pirate swords would have included many different styles and sizes, but perhaps most common was the cutlass sword. A cutlass (sometimes spelled "cutlas") is a type of small sword that was commonly used by sailors and pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. A cutlass sword was short and slightly curved with a single-edged blade and a pointed tip. The cutlass sword was ideal for use in close combat, particularly on board ships where space was limited.

Cutlass swords were popular among sailors and pirates because they were relatively cheap and easy to manufacture, and being small swords, they were well-suited for the close-quarters fighting that was common in naval battles. They were also versatile weapons that could be used for both cutting and thrusting attacks.

In addition to its practical uses, the cutlass also became a symbol of piracy and adventure in popular culture. It has appeared in countless books, movies, and other forms of media depicting pirates and their exploits. In summary, pirates preferred small swords, which were multifunctional. 


Of all the pirate guns, pistols were among the most popular. In the Golden Age of Piracy, during the 17th century, pistols were still relatively new weapons, and there were a variety of different types that were used by soldiers, sailors, and civilians. Here are a few examples:

Wheellock pistols: The wheellock was an early type of mechanical gunlock that was invented in the 16th century. Wheellock pistols were common among the wealthy and aristocratic classes because they were expensive and complex to manufacture, which made them likely to be used as pirate guns. They were known for their reliability and accuracy, but they were also heavy and difficult to handle, and not the weapon of choice for pirates.

Matchlock pistols: Matchlock pistols were a simpler type of pistol that used a wick or match to ignite the gunpowder. They were less expensive than wheellock pistols and were more commonly used by soldiers and sailors. Matchlock pistols were known for their loud report and heavy recoil, which made them difficult to aim and fire accurately.

Flintlock Guns: Of all the pirate weapons, the flintlock gun has become a mainstay in popular culture. The flint lock was a more advanced type of gunlock that was invented in the late 17th century. Flint lock pistols were lighter and more reliable than wheellock and matchlock pistols, and they were easier to manufacture in large quantities. Flintlock guns quickly became the standard pirate gun, and for military and civilian use.

Pirate pistols: Pirates guns often used a type of pistol called a "doglock" pistol, which was a crude and simple weapon that could be easily manufactured and maintained. These pistols had a distinctive shape and were often decorated with brass or silver fittings.

Flintlock Muskets

A flintlock musket is a type of long gun that was used from the 16th to the 19th century. It was a muzzle-loading firearm that fired a single lead ball or bullet using black powder (gunpowder) as the propellant. Flintlock muskets were primarily used by soldiers in military and naval conflicts.

Flintlock muskets were typically around 5 to 6 feet in length and weighed between 8 and 12 pounds. They had a smoothbore barrel, which meant that the inside of the barrel was smooth and not rifled, or grooved. This made them less accurate than later firearms, but they were still effective at relatively short ranges.

Muskets were loaded by pouring gunpowder down the barrel, followed by a wad of paper or cloth, and then the lead ball or bullet. The musket was then primed with a small amount of gunpowder in the pan of the lock mechanism, which was then ignited by a spark from a flint striking against steel.

In the 17th century, flintlock muskets were an important weapon for pirates and marines, and they played a key role in many battles and conflicts around the world. Muskets continued to be used until the mid-19th century when they were gradually replaced by modern rifles, which were more accurate.

Flintlock Revolvers

A flintlock revolver is a type of firearm that uses a flintlock gun mechanism to fire multiple rounds from a revolving cylinder. It was invented in the early 19th century and would have been a formidable weapon for pirates of the period. One of the first true "revolvers,” the flintlock revolver is similar in appearance to a modern revolver, but it uses a flint to ignite the gunpowder in the cylinder chamber, rather than a percussion cap or cartridge.

One of the most famous examples of a flintlock revolver is the Collier revolver, which was invented in 1814 by English gunsmith Elisha Collier. The Collier revolver had a six-chamber cylinder and was popular among sailors and pirates due to its reliability and ease of use. However, the flintlock mechanism was susceptible to misfires, which could be dangerous in combat situations. The flintlock revolver was eventually replaced by more reliable and efficient firearms, such as the percussion revolver and the cartridge revolver.

Blunderbuss Guns

A blunderbuss gun is a short, muzzle-loading firearm with a flared or trumpet-shaped barrel. It was designed for close-range combat and was popular from the 17th to the early 19th century. 

The flared barrel of the blunderbuss gun was intended to increase the spread of the shot and provide greater stopping power at close range. The blunderbuss gun was typically loaded with a number of small lead balls, which could be devastating at close range. The blunderbuss gun was commonly used by sailors and pirates, as well as by highwaymen and other criminals.

Boarding Pikes

A boarding pike is a long spear-like weapon that was commonly used by sailors and pirates during the 17th and 18th centuries. It was typically around 8 to 12 feet in length and had a pointed metal tip at one end.

Pirates used boarding pikes as a close-quarters weapon during naval battles and when boarding other ships. They were effective for keeping enemy sailors at a distance and could be used to repel attackers attempting to board their own ship. They were also useful for grabbing onto enemy ships and pulling them closer during boarding actions.

Boarding pikes were sometimes used in combination with other weapons, such as cutlasses or pistols, to create a versatile and deadly arsenal. They were also useful for signaling commands to other sailors during battle or in rough seas.

The boarding pike was an important weapon in the age of sail, and it played a key role in many naval battles and pirate raids. While it has largely been replaced by more modern weapons today, it remains an iconic symbol of piracy and adventure in popular culture.

Axes and Hatchets

Pirates used axes as a versatile tool and weapon during their voyages at sea. Axes could be used for a variety of tasks, such as chopping firewood, repairing the ship, and breaking open crates and barrels. Additionally, axes could be used as a close-quarters weapon during naval battles and boarding actions.

One type of axe commonly used by pirates was the boarding axe, which was a short-handled axe with a broad, curved blade. Boarding axes were specifically designed for use in naval combat and were effective for breaking through doors and hatches, cutting ropes, and repelling attackers.

Axes were also a preferred weapon for some pirates because they were easy to obtain and could be easily concealed on board the ship. Additionally, they did not require the use of gunpowder, which could be in short supply during long voyages.

Overall, axes were a valuable tool and weapon for pirates and were used for a variety of purposes during their time at sea.

Grenades and Stink Bombs

Pirates sometimes used hand grenades, which were small bombs that could be thrown at enemy ships or into enemy fortifications. However, grenades were difficult to manufacture, expensive, and required specialized training to use effectively and most pirates would use other weapons.

Additionally, grenades were not well-suited for use on a ship, where the close quarters and constant movement could make their use dangerous for both the attacker and the defender. Instead, pirates typically relied on more traditional weapons, such as pistols, muskets, cutlasses, and boarding axes, during naval battles and boarding actions.

While there are some historical accounts of pirates using explosive devices, such as barrels of gunpowder, to damage or sink enemy ships, these were not considered to be true grenades, but improvised bombs, including a device they called a stink bomb.

A "stink bomb" was a type of improvised weapon that pirates would use to deter potential attackers or boarders. It was typically made by filling a container, such as a bottle or jar, with a mixture of foul-smelling materials, such as rotting food, urine, or even feces. The container was then sealed and thrown at the enemy ship or onto the deck during a boarding action.

The idea behind the stink bomb was to create a nauseating and overwhelming odor that would discourage attackers and make it difficult for them to continue fighting. It was also thought to be a way to spread disease and infection among enemy crews, as the materials used to make the stink bomb were often contaminated with bacteria.

While stink bombs were not a particularly effective or sophisticated weapon, they were sometimes used by pirates and other sailors as a means of psychological warfare. The use of foul-smelling substances to create confusion and discomfort was a tactic that was used in various forms throughout history, and it remains a part of popular culture to this day.

Overall, pirates relied on a combination of speed, surprise, and close-quarters combat to succeed in battle. They often used intimidation tactics to overcome their enemies, and their reputation for violence and brutality made them fearsome opponents on the high seas.

Give no Quarter

Our selection of high-quality replica pirate weaponry at PirateClothingStore.com will add the final flourish to your authentic pirate costume for your next Pirate Fest, Pirate Cosplay, or pirate-themed party. We have flintlock for sale, pirate swords, and lots more booty. Check out our selection of pirate clothes and pirate accessories, where you will find belts, holsters, and baldrics to complete the genuine pirate aesthetic.