The sword is one of the oldest weapons used by humans in warfare. For thousands of years, the sword has been the standard against which all other hand-to-hand combat weapons are judged. But is it really the best weapon ever? It depends on who you ask. But if you were to ask me, my answer would be a resounding yes! A sword will always beat any weapon, except another sword. For some reason, people who study the history of weapons have a tendency to overlook this simple fact. But it is true nonetheless. In a real fight, nothing (except another person wielding a sword) will beat a good old-fashioned sword in the hand of an experienced fighter. In my mind, a sword is truly a “super weapon” when it is in the hands of a master who knows how to use it. Whether you are preparing for a fight or just want to sharpen your overall mental and physical skills, learning to fight with a real sword is an invaluable experience.
Nonetheless, this is just my personal opinion. Could it be because of the fact that I have been enamoured by the elegance of the sword compared to other weapons since heroes are always depicted with swords and not with an axe, mace, spear, or polearm? However, we will pit the sword against other hand-to-hand combat weapons and see if the facts are in my favour.
Sword Vs. Spear
The spear is one of the most common weapons used in hand-to-hand combat. It is also one of the oldest weapons in human history. A long spear can be effectively used against an enemy from a distance. If you study history, you will find many battles were won because of a long-range attack with a spear. However, a long spear is very vulnerable to a direct hit from a sword or any other shorter weapon. In real life, a spear is only as good as the man who holds it. If he lets go of it for even a split second, it is no longer a weapon but just a piece of wood or metal that can be easily avoided by the enemy. Although a long spear can be deadly against a sword from a distance, it is no match for a sword when you get close enough to use it against your opponent’s body. On the other hand, a sword can be used from a distance to strike an opponent and then, if necessary, it can be used to finish the job close-up. A sword can also be used to deflect a spear or to chop off the shaft of the spear if you are facing a horde of them! But the spear has the advantage of being cheap and easy to make. That is why it is the weapon of choice for soldiers who have to fight with bare hands in training exercises.
Final Verdict: Sword
Sword Vs. Axe
The axe is the weapon of choice for people who like to work with their hands. It was the weapon of choice of the Vikings who invaded England and other countries. They were the first to use axes in warfare and they continued to use them for a very long time. In fact, many modern-day people in Europe still use an axe as their primary weapon. An axe is a very effective weapon when used by a skilled fighter. It has the advantage of being able to chop down trees, chop through armour, and even cleave a human body in two. But there is a big disadvantage which makes it unsuitable for hand-to-hand combat except against extremely unskilled opponents. That disadvantage is that an axe is useless against any weapon except another axe! Why? Because it is obviously heavier than any weapon and by the time you are about to attempt to swing your axe the sword has already hit you! Nonetheless, I am not here to discourage you if you are really determined to use an axe against a sword user, but it is a risk that you have to take for yourself!
Further, an experienced swordsman can use his sword to deflect the axe or even cut off the axe blade itself! This is especially true if you are using an ordinary axe instead of a battle-hardened fighting axe. An axe is also effective against a spear or a mace (a club) but again, only at very close quarters. Even then, an experienced swordsman can easily avoid being hit by an axe. If you are facing a horde of axe-wielding barbarians, you might have a chance with your sword but only a very slim chance and perhaps it’s best to re-evaluate your options. You see, an axe is a “one-trick” weapon. It is very good for chopping down trees and other hard objects and it can be considered as a “general purpose” weapon but it’s definitely not a recommended weapon against a sword.
Most people who use axes in combat are not skilled enough to use them as a primary weapon against a skilled swordsman. They are more likely to be used by warriors who have been trained to fight with an axe as a last resort when all other weapons have failed.
Final Verdict: Sword
Sword Vs. Mace
The mace (also known as a club) is the weapon of choice for people who don’t know any better! It is also the weapon of choice for people who haven’t really studied fighting techniques and are only relying on brute force! The characters that are often portrayed who use maces are barbaric, uncivilized, and uneducated. A mace can be used against a sword, an axe, or even a mace! It has the advantage of being easy to handle and can be used against almost anyone. But it has the disadvantage of being very ineffective against a sword or any other real weapon. If you study history, you will find that a mace has never won against a real sword except in comic books and movies where it was used as a last resort weapon to finish off the opponent, but never during the actual fight.
Immediately after the Renaissance, a mace was no longer even considered a suitable weapon for a gentleman to carry in his personal arsenal as it was used mainly by street fighters and bums. Further, a swordsman can easily avoid being hit by a club. The best and the simplest way to avoid being hit by a mace is simply to step outside of its range!
Summing up the above, a mace is like driving your car with the clutch pedal on the floor. You might get going real good but sooner or later you are going to stall out and run into something hard!
Final Verdict: Sword
Sword Vs. Polearm
A polearm (also known as a halberd) is a long-handled spear-like weapon. It is most often used by infantrymen but it can also be used by cavalry. The main advantage of a polearm over a spear is its length which makes it more effective against heavily-armored opponents. But, it has the same disadvantages as a spear, namely: it is very ineffective against a sword! In real life, a sword cuts through anything. A skilled swordsman can use his sword to deflect the polearm or chop off the polearm itself! This is especially true if you are using a normal wooden polearm instead of a battle-hardened steel polearm!
Undeniably, the wooden polearm is much less effective than the steel polearm but it is also much cheaper and lighter. So, you can buy a lot of them and give them to your soldiers as “practice weapons”. This will not only make them more skillful but also give them something to do other than just sit around waiting for their buddies to die so they can inherit their stuff!
Final Verdict: Sword
Sword Vs. Knife
Knives are the weapons of choice for people who like to use stealth and cunning in battle. They are also used by many modern-day special forces. A knife is very effective against a sword or any other kind of weapon when used by a skilled fighter. There are two advantages of a knife which make it suitable for hand-to-hand combat. The first advantage is that a knife is a very small weapon which can be easily hidden under a shirt or jacket sleeve. Another advantage is that knife attacks are usually carried out in a very swift manner, so you have to be quick enough to finish the job and avoid a long, drawn-out fight with a swordsman if you want to win! You can block and parry a sword with a knife though, that is if your knife is well-forged and solidly built. But this should not give you the greenlight to engage with a swordsman for an extended period of time.
Final Verdict: Knife
Sword Vs. Plate Armour
The technology of plate armour can’t be underestimated. It protected the wearer from arrows, swords, and any other sort of piercing weapon. Not to mention, the wearer could even fight back with his own weapons. But there are some blades that could cut through it.
There are certain techniques that can help a swordsman make a clean, fast pass through an opponent’s plate armour. But, there is no way a swordsman can go around and over an opponent’s plate armour. There’s no way around it but to go through it! This is especially true if the opponent is wearing a full-suit of plate armour. In this case, not only will the swordsman’s blade or cuttings get stuck in the metal plates, the impact from the swordsman’s body weight will also cause the opponent to be thrown violently back. This will disorientate him and give the swordsman an opportunity to exploit the situation.
The best way for a swordsman to deal with plate armour is to simply ignore it. When the swordsman sees the opponent is wearing plate armour, he should prepare himself for a long, drawn-out fight. If the swordsman can get close enough, he will use his skills to exploit the armour. But, in the beginning, the swordsman must keep his distance. This will minimize the risk of getting stabbed or cut by the opponent’s weapon. In fact, the only time a swordsman should ever try to cut or stab an opponent who is wearing plate armour is when the opponent is so close that there is no other option. Namely, when the armoured opponent is “in his kill zone”.
Final Verdict: Sword
Sword Vs. Gun/Firearm
A sword can’t do much against a modern-day automatic weapon. Even if the sword is made of the best steel and is wielded by a skilled swordsman. The truth is, a sword is only effective when used in close-quarter combat against a firearm. Especially if the swordsman is not wearing any kind of bullet-proof vest. Even then, the swordsman’s chances of survival are extremely slim.
In this situation, the swordsman must rely on speed, surprise, and his skill with the sword. But, these three factors alone cannot guarantee him victory, especially against a well-trained and heavily-armed opponent. The first thing the swordsman must do is to disarm his opponent. This will be very difficult since most modern-day firearms are designed to be easy to use. And to make things even more difficult for the swordsman, his opponent will probably be using a semi-automatic or an automatic weapon. This means that his weapon will have a limited supply of ammunition so it will automatically reload itself after every shot. This gives the swordsman a split-second chance to attack and disarm his opponent before he has a chance to reload himself.
Once the swordsman disarms his opponent, then the fight can become a conventional one. But, until that point, the swordsman must be extremely careful. The slightest wrong move could result in his being shot.
In summary, a sword is not effective against a firearm. The only way a sword can win a fight against a firearm is if the swordsman uses the sword to disarm the opponent first. And, after that, the swordsman can start to fight back using the sword. But, this is a very slim chance of winning. Therefore, the only real advice I can give you when it comes to fighting with a sword against a firearm is: don’t!
Final Verdict: Gun
When it comes to close-quarter and mid-range combat, the sword is a clear, hands-down winner. In this analysis, we have found out that range is the ultimate indicator of success for the sword.
By having a longer reach at close-quarters, the sword is guaranteed to be a winner. It is very interesting that the sword is considered to be the ultimate weapon by many people, yet it is at its weakest when it comes to long-range combat.