It is true pirates carried many weapons. They almost had to, for when in a battle at sea or land you never know for sure how many enemies you may end up fighting! One of their favorites was the cutlass. It is a medium to long size sword with a curve to it. Good for close quarters battle, especially on board a ship. Also, for close hand to hand combat a pirate would need a big knife to protect himself should he suddenly found himself without his cutlass or sword. A longer blade on a sword was usually reserved for fighting on land for it’s longer reach.
They would also carry at least one flintlock pistol tucked inside their belt or sash. The gun holster as we know it today did not exist back then, so more than one pistol might be hung around around the neck as well. Only having one shot, it was also used as a club to hit someone over the head if no more ammunition could be found, and even if so, it took time to pour the powder down the barrel, and a shot (or bullet) ram it in there, pour gun powder into the flash pan, close the frission, pull back the hammer to full cock and fire!
Another favorite weapon was the blunderbuss. Which had more firing power than a musket or long rifle. Being a of shorter barrel and wider at the end gave this gun more chances to hit it’s mark. Being of bigger caliber made it very powerfull. Although somewhat on the heavy side, it was preferred among the pirates.
Pirates also liked to use a long spear, a sharpened boarding axe or a boarding pike which is like a short spear used more for close one on one battles.
And let us not forget the all important dagger. These come in handy as they are easy to hide anywhere on one’s body. When you have been stripped of all weapons, this handy weapon can become dangerous as it can be thrown at a very vulnerable part of the body for a quick kill or stabbed anywhere for immediate damage.
This may all sound so gruesome. But, pirates were out for treasure and aimed to get it! Having no other money-making occupation, they depended on defeating others and stealing what they can. Not as romantic as the movies, but, more true to real life. Pirates risked their very lives everyday just for a bit of coin or gem. And if caught, was given a short trial which almost always ended in a hanging.
So next time you watch a pirate movie, just imagine, what kind of life they must have had that drove them to be pirates!