Top Ten Pirate Weapons


The Grappling Hook was a special cannon round that fired a large hook attached to a heavy line. When the hook made contact with crippled flagships, it took hold – allowing the pirate vessel to reel in the wounded craft to be boarded.


Adapted from the long knives used by the early buccaneers to butcher their meat, it had a blade length of about two feet, and was slightly curved with a single edge. With its relatively short blade the cutlass proved to be a very effective fighting tool in the confined area of a ship.


These were small round containers that were filled with chemicals that when set on fire created a cloud of foul smelling odours. The pots were hurled onto the decks of victims’ ships to cause panic and confusion.


Pirates used muskets to pick off opponents from long range prior to boarding. They were one of the earliest type of small arms developed for sniping purposes.


These guns were often loaded with gravel, nails and musket balls rather than heavier shot, in order to damage rigging and sail rather than sink a ship.


Boarding axes were used by the pirates to scale the sides of a ship and to cut through the rigging. They were useful for hacking open doors and hatch. They doubled up as deadly fighting tools.


A short, wide bore shotgun flared at the muzzle it could be devastating at short range scattering lead balls in a wide arc at the enemy.


An early form of hand grenade this was a small hollow ball about two ounces in weight. It contained iron, glass or wood and gunpowder. Pirates lit its fuse before throwing the grenade at their intended victims. They could inflict great bodily damage but were also unreliable and potentially hazardous to the user.


These were small pairs of small iron balls joined with chain or a small bar that would rotate through the air causing severe damage to any sail, rigging or human flesh that got in its way.


Probably the most commonly used weapon employed by pirates today, the AK-47 is a gas-fired assault rifle first developed in the former Soviet Union. With many variants and counterfeit versions they are relatively cheap to buy.

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