Arming Sword vs. Longsword: Exploring the Key Differences.

Arming Sword

1. Introduction

Swords have played a pivotal role throughout history, and two distinct types that often captivate enthusiasts are the arming sword and the longsword. In this article, we will delve into the key differences between these two iconic weapons, exploring their historical context, design, combat techniques, and more.

2. Historical Context

Arming Sword:

The arming sword, also known as a Knightly sword, gained prominence in the 14th and 15th centuries during the late medieval period. It was a sidearm often carried by knights and men-at-arms. The arming sword was prized for its versatility and effectiveness in close-quarters combat.


The longsword, on the other hand, emerged earlier in the late 13th century and continued to be popular throughout the Renaissance. Often associated with the German school of swordsmanship, the longsword was wielded by both knights and mercenaries, showcasing its adaptability in various combat scenarios.

3. Design and Construction

Arming Sword:

The arming sword typically features a straight, double-edged blade that is sharp on both sides. With a blade length ranging from 28 to 32 inches, the arming sword is designed for quick, precise strikes. The hilt is compact, featuring a cruciform guard and a pommel for balance.


In contrast, the longsword boasts a longer blade, typically measuring between 35 to 47 inches. Its blade is also double-edged, but the extended length allows for greater reach. The hilt of a longsword often features a more complex guard, including a cross-shaped or ring-shaped guard and a distinctive pommel.

4. Size and Weight

Arming Sword:

The Arming sword is characterized by its relatively compact and lightweight design. The average weight ranges from 2 to 3 pounds, making it a quick and agile weapon. Its size allows for ease of use in confined spaces, making it an ideal choice for close-quarter combat situations.


Conversely, the longsword is heavier, with an average weight of 3 to 5 pounds. The added weight contributes to its powerful strikes and provides momentum for more extended reaches. While the longsword may be less maneuverable in tight spaces, its increased size offers advantages in open-field battles.


5. Combat Techniques

Arming Sword:

Arming sword techniques emphasize speed and precision. Wielders often engage in quick strikes and parries, relying on agility to outmaneuver opponents. The compact nature of the arming sword allows for efficient close combat, making it a reliable weapon for knights in full armor.


Longsword techniques involve a balance between offense and defense. The extended reach allows for strikes from a safer distance, and the longer grip accommodates both one-handed and two-handed techniques. The longsword’s versatility makes it suitable for a range of combat scenarios.

6. Versatility in Battle

Arming Sword:

The arming sword excels in one-on-one combat and is particularly effective in situations where speed and precision are paramount. Its compact size and weight make it a favored choice for knights engaged in duels or skirmishes.


The longsword’s versatility shines in both single-combat and battlefield scenarios. Its longer reach grants the wielder an advantage against opponents with shorter weapons. Additionally, the two-handed grip allows for powerful strikes, making it effective against armored opponents.

7. Popular Culture Depictions

Both the arming sword and longsword have left an indelible mark on popular culture, appearing in countless movies, TV shows, and video games. Iconic characters like King Arthur often wield the longsword, symbolizing strength and chivalry, while the arming sword is frequently associated with agile and skillful warriors.

8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a. Which sword is more maneuverable in combat?

The arming sword is generally more maneuverable due to its compact size and lighter weight. It excels in close-quarters combat where speed and agility are crucial.

b. Were arming swords and longswords used simultaneously?

Yes, arming swords and longswords coexisted during the late medieval and Renaissance periods. Knights and warriors would choose their weapons based on personal preference, combat scenarios, and the level of protection they required.

c. Can one sword be considered superior to the other?

Not necessarily. The superiority of a sword depends on the context of its use. The arming sword is ideal for swift, close combat, while the longsword’s versatility makes it suitable for various situations. Personal skill and preference also play a significant role in determining effectiveness.

9. Conclusion

In the comparison between the arming sword and the longsword, each weapon has its unique advantages. The arming sword excels in speed and precision, perfect for knights engaged in close combat. In contrast, the longsword offers versatility and reach, making it suitable for both single combat and battlefield scenarios. Ultimately, the choice between these two iconic swords depends on the wielder’s preferences, combat style, and the specific demands of the situation.

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