Sword vs. spear : What is The Main Difference

Sword and spear both are two battle weapons, which are made of specific service. But when someone compares these two weapons, it becomes a bit tough to answer which one is better. In some circumstances, a sword might go well because of its shorter length and easy carrying design.

However, a spear is well known for its better reach and your opponent can be easily defeated even when he is riding on a horse. In this article, we will go through every possible point regarding sword and spear and will try to find out how one of them is better than the other one.

Differences between sword and spear

After knowing what actually sword and spear are and for which purpose they are used, you are well known for the fact that they are different from each other.

Difference

Sword

Spear

Length

Shorter than spear

Way longer than a sword

Structure

Metallic double or single-edged blade with a hilt

Wooden shaft with a metallic pointed head

Production

Tough and expensive

Easy and cheap

Usage

Cutting, slashing, thrusting

Thrusting only

Resilience

More resilient

Less resilient

Weight

Lighter

Heavier

Versatility

More versatile

Less versatile

Learning

Difficult to learn

Easier to learn

Against cavalry charge

Not good at stopping cavalry charges

Better against cavalry charges

Control

Better control

Hard to control

  • Length: Talking about the length of both these weapons, spears are way longer than a sword. Sometimes the longer length comes in handy for the spear and sometimes the shorter length makes the sword a much better choice and completely depends on the situation you are using the weapons.
  • Structure: The sword comes with a longer metallic blade, which has a one-handed or two-handed handle. Most battle swords have double-edged blades. This design allows the user to swing it from both directions. However, the structure of the spear is kind of the same as thrusting swords.
  • Like thrusting swords, they come with a pointed head. The head is made of metal and it is basically used for stabbing into the opponent. The shaft of a spear is typically made of wood.
  • Production: It is easy and cheap to produce a spear. It only needs a long wooden piece and a piece of sharpened stone, bone, or metallic part to use as the pointed head. However, only a master in this field can produce a sharpened, double-edged blade of the sword. So it is a bit expensive task.
  • Usage: Swords provide more versatile use than spears. A sword with a pointed head at the topmost part of the blade can be used for cutting, slicing, slashing, stabbing, and thrusting. However, spears only come with a pointed head, not a sharpened blade. So they are only used for stabbing and thrusting.
  • Resilience: From the wooden and metallic structures of both these weapons, you can sense which one of these two is more resilient. Due to the metallic structure, a sword can take heavy damage in the war. Also, it can damage the shaft of the spear through a heavy blow.
  • Weight: The length of the spears and the use of heavy metal in front of it as the pointed head makes them heavier compared to swords.

What is sword

Sword is a long-bladed war weapon that has a long blade and a hilt for a good grip. Swords are used for cutting, slicing, slashing, and even for thrusting your opponent. Depending on the purpose of the sword, there are typically three designs.

  • For thrusting: Through thrusting sword, one penetrates the weapon into any body part of the opponent, and this is one of the deadliest attacks. For doing this, the swords come with a pointed tip on the topmost part of the blade. Also, thrusting swords have a straighter blade compared to cutting swords.
  • For cutting: The purpose of cutting swords is mainly cutting, slicing, slashing but not stabbing or thrusting. For this, one needs to swing the swords in both directions and attack the opponent from both sides of the blade. So cutting swords come with a double-edged sharpened blade. And the blade of the sword is also curved, not straight.
  • For both: Except for these two types, there is another type that most experience swordsmen love to use. This type of sword has a curved blade, double-edged design, and also a pointed tip. It allows the user to use the sword for multi actions.

There are several more types of swords available, but all of them can be divided into two primary categories. The first one is a one-handed sword and the second one is a two-handed sword.

  • One-handed sword: One-handed swords are lightweight and they provide less powerful blows than a two-handed sword. However, the weight and one-handed use make it easier for the swordsman to handle it. Shortsword, backsword, gladius, spatha, saber, etc. are one-handed swords.
  • Two-handed sword: Although it’s a bit tough to control a two-handed sword on the battlefield, it can produce stronger blows in combat. The hilt comes with an extra length for both hands and a strong grip. Longsword, broadsword, claymore, basket-hilted sword, Zweihander, katana, etc. are some two-handed swords.

What is spear

A spear is a long weapon that has a wooden shaft and a pointed tip. They are used through one hand for throwing towards the opponent and to thrust inside the opponent’s body. The pointed head of the spear is the main part of the weapon and it can be made of iron, steel, bronze, stone, or other metal.

Except for battlefields and stabbing your opponents, a spear is also used for hunting and fishing. There are a few types of spears available according to their design and use.

  • Barred spears: This type of sword is typically used for hunting. The spears have a crossbar designed beneath the blade of the weapon. The reason behind this design is to prevent the spear to go too much deep into the target.
  • Trident: Trident is a different kind of spear, which comes with a three-pronged design. It makes it look like a massive fork. It was used by Poseidon, and according to myths, he is the god of water, sea, earthquakes, and horses, son of Cronus and Rhea and brother of Zeus.
  • Harpoon: Harpoon is not exactly a spear, but the design reminds me of a spear. It is basically a missile that is attached to a long rope. It is thrown by hand or else fired from a gun to catch large sea creatures.
  • Javelin: It comes with the basic structure of a spear and it is good to throw with one hand towards the opponent. Javelin is also a bit lighter than most spears. It is also used for competitive sports.

Sword or spear: Which weapon is better 

From the above discussion, you might have already decided which one of these two weapons is better. However, there are still some crucial aspects before reaching the final decision.

  • A better reach: The longer size of spears provides the user a better reach, which is the most liked part of this weapon. To have such an extended reach to the opponent is impossible with a sword.
  • Hunting: A sword is never a hunting weapon; it is rather a war weapon. But one can use a spear for hunting animals and fishes as well.
  • Using on and against horseback: It is good to fight with a sword in grip when you are on a horseback because of its shorter and lightweight design. But down there, your opponent could easily defeat you by stabbing the spear even when you are on the horseback.
  • Easier to learn: One needs to be skilled in operating a sword and it is never easier to learn. But to operate a spear, no such training or skills are required.
  • Carrying: For carrying into the battlefield, swords are way easier. Also, one soldier can carry keep an extra sword attached to his body. But it is impossible to keep an extra spear on the battlefield.
  • With a shield: Swords can be used as both offensive and defensive weapons. Also, it allows you to use the weapon with a shield on the other hand. But spear is never a defensive weapon and impossible to use with a shield even though it’s a one-handed weapon.
  • Versatility: One can do the stabbing or thrusting of a spear through a pointed head sword as well. But a spear isn’t made for slicing, slashing, or cutting.

Final words

So which one of these two weapons is better? There might be several answers and several arguments regarding this. However, both of them are useful in different circumstances on the battlefield.

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