Weapons and Gear

~ Cutlass ~

A common naval weapon, being a short, broad saber often with a basket-shaped guard. This blade saw much use in the hands of pirates, who used them mostly for intimidation or, if the occasion called for it, to beat their captives with the flat side. This is called drubbing.

~ Saber ~

A sword with a curved, single-edged blade and a large hand guard which covered the knuckles, thumb, and forefingers. While it was mostly used by cavalry, it is not outside the realms of possibility that sailors and especially pirates would use them, as many years later the French Navy would put it to use.

~ Flintlock Pistol ~

A firearm with short range, often used as an adjunct to a sword or cutlass. Because of the time it would take to reload these often single-shot weapons, these were usually carried in pairs, called a brace of pistols. Blackbeard was said to have carried three brace of pistols.

~ Blunderbuss ~

A muzzle-loading firearm with a short, large caliber barrel, which could be considered an early form of shotgun. While the blunderbuss (Dutch: ‘thunder’ + ‘pipe’) was devastating at close range, it lacked accuracy for targets at long range.

~ Grenado ~

A crude form of grenade which varied in size and effectiveness. A pirate’s grenado could be filled with gunpowder, grapeshot, and/or shrapnel, and in some accounts the body was not an iron ball as was the standard, but instead a rum bottle.

~ Grapnel ~

Also known as a grappling hook or a boarding hook, the grapnel is a metallic hook connected to a long, sturdy rope, which would be cast into the rigging of an enemy ship and used to pull that vessel closer; close enough to be boarded. Or, perhaps just so the pirates using them could wave hello, but in the immortal words of Captain Jack Sparrow, ‘Unlikely’.

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