A sharp edged weapon such as a cutlass or a knife was a pirate’s weapon of choice. These weapons allowed him the needed mobility to climb aboard another ship during battle. A pistol was his second weapon of choice. Because they had no time to stop and reload during the middle of a battle, they usually carried several. Pirates were among the first to use a holster to carry their pistols.
Pirates nurtured their reputations as fierce combatants at close quarters and cultivated ferocious images by hanging weapons everywhere about their person. A pirate could have as many weapons as he could wear and keep clean. Weapons were like badges of success and a statement of personality. The weapons captured from their victims were among the most coveted items of booty.
Other weapons favored by pirates were the boarding pike and the boarding axe. The pike was simply a spear on a pole about six feet long and had no other function on ship other than a weapon. The boarding axe however, had other very important duties. It was used in fire fighting as well as for a weapon. The pick end was used to chisel out hot cannon balls that would set the ships’ timbers on fire. The broad blade end was used to cut through downed rigging and as a hook to drag the rigging out of the way. During battle, the axe was also used to cut through netting and to break through doors on a victims’ ship.