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The cutlass was a short, broad saber or slashing sword. It was the Close-Range Weapon of the Pirate.


The Cutlass was a short, slightly curved sword sharpened on the cutting edge. The hilt often had a solid cupped or basket shaped guard.


  • 2-3 feet
  • 3 lbs
  • Steel or Iron


The cutlass was best known as the sword of choice for sailors, likely because it was robust enough to hack through ropes, canvas, and wood, but was also short enough to use it relatively close quarters, such as during a boarding operation, in the rigging, or below deck. It was also a cheap sword, which made it more popular for sailors and pirates.

A Cutlass hilt was sometimes armored, and could be used to block blows or to punch enemies.

Spadroon were strait swords similar to a Rapier but sharing the relatively short length of a Cutlass.

By the 1800s the cutlass became a straight sword rather than a curved one. As naval technology and gun technologies improved the cutlass eventually died off, especially with WWI showing the pointlessness of swords once machine guns were introduced.

The Cutlass would be used by the US and UK navies until the early 20th century.