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What is the Strongest Sword in History?

Written By: David Mickov
Updated: July 24, 2023
Edited by: Juliana Cummings

The question “what is the strongest sword in history?” has sparked much debate on the internet. While some swords are definitely extraordinary, be it due to their design, material used, or skill of the swordsmith, each type of sword is unique.

Used for both defense and offense throughout history, swords have evolved due to war and the discovery of better materials and forging methods. In this article, we’ll lay out every factor that must be met to become the strongest sword in history.

Our Opinion: The Strongest Sword – Longsword

A funny video about the Longsword shown as the most legendary sword ever – Credits: Sellsword Arts

In our opinion, the longsword is the blade that fulfills the criteria of becoming the strongest sword in history. Highly adaptable for various situations, the longsword can hold its own against spears, large two-handed weapons, enemies with shields, as well as armored opponents.

Effective in both offensive and defensive maneuvers, it has a design that allows for quick and powerful slashing and thrusting capabilities. The wielder can use it to rush opponents due to its versatile reach, and the pommel can sometimes be used for bashing. It also offers good protection due to its long blade and large guard quillons that can be used for combat.

Thanks to its length and efficacy for mounted troops, it is the strongest one on one sword. It can also be used with a shield. In conclusion, the Longsword is nearly perfect in almost every possible scenario.

12 Factors: Why is The Longsword the Strongest Sword?

In each of the following scenarios, there is a specific blade that excels in it. However, the longsword is the only blade that can be used in all situations. Therefore, it is the strongest sword due to its versatility and adaptability.

1. One vs. One (Sword vs. Sword – No Shields, No Rules) 

One vs. One
A European Knight vs. a Japanese Samurai – Credits: Tony Andreas Rudolph

The longsword is an excellent sword in a duel due to its long crossguard that protects the wielder. Despite having a similar weight as the Katana, it has a slightly longer blade. It can also be used in different techniques, such as half-swording where one grabs the blade and uses it as a dagger. The pommel can be used to bash armor, and the double-edged blade is excellent for slashing and thrusting through gaps in armor, whether at a distance or at close range.

Reach is a very important part of sword fighting, but using a long sword like the Claymore would give the wielder an advantage of extra reach, but at the cost of speed, maneuverability, and defense, causing one to be quickly exhausted and vulnerable to attacks. On the other hand, smaller swords lack the reach, putting them at a disadvantage.

2. Large Scale Battle 

Large Scale
Battle of Crécy, which had the use of spears, arrows piercing armor, and melee battle axes and swords – Credits: Wiki Media

In medieval and ancient battles, melee weapons such as the spear and sword were ideal for battling against both armored and unarmored opponents. While shorter swords such as a Gladius or an Arming Sword might work better with a shield in a full-frontal defense or assault, the Longsword used by an armored user would be equally as effective.

With the longsword’s larger handle that allows it to be used with one or two hands, the wielder always has the option of carrying a shield. The Longsword’s blade tapers to a sharp tip which allows for powerful thrusts from different directions, through openings, and at the enemies’ legs.

The Longsword can be carried on the waist of the soldiers easily and used as a primary or secondary weapon when in formation or to fight guerilla style. Its long-reach is an advantage that allows its wielder to strike at enemies with its pommel from a distance. While it may not be as good as a Greatsword in this aspect, it still gets the job done while remaining versatile.

3. Mounted Combat

Strongest Sword Longsword Mounted Knights
European Knights used the Longsword as a mounted weapon – Credits: Neil Grant

The best sword that evolved to adapt to mounted combat was the curved Turko Mongol saber. These blades can be slightly curved like the Scimitars or dramatically curved like the Persian Shamshir. However, before these curved blades, straight swords were utilized in mounted warfare such as the Spathas did in the Roman Empire.

While curved swords excel for mounted troops and slashing attacks, longswords were used by European knights for the same purpose as their longer reach made them effective slashing weapons. The crossguard also offers protection to the user’s hand while attacking without a shield.

4. Speed

Using a Chinese Jian sword to cut through a speeding arrow traveling at 70.2 MPH (113 KPH) – Credits: Great River Taoist Center

The design and weight of the blade is a significant factor in finding the strongest sword in history as it affects the wielder’s speed. However, it is often thought that curved single-edged swords like the Katana are the fastest swords due to their design, but this is inaccurate.

For example, the Katana and the Longsword weigh about the same, ranging between 2.4 to 3 lbs (1 to 1.3 kg), and have the same handle length. The Katana also has a more forward center of gravity than the Longsword’s which is closer to the hilt, allowing for faster and smoother movements. Designed primarily as a cutting and slashing weapon, the katana’s heavier curved blade might be more deadly, but it does not mean it is faster.

However, the Longsword’s blade is longer and has a weight point that is further back. Combined with its double edges and long tapered tip, it is much faster, more maneuverable, and offers a longer reach. While shorter swords might be faster, the Longsword has the speed and reach advantage, making them superior.

5. Anti Armor

Armor
Half swording the Longsword to get through a gap in a heavily armored medieval soldier – Credits: Bloody Elbow

A sword that works best against armor is one that offers several methods of offense against plate metal. For this purpose, the longsword is best as it pierces through the gaps of an opponent’s armor with a thrusting double-edged blade, can be used as an elongated dagger, while the pommel can be used to strike the enemy. 

While Longswords could not slash through plate armor, or possibly historians might be wrong about just how powerful armor was in history, they could be easily navigated through the many gaps that are present on it. Its very lightweight and the tapering blade is perfect for this case. While not as powerful as a cutting Dadao sword, the Longsword even has a strong enough blade that could make a dent in some head armor pieces, which might be just enough for a lethal injury.

While Longswords could not slash through plate armor, they could easily pierce through the gaps present due to its tapering blade. While it may not cut as well as a Dadao, the Longsword’s strong blade can dent head armor pieces, which might be just enough for a lethal injury. The user could also easily use the sword’s pommel to attack their opponent.

6. Used in Combination With A Shield

Combined with a Shield
A shield in one hand and a sword in the other – Credits: FreePik

Shields are great for defense and have been used since ancient times. Although offering protection, it also limits the user to wield the sword with one hand. Although the gladius or arming sword is best for this purpose, the longsword is versatile and can also be used with a shield. 

This allows the wielder the option to either use the longsword with the shield or toss the shield aside to use both hands, ensuring that their strikes are more powerful while taking advantage of the longsword’s greater reach.

7. Protection

Protection
The British 1778 Heavy Cavalry Sword with a basket hilt that offers both protection and a normal range of motions – Credits: Michael D Long

While there are swords that emphasize and are built with the intention of the user’s hand protection, such as post-medieval Basket Hilted Swords, they might not be the best for actual combat. While they can protect the user’s hand to a very high degree, they will somewhat limit the user’s full battling potential because of the limited versatility of their hand movement.

While there are swords designed to protect the wielder’s hand, such as the post medieval basket hilted sword, these swords are generally not the best in combat as it can limit the user’s range of movements. 

A good alternative that offers great protection without hindering the user’s movements is the longsword as it has a large cruciform t crossguard with metal quillons that stretch to both sides of the handle. Believed to be one of the best handguards, HEMA practitioners use it to fend off incoming thrusts and attacks from the sides. Superior to the rounded or smaller square handguards, the large cruciform design allows the potential for counterattacks and hooking the opponent’s blade from them. Certain methods of holding a sword with this guard even offer more flexible attacks.

8. Slashing & Cutting Power

Testing the cutting and chopping power of Swords – Credits – Cold Steel

Single-edged blades are believed to be made for slashing while double-edged ones are for thrusting. In reality, both types of blades can be used and this is where the Longsword shines. While a single-edged blade might have a more pronounced cutting attack because the blade is broader, has more room to taper, and therefore sharper, the Longsword is capable of dealing devastating cutting attacks that can sever limbs. The longsword’s thinner and more flexible blade has the ability to slash through armor gaps better than a broader type of sword.

9. Thrusting

Strongest Sword Thrust
All the stances a Longsword can be used – Credits: West Devon Swords

The strongest swords should excel at both slashing and thrusting. Unlike the longsword which is great at both slashing and thrusting attacks, many swords of the same size and weight are good for slashing, but not for thrusting. This means that the longsword is one of the deadliest swords as it can pierce through armor gaps, be it in large battle formations or duels.

In duels, the Longsword functions not only as a large (51-inch / 130 cm) sword, but also as a (16-inch / 40 cm) dagger thanks to the half-swording technique. While the Rapier might be the best thrusting long bladed weapon in a  duel with rules, the Longsword is the best in real combat.

10. Reach

Strongest Sword Reach
The Longsword has a reach advantage over most of the popular swords – Credits: Wiki Media

Swords with a longer reach have an advantage over their opponents. Although believed to be superior, these blades are inferior in terms of speed. Likewise, blades that are too short can also be ineffective in battle. With the longsword, it has a blade length that is just right, not too long to compromise its speed while still offering its wielder a reach advantage. An experienced swordsperson is sure to use even an extra 2-inch (5 cm) reach to their advantage.

Some deadly swords such as the naginata sword are specifically made with a long reach to be used in a team-based battle formation such as to strike from the sides or holding the front. For the Longsword, it can be used situationally while remaining effective as a primary weapon in duels.

11. Durability

Durability
The most common types of edges that a blade can have – Credits: Skallagrim

Weapons that are said to be durable should be able to hold their own. Since the durability of the weapon can determine between victor or loser, the swordsmith’s decision about the type of steel used is crucial. For this reason, carbon steel that is often used in longswords is a great option.

Single-edged blades might be superior in terms of durability as there is more space, allowing one side to act as the sword’s spine and tapering more to provide a sharper blade. However, a single edged blade is more likely to sustain more damage as it only has one edge to attack with. Therefore, although the longsword may not be as durable in the beginning, its double edged blade that can be used for hacking and slashing may just provide the user another edge that can be used to secure victory.

12. Versatility & Adaptability

Versatility
The most versatile of all swords – the Longsword, which can be carried and used in various tactics – Credits: Adam Brinsley

A powerful sword should be versatile, allowing its wielder to cut and stab. Great in duels, large battles, or simply individual defense, its success in both offense and defense even against armored opponents can be the difference between life and death for its wielder. 

Since the longsword is highly versatile and adaptable for use in various situations, easily carried, effective even in close combat, and can be quickly unsheathed to function as a thrusting spear, a cutting axe, a piercing dagger, and a grappling tool, it is the strongest sword in history.

Conclusion

 As mentioned before, there is no such thing as the strongest sword. From duels to large battlefields and everything in between, each sword was created with a specific use in mind. Nonetheless, we believe that the Longsword is the strongest sword due to its versatility and adaptability in almost all situations. 

“You don’t choose the strongest sword; the strongest sword chooses you.” – David Mickov

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