LARP Weapons Part 1: Types of Weapons

A LARPer's guide to types of weapons used in LARPing

Introduction – Why a Blog About LARP Weapons? 

As we kick off the 2024 LARP season, we are launching a 4-part blog series about weapons. We picked this topic because just over 10% of all online LARP-related searches are related to weapons. We have three goals with this series; to build our knowledge of this important part of our industry, to provide something meaningful to the LARP community, and to be a bit nostalgic, taking a bit of time to remember the early days when armor weighed a ton and spell packets left a cloud.  

I am both eager and a bit intimidated to introduce the series. I am eager to write about a topic that is very integral to our community. As I stated, internet searches for LARP weapons and armor rank right behind searches for “LARP near me”, but I am also intimidated because I personally am not an expert nor very knowledgeable on the topic despite my many years as a LARPer. I mostly play non-fighters and have never made a weapon. We are, however, committed to reaching out to the experts and doing our research to bring you great information. 


The Blog Series 

  PART 1: Types of Weapons- In this blog we are going to describe weapons and armor, categorize by type, and reference where they may be used by different LARPs.   

  PART 2: History of LARPing Weapons- We will take you back to the late 1980s and early 90s and trace the changes in LARP weapons over time. 

  PART 3: Weapon Making- This blog will talk about the materials and process of making a weapon.

 PART 4: Merchants: In our final blog we will provide a list of merchants where you can purchase weapons and        an evaluation of their offerings websites and any testimonials or feedback, we have gathered from our        interactions with LARPers over the course of our interviews.


Finally, in each blog we will also feature one merchant who specializes in either making or selling weapons. We’ve invited them to share their favorite LARP stories, lessons learned, and advice. We are excited to do the research and bring this series to LARPers and we are interested in your input and engagement, so please see the call-to-action at the bottom of the blog and reach out if you are a merchant, know a merchant or have any weapon information to share. Let’s go on this learning journey together as a community. 



Types of Weapons 

In our research we learned that the naming of weapon types is a bit controversial and certainly has been influenced by history and pop culture. We have chosen to apply a more modern interpretation and what we believe aligns with our particular LARPing community’s use of terms. We mean no disrespect to any historians or to the opinions or terminology of other communities.


2023 Internet searches by Weapon Type:


 LARP Swords                                  29.9% 

 General Weapon                             20.2% 

 Pole Weapons                                 11.7% 

 Other Melee/Throwing Weapons     12.5% 

 DIY Weapon Searches                     8.4% 

 LARP Shield                                     8.4% 

 Ranged Weapons                             6.3%  

 Firearms                                            2.7% 


LARPer with weapon







 A sword is an edged melee weapon longer than a knife or a dagger with its blade attached   to a hilt. Swords can be straight or curved and can be used to thrust or slash. 

 Short Swords  

  • A Short sword is a double-edged 1 handed sword with a basket hilt to protect the hand. 
  • A Broadsword is a short sword, double-edged 1 handed sword with a basket hilt to protect the hand. 

  • A Sabre or Saber is a short sword.  It is also called a backsword and has a curved blade. 

  • Also called Arming Sword, Sidearm or a malchion 

 Long Swords 

  • A Rapier- a long 2 edged, 1-handed weapon used primarily for dueling. Another name for this is a Side sword. 

  • A Long sword is a 2-edged, 2-handed weapon, generally between 31”-43”. It is also called longsword, long-sword or 2-handed.  One of the key features is a longer hilt to accommodate 2 hands. 

  • A Bastard sword - a more historical 15th to 16th-century French name for the long or large 2-handed sword. 

  • A 2- Handed- another name for a 2-edged, 2-handed weapon, generally between 31”-43”. It is also called a longsword, long-sword or 2-handed sword.   One of the key features is a longer hilt to accommodate 2 hands. 

  • Others include larp Katana, Messer 

 Extra Long   Swords 

 Great Swords 

  • A Great Sword or Extra Long Sword is a 2 edged, 2 handed weapon, generally between 63-71” These swords are also called Claymore, Claidheamh moh, Zweihander, and Beidhander which mean 2 handed; they cannot be wielded without 2 hands. 

 Other Melee   /Throwing   Weapons 


 A Melee weapon is a close, hand-to-hand combat weapon. They can be pointed, edged or   blunt and some can be throwing weapons 


 A dagger is a knife that has a sharp point or one or two edges and is used for cutting or   thrusting. 

  • A Main Gauche or Parrying Dagger is a small handheld weapon typically used with a single-handled sword such as a rapier to parry or defend. 

  • A Sword breaker is a dagger that has teeth along one side of the short bland intended to catch/ block a rapier/ short sword. 

 Knife, Knives 

 A knife is a tool or a weapon with a cutting edge or a blade attached to a handle or hilt.   Examples of knives include: cleavers 

  • Throwing Knives 

  • Assassin's Knife 


 An axe can be one or two-handed depending on the size and have versatile use- as a tool   or as a weapon.  

  • A Battle Axe is specifically designed for fighting and may be called a cleaved weapon. A longer Battle axe may be considered a polearm 

  • A Tomahawk is a single-handled axe 

  • Hatchet 


 A hammer is also another versatile tool or weapon depending on the style and size.  


  • A War Hammer is designed to pierce heavy armor. A longer War Hammer may be considered a polearm 

  • A Maul is a hammer that has a long head 


  • A Club is a staff used to strike an opponent with a blunt force. There are both short clubs and long clubs 

  • A Bludgeon is another name for a club. 


  • A Mace is a blunt weapon that has a heavy head at the end to inflict more damage. There are both short mace and long mace.  

 Pole Weapons 


 A pole weapon is for close combat, designed for thrusting and throwing 


  • A Halberd is a 2 handed polearm with an axe blade and a spike 

  • A Spear is a shaft with a pointed double-edged head 

  • A Glaive is a type of poleaxe with single edge blade 

  • A Staff, Short Staff, or Quarterstaff is a pole weapon used for combat  

  • A Poleaxe is a Polearm with an axe head. 

  • Other examples of polearm weapons include Bills, Glaives, Tridents, Lances, Bardiches, Pikes, Pitchforks, Scythes, War Clubs, and Javelins. 

 Ranged   Weapons 

 A weapon that can engage beyond hand-to-hand distance may also be called a missile   weapon or a projectile. 


  • A Recurve Bow has the tip curving away from the archer- It add velocity to the arrow 

  • A Longbow is a type of bow that allows for a long draw and higher rate of fire. It provides better accuracy and velocity than short bows. 

  • A Crossbow has a longer range than a short bow and typically shoots arrow-like darts  

  • A Flamethrower is a ranged incendiary device designed to project a controllable jet of fire 


  • An arrow is a shaft with an arrowhead attached at one end 


  • A Sling is a projectile weapon used to hand throw a blunt object such as a stone  


 A shield is personal armor often used in combination with a weapon to block an attack.

 They vary in size and shape 


  • A Round Shield is a popular shape introduced by Europeans in the Middle Ages 

  • A Kite Shield is also popular among LARPers, introduced by the Normans 

  • Buckler is a small shield   



LARPer Costume


A Special Merchant Story - Darkmor Weapons LLC 

Our first featured merchant is special. You could say I’ve known him his whole life. He is my son Nick. He was born on my favorite holiday, Halloween. He runs a small LARP in Michigan, attends Ren Faires as a merchant and has been making LARP weapons for years He’s made shields for charity audition items, and a few years ago he custom made swords and shields for all the grandkids. So, you would think that would have given me some knowledge, but I had to take out the pen and paper and tape recorder and do the interview because, it was all Greek to me. 

Nick doesn’t make the traditional New England-based NERO / Accelerant approved weapons. He uses different materials and a different process that makes the weapons a bit more sturdy and last longer. He goes for realistic-looking and durable. 

His preferred materials include 4# EVA Foam a fiberglass rod core, (either 1 ⅜ , ½ ,or ⅝ rods ), adhesive contact cement, Plasti dip for the coating, acrylic paint, and spray-on flex seal. Over time he says his two biggest lessons learned on materials related to reinforcing his tips using pieces of leather and using Flex Seal to protect his paint jobs. 


Nick makes a variety of weapons for his LARP team such as Swords, Axes, Spears, Mace, and Shields. For the faires, he tries to stock smaller sizes and then he spends all day sparring with the kids who flock in to buy them.  

Over the years his techniques for making the weapons have changed. He took woodworking in high school so I guess I should not be surprised that he now has the table saw, band saw, router, belt sander, etc. Gone are the days of hand-cutting and sanding. He uses an orbital palm sander, ankle grinder and cut-out wheel.


Nick’s advice to someone starting out: 

  1. Do not be afraid of scrap. Make your templates a little bit larger than you need.   

  1. Try strips of leather in your tips; it will prevent them from ripping off. 

  1. Mark all sides of your foam. 


Nick Wood Working



This blog introduces our new series and provides a detailed list of LARP weapon types with descriptions and features the materials and equipment used by DARKMOR LLC in making weapons, plus a few bonus tips and lessons learned. In upcoming blogs, we promise to bring more great info.   


Call to Action 

If you are or know a LARP Weapons merchant, have a great story to share, or have any feedback about this article we’d love to hear from you, please reach out to

And anytime let LARP Portal simplify your administrative processes and give you and your players more time for LARPing and Haunted Houses. Contact us at today for a free demo. 

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