The Most Difficult Weapon to Master: Unlocking the Secrets of Mastery

Choose the weapon you think is the most difficult!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Jun 16, 2023 10:18 (Updated on Dec 4, 2023 06:41)
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion matters! We've hosted thousands of polls and rankings on a wide range of topics, and today, we need your expertise to crack the code on a burning question: "What is the most difficult weapon to master?" From the elegant finesse of a fencing foil to the powerful swing of a medieval mace, weapons have been an integral part of human history and culture. But which weapon truly requires the highest level of skill, precision, and dedication to master? It's time to cast your vote and have your say in this thrilling ranking! Vote for your favorite from our carefully curated list, or suggest an underrated contender that you think deserves the spotlight. Join the debate, share your insights, and let's uncover the ultimate challenge in the world of martial mastery, only on StrawPoll!

What Is the Most Difficult Weapon to Master?

  1. 1
    The longbow requires significant strength and skill to use effectively, and it takes years to master. The accuracy and range of the longbow make it a formidable weapon, but only in the hands of an expert archer.
    The longbow is a type of traditional bow that is renowned for its remarkable power and accuracy. It is a large, tall bow made primarily from a single piece of yew wood. With its elegant simplicity, the longbow has played a significant role in historical warfare and archery competitions.
    • Overall Length: Approximately 6 ft (1.8 m) to 7 ft (2.1 m)
    • Draw Weight: Ranges from 40 lbs (18 kg) to 120 lbs (54 kg)
    • Materials: Primarily made from yew wood, with the string made from animal sinew or modern materials like Dacron or Kevlar
    • Effective Range: Up to 250 yards (230 meters)
    • Projectile Speed: Around 200 mph (322 km/h)
  2. 2
    The katana is a Japanese sword that requires years of training to master. The sword's design and balance require precise techniques to wield accurately and effectively.
    The Katana is a traditional Japanese sword with a curved, single-edged blade.
    • Length: Average length between 60 to 80 cm (23.6 to 31.5 inches)
    • Weight: Average weight between 900 to 1400 grams (2 to 3.1 pounds)
    • Blade Material: Typically made of high carbon steel for durability and sharpness
    • Hamon: Distinctive wave-like pattern seen on the blade, resulting from differential heat treatment
    • Tang: Full tang construction for strength, where the blade extends through the handle
  3. 3
    The nunchaku is a martial arts weapon that requires significant skill and practice to use effectively. The weapon's design makes it difficult to control, and it can be dangerous if not handled properly.
    The Nunchaku is a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected by a short chain or rope. It is commonly made of wood or metal and is known for its speed and versatility in combat.
    • Length: Approximately 12-14 inches
    • Weight: Ranges from 1 to 2 pounds
    • Material: Wood, metal, or other sturdy materials
    • Chain/Rope Length: Around 6-8 inches
    • Grip: Tapered handles for enhanced control
  4. 4
    The bo staff is a martial arts weapon that requires strength, agility, and precise technique to use effectively. The weapon's length and weight require significant practice to control and use effectively.
    The Bo staff, also known as a bo, is a long wooden staff used as a traditional weapon in various martial arts. It is known for its difficulty in mastery due to its length and the complexity of techniques.
    • Length: Approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters)
    • Material: Typically made from hardwood such as oak or hickory
    • Weight: Varies between 1.5 to 3.5 pounds (0.7 to 1.6 kilograms)
    • Grip: Usually held in the middle with both hands, some techniques may involve gripping closer to the ends
    • Techniques: Involves strikes, blocks, spins, thrusts, and sweeps, requiring coordination, balance, and strength
    Bo staff in other rankings
  5. 5
    The halberd is a medieval weapon that requires significant strength and skill to use effectively. The weapon's design combines an axe, spear, and hook, making it difficult to master.
    The Halberd is a versatile medieval weapon that combines the elements of an axe, a spear, and a hook into a single long-handled weapon. It is characterized by a large axe blade mounted on a long pole, with a spear-like point at the top and an inward-curved hook on one side.
    • Length: Approximately 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.1 meters)
    • Weight: Around 10 to 20 pounds (4.5 to 9 kilograms)
    • Blade: Large and crescent-shaped axe head, often with a spike on the reverse side
    • Spear Point: Sharp, pointed end for thrusting attacks
    • Hook: Curved hook used for dismounting knights or pulling down opponents' weapons
  6. 6
    The quarterstaff is a medieval weapon that requires significant skill and practice to use effectively. The weapon's length and weight make it difficult to control and use in combat.
    The Quarterstaff is a long wooden pole weapon that is widely regarded as one of the most difficult weapons to master. It requires great skill, precision, and agility to wield effectively in combat. The Quarterstaff allows for both offensive and defensive maneuvers, making it a versatile weapon in skilled hands.
    • Length: Approximately 6 to 9 feet (1.8 to 2.7 meters)
    • Weight: Varies, but generally between 2 to 5 pounds (0.9 to 2.3 kilograms)
    • Material: Traditionally made of hardwood, such as oak or ash
    • Grip: Usually wrapped in leather or padded material for better handling and grip
    • Balance: Typically evenly distributed along the length of the staff
  7. 7
    The shuriken is a Japanese throwing weapon that requires significant skill and practice to use effectively. The weapon's small size and weight make it difficult to throw accurately, and it requires precise techniques to use effectively in combat.
    The Shuriken, also known as a throwing star, is a traditional Japanese concealed weapon designed for long-range attacks. It is a small, flat, star-shaped projectile made of metal, typically sharpened along the edges.
    • Size: Varies, typically between 3 to 5 inches in diameter.
    • Weight: Varies, usually made lightweight for efficient throwing.
    • Material: Traditionally made of iron/steel, but can also be crafted from other metals or alloys.
    • Edges: Sharp edges for cutting and piercing.
    • Number of Points: Typically four, but can also have three, five, or more points.
  8. 8
    The whip is a weapon that requires significant skill and practice to use effectively. The weapon's design makes it difficult to control, and it can be dangerous if not handled properly.
    The Whip is a versatile and challenging weapon that requires a high level of skill and control to master. It is a long, flexible cord, typically made of leather or other durable materials, with a handle at one end. The whip is primarily used for striking, but also has the ability to entangle, trip, or disarm opponents through its unique design and technique.
    • Length: Varies, typically between 3 to 12 feet
    • Material: Leather, nylon, or similar durable materials
    • Weight: Depends on the materials used, usually between 0.5 to 2 pounds
    • Striking Range: Depends on the length, typically ranges from 3 to 8 feet
    • Flexibility: Highly flexible, allowing for various whipping techniques
  9. 9


    The sai is a martial arts weapon that requires significant skill and practice to use effectively. The weapon's design makes it difficult to control, and it requires precise techniques to use effectively in combat.
    The Sai is a traditional Okinawan weapon commonly used in martial arts. It is a pair of metal truncheons with a round knob on one end and two prongs projecting from the shaft. The design of the Sai allows for both offensive and defensive techniques, making it a versatile and formidable weapon in skilled hands.
    • Length: Approximately 20-22 inches (50-56 cm)
    • Weight: Approximately 1.5-2 pounds (0.7-0.9 kg) per Sai
    • Material: Typically made of steel or other durable metals
    • Grip: Wrapped in leather or other non-slip material for better handling
    • Prong Length: Usually around 8-10 inches (20-25 cm)
  10. 10
    The crossbow is a weapon that requires significant strength and skill to use effectively. The weapon's design requires precise techniques to load and aim, and the accuracy of the crossbow makes it a formidable weapon in the hands of an expert marksman.
    The Crossbow is a projectile weapon that is known for its difficulty to master. It consists of a bow mounted horizontally on a stock, with a mechanism to draw and release the bowstring. It uses bolts (similar to arrows) as ammunition, providing significant range and accuracy.
    • Draw Weight: Ranges from 80 to 300+ pounds
    • Effective Range: Up to 600 yards (550 meters)
    • Accuracy: Capable of precise targeting with skillful use
    • Reload Time: Generally slower compared to other ranged weapons
    • Projectile Speed: Varies, typically around 200-300 feet per second (61-91 meters per second)

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Ranking factors for difficult weapon

  1. Technical complexity
    The number of techniques, movements, and skills required to effectively use the weapon. This includes the intricacy of the weapon's design, the variety of attacks and defenses it offers, and the physical coordination needed to execute these maneuvers.
  2. Versatility
    The ability of the weapon to adapt to different situations and combat scenarios. A highly versatile weapon can be used effectively in a wide range of distances, against multiple opponents, or to counter different types of attacks.
  3. Physical demands
    The strength, endurance, and agility required to wield the weapon effectively. This may include factors such as the weapon's weight, size, and balance, as well as the physical conditioning needed to endure prolonged combat.
  4. Training time
    The amount of time and practice required to achieve proficiency in the weapon. More difficult weapons may take longer to master, require specialized instruction, or involve a steeper learning curve.
  5. Precision
    The level of accuracy and control needed to effectively target and strike opponents. Some weapons may require more finesse and accurate targeting to be effective in combat.
  6. Tactical considerations
    The ability to use the weapon effectively in conjunction with other tactics or strategies, or to transition seamlessly between different types of combat (e.g. ranged vs. close-quarters).
  7. Psychological factors
    The level of mental focus, discipline, and confidence required to employ the weapon effectively under the stress and pressure of combat.
  8. Rarity and accessibility
    The availability of the weapon, the opportunity to train with it, and the prevalence of skilled instructors who can teach the weapon's techniques. A weapon that is difficult to find or acquire may also be more difficult to master due to limited training opportunities.
  9. Historical context and cultural significance
    The historical usage of the weapon and its importance within a particular martial arts tradition or culture. Mastery of certain weapons may be more difficult if they are deeply embedded within specific cultural practices or have significant symbolic meaning.
  10. Safety and risk
    The potential for injury to the wielder or others during training and use, which may affect the difficulty of mastering the weapon. A weapon with a higher risk of injury may require more caution and care during training, which could slow down the learning process.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most difficult weapon to master. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or weapon is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!


  • 190 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Movers & Shakers

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each weapon once every 24 hours. The rank of each weapon is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.


More information on most difficult weapon to master

Background Information: Understanding Weapon Mastery Weapon mastery is a term that refers to the ability of a person to fully understand, control, and effectively use a particular weapon. It is not just about knowing how to operate a weapon, but also about mastering its unique characteristics and nuances. Mastering a weapon requires a combination of physical skill, knowledge, and experience. It takes time and dedication to become proficient in using a weapon, and even more so to achieve mastery. This is why some weapons are considered more difficult to master than others. Factors that affect the difficulty of mastering a weapon include its design, size, weight, and the complexity of its mechanics. Weapons that require a lot of physical strength and endurance, as well as those that have a steep learning curve, are often more challenging to master. In addition, the context in which a weapon is used also plays a role in its difficulty level. For example, mastering a weapon used in combat situations requires a different set of skills compared to mastering a weapon used in a sporting or recreational context. Overall, achieving weapon mastery is a challenging but rewarding pursuit. It requires a deep understanding of the weapon being used, as well as a commitment to continuous learning and improvement.

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