Aztec Weapons

Aztec weapons are some of the most interesting in all of history. You might be very interested in the warfare of the past, but you might not be aware of all the weapons that were used by Aztec warriors. Although similar to those used in other parts of the world, these weapons were designed differently because the Aztecs had different resources and very advanced technology for the time.

The Club

The Aztec club, covered in spikes, was different from a European club - supposed to be merely a bludgeoning weapon. This made it a direct action weapon that could easily kill or maim an opponent in just a few strikes.


The atlatl was a spear thrower that gave a lot more force by using the spring action of the weapon's frame. The spear thrower was very powerful because it allowed the spear to be thrown at a closer distance while the people who worked it took cover.

Traditional spears did exist in the history of Aztec weapons, but they were often put in the atlatl to be fired at the enemy.


© Travis - Atlatls


Aztecs used slings just as you might imagine. Meant for hunting and for warfare, these weapons were made long and sturdy enough to fire a stone or other projectile over a long distance to strike or scare the enemy.

The Blowgun

The blowgun was a popular weapon because it could carry any projectile and it was very easy to fire. There were both long and short blow guns that could carry darts made from a variety of different materials. It was a way to strike someone at a short distance without making any sound, and the dart could be dipped in poison or herbs that would cause unconsciousness.


The macuahuitl was a close range weapon that looked a bit like a paddle. However simple it may sound, this was one of the more interesting weapons in Aztec warfare because of the stones on its edge. The polished and sharpened stones were meant for cutting, as the macuahuitl was handled and swung almost like a sword.

Aztec Weapon Macuahuitl

© vmax137 - Aztec Weapon - Macuahuitl

Bows and Arrows

Bows and arrows were common throughout history, and they enabled Aztec warriors to fire from long distances, to use flaming arrows, or to fire from a moving horse. The arrows were made from polished, very sharp stones, and they would often be retrieved, pulled from their hit target.

Aztec warrior weapons

Aztec weapons

Other Melee Weapons

Other melee weapons include varying sizes of clubs and spears. There were spears that had obsidian tips polished to a point that they could penetrate anything including armor, and there were clubs made from much smaller pieces of wood that might have resembled a baseball bat.

Axes and tomahawks were all made in different sizes depending on the size of the warrior or the size of the prey. A large axe was often sharpened for cutting multiple warriors at once, and smaller axes could be used on the hunt.

There were hooked blades that looked much like scythes, and there were spears that were made with much shorter shafts. The hand-to-hand combat that might have occurred at that time was much safer for a warrior if he or she had a spear that was short enough to handle.


Aztec warrior shields were made of wood and shaped to cover the whole body. Smaller shields were made for close quarters combat, and they were so thick they could withstand most arrows. The shield itself was a common component of a warrior's arsenal.

Armor was made from layered quilted cotton - two or three layers were enough to stop most projectiles and weapons. The armor covered the torso and arms of the Aztec warriors. It was constantly improved to keep up with sharper arrows, sharper swords, and heavy objects flying at much faster speeds on the battlefield, so it even often outpaced the development of weapons.

Facts about Aztec Weapons

  • Aztecs had some of the best weapons of the period.
  • They used sharp stones, heavy planks of wood, and machines to fire spears.
  • Weaponry craftmanship varied across the Aztec empire.
  • Weapons were fashioned by hand, and some of them were made so perfectly that they shine even today.