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Late 15th century Spanish specimen

The French estoc or English "tuck" was a type of European sword in use from the 14th to 17th centuries.[1] Characterized as having a cruciform hilt with a grip for two handed use and a straight, edgeless but sharply pointed blade of around 0.91 metres (36 in) to 1.32 metres (52 in) long.


The estoc was a variation of the longsword designed for fighting against mail or plate armour.[2] It was long, straight and stiff with no cutting edge, just a point. Examples from Poland are more than 1.57 metres (62 in) long, with a blade of 1.32 metres (52 in); however, others showed a more manageable 1.17 metres (46 in), with a 0.91 metres (36 in) blade. Such swords averaged about 4 pounds (2 kg) with no specimen weighing more than 6 pounds.[3] The size seems to have been made-to-order.

Blade cross-sections can be triangular, square, rhomboid or flat hexagonal.[1] This geometry left hardly any cutting capability as a sharpened edge could simply not be ground, but allowed the weapon to become lengthy, stiff, and very acutely pointed.[4]

Early on, the estoc was hung from the saddle when on horseback and simply hung from the belt when the soldier took to the ground. As the weapon developed, however, infantrymen using it began to wear it in a scabbard.[5] Most varieties of estoc provided a long grip like that of a greatsword, though others mimicked the zweihänder in providing a long ricasso with a secondary guard of parrierhaken. As on the two-hander, this extended grip gave the wielder the advantage of extra leverage with which to more accurately and powerfully thrust the long weapon. Some other forms provided finger rings, curved quillons, or other forms of a compound hilt.[2] Few, however, developed anything close to a full basket hilt.


As armour improved, so did the methods of attacking the armour. It was quickly realized that cutting weapons were losing their effectiveness, so crushing weapons such as maces and axes were utilized. Thrusting weapons that could split the rings of mail, or find the joints and crevices of plate armour, were also employed. Long tapered swords could also be used as a lance once the lance was splintered. Thus was the estoc developed. The French word estoc translates to thrust.[4] Tuck is the abbreviated English version of the word. Many consider the estoc a forerunner of the rapier, but more likely it is a merging of the espada ropera, a civilian sword, with the effective, and lighter estoc, that produced the rapier.[citation needed] The long, straight blade was very rigid and could be thrust with one hand, or the second hand could be used to deliver an even more powerful thrust.

While there is nothing to stop an estoc being one-handed, most were two-handed, being used half-sword or two hands on the grip.

In popular culture[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Loades, Mike (2010). Swords and Swordsmen. Great Britain: Pen & Sword Books. ISBN 978-1-84884-133-8. 
  2. ^ a b Tarassuk, Leonid; Blair, Claude (1982). The Complete Encyclopedia of Arms & Weapons: The Most Comprehensive Reference Work Ever Published on Arms and Armor from Prehistoric Times to the Present - with Over 1,200 Illustrations. Simon & Schuster. p. 491. 
  3. ^ Clements, J. (2003). "What Did Historical Swords Weigh?". ARMA. Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  4. ^ a b Clements, John. "Medieval & Renaissance Sword Forms and Companion Implements". Definitions & Study Terminology. Association for Renaissance Martial Arts. 
  5. ^ Stone, George Cameron (1961). A Glossary of the Construction, Decoration, and Use of Arms and Armour. Jack Brussel. p. 223.