War Clubs

Sioux war dance brandishing war clubs

War Clubs

Description and Definition of War Clubs. War Clubs encompass a wide variety of weapons used by the different tribes of Native American Indians. The first types of war clubs were simple bludgeoning weapons such as heavy bones, wooden clubs and stone clubs.

Examples of the bludgeoning types of war clubs were the jawbone club and the throwing stick or rabbit stick. The skills of the Flint Knappers increased and war clubs were specifically designed with wooden handles and sharpened stone edges which could be used as tools or weapons for throwing and close combat. Although these war clubs all had stone heads these primitive weapons were still deadly. The arrival of the Europeans, the white settlers and traders, introduced new ideas and technology. Later types of Native American war clubs replaced those made of stone, horn, bone and hardened woods with metals such as iron and steel.

Categories and Types of War Clubs
We have sorted the styles and types of Native American war clubs into five main categories based on their design:

Bludgeoning style of war clubs
Hatchet Axe style of war clubs
Pick Axe style of war clubs
Ball Head style of war clubs
Gun Shaped style of war clubs

Chart and List of Native American War Clubs
The following chart and list of Native American War Clubs provides the names of the Native American weapons that fall into this category together with their differences and descriptions.

  • Tomahawks: The Tomahawk was a hatchet style weapon that had a solid wooden handle with a head made of stone, bone or metal. The tomahawk could be used for close contact fighting or as a throwing weapon.
  • Gunstock Club: The Gunstock Club was so-called because these weapons resembled the shape of a a musket or rifle body and carved in the shape of a European gunstock. Gunstock clubs were widely used across North America in the late 18th and 19th centuries, both as weapons and status symbols. They were often made with hard wood or whale bone and embellished with carvings on the handle.
  • Pick Axe Style Club: The Pick Axe style club was made of either stone or metal blades. These types of clubs had a sharp edge on one side and a diamond shape point on the other side. The blades were attached to a wooden handle. These were used as weapons for hand-to-hand fighting
  • Axes: The Axe had a heavy bladed head mounted across a handle
  • Fixed Ball Club: The Fixed Ball club was used with the intention of breaking the enemy's jaw with a violent upward thrust.
  • Bird Head Club: The Bird Head club was elaborately designed to resemble the head of a bird.
  • The Traditional The hitting edge of the traditional Stone Club was rounded and measured between 20 - 30 inches long.
  • Jawbone Club: A Jawbone club was constructed out of the jawbone of a buffalo or a horse. The Plains Native Americans would sharpen the hitting edge of the club whilst leaving the teeth inside the jaw bone intact. The jawbone club was used as a close combat weapon and had the ability to cut through the chest of an opponent.
  • Throwing Sticks - Rabbit Sticks: Throwing Sticks aka Rabbit Sticks were one of the earliest clubs used by Native American Indians. They were a basic short stave or wooden club that had a straight pointed wooden shaft or curved wooden club, similar to the boomerang weapon.
  • Hatchets: A Hatchet is a small axe or club with a short handle that was used with one hand.
  • Battle hammers: A Battle Hammer has a blunt, hammer-like head on one side of the handle or shaft, and usually a beak or point on the opposite side of the club.
  • Wooden Club: A club made of extremely hard wood used for close-quarter fighting, sometime referred to as a 'potato masher' club and developed by the Yuma tribe
  • Axe-Like Club: The Axe-like club was made of either stone or metal blades.
  • Stone Ball Club: The Stone Ball club was primitive but lethal. The Stone Ball consisted of a round-headed stone that was covered in heavy buckskin or rawhide and attached to a wooden handle. The head was relatively free-moving and used by the early Plains, Plateau and Southwest Native Indians.
Native Indian Weapons and Tools
Native Indian Tribes Index

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