What Is a Primitive Weapon?

The term “primitive weapon” has a variety of meanings, but it often refers to weapons such as slingshots, bows and spears, which were used by primitive cultures. Alternatively, the term is sometimes used to refer to primitive firearms, such as muzzle-loading shotguns. Survivalists often consider primitive weapons to be those that can be constructed from basic materials, such as sticks or stones.

Native Americans and other primitive cultures used a variety of primitive weapons. One of the most noteworthy was the tomahawk, which resembles a single-edged hand axe. Other primitive cultures hunted and defended themselves by using blowguns, which fire poison-tipped darts at high speeds. Additionally, primitive cultures often used various types of spears. Some primitive people used these spears to jab at the intended victim, while others hurled the spears through the air. Sometimes, these primitive cultures used “spear-throwers” to help launch their spears farther and with greater speed.

Many states establish a period of the hunting season during which hunters must use primitive weapons. The exact list of weapons that qualify as primitive varies among states. For example, Louisiana lists several types of muzzle- and breach-loading rifles on the approved primitive weapons list. Some states also allow archery during the primitive weapon season.