I am currently working on a presentation and in part of it, I will be talking about non-firearm weapons of the shooting type like bows and arrows. What would be a easily understood term that is not cumbersome to say that is a general statement about such weapons? This word or two should be able to fill in the place of the word "firearm" in such statements as it is used like: "Firearms training" to "(non-firearm) training".

  • I believe the term is arms (as in, to take up arms or firearms). Presumably, you could also just say weapons. Or, if it's specifically bows and arrows, Archery Training. – Elliott Frisch Jul 15 '16 at 2:38
  • @ElliottFrisch The scope goes a bit beyond bows and arrows, so that term would cover some, but not all of it. – SMS von der Tann Jul 15 '16 at 2:41
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    You say "shooting type". Do slings count or do you want to exclude muscle power? I'm pretty sure you don't want directly thrown weapons like basic spears and darts, but what about the lever thrown spears? – The Nate Jul 15 '16 at 11:41

Cold weapon has been used to mean ‘non-firearm’ in a couple of recent books, such as Jeff Hearn, Marina Blagojević, Katherine Harrison, Rethinking Transnational Men: Beyond, Between and Within Nations, 2013 (my emphasis in all quotes):

Another symbol of the president — the mace — was used originally as a cold weapon (i.e. a weapon that does not use fire or explosives) and has historically served as an attribute of power of Cossack hetmans.

The explanation between brackets shows the authors didn’t expect the term to be well known. In fact I didn’t find it in any established dictionary. But you can find it in Wikitionary and couple of other websites such as topicaway; and you even have a coldweapon.org with “lots of information about swords, knives, blades, daggers, rapiers and other cold weapons,” and the term has been used in our sister site Martial Arts SE.

A few more examples from Google Books:

The adverb “brutally” (in Russian, “zverski”) normally collocates with words denoting killing with a cold weapon, maiming, or torture rather than using firearms. [Daniel O. Orwenjo (editor), Political Discourse in Emergent, Fragile, and Failed Democracies, 2016]

Because about from the early Northern Song Dynasty (the late tenth century), gunpowder weapons were gradually used in wars, making the transition of human warfare from Cold Weapon Era to Firearm Era. [Yongxiang Lu (editor), *A History of Chinese Science and Techonology, Vol. 3, 2015]


You may try traditional armaments:

Essentially anything that is wieldable, excluding "modern" (post civil war) firearms


  • But this is not well-defined in standard usage. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 15 '16 at 15:14

protected by MetaEd Aug 16 '18 at 18:19

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