Spear Vs Javelin

The use of spear and javelin for hunting, warfare and sports can be traced back to ancient times. While both are long-range weapons used for throwing with accuracy and precision, there are distinct differences between them. This article will explore these differences, compare spear and javelin and provide answers to frequently asked questions.


A spear is a long, pointed weapon used for thrusting and throwing. The history of spears dates back to the Stone Age, where they were used for hunting and self-defense. A typical spear consists of a shaft, made from wood or bamboo, with a pointed metal or stone tip called a head. The head is typically made of iron, bronze or steel, and is designed to penetrate armor, flesh or other materials.

Spearheads come in several shapes and sizes, including leaf-shaped, diamond-shaped and triangular. Additionally, the length and weight of a spear can vary based on its intended use. Spears used for warfare are often longer and heavier than those used for hunting, while shorter spears are suitable for self-defense.

The use of the spear has evolved over time, and it is still used today in various activities, including fishing, sports, and even martial arts. In sports, spears are used in events such as javelin throw, where athletes attempt to throw the spear as far as possible.


Javelin, on the other hand, is a long, narrow throwing spear specifically designed for sport. The word “javelin” comes from the Old French word javeline, which means “a little spear.” Unlike traditional spears, javelins are not intended for thrusting but are used exclusively for throwing.

A typical javelin consists of a wooden or metal shaft, with a pointed metal or plastic head, primarily made of aluminum. The head is designed to provide minimal air resistance, allowing for a more extended flight time and greater distance. Javelins are typically 2.6 to 2.7 meters long, and there are different weight categories, depending on the athlete’s age.

Javelin throwing is a track and field event, and athletes compete against each other by attempting to throw the javelin as far as possible. Unlike most other track and field events that require speed and agility, javelin throwing is focused on technique and strength.

Comparison between Spear and Javelin

While spears and javelins share some similarities, there are also distinct differences between them. Let’s take a closer look:

1. Purpose

The primary purpose of a spear is for thrusting, while that of a javelin is for throwing. Unlike spears, javelins are not meant to be used as weapons for hunting or self-defense; they are solely used for sports.

2. Design

Spearheads are different from the pointed head of the javelin. A spearhead is more extensively triangular or leaf-shaped, and it is designed to penetrate armor and other hard materials. The head of a javelin is sleek and rear-heavy to provide air resistance and balance.

3. Length

Spear shafts typically range from 6 to 8 feet long, depending on their intended use. Javelins, on the other hand, are standard at 2.6 to 2.7 meters. This difference in length is because javelin throwing requires the athlete to hold the javelin at the end to provide leverage, while spears are gripped in the middle.

4. Weight

The weight of a spear depends on its intended use, ranging from 2 to 5 kilograms. Sturdier spears for warfare are heavier. Javelins are much lighter and weigh between 600 to 800 grams. This difference in weight is because javelin throwing requires greater arm speed to achieve maximum distance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Which is more dangerous, spear or javelin?

A: Both are lethal weapons when used in the wrong hands. However, spears are more dangerous since they are designed for thrusting and can penetrate armor and flesh more easily.

Q: Is Javelin harder to throw than a spear?

A: Javelin requires specialized technique and training, while the spear can be used effectively with minimal skill. Thus, javelin is harder to throw than a spear.

Q: Can a javelin kill a person?

A: Yes, a javelin can kill a person if thrown with enough force and precision.


In conclusion, spears and javelins have been used for centuries for different purposes. Both are long-range weapons that require skill and accuracy to use effectively. However, there are significant differences between them that distinguish their design, purpose, length, and weight. While spears are primarily designed for thrusting and can be used in hunting and warfare, javelins are solely designed for sport, and their distinct features enable greater distance in throwing.