Description and Definition of the Lance: The Lance is a primitive instrument of war and hunting consisting of a long handle, or shaft measuring from 9 to 14 feet in length, with a sharp spearhead or projectile point. Native American Indians would use to the Lance on horseback or for ceremonial purposes. The points of the lance were originally made of a hard stone, such as flint, but were replaced by metal points. The points, or blades, of the lance were made similar to spears, only larger in size and somewhat different in shape. The spear was the weapon that eventually developed into the lance. The pictures on this page illustrating the Native American lance provides and indication of the length of this weapon.
The Lance used on horseback by Native Americans
Native American Lance - The Differences between a Lance and a Spear
The differences between a spear and a lance were their size and their purpose. A Native American spear was easier to manage and used to to strike, thrust, slash or thrown to take down their enemies. The handle of the spear was much shorter than a lance, as were its sharp head or point. The lance was designed for use on horseback and measured from 9 to 14 feet in length. The blades of lances were also generally longer and wider.
Native American Lance - Buffalo Hunting
In buffalo hunting the Lance was the preferred weapon on horseback to the bow and arrow. The long, heavy and unwieldy lances took great skill to use effectively together with excellent horsemanship. The Buffalo rider would tuck the lance under his arm and select a buffalo. The buffalo hunter would couch the lance under the arm and charge at the animal. The lance was not used as a spear, in that it was rarely thrown. One jab from a lance would rarely bring down a heavy buffalo, repeated strikes were required to bring the buffalo down. After the initial charge the method was to run alongside the buffalo and jab the long bladed lance into the animal just back of the ribs.
Buffalo Hunt using a lance as a hunting weapon