Deadliest Warrior (2009): S01E04 – Pirate vs. Knight


Deadliest Warrior is a 2009 documentary series in which the great warriors of history are examined for fantasy combat simulations.


A Pirate – the merciless high seas marauder; versus a Knight – the armoured battle tank that crushed infidels underfoot. It’s an explosive, bloody battle between two fighters who hate everything the other stands for – pistols versus crossbow, gunpowder against armour, and cutlass versus a spiked ball of death.

  • Pirate team: Michael Triplett (Pirate Weapons Master), David Hernandez (Sword Fighting Instructor)
    Pirate weapons: Cutlass, Boarding Axe, Blunderbuss, Flintlock Pistol, Grenado
    Pirate armor: None
  • Pirate statistics: Height: 5 feet, 10 inches Weight: 170 lbs Gear Weight: 20 lbs. In addition, a chronological date for the Pirate is listed as the year 1715.
  • Knight team: David Coretti (Army Veteran/Sword Expert), Josh Paugh (Medieval Weapons Expert)
    Knight weapons: Broadsword, Halberd, Crossbow, Morningstar
    Knight armor: Plate Armor
  • Knight statistics: Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Weight: 180 lbs Gear Weight: 70 lbs. In addition, a chronological date for the Knight is given as the year 1423.
  • This is the only episode in which armour was up against a weapon in an edged category.
  • For short-range weapons, both swords were tested against pig carcasses which were mounted on ziplines to simulate motion. The broadsword cleaved its pig in half, while the cutlass almost managed to do the same. The contest was declared a draw with both showing high killing power even though the Knight’s steel armour was not shown to be tested.
  • For mid-range weapons the blunderbuss was tested against the halberd. The blunderbuss, despite a misfire, was able to put a hole through a layer of double plate armour with one of its pellets, but realistically would not have killed the knight. The halberd was a shown to be a deadly and versatile weapon, as it tore of the back of a ballistic gel torso’s skull with one strike to the temple with the axe blade (exposing a large amount of brain matter), pierced the abdomen and the throat with the pike end, and tore the skull in half with two more swings of the axe blade. However, because of the blunderbuss’ power of penetration, range, and concussion, it was given the edge.
  • Both long-range weapons were tested on dummies, with the crossbow bolt penetrating deeply into an unprotected dummy, striking 2.5 inches into the torso and striking the upper part of the liver and the pancreas at a speed of 115.8 feet per second, or roughly 78 mph. The flintlock, meanwhile, was able to dent but not penetrate the breastplate on its dummy. Furthermore, Michael Triplett called his shot but missed, indicating inaccuracy in the flintlock. The crossbow took the edge thanks to its killing power, range, and accuracy, and the deficiencies of the flintlock.
  • For special weapons, the morningstar was tested against the grenado. The morningstar proved to be a fast and deadly short-range weapon when it shattered a dummy skull. An initial swing struck the top of a ballistic gel’s torso’s skull with the morningstar’s chain, shattering the left cheekbone and the jaw. A second strike broke the spinal cord and a third completely shattered the skull, removing all brain matter from the brainpan. The morningstar was registered at 1300 psi – over 17 times the amount of force needed to fracture a human skull. The grenado was detonated near several pig carcasses, one having an armor plate. The grenado produced a great blast, with the shrapnel tearing holes in the unprotected flesh of all three pigs. However, it failed to penetrate the armour at close range. With both weapons effective, the win was given to the grenado for its concussion, shock value, and shrapnel.
  • The plate armour was tested throughout the show, being effective against most of the Pirate weapons. The boarding axe put a very small hole in a Knight helmet, but did not penetrate it. The boarding axe’s strike was measured at 33 psi, but Geoff Desmoulin claimed that the computer measured the section of the helmet just below the section where the axe’s pike struck – implying that the actual psi for the strike was likely greater than 33 psi. The edge was given to the armour for its defence power.
  • This is the first episode to have a tie in weapons edges.
  • Both warriors did not bring one of their weapons in the final battle (the Pirate’s boarding axe and the Knight’s halberd.)
  • This is the first of three episodes to have a warrior with at least one gunpowder-based weapon win over one who does not.
  • The flintlock pistol is the first (and currently only) gunpowder-based weapon to be outperformed by a non-gunpowder weapon in the same category.
  • According to the given statistics, the Knight had a size advantage of 1 inch and 10 lbs; roughly equal by the standards of Deadliest Warrior matchups. However, the Knight’s gear was 50 lbs heavier.
  • According to the years listed, the time differential between the two warriors is 292 years. The Knight has the heaviest gear of any warrior featured in Season 1.
  • The Pirate is the third and last warrior to have more weapons than his opponent (Pirate 5, Knight 4, since the armour was not a weapon). He is also the only warrior of the three that also won.

Re-enactment 4

The battle begins with a Pirate discovering a dusty treasure chest in the middle of the forest. In the distance, the Knight comes riding in on his horse. The Pirate opens the chest and begins counting the gold doubloons inside, but hears the horse coming towards him. He looks up and sees the Knight with his morning star in hand. Thinking that he is trying to steal his treasure, the Pirate pulls out one of his flintlock pistols. The Knight begins swinging his morning star and signals his horse to charge at the Pirate. The Pirate aims his pistol and fires, but misses the Knight. He pulls out another pistol and fires a second time, but the bullet bounces off of the Knight’s armour. The Knight’s horse dashes at the Pirate, and the Knight hits him with his flail, but the Pirate survives. The Pirate lights up a Grenado and throws it as the Knight prepares for another charge, The Grenado hits the Knight’s shield but the impact was enough to throw him off his horse. The Pirate cautiously approaches the fallen Knight with two pistols drawn, but the Knight shoots him in the leg with the crossbow and follows up with an attack from the morningstar. Knocked back, the Pirate retaliates with the blunderbuss, sending the Knight tumbling to the ground. Taking advantage of the situation, the Pirate grabs the chest as the Knight pursues him toward a beach. The Pirate fires another pistol at the Knight, and they duel with the longsword and the cutlass. The Pirate gains the high ground by climbing up a boulder and kicks the Knight, sending him tumbling backward. The Pirate follows this up by throwing sand at the Knight’s face. The Knight manages to tackle the Pirate but is encumbered by his armour. This gives the Pirate the opportunity to crawl for his pistol, open the Knight’s faceplate, and shoot him in the head.

Winner: Pirate.

Deadliest Warrior Series

You can find a full index and overview of Deadliest Warrior here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 28 April 2009.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Running Time: 42 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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