The design of the pole axe head varied greatly with a variety of interchangeable parts and rivets. Generally, the head bore an axe or hammer upon the damaging 'face', with a spike, hammer, or fluke on the reverse. In addition, there was a projection from the top (often square in cross section) built somewhat like a dagger. The head was attached to the squared-off wooden pole by long flat strips of metal, which were riveted in place on either two or four of its sides, called langets. Also, a round hilt-like disc called a rondelle was placed just below the head. They also appear to have borne one or two rings along the pole's length as places to prevent hands from slipping. Also of note is that the 'butt end' of the staff, which did not contain the weapon's 'head', bore a spike.
On quick glance, the pollaxe is often confused with the similar looking halberd. However, the 'axe blade' on a pollaxe seems to have been consistently smaller than that of a halberd. A smaller head concentrates the kinetic energy of the blow on smaller area, enabling the impact to defeat armor, while broader halberd heads are better against lesser armored opponents. Furthermore, many halberds had their heads forged as a single piece, while the pollaxe was always modular in design.
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