Reposting a series of effort posts on rapiers, spears, longswords and distance
Saw this cool video of a rapier vs a longsword. It looks like the rapier was a better weapon. So much more range and speed. https://youtu.be/6r7VWIQCHvM
Range is a huge advantage in a fight. Fighting a spear is tough if you only have a sword. You will be in the danger zone before they do. They will be able to make feints and thrusts before your sword is even able to hurt them. Covering yourself and getting past their point is key to survival.
It is important though to realize that the spearman can still shorten the spear or use the back end. Therefore to disable/hamper the usage of the spear after getting past the point is equally important, whether by binding and angling the spear away with your blade, gripping the shaft or even simply rushing in to whack/grapple 'em before they could retreat or pull back their point. Likely you'd do more than one those at the same time.
I wouldn't go that far. The user's proficiency is more relevant. In any case, "better weapon" requires context. Range? Against armour? Single combat or multiple opponents? Battlefield or everyday carry? The last one especially is important to consider when discussing weapons. It's why people carried bucklers rather than shields, swords rather than spears, staves or walking sticks rather than edged polearms. Both rapiers and longswords were certainly carried in battlefields though.
A rapier would typically be nimbler than a longsword, thanks to its point of balance being at the guard/handle. I think "speed" is too vague a word. A sword is only as fast as the hand that moves it. A longsword is held with both. Its movements can be more powerful and just as fast with good body mechanics. Moreover, the longsword would have more leverage in a crossing/bind thanks to its greater mass, mass distribution and being held in two hands. However, you can see how rapidly the rapier changes lines and angles to both parry and strike.
Nick's group mostly does late 18th-19th century british military swordsmanship (sabre, basket-hilt sword, cutlass, spadroon, etc.). These are also interesting:
<Inb4 'Rapiers are almost useless against fully armoured opponents'
Most opponents do not have full plate armor with chainmail underarmor anything less will still have vulnerable zones easy for a lighter rapier user to exploit. Even then, a rapier has the precision to strike through something like a visor hole.