Game play offers a number of different weapon types for each weapon skill. Some are harder to find than others, and there may or may not be mechanical differences between weapon types. To get an idea of how one weapon compares to the others, examine it. You can also use weapons to generate a list of all weapons on your person along with a brief readout of their current state of repair, even if they're in closed containers or sheathed.
Note that there is no one weapon to render all others obsolete. If one weapon is better at parrying then it likely does less damage, has fewer strikes per attack, etcetera.
When you examine a weapon, you will be able to determine the following:
- which weapon skill its effectiveness is based on
- how many hands are required to wield it (in the case of one and a half-handed weapons, they can be used for more damage if you keep a free off-hand, but can also be wielded one-handed for less damage while you hold, say, a shield or secondary weapon in your other hand)
- how many strikes per attack it can land (melee weapons only)
- the weapon's balance, determining how easy it is to land multiple strikes and how effectively you can use it with dual-wielding (melee weapons only)
- whether it will grant a bonus/penalty to parrying, dodging, or blocking (melee weapons only)
- how heavy a draw a bow has (bows only - light draw = less damage, more speed, heavy draw = more damage, less speed, average draw = balanced)
See help on Weapon Types if you need some examples of various weapons by skill.