Tactical Tomahawks


September 27, 2010, 06:14 AM
Now that I have a decent molle bug out pack(thanks, Jason), I'm starting to prep it.
I've been looking at the "tactical tomahawks", they would seem to be a great addition to the pack....light weight with tons of practical and possible uses. With a molle sheath it'll attach right on the outside of the pack and I'll have quick reach back access.
What is the general opinion on these?
I've been looking at several brands, Cold Steel, SOG, NRA(?) and GI issue, etc. What's good, especially the handle?


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September 27, 2010, 07:04 AM
Well, I broke my cold steel within the first hour of use, throwing it against a log. I returned it. I won't buy from them again, but YMMV. Good luck on the pack!

September 27, 2010, 09:16 AM
You may want to rethink the idea that a hawk on the pack has "quick access" ability. Nothing mounted on a pack usually meets that criteria. With that in mind you can expand your paradigm on carrying such a tool.

What do you think you'll actually use it for? What environment will it be used in and is it a suitable tool for that? Is it worth the additional weight when you're already carrying a fixed blade and a folder? Do you have any extensive experience overnight and 3-5 day backpacking and have you ever round a real use for such a tool on those?

I think if you examine the applications in the environment for the situation you're preparing for these things don't have a lot of practical use and are not a good allocation of weight and are mostly just "kewl".

September 27, 2010, 09:50 AM
I have an American Tomahawk Co. "Vietnam" model...
Its held up very well, has been used to chop wood, pork ribs(when I ate pork), and thrown a few times... keeps an edge very well...


September 27, 2010, 10:11 AM
When camping, I use my 'hawk more than I do my knife.the spike on the back is good for moving logs in the fire, and I split up kindling with the blade.The flat of the head is used for pounding in tent stakes.A Kukri will do most of the same stuff, but not as well.A machete is nice to have, but not as useful.The Vietnam model throws decent, but not as well as a hand forged mountain man hawk.All in all, a good tool, and in a pinch, a decent weapon.

September 27, 2010, 10:29 AM
Thank you for the sensible replies.....Like most of you I too feel the tomahawk will be excellent and useful tool/weapon for many tasks....
hso...was just having a little trouble getting past the ninja mentality this morning ;)

September 27, 2010, 10:31 AM
How about the Benchmade 172 Tomahawk?


I wasn't too impressed with the SOG tomahawk when I handled it SHOT a few years back.

September 27, 2010, 10:41 AM
hso...was just having a little trouble getting past the ninja mentality this morning

No, I'm asking what you expect to use it for within your application of a 3 day kit so that we have an idea whether they'll serve your purpose because you know your area and the conditions you may face while we can't guess.

Hatchets and small camp axes make for great tools if you're going to be spending longer periods of time in the woods than a day here and there moving all the time where you're going to build shelters and split lots of wood for fires at a fixed location. The problem with most of the "tactical" tomahawks is they're not designed for that purpose and don't do a very good job in that application. They tend to smash things well, but they're not as great at chopping.

Since most of the time a 3 day E&E doesn't require a lot of breaching or wood chopping I always have to ask what the weight gets you.

I will say that I haven't used any of the tac hawks, but I've handled a few and read a bunch of reviews and am familiar with a lot of the companies. The SOG gets great reviews. The CS doesn't. The others patterned after the "Vietnam Hawk" tend to smash more than chop.

September 27, 2010, 05:40 PM
Really hso...your opening line; "You may want to rethink the idea that a hawk on the pack has "quick access" ability." threw me all off.
I could have sworn I was being mocked. You were thinking that I was thinking that if when in the woods and attacked by a kama wielding ninja, my tactical tomahawk could be quickly drawn to simultaneously disarm and dismember the offending ninja.....Sorry if I read you wrong...

Seriously now.
I've handled the SOG Fusion (http://www.amazon.com/SOG-Specialty-Knives-Tactical-Hardcased/dp/B000PICTYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=hi&ie=UTF8&qid=1285623492&sr=1-1), I liked the weight and ergos., it also has nice hammering surface. The whole tomahawk seemed well put together at a great price. The only thing that throws me off about it is in the blade design....there's no beard hook, in fact its reversed :confused:

September 27, 2010, 07:09 PM
I have a Cold Steel trail hawk and it's been a good hawk for me. It goes everywhere with me that it can, and it excellent for chopping and the hammer poll is useful for hammering. Granted, it isn't the optimum for chopping or hammering, but it does do well for both for what it is. The problem I have with the tactical models is the short handle. In addition, the sharpened back edge of the tactical hawk could hurt you should you ever strike something hard and have the blade not bite, but bounce. I prefer to the longer handle for the leverage, and if you reverse the grip (hold it from the blade side) it makes a good baton for whacks across the shins/arms. My only complaint about the trail hawk is the lack of a sharpened beard, which would be useful for hooking and cutting. I guess I could modify it, but I haven't the tools to do it, and using a hand file would take forever.

September 27, 2010, 08:46 PM
the CS Rifleman's Hawk is one of the better production made hawks. plus some folks have modified theirs.

September 28, 2010, 02:37 AM

Only partly. I did take your reference to "quick reach back access" for a tactical hawk as a weapon you could reach quickly instead of just being "handy" (which I now assume was more along the lines of what you meant).

So what sort of environment will you be expecting to be using a hawk in since the environment and conditions tend to dictate the characteristics (hammer pol, flat pry back, etc.)?

September 28, 2010, 09:23 AM
I guess I could modify it, but I haven't the tools to do it...

You may. Do you have a belt sander? I did most of the work on my 'hawk with a 4" X 36" benchtop belt/disc sander. I used a rotary tool, and some other stuff too, but I could have done it with just the belt sander.


September 28, 2010, 09:35 AM
HSO is asking all the right questions here.

What's your bug out plan for this setup?

Adding more weight for stuff like a 'hawk means that you're subtracting from food/water weight and med supplies.
Have you determined a max weight for the pack, arrived at what food, water, and med supplies you're taking, and then examined the leftover weight to see what you can carry safely between the cooking/fire, shelter, cutlery, and environmental (raingear, down/wool clothing, etc) wear?
You may not have enough weight left over for the 'hawk to be carried. Molle gear is neato, but in a civi context all those attachment rings and such add up in the grams- ounces- lbs dept. Weight is a big deal. It's what helps sprain ankles and tear ACL's out in the wilderness.
If you don't backpack or dayhike regularly, you need to get outside with your gear. Especially so with winter coming on because a winter/fall bug out bag is heavier by nature (more calories, more clothes) than one for summer.

The SOG 'hawk is a good design for a survival piece. It's not a woodsplitter, but in a bug out situation you should be burning only dry wood anyway, not felling trees and such. I like using a hawk to split pine heart and other firestarters.

September 28, 2010, 04:42 PM

September 28, 2010, 09:09 PM
:banghead: All I want is advice on tactical tomahawks, you know...which are crap and which are not.....
At $30 - $50 and less than two pounds in weight they seem like a very versatile tool/weapon.
No offense but some of you guys way over think things.

Grey Morel
September 28, 2010, 09:50 PM
* American Tomahawk Company
* RMJ Tactical
* K5 Tactical
* Benchmade
* GG&G

The Good:
* Cold Steel
* Ontario Cutlery
* TOPS Cutlery

The Mediocre:
* Condor
* SOG Fusion

The Horrid:
* Kit Rea
* United Cutlery
* Bud K

September 28, 2010, 09:52 PM
No offense but some of you guys way over think things.

:) Namaste' pal.
Good luck.

September 28, 2010, 10:14 PM

For anyone looking for a lite pack axe, the small forest axe from Gransfors Bruks is a delight. You can actually use it one handed for fine work and two handed when you need more swing power. I try to keep mine in use so I'm comfortable with it when I need it.

Here's a great thread at Bladeforums with a compilation of tomahawk/small axe makers and manufacturers. http://www.bladeforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=749909

My buddy Alan Longmire making one of his fancy hawks. http://forums.dfoggknives.com/index.php?showtopic=9559

September 28, 2010, 10:31 PM
lol just the other day someone up in the rifle forum was getting ragged on because he wanted a "tactical" lever action rifle...no were onto "tactical" tomahawks lol

September 28, 2010, 10:35 PM
HSO recommended the Bushcraft ax,That's a nice one! Eastwing and Sandvik also make excellent belt axes.for anyone at all interested in Bushcraft you should check out the excellent and informative Bushcraft videos.

September 28, 2010, 10:47 PM
I have an RMJ Shrike and it is a nice piece of kit. It lacks the weight to be a good work tool but it would make an outstanding fighting tool. Like others have suggested, Gransfors Bruks makes some fine tools (expensive). Estwing is an inexpensive alternative.


September 28, 2010, 10:47 PM


September 28, 2010, 11:51 PM
if we're talkin BA chopping tools/axes/hatchets...aint nothin beats the Fiskar tools

September 28, 2010, 11:56 PM
In SWAT magazine, I see them talk a fair bit about machate's but I don't see them talk about tomahawk's. If I had to pick one or the other I'd go with a machate from a versatility perspective. My general thoughts. If you want a tomahawk, go for it.

September 29, 2010, 12:18 AM
Page 2.

You may want to rethink the idea that a hawk on the pack has "quick access" ability.
Nothing mounted on a pack usually meets that criteria.Except a stick.

I carry a 24" stick on my Gregory day pack.
It's tucked between the straps on the right side.

It sticks (no pun intended) up high enough over my shoulder that
I can reach back w/ my right arm and draw it up
quickly to fend off an attacker.

September 29, 2010, 03:33 AM
I had a rattan walking stick, but gave it to a friend, and all I see now online are expensive, and decorative.Where did all the simple stained and burnt and just plain sticks go?

September 29, 2010, 06:44 AM
I have an Eastwing Spotrsmans axe, not a bad little tool, I use it for chopping roots mostly. It just seems heavy for its size compared to the "tactical" hawk models....

September 29, 2010, 07:41 AM
And at $29, your Eastwing is probably all you'll need as far as a tomahawk/hatchet goes.

September 29, 2010, 09:55 AM
if weight and size are important considerations, [B.O.B., etc.] might I suggest.....


September 30, 2010, 08:51 PM
Too warp this up.
First thanks for all the help and advice.
I now realize a tomahawk is not the best choice for the uses I've had in mind. I've since put a decent edge on my Eastwing and found a nice spot for it in the molles of my pack.
Now to find a decent fixed blade :rolleyes:

September 30, 2010, 09:25 PM
i have several of the Coldsteel tomahawks & throw them all of the time with no breaking what so ever, Did you send it back to them & explain what happend as the owner Lynn Thompson is a real cool guy who stands behind his product's & will gladley send you another at no charge, I love their Knives etc. & they are as sharp as they show out of the box in their video's.`

October 2, 2010, 02:36 PM
Looking for awsome custom built, working or tactical fighting hawks.

October 2, 2010, 11:35 PM
I can build any kind of custom tomahawk your looking for. Just e-mail me what your interests are at redhorse4@hotmail.com and ill get to building it. 28 years of custom making knives and hatchets and hawks. Thanks Redhorse...Perry,Fla.

October 8, 2010, 12:50 PM
My general opinion is that the tomahawk is a fantastic tool for just about everything. Orignally, it was a stone at the end of a stick which could be swung or thrown, making it a shock and/or a missile weapon. I have carried and collected them my entire life. It fit through the straps on my ALICE pack and was so much more useful than the etool. I do not care much for the wooden handles with all of the new polymers available. They will crack with heavy bumps or prying. The ONE that your great-great-great-great grandson will be glad that you purchased is the RMJ Forge Talon. The one that you 'pictured' is made well and the handle is quite durable. You can use it to support your tactics.

In terms of weight, the tomahawk gets high marks when juxtaposed with other tools. It is useful for making holes, digging, chopping, cracking skulls, climbing, breaching, etc., etc. When I ditched the etool, the tomahawk fit my needs better.

I had lunch a couple of weeks ago with a retired Marine named Al Gray who said, [about the Corps] "light enough to carry in, heavy enough to win."

I admit that I immediately thought of my 'hawks.'

Big Bill
October 9, 2010, 01:26 AM
Here's one of mine. It's a modded CS Trail hawk...


Here's another one...


Big Bill
October 9, 2010, 01:27 AM
Sorry for the double post.

October 9, 2010, 01:34 AM
... RMJ Forge Talon ...Well, I'm impressed.

How much are they? (Can't find a price on the site.)

Big Bill
October 9, 2010, 01:45 AM
Here's one of the best threads over at Blade Forums on modding CS Trail Hawks...


Sam Cade
October 9, 2010, 04:35 PM
I have a K5 tactical and am not very impressed.

From the factory the edge is so thick that it is pretty much useless as a cutting implement so plan on reprofiling if you actually want to use it.

Its too short and heavy to be a decent weapon.
Its too short and heavy to be decent axe.

It rides around in the bottom of my toolbox...occasionally I toss it at a tree.

October 9, 2010, 07:49 PM
One thing to consider with RMJ tactical: they ship a lot of hawks to military personnel, and fill those orders first. So, as new mil orders come in, civilians get pushed back. I've had my hawk on order with them since last march, and they just keep telling me that "they've got [my] order." The site tells you to expect a 2-3 month wait. It will likely be longer, if my experience is anywhere close to the norm.

October 9, 2010, 08:04 PM
For the last 35 years I have had one HB Forge Tomahawk. I took it on many a Camping Trip and beat the heck out of it. Wonderful tool. I talked with the owner who hand forges these, he wraps a 1018 head around a 1095 edge insert. This is exactly as it was done on cutting tools before the Bessemer Converter made high carbon steel cheap.



I don’t want a spike tomahawk as I don’t want to fall on the spike. You may have a different opinion on this.

I think a traditional pattern tomahawk is tactical enough for what I want to do. Which is chop wood. It was also used in other situations way back when, but I have been able to avoid those situations. :uhoh:

October 9, 2010, 08:08 PM
Nice hawks I will start looking for a Eswing hacket to covert or a old ball ping hammer to whip into shape.

October 9, 2010, 08:22 PM
I don’t want a spike tomahawk as I don’t want to fall on the spike. Good point (no pun intended).
Thanks for the reminder.

They look so ... impressive, but ...

I think I'd want a hammer head on the other side, for driving nails and stakes.

October 12, 2010, 12:42 PM

October 12, 2010, 03:48 PM

October 12, 2010, 04:24 PM

October 12, 2010, 05:14 PM
You all are trying to make me re-think this, whole tomahawk thing.... ;)

Sam Cade
October 13, 2010, 10:35 AM
The fact that the SOG hawk is made of 420 stainless is an IMMEDIATE turn off for me.

I would really like to see how much actual use it could take before failing.

October 13, 2010, 10:56 AM
You pose a good question Sam. I may try to work it to failure soon. I'll update.

Ragnar Danneskjold
October 13, 2010, 11:52 AM
lol just the other day someone up in the rifle forum was getting ragged on because he wanted a "tactical" lever action rifle...no were onto "tactical" tomahawks lol

Well the scorn of the tactical lever action was well deserved. "Tactical" essentially mean "aids one in executing tactics". Something that is used by military/police in tactics and makes some task or job easier. A lever action, as a slow-to-reload weapon, does not fill any task used in tactics well, thus a tactical lever action is a misnomer.

A tactical tomahawk could conceivably fulfill a tactical role, even in today's engagements. I have seen soldiers use tomahawks to smash in windows, break down doors, pry things open, cut thick rope or zip-ties, and one would make a decent weapon if your M4 or M9 goes down. I would personally grab a tomahawk before a fighting knife just because of the extended reach. Tomahawks fill a niche role in modern military tactics, but they do fill it fairly well.

October 13, 2010, 10:52 PM
ragnar, the scorn is well made. I have joined and left every forum I have found online because of the pursuit of "tactical" by people that dress up.


Ragnar Danneskjold
October 14, 2010, 04:22 AM
Rugby8. I am a soldier in the United States Army, and I have witnessed soldiers using tomahawks overseas to accomplish tasks while on missions. If that doesn't fit the definition of tactical, I don't know what does. But I am glad you consider my enlistment and service with the Army "dressing up".

October 14, 2010, 03:48 PM
To the Op: I have been on lengthy backpack trips. I have carried small hatchets, machete's and saws. I was very surprised to find I prefer the saw. It is light weight, doesn't make a lot of noise and surprisingly efficient of your time and energy. As a defensive tool, it definitely takes a backseat to the others.

October 15, 2010, 10:05 PM
For anyone considering a tomahawk as a general use tool especially for a BOB etc, I would really advise looking at quality Kukris too.

October 16, 2010, 03:03 PM
alot of the tactical axe/tomahawk stuff i've seen look like junk. buy an actual tool something that is made to be used like a hatchet or axe from a hardware store.

Big Bill
October 16, 2010, 05:00 PM
I had a rattan walking stick, but gave it to a friend, and all I see now online are expensive, and decorative.Where did all the simple stained and burnt and just plain sticks go?We have a big supply of chokecherry branches just south of where I live that make great walking sticks (that can also be used for protection). Chokecherry is a very hard yet light wood that native Americans used around the fire for cooking because it doesn’t burn easily. Here are some I made last year next to a garden implement (on the right) for perspective.


October 20, 2010, 08:24 AM
If that doesn't fit the definition of tactical, I don't know what does. But I am glad you consider my enlistment and service with the Army "dressing up".
Ragnar, I don't think he meant you and other soldiers.

Big Bill: Very nice pic of the sticks. :)

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