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Best Tomahawk?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by Tired_and_hungry, Aug 28, 2013.

  1. Tired_and_hungry

    Tired_and_hungry Well-Known Member

  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    For what, exactly? I mean, what will its role be?
  3. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

    Looks like you're interesed in a "tactical" hawk, it that correct? Any reason why?

    If you're not actually deploying to some place you need to break into things, get the coolest looking and cheapest that you can find or the one that costs the most for "bragging rights" or the one that is out of stock so you can save your money and tell your pals they quit making "the best" and you weren't willing to compromise.

    The whole "tactical" tomahawk phase is about over and it can't happen soon enough.
  4. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

    None of the above.

    Get a CS Rifleman's Hawk, and call it good. (Don't order from CS, though- they're cheaper elsewhere.)

  5. handyman163

    handyman163 Member

    I like my CS Pipe Hawk the best, but I also have a trailhawk. The Trail hawk is lighter, but has a much smaller cutting area than the pipe hawk. I like the pipe hawk because of the hammer on the back similar to the rifleman's hawk, but the pipe hawk is lighter then the rifleman.

    I stripped the black finish and cold blued the hawk head, and then stained the haft darker and made a leather sheath/cover for it.

    Attached Files:

  6. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    To HSO's regret, the tactical tomahawk hasn't left the scene yet, and there are more on the way every year. The market seems to be increasing as more of our soldiers come home, and LEO is made more aware of what it can do on duty.

    But the question remains - what does the OP plan? The tool is selected for what it does in meeting the needs of the tasks - not vice versa, which is how most juvenile males buy things. They see it, it looks awesomely wicked and cool, has some aura of power or evil to it, and cash trades hands.

    On the mature side of street, the adult male assesses his needs, then selects what features provide utility for tasks that satisfy the needs. What a tactical hawk can do is be light - which means you can carry it daily, but it trades off being a big chopper capable of taking down trees easily. A tac hawk has a spike, which can be used piercing, but it won't hammer, and you have to pay attention on the back stroke, just the same as hammering with the butt of a knife. The tac hawk has a fixed handle, which means it weighs more than one with a wooden handle, but it likely will never break. It also allows the tool to be used as a rolling pry bar with the spike, something a polled wood handle hawk won't do. The handle slipped thru the head protrudes and interferes.

    It's unfortunate this pattern has been labeled "tactical," when in fact it just the venerable spike hawk of yore. If you consider it a handy, light, pioneering tool when backpacking a trail in wilderness, then a lot of useful things can be done with it to make a camp more comfortable.

    If it's just another zombie slaying play toy, well, I agree. There's been too much of that. After Vietnam wound down the survival knife craze started up. Now that our time in SW Asia is winding down, I suspect the tac hawk might be the next long term craze for impulsive boys needed a testosterone fix. That doesn't mean that a good field knife wasn't needing, and it doesn't mean someone can't use a spike hawk effectively to fashion themselves a comfortable existence. But, it does mean some will hype the tool to an impulsive market who is looking for a badge of courage.

    Well, you can't buy that, although some try at the PX.

    PS, there is no "best" - that is a huge clue to it not being a tool selected to do a job, but a badge. The four hawks are entirely different with a range of features that do different things. The list of what needs to be done isn't real clear.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2013
  7. 308win

    308win Well-Known Member

    I got a SOG because I wanted it; that is all the justification I need.

    ETA: I didn't pay $65 for it;
  8. VA27

    VA27 Well-Known Member

    I like the crk&t hawk, but what I have is a cs trail hawk...and a 2hawks woodsman.
  9. .338-06

    .338-06 Well-Known Member

    Like others have said, hawks are tools and you use different tools for different things. I really wish there were more hawks with hammer than spike. That said, I do own both and have found the spike very useful for chipping ice.:p
  10. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Well-Known Member

    If I were really hellbent on getting a tomahawk, it would probably be one of them from Estwing. They seem to be getting great reviews. For the price range, it seems it's the only American made option, and it's a great old company with a great reputation and customer service to match.


    I actually own the Estwing Sportsman's axe, which at $27 is the most bang for your buck I can possibly imagine in a hatchet. It actually works well as a hatchet, and if you're looking for a "weapon," I would not want to be on the mean end of this thing. Just a little edge sharpening, and it's really one heck of a tool/weapon to be reckoned with.
    I use it around my yard all the time and I'm consistently impressed with just how deeply it can bite into wood, and just how thick of a piece it can actually chop through in a single swing.

    MICHAEL T Well-Known Member

    I just get a good bowie Knife and for get the hawk.
  12. il_10

    il_10 Well-Known Member

    I've got an RMJ tactical Shrike (it was a gift). I have to say I've found the thing really handy for camping and hunting. It's been fantastic for butchering deer, spike-to-thigh-joint and it pops right off, and the beard is a decent skinner along the spine. Still, it's more quick and easy than right.
    It's also pretty good for small kindling stuff for firebuilding, and putting holes in a fire barrel. A hatchet would be better for the kindling, though heavier to have around. I haven't found a better tool for putting holes in sheet steel yet, though.
    Would I have bought one? I don't know, but I doubt it. Have I found it nice to have around? Absolutely.
    So, consider what you need it for. The SOG has the smallest chopping profile and a strange edge angle from the handle. The CRKT would probably be the best of the bunch for putting holes in sheet metal and the like due to the edge geometry (the m48 spike looks as if it would dull quickly with a 4-way grind), but the m48 is the only one with a sharpened beard, which is pretty useful for large game. For what I use mine for? I'd go with the CRKT, or get the m48 and regrind the spike to match the CRKT or RMJ style.
  13. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    Hawks definitely have a place outdoors, our ancestors both immigrant, or aboriginal chose them over huge knives - which by the 1840's were common in trade as Sheffield was churning out "Bowie" knives in response to the huge fad they became then. Most Bowies up to the Civil War were imports, same as the survival knife craze twenty years ago, same as the tomahawk today.

    Is Estwing the best? Arguable, I get just as good service out of a cheap boy's axe I picked from wallyworld 25 years ago, and it's harder, too. I prefer it chopping roots or lathe and plaster, my Estwing is softer and gets chipped a lot more easily, I only use it on wood. Maybe that's luck of the draw, or the way it's hardened after casting.

    I'd like to see a comparison of "camp knife" to tomahawk setting up and doing chores in a primitive site. I've done enough of it for the Army, and had to with nothing more than a 4" folder. When we had an entrenching tool setting up got a lot easier, although with the load of gear they weren't much welcome.

    I know a lot of folks are sold on beating on a large knife to split wood, but in a survival situation, I'd rather use a tool made to split wood, grub rocks and roots, and use less of my energy doing it. I see that as why our forefathers carried small 4" knives for dressing game and food prep, and a hawk for the bigger camp chores. And that goes back into Europe, too, where they were common everyday tools for the majority of villagers living off the land in a cut over world. They used hatchets and hawks, not big blades that were usually the provenance of nobility. Couldn't afford them.

    The bias against hawks is exactly that - big blades are a bigger testosterone boost in the culture of modern young males.
  14. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member



    Fascine knife/Billhook?

    Estwings are forged, not cast and they are batch HTed via salt bath and oven.
  15. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    And those were common trade items? No so much. Reading the list of imports that the Hudson Bay company brought in, those were speciality tools for specific individuals. Same for the Lewis and Clark expedition, plenty of trade knives 4 and 6", not decorative specialty Bowies with all the macho engraving. Haven't seen one yet with "The Red Man's Friend" on it.

    What they got was most often was what we would now consider a cheap Ecko butcher knife. They were mostly thin flexible steel, not 3/16 or 1/4 baton masters. Which, they never did anyway. They used the typical British Navy boarding axe, which was imported because it was cheap and effective. Better than nothing at all. Slip handle, no hammer or poll. Later version had spikes and hammer polls as those became more common, and photographers got some in pictures.

    Before that, it was a flint knife and a war club, usually made from the root ball of an appropriate sized sapling.

    Venture into the true historical records with the Lewis and Clark expedition, original research being done by mountain man enthusiasts who find records of actual pioneers, and things are a bit different than the pulp fiction regurgitated in what is now called textbooks.
  16. Ohen Cepel

    Ohen Cepel Well-Known Member

    I had an American Tomahawk which I took to OEF, sold it when I got back, just wasn't my thing.

    I prefer to be able to change a handle out if needed, or to have a short and long one if I like. So, I tend to stick with the Cold Steel line. Everyone has their preference there, I like the Trailhawk the best myself.

    Eastwing also makes one now. Lots of people getting into the tac line now.
  17. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

    Make up your mind about what you are talking about.

    Your statement was:

    This is factually incorrect since the large chopping knife (by any name) is one of the most basic and universal agricultural tools.
  18. Tirod

    Tirod Well-Known Member

    A large chopping knife in tropical regions, yes. In Europe, once the fields were cleared, they used sickles and scythes. Not long straight blades - those were considered at best short swords and reserved for nobility.

    I don't think we are disagreeing on the fact that agricultural workers use blades, more the interpretation of their working shape. Since Europe was much more a feudal or fief culture with an elite heirarchy, the design of their edged tools was quickly governed by their status in life. Peons working the land didn't carry long blade for crops, if anything, the temperate climate meant they had much less need for them than those working in more tropical climes. The difference is that in temperate zones, you have vegetation that must withstand the extremes of subfreezing temperatures in winter, or comparatively harsh dry summers. The plants that survive and thrive on that are much more woody and fibrous. You wind up have more heavy stems, stick, and trees, not plants that much constantly be cut back regularly to prevent their invasion.

    Hawks, hatchets, and axes are more prevalent in temperate zones, long blades - machetes, parangs, bolos, kukris common in tropical areas. That is why the American Indian adopted the hawk to a larger degree than a 30" long blade. It was a temperate clime export to a temperate clime indigeneous people. The Europeans didn't ship over swords, they considered them war blades. They sent axes, hawks, and trade knives up to 8" - 10"

    You don't find depictions of farm workers in Europe or American Indians with long machete like blades. Those are tropical use blades largely restricted to central America, Africa, SE Asia or the Pacific Rim. They have become highly popular in modern American culture, but it's only been recently as we attempt to push back against our largely urbanized existence. What really happened in America's more primitive time is accurately documented in writings and pictures - the tomahawk is much more prevalent.
  19. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Well-Known Member

    I got a rubber tomahawk at some roadside tourist trap on an Indian reservation when I was a kid. It had a bamboo handle and was adorned with dyed chicken feathers. It sure was something else.
  20. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Well-Known Member

    I'll just chime in to mention that hawks with spikes on them can be kind of dangerous when you're chopping things. That point can come back awfully close to your face.

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