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Tomahawks- Ok so WTH am I doing? Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Non-Firearm Weapons' started by 19-3Ben, Jun 16, 2013.

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  1. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    Hey guys. I think I've decided I want a Tomahawk... or hatchet... or camp axe or.....something similar.
    I'm really conflicted. I'm hoping you can help me clear my mind.

    My b-day is coming up and a relative is giving me a gift of $100 to spend on something sharp/pointy. I think i can oblige!

    I've bene tempting myself recently with everything from a Cold Steel Trail Hawk, to an SOG Fasthawk, to the Gansfors Bruks. Oh and that other little thread going about Estwings hasn't helped one bit.

    I don't mind chipping in a little bit over the $100 gift, so let's make the max budget at around $120ish.

    What I would use it for:
    For play, I like the idea of it as a tactical tool. I can see it as a devastating CQB type weapon to keep next to the bed (in addition to firearms). Something that's got a chopping edge on one side (ie. one of the many Lagana knock-offs), and pointy on the other seems to excel in this role.

    On the other hand, my much more practical and adult self realizes that this will likely see use around the yard, trimming light branches, and like around a camp fire as well. This should really be the focus here. Something that can be a good all around camp tool, and can be carried around my property as well as go hiking. I don't think I need anything super-light, as I'm not going to hike the Appalachian Trail any time soon, but hike/camp trips of a day or two on a mountain would not be out of the question. I'm thinking something along the lines of a Cold Steel Pipe Hawk (with plenty of money left to spare for something fun like an Ontario RAT5). I like the idea of the blade on one side and hammer on the other.
    So let's think more about this job.

    I also have a Cold Steel Kukri that I really like that can serve some of the same light chopping jobs.

    I'm conflicted. I think they are really cool, I just don't know if there's one that will do the job i need all that well. (and based on what I've read, a lot of people have a problem justifying them from a practical perspective).
     
  2. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    OK, I thought about it last night.
    When I want to do real chopping, I have a real axe. If it's something thick, i have a saw. And for light chopping, i have a machete.

    Since I have these bases covered, is there actually anything that a 'hawk can do that I can't already do better?
     
  3. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    The question is, do you really want to carry an axe, a saw, and a machete with you on a hike/camping trip?

    As a tool, A tomahawk does a lot of stuff OK, but does nothing as well as a dedicated tool will do, it's like the leatherman of the edge world.

    It's too small to do serious chopping well, and a tad large for fine work......but it will do any task you ask of it..... Theres a reason the early frontiersmen Carried them.

    Hell, if weight and size are really a concern, ditch the handle and just carry the head, and if you ever need it, just find a branch and make a quick handle.

    The cold steel hawks are pretty decent and are only $30, so if you decide you don't like it, you aren't out a huge sum of money.
     
  4. Officers'Wife

    Officers'Wife Member

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    A tomahawk is more appealing to testosterone than actual duty. In my mind a medium size hatchet is far more useful as a general purpose tool easily carried. Unless you plan to go into throwing sport, of course.
     
  5. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    Traditionally, the terms "tomahawk" and "hatchet" were used interchangeably. I do agree with OW that a tool optimized for chopping instead of throwing or battle will be more useful.

    John
     
  6. Archaic Weapon

    Archaic Weapon member

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    Pathfinder School runs 2hawks tomahawks for 120 or 130, with a hammer pole. You get a belt suspended leather carrier and a snap off sheath, thick cow leather.

    Arms and Armor sell their Viking Hand Ax for something like 70. Thicker head, more weight, but its definitely better balanced than a hatchet. I own one of both, and I use both for cutting saplings and bushcraft, as well as martial arts.

    What can a tomahawk do better? I like the balance, I like the lack of weight. Don't ditch the handle if you can help it, it is a pain to make a proper replacement fit right, and chopping up a tree with just a head is a PAIN. For a self defense/combatant tool, it has the advantage over the knife in that you can choke up on it for different ranges, as well as turn it upside down, used kind of like a parry stick and punching dagger, with the head against the heel of the hand. Be sure and practice though.

    On spikes and hammer poles, some of the worst scrapes
    I've ever had came from my own spike hitting my in a clinch, or when I had to do some fast handling. Remember that it faces you and not them, and practice accordingly.
     
  7. Archaic Weapon

    Archaic Weapon member

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    I have tried the Cold Steel and the SOG, and I will say that they are better than an empty hand. I've actually been hit, and I mean hit, with a Cold Steel Rifleman hawk, and the results were underimpressive. I threw it out in the back ward to rust. The SOG I gave away to a friend who liked the Tacticool of it, and who was on a budget. If you at all intend to use it, personally, I would recommend spending the money to get a real one. Like most things, there is no comparison to lower quality items.
     
  8. M-Cameron

    M-Cameron member

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    Youre gonna have to go into a little more detail there......

    I find it hard for anyone to be hit with a tomahawk( regardless of how cheap it is) and not end up In the hospital.
     
  9. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    AW, it also sounds like you do training against others with live blades. If that's true, it automatically makes any suggestions you give suspect, because that's just crazy. Anyone who trains against others with a live blade is taking an unnecessary risk. Even using dulled training blades is dangerous- using a live blade while training with a partner would be incredibly dangerous with no additional benefit. Anyone who would do this will have nothing to say that I think is worth hearing, because they've already demonstrated they make horrible decisions.
     
  10. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    ^^^^ Oh come now. Tell us how you really feel!:D

    It looks like have some more research to do before making my decision. Thanks for the food for thought guys! I have a lot to think about.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  12. Archaic Weapon

    Archaic Weapon member

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    I may be able to get a pic of my hand on here if it's that big of a deal. Ended up with a tiny scar. A friend got a wild hair one day, and came at me with a tomahawk. I deflected it with my shield hand, not always the best reaction, but I'm still breathing. Cut a big hunk of skin and what not off the top of my hand, threw it up over my knuckles. I grabbed a practice sword and beat him with it. Flipped the stuff back over my hand, wrapped it in towel, and went about my business. Ended up healing fine, but I didn't go to a doc or anything so I wouldn't get in trouble. Been a few years.

    As to training using live blades, it's not a sport, its training. If the end goal is to be able to survive a real fight, mock it up as best you can. There is NO replacement for having the real thing coming at you. People stop treating it like a game, and get serious. Serious makes the difference. I learned some things, but I still believe that live steel should be used in practice. You are not going to be using a specialized training tool if you have to use the weapon in real life, so you should get used to using in practice. You simply cannot replace that with a blunt or a mock up, and you will not treat combat the same.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Mercy!

    There wouldn't have been anyone left to fight the war if they had taught bayonet fighting & hand-to-hand combat with bare blades like that when I went through Army Basic in 1964!!

    I think your theory is flawed in several respects.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
  14. JShirley

    JShirley Administrator Staff Member

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    I might be able to accept this, if I had ever heard any legitimate instructors suggest using live blades. I haven't.

    Using blunted steel or wooden weapons is more than dangerous enough. Using a live blade while training with an opponent is negligent. Don't suggest it here again. Ever.

    John
     
  15. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Historically,overwhelmingly, folks who were going into harms way with edged weapons trained with blunts and wasters.
    Why do you think that is?




    I take it pretty serious. I've done if for real. More than once, sadly:uhoh:.

    And you know what?
    It's rubber knives, blunts and markers for me.

    We can have this conversation again after you have been stabbed in the face a couple times.


    John: See my neck?
    Improper disengagement.

    Edit:
    The pupil-less, blind right eye is from a good old fashioned face-stabbing.
     

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  16. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Practice on a practice dummy, sure, but only the most advanced FMA practitioners I've known ever used a live blade in drills with another person and that was flow drills between masters (and not very many of those). ANYONE not an advanced master in an art is a fool to use live blades with anyone that isn't another advanced master. Anyone to suggest anyone below an advanced master level drill with another person with live blades is to be discounted out of hand.
     
  17. tubeshooter

    tubeshooter Member

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    These are the two products I got from Estwing that I said I was pleased with in the other thread a few days back.

    The hatchet is more portable of course (and the leather handle is handsome), but if I had to choose one I would go with the Camp Axe. It's a little more flexible in my opinion. You can always choke up on the handle if you want to use it in a hatchet-like fashion.


    I can't comment on tomahawks; don't own one. I think I personally am better served with the Camp Axe for my needs.
     
  18. tomrkba

    tomrkba Member

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    Tom Sotis has trained with live steel. He talks about it in his AMOK! courses. Obviously, he speaks about the benefits along with the many drawbacks :) It is not something he recommends without an extreme level of proficiency and even more trust in the other person. It is something I would certainly never do or recommend since I will never have that level of proficiency. I find the NOK trainers to be sufficient for my needs.
     
  19. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    Isn't he one of those Suarez guys?:scrutiny:

    If so, that doesn't surprise me.


    Put forth a hand and drawback a stump.
     
  20. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't think that's terribly far off from hso's comment. In both cases we have extremely high level practitioners doing it only with equally high level practitioners whom they trust at least 110%. We also have these extremely high level practitioners warning others not to do it for their own safety.

    I do feel we're getting a bit off topic from the OP though. Perhaps John, hso, or another mod could separate the training discussion comments into another thread. That way we can leave this to the tool recommendations / advice 19-3 Ben originally sought, and preserve the excellent training discussion that's developing.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    So, that means to me, they are missing on purpose, or holding back full power thrusts and slashes in practice & training & demos all the time.

    Like ballroom dancing in camo or black clothes with a knife in front of the class?


    We all know the old saying, 'You shoot like you train'.

    Do you 'knife fight like you train' too?
    By being so good you practice by pulling your punches and slashes to keep from slicing & dicing your practice partner with a real blade??

    Then how would you keep from doing the same thing in a real knife fight, when your adrenalin kicks into overdrive, and your brain slows down to slow motion?
    And you pull your punches to keep from killing the other guy??

    I just don't understand the concept??

    One has to wonder if, whoever the knife fighting instructor & his partner are, training with sharp blades, has ever been in a real knife fight lately??

    And who won without getting cut to doll rags?

    rc
     
  22. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    I have, among others, a Benchmade branded K5 hawk and one of the previously mentioned 2hawks longhunters from the pathfinder store.

    I use the benchmade as a breaching/entry tool at work. It has been used with success on a few house doors and has pried probably 50 elevator doors. In those cases, a sledge/ram or a pry bar would have been much better tools, but the hawk got the job done.

    The 2hawks is much prettier and has a good edge on it. Almost too pretty to use much, it spends most of its time in a display case.

    When I actually camp or pack something, I usually grab one of the small gransfors bruks axes. They are fairly small and lightweight but much better at chopping than the hawks I've used.
     
  23. 19-3Ben

    19-3Ben Member

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    Funny, I was actually just coming back to this to post an update, and saw your post. I appreciate it. the thread did drift, but by the time it did, I had already decided to go do a bunch of research.

    Having done that research I put in an order tonight for an Estwing Sportsman's Axe. I had looked at Husqvarna, to Wetterlings, Gansfors Bruks, etc... but in the end, for $27 delivered, the Estwing was too good a deal to pass up. Based on many many reviews, you don't get a hatchet that is nearly as sharp out of the box as some of the more pricey ones, but you get an indestructible piece that can hold a good edge once you sharpen.

    Sure i can't replace the handle on the fly like i can with a wooden handled piece, but then again, with it being one solid piece of forged steel, the likelihood of a failure seems pretty remote.

    It would be a lousy weapon compared to the 'hawks, but I came to the realization that I am just not ninja enough to worry about having to fight with a tomahawk. I have guns, pepper spray, Kabar, machete, etc... if somehow everything else that I own doesn't manage to save my hide, I doubt the tomahawk would make much difference. Better to get a good tool that will do what I will actually use it for. I'm not going to compromise the primary purpose for a slight advantage in an unlikely secondary purpose.

    Thanks for all the help guys. Looking back through years of threads, and doing research on some other forums/blogs, etc... has been a real education!
     
  24. Tolkachi Robotnik

    Tolkachi Robotnik Member

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    $1.97 cents for mine.

    Hardware store had a sale on drywall hatchets. I bought several. I can use them in some field dressing actions, especially in swage action with a mallet to get through rib or pelvic girdle.

    I do not see much utility in throwing the thing. It does have a hammer head of sorts on the other side, which matches up with the mallet or can drive nails.

    Not much compares to a full sized handle double bit axe, if you really want to limb something up.

    Hatchets are like all shorter handled edge striking tools, all have some real safety issues unless used properly and with due diligence.
     
  25. Sam Cade

    Sam Cade Member

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    If given choice in the matter, I'd pick a small Estwing handaxe over nearly any overweight "tactical" tomahawk to be used in martial conflict with hypothetical ruffians.

    [​IMG]
     

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