Tomahawks work well in the wilderness as a woods tool, capable chopping tool, and blade. In many cases, tomahawks are optimized for camping and survival, featuring a hammer on the head for hammering in nails and tent stakes. Camping tomahawks are no doubt useful tool, but in this article we are focusing on the best tactical tomahawks.
So what makes a tomahawk tactical?
While tactical tomahawks have many purposes they are purpose built for fighting. Common features include:
- A synthetic handle to reduce weight and add durability compared to traditional wooden handles, which could break, especially if you plan to throw your tomahawk.
- A spike for penetrating capability is usually featured rather than a tool like a woodcraft hatchet.
If you are trained, tomahawks can have good reach to grab and restrain your enemy, but mostly they are weapons. Throwing is an option if you are in close quarters and trained well. Tactical tomahawks are fast to use in a fight, and relatively easy to carry.
Best Tactical Tomahawks – August 2016
The SOG Tactical Tomahawk seems to be a modern take on the classic fighting tomahawk. Fiber reinforced nylon handle saves on weight and feels durable but is not high traction. With the lightweight, this does not have serious chopping power, but in order to keep the axe feeling fast in hand the company kept it light. To that end, the head has been skeletonized to cut down on weight, which comes in at 24 ounces.
The tomahawk is 15.75 inches in overall length with a 2.75 inch blade edge. The 420 stainless steel is black coated and will be rust resistant if you are in a wet environment. The SOG comes with a ballistic nylon black sheath that attaches to belt loops.
The Kershaw Siege incorporates the fact that it has multiple tools very well. Everything feels well thought out in terms of efficiency and natural placement of the tools. The skeletonized head also reduces weight, but this hawk still has heft at 31.8 ounces.
The tomahawk is black oxide coated 3CR13 steel with a riveted glass-filled nylon handle. The handle has Kershaw’s “K-Texture” pattern, which is designed to provide solid grip even in slippery wet conditions. The blade length is 4 inches and the overall length of the tomahawk is 16 inches. The full tang construction ends with a pry bar handle but also ensures the tomahawk can be thrown without worry about breaking the handle.
Cold Steel has a reputation for making great tomahawks, and the Trench Hawk builds on that reputation. The primary edge is 3.5 inches long and is on drop forged 1055 carbon steel. The trench hawk is not a small tomahawk at 19 inches long and weighing 24 ounces.
The polypropylene handle is very good at shock absorption, which lends itself to throwing as well as all the other tests that Cold Steel puts tomahawks through in the video below. Specifically, check out how capable the Trench Hawk is.
This tomahawk is longer than the others on the list, coming in at 19.27 inches and weighing 1.9 pounds, or two and a half pounds with the MOLLE compatible sheath included. The steel is 420HC, and the head of the tomahawk features a handle which reduces weight.
One word of warning, it comes dull from the factory and is marketed as a “breaching device” rather than an axe, so you will need to sharpen the edge yourself. This does feel very much like a breaching tool or a useful tool to have in your get home bag rather than a tomahawk with an emphasis on combat, but it can be a very useful tool. An example of that is the flat hammer on the head rather than a sharp spike for penetration.
The G10 handles feel robust, and will take abuse, even when thrown. In fact, the grip on the G10 handle is very solid and it works very well. So well in fact, that with the length of the tomahawk and the grip, this is not your best option if you are getting a tactical tomahawk for primarily throwing purposes.
Proudly made in the US of A and backed by Gerber’s lifetime warranty, if you want a higher quality hatchet, this will fit the bill.
Designed by Peter LaGana, this tomahawk is a no frills classic combat tomahawk design. LaGana manufactured these style of hawks for soldiers and marines in Vietnam and it is still being used in combat today in the War on Terror and being issued to troops.
This classic design features a great blade shape and a penetrating spike on the reverse end. The tomahawk is made of drop-forged 1060 steel and a “super-tough” modified nylon handle. The handle is oval shaped to improve ergonomics. The size is somewhat small, coming in slightly over a foot at 14 inches in length. The sheath is also jumpable and ready for belt style or MOLLE attachments.
If you want this style of hawk, Cold Steel makes a similar version with wooden handles at a lower price point here.