Those not familiar with tactical tomahawks may be surprised at just how effective they really are. Tomahawks are becoming a favored tool among professional soldiers (including special forces) and serious outdoorsmen. They make great survival tools which can chop, split and even whittle if need be.
The latest versions are light and versatile. They can easily attach to packs, MOLLE vests or slip inside a bug out bag. This makes them a fantastic choice for urban warfare. As a breaching and penetration tool, you simply won’t find better. In skilled hands, a tomahawk can stop nearly any man dead in his wayward tracks.
Right now, there’s a bunch of hawks on the market. Although the design is roughly the same, they are priced differently usually due to differences in steel and grip. Certainly, if you want a full tang tomahawk (and that is recommended) you can expect to pay double the price of a partial-tang.
To help separate the wheat from the chaff, here are our picks for the best tactical tomahawks of 2016:
The Best Tactical Tomahawks
|CRKT Kangee T-Hawk||13.75"|
|Browning Shock N' Awe Tomahawk||10.5"|
1055 HC Steel
|$$$||Read Our Review!|
|S & W Extraction & Evasion Tomahawk||15.9"|
1070 HC Steel
|$$$||Read Our Review!|
|Cold Steel War Hawk||19"|
1055 HC steel
|$$||Read Our Review!|
|Estwing Black Eagle||16.25"|
1070 HC Steel
Made in USA
|$$||Read Our Review!|
|SOG Tactical Tomahawk||15.75"|
420 Stainless Steel
Fast draw sheath
|$||Read Our Review!|
Tomahawk Fighting Techniques
You need to be careful when looking for genuine Tomahawk techniques. The weapon has gained renewed interest these last few years, being on TV shows like “The Walking Dead” and practically any movie with Native Americans in.
This had led many martial art instructors to grab a trainer and bolting it on to the system that they already teach. This happens a lot in FMA and RBSD. Even the “Apache Martial Arts” are not without their share of controversy and if you search “Bullshido.com” you’ll see what I mean…
So what to do? Well, my advice (FWIW) is to get comfortable with your Tomahawk. How can you expect to use it in a “Combat Situation” if you’ve never cut anything with it? Get proficient cutting wood with it. Feel how much energy it takes, how to improve your swing and how to lessen the vibration through your hand.
If you’ve bought a throwing tomahawk, practice throwing it 1000s of times. You can set up a rig with tree stumps pretty cheaply and if you scroll down there’s a video showing it in action.
It’s also vitally important to practice removing it from its sheath quickly, and with one hand if possible. Practice creating space with the other hand.
There is a good book, “The Fighting Tomahawk, Vol II: Further Studies in the Combat Use of the Early American Tomahawk” that is available.
This video demonstrates some of the concepts and techniques found in the book, too.
Tactical Tomahawk Reviews
Not all tac hawks are built fit-for-purpose. Important differences involve overall build quality, tang and weight. Generally speaking, the cheapest will be more prone to failure, particularly handle breaks. The more expensive units will be nearly invincible. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule.
Most of the tomahawks we review are made of high quality, hard steel. Not only can they be honed to a razor sharp edge, they’ll hold it over months of abuse.
We researched 6 of the best tactical tomahawks to review at a variety of price points. If you’re looking for tomahawk to practice throwing, it doesn’t make sense to buy one over $100. The chance of dinging it when you’re first starting is too high. So on our list, you’ll find reliable designs which won’t break the bank.
If we’ve missed off your personal favorite, please sure to hit the comments section and tell us!
CRKT Kangee T-Hawk Tomahawk Review
The T-Hawk is 13.75″in length and features a full-tang, SK5 carbon steel blade. This is a hard steel type that can also be sharpened without undue effort. It has a total of 4 sharpened sides (including the spike). This helps it cut its way out and prevents it from being stuck.
The Kangee is a capable chopper, outperforming many hatchets. It also has a spiked axe head. This is designed for penetration and is capable of going through materials as strong as plate armor.
The handle is built with an ultra-light synthetic material. It is both textured and contoured for optimal gripping. It also has a full tang for maximum durability and strength. Different grip positions let you make full force swings, whittle or even skin.
The T-Hawk is also very nicely balanced. It feels very natural in the hand. The head is surrounded by a sharp edge so there’s no possibility of anyone grabbing the tomahawk from you. It also comes with a Kydex sheath. It can be carried alone or attached to a belt or Molle unit.
Unfortunately, this is a newer product and there were some teething issues on the first production run relating to quality control. But CRKT have listened to their customers and improved the product.
Those that love tactical tomahawks love the function and utility of CRKT Kangee. It also looks as sharp as it cuts. You can find it online here.
Here is a great video, too.
- SK5 carbon steel blade
- Spiked axe head
- Allows different grips
- Kydex sheath & Molle compatible
- Well balanced
- QC issues in first run
Browning Shock N’ Awe Tomahawk Review
The Browning Shock N’ Awe Tomahawk is a brilliant synthesis of battle axe and outdoor utility tool. The Shock N’ Awe is designed for throwing, breaching and cutting. And like the battle axes of old, it’s designed to inflict grievous injury with minimum energy expense.
At just 10.5″, it’s short and stout. It has enough inertia that it’s a good chopper, even of larger sized trees. Made from 1055 high carbon steel with a full-tang it’s very durable, too. 1055 HC is a very hard steel type that will hold an edge even after repeatedly penetrating steel and other metals. It’ll also be right at home clearing brush and pruning branches.
The handles grip is somewhat unusual in that it is advanced nylon in a simulated chord pattern. Clearly, Browning was going for a high friction grip that would never slip from the hand. Unfortunately, they may actually have gone too far.
The grip as it is requires gloves or it will tear up your hand during long, vigorous use. This is especially true for chopping. Many people have simply placed their own paracord or grip tape on the handle and made it much more workable.
On the head’s opposite side there is a tanto blade type spike. This is actually the direction in which you want to throw the tomahawk. The wickedly sharp spike will penetrate just about anything in its path given a moderately strong throw. Wielding the Shock N’ Awe, even your grandmother could knock an armored knight from his horse.
You can watch a great video of it being thrown here (at the 2-minute mark)
The Shock ‘N Awe comes with a full blade sheath that can be attached to either a belt or a Molle unit.
Overall this is one of the best tactical hawks you can buy. The Browning Shock N’ Awe is an incredibly versatile, useful tool and an utterly lethal weapon in the same package. And it’s offered at a really great price.
- 1055 high carbon steel
- Full blade sheath
- Short and solid
- Belt attached or Molle compatible
- Large spike helps throwing
- Handle creates friction
Smith &Wesson – Extraction & Evasion Tomahawk Review
With a full-tang handle and ultra-hard 1070 steel is durable as hell, too. It’s a little harder to sharpen but will hold its edge like no other blade.
Some hawk aficionados dislike the added heft brought by the large head and full tang. This just isn’t a throwing tomahawk. It’s just too darn heavy. But the very nice trade off is that you can use the S&W for some heavy chopping. That means this nice little compact tool can serve as your main axe, whether you foray into a war zone or just the state forest.
The S&W Tomahawk also comes sharp right out of the box. It’s sharp enough to use for whittling, site clearing and pruning. But this is one of the few tomahawks available that is also right at home chopping into thicker trees.
For the price, you simply can’t get a better tomahawk. S&W has eschewed gimmicks to bring you a consummate tool for serious outdoorsmen and soldiers alike. This is a fantastic tool at a fantastic price and we highly recommended it.
- 1070 high carbon steel blade
- Full Tang
- Polyester sheath
- Kraton grip
- Great for breaching
- Sharp out of the box
- Not for throwing
Cold Steel War Hawk Axe Review
The Cold Steel War Hawk Axe is a state-of-the-art, high performer for an incredibly low price. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the War Hawk is nothing but a wicked looking ComiCon accessory. This is a field-tested mean breaching machine that excels at almost any cutting or chopping task.
The War Hawk’s blade is forged from 1055 high carbon steel and features a 3” leading edge. The opposite end of the head features a large tanto style spike. This is not merely for show. It is a serious penetration tool, rivaling any fireman’s axe in breaching potential. The blade also comes battle-ready out of the box with the main edge able to stand in for a razor.
The polypropylene handle accounts for most of the 19” total length. The handle is plain yet extremely strong and easily gripped. The War hawk is field tested for taking intense abuse. Being primarily a breach and throwing instrument, the handle is able to withstand tremendous forces despite not being full tang.
The War Axe is an extremely dangerous and effective weapon. It also comes with a protective, quick release sheath. This will protect the blade but also allow it be removed in less than a second. Vital for when you need it on hand quickly!
Like some other light tomahawks, it should be noted that the inherent limitation of lightness makes these useful only as backup for a heavy axe. While the War Hawk is great at chopping small branches it just doesn’t do as well cutting down larger trees.
Unlike the SOG Tactical on our list, this blade will rust over time. To prevent this from happening, we recommend some Tsubaki Japanese knife maintenance oil.
From whittling to campsite-clearance, door breaching to lethal-force self defense, the War Hawk has you covered.
- 19” total length
- 1055 carbon steel
- 3” primary blade edge
- Comes sharp out of box
- Throws elegantly
- Easy on/off sheath
- Heavy chopping best left to axe
Estwing Black Eagle Tomahawk Review
The Estwing Black Eagle is a full tang, tactical tomahawk that also makes a phenomenal utility tool. The sleek, black on black exterior looks great while reducing reflection.
This Estwing Tomahawk relies on a lot more than good looks alone. It’s a formidable breacher and penetrator that also serves as a go-to utility tool.
The pointed spike easily drives through concrete or brick. It can make the difference between being able to dig a trench yourself in root saturated areas or being forced to call in professionals. And in campsite clearing and bivouac infrastructure tasks, it performs admirably.
The large blade head has cutouts for weight reduction. This makes a huge difference in the 16.25” hawk, allowing it to weigh in at just 1.1 pounds. But the geometry is designed to retain almost all the strength of a solid head.
The blade itself is forged from 1055 high carbon steel and will hold an edge under jaw-dropping abuse. And even at such a light weight, the Black Eagle is competent at chopping through larger branches and even felling smaller trees.
The handle is a special shock-absorbent synthetic rubber similar to that found on high-end hammers.
This is a well-balanced field tool that’s designed primarily for everyday use, and it shows. The tomahawk can be swung very fast and can even be thrown.
You would be hard pressed to break the Black Eagle if you tried. It goes without saying that this hawk is a capable choice for a last line, close quarters combat weapon. But where it really shines is as a practical, everyday tool.
One complaint is that it could come a little sharper out of the box. But as a tool designed primarily for chopping and cutting into impenetrable surfaces like steel and concrete, it’s easy to see why it doesn’t come honed razor sharp.
Estwing has an enviable reputation for making outstanding tools. With the Black Eagle, they have produced a tomahawk that is lightweight, extremely tough with unstoppable breaching ability.
This is a purposeful tool that you can use every day. For us, we believe it’s the best survival tomahawk on the list.
You can find the latest price here.
- Full Tang
- 1055 high carbon steel
- Black nylon sheath
- 3” blade
- Made in the USA
SOG Tactical Tomahawk Review
The SOG Tactical Tomahawk is based on the hawks carried by U.S Forces in Vietnam. Fine creditionals if you’re looking for a combat tomahawk!
It is priced much lower than the Vietnam originals (if you’re lucky enough to find one!) and comparable hawks. Some aspects of its construction reflect this such as the partial tang and smaller axe head. Even given these limitations it’s remarkably durable.
The SOG Hawk is made from durable 420 stainless steel, and is 15.75″ in total with a 2.75″axe head. At just 24 oz it’s one of the lighter combat tomahawks on the market. This makes it easy to carry in a pack or on a belt.
It also comes with a quick-draw sheath. You can open it with one hand and it drops the hawk right into your hand. This allows you to go from zero to battle-stance in less than a second.
The handle is a G10-type glass reinforced nylon. This makes it both very light and very strong. Even though it doesn’t have a full tang you’d never be the wiser. The SOG is a well-balanced swinger that delivers crushing blows without a hint of weakness.
If you need to gain entry by crude means to any vehicle or building, there’s simply no stopping this hawk. The SOG will easily penetrate steel doors, cinderblock, windows and thick wood. If you’re looking for something light and reliable for your bug out bag – this is the one!
One slight drawback is the smaller than average axe head. This means in practice you probably won’t want to use this as a heavy axe replacement if you can help it. It will still cut through even large trees but it just doesn’t have the heft of a larger, heavier tool. So expect felling large trees to take more time and exertion.
All said, the Tactical Tomahawk is a fantastic bargain for a lot of capability. Whether you’re an Airborne Ranger or just an avid outdoorsmen, the SOG Tactical Tomahawk will be a worthy addition to your arsenal.
- Modified Vietnam tomahawk
- 420 stainless steel
- Glass-reinforced nylon handle
- Lightweight, just 1.5 pounds
- Quick draw sheath
- Full-swing power limited by small head