Best Tactical Tomahawk Reviews
The tactical tomahawk is quickly becoming a popular choice as a multi-function tool that is adaptable to a wide range of applications from cutting and chopping, breach and extraction, to survival and defense. The ability to effectively replace several tools in a lightweight and compact device that is easy to carry and deploy is a welcome solution for campers, preppers, first responders, law enforcement and soldiers. Tomahawks also have a wicked appearance and a devastating effect when handled properly. This is a review of some of the very best tactical tomahawks of 2014.
Ultimately, each person’s unique set of requirements will dictate what the best tactical tomahawk for the money is for them. What exactly makes a tomahawk tactical? Namely, what it’s used for. One may prefer a survival tomahawk over one specialized for extraction and evasion or one built for throwing, but no matter the application, certain offerings rise above the rest in regards to quality, effectiveness and value.
The following ten tomahawks all excel at their tasks and will make a fine addition to your arsenal. It’s not easy to make a list like this in category so full of choices but we have chosen our favorites, those whose aggregate qualities make each of them a great value. Follow the link under each tactical tomahawk to see the full review, specifications, and rating for each.
* If money is no object, there are also many fine custom tactical tomahawks available and we will address those in another article. For the purpose of this list, all the tomahawks listed are readily available and non-custom made with the exception of a few user-defined options such as color or grip type.
RMJ Tactical hails from the great southern city of Chattanooga, TN and they have been at this tomahawk business for decades. In the past they made more historical versions of hawks and reproductions for camping and such, but they have changed with the times and now are one of the most respected names in police, fire, military, and tactical applications. The Shrike is their crowning achievement.
The Shrike is constructed of 4140 chrome-moly steel for its high tensile strength in material 3/8 in thick. It’s differentially heat treated meaning the material is first heat treated and the edges are then flame hardened. This means that the handle is tough and resilient while the edges are hard, to hold their sharpness.
This tactical tomahawk head has a narrow design with a wide cutting front edge transitioning into an edged back blade on the beard used for pulling and tearing. The front edge and spike are flat ground which gives them the best durability during impacts.
The spike is long and narrow and built for penetration more than cutting; this is no delicate cutting tool. It will easily piece a steel door, or heavy tire…
Hardcore Hardware may not be a name that you recognize but they have been designing and manufacturing specialized tactical tools for military, law enforcement and fire personnel in Australia for some time. Their designers work directly with field specialists to establish product parameters. Their contribution to the tomahawk arsenal is the BFT01-G and it’s a beauty.
Like the Smith & Wesson E & E, the HH tactical tomahawk is a solid heavyweight. It’s based on full-tang D2 tool steel body that comes in at 8mm or close to 3/8 in. It’s has a sleek black Teflon finish from top to bottom and with only a small logo on the head face. The head is something to behold, fronted by a 3.46 in extended beard blade edge with a modified Tanto point on the poll although I doubt that you would ever need to choke up on this for fine work.
The Tanto is narrower than many hawk points and designed to sink….deep. This feature, along with the pry tip at the end of the extra long handle makes this model better suited for extraction and general demolition than any other on the list. The manufacturer claims this will go through a brick wall given enough determination and I believe it…READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
The SOG Specialty Knife company got its start by reproducing a unique Bowie knife carried by special ops units in Vietnam. SOG quickly grew based on its high quality products, exacting workmanship and attention to detail. The company and its products are highly regarded and used by military, police, and security personnel. Since its first production knife was inspired by a Vietnam era weapon, it is no surprise that they now produce a modern version of perhaps the most unique hand carried weapon of that war, the Vietnam Tomahawk.
The SOG Tomahawk takes the original classic and improves on it, using a 420 stainless steel head, hard coated, corrosion resistant head with a 2.75 in edge. Although reminiscent of its older cousin, the F01P-K has a modified head with a flatter 3-edge pointed poll.
The combination of edge sizes and shapes makes this a very versatile tool for chopping, digging, prying and notching in addition to its obvious self-defense capabilities. An interesting addition is the checkered striking side surface which allows for accurate pounding or driving of nails or pins.
Although a good sharpening session may be required on arrival, once the SOG tactical tomahawk is sharp it has great edge retention under normal use… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
Now for the original, the Vietnam Tactical Tomahawk by American Tomahawk company. Founded in 1966 by Vietnam soldier Peter LaGana, it produced over 4000 of the original design VTAC tomahawks that were used by soldiers in the Southeast Asian theater. The company closed its doors after the war but it was reopened in 2001 by Andy Prisco and Peter LaGana. They started with the original VTAC design, apply some new technology and materials to the classic and now present a formidable tactical tool for the military and civilians. Certain units in Afghanistan (Stryker and recon units) are issued this very model for combat use.
The design hasn’t changed much since the original but this 21st century version begins with a Drop-Forged 1060 hardened steel head that is 8.25 in overall. Like its predecessor, the head is a narrow design with multiple hardened cutting edges including a 3 edge poll and a sharpened backside beard edge that allows for cutting and tearing on the backstroke.
The edge angle and hardness produces one of the toughest and most resilient edges that stands up to enormous abuse. Reports from the field are excellent on the durability of this hawk and soldiers love them…READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
There is a lot to like about the Downrange Tactical Tomahawk and let’s start with the fact that it’s made by Gerber. The Gerber Company has been around since the 1930’s and most red-blooded American boys could count a Gerber as their first pocketknife. I think I still have my first Gerber knife around somewhere. Gerber gear is made just south of Portland, Oregon (you can see them from I-5) and this tomahawk is truly American made. That should be important you. Not only that but it comes with a lifetime warranty and Gerber has been making equipment for the military for many years so they know a thing or two about tactical gear.
The Gerber Downrange Tomahawk packs a lot into its medium-ish size and weight. It’s based in a one piece 420 HC steel construction with Cerakote, a ceramic hybrid epoxy-like coating that is often used on guns or on high temperature equipment that requires a tough, impact resistant surface. The Downrange has a unique head design; it’s got a medium beard cutting edge on the front and a hammer on the poll. The only one in this bunch that uses the hammer poll, and the fact that the open head with finger grips is used as a handle for extra prying power means this hawk definitely leans toward breach and extraction.
The head cutout may reduce the weight to a detriment for chopping but I feel the added ‘handle’ more than makes up for it in overall utility. The front edge is typical of this type of hawk although a few users have complained of the brittle nature of the 420 HC… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
Benchmade Knife Company is a relative new comer on the scene but have quickly made a name for themselves as a respected custom knife and blade manufacturer. Another company out of Oregon, they are truly American made and recently put out their first tactical tomahawk. It’s a dynamic tool with a design that puts it into the breach and extraction category.
The full tang 4140 chromoly steel design of the Benchmade Killian Tomahawk is thick, at around 3/8th of an inch and has a traditional shape head with hardened edges and a 2.5 inch primary edge turning into a edged beard. With forcible entry and massive damage infliction expected, the front cutting edge has an apple seed mill bevel that is perfect for standing up to brutal use.
It’s not the best edge mill for cutting so if that is your main desire you may consider a re-mill and sharpening. The compact poll spike is great for sinking deep into material and the respectable 36.8 oz weight of this hawk will help you get maximum penetration…READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
The Condor Tool & Knife Company was founded in 1787 in Solingen, Germany. They are said to be the world’s largest, and one of the best, sword makers. It’s no secret that Germany knows steel and how to produce with it. Let’s face it, they’ve been at this game a long time. In the 1960’s, economics forced the company to relocate some of its manufacturing to Santa Ana, El Salvadore but the tooling and the training is the same apparently. At least it shows that in their Tactical Rescue Tomahawk.
You will immediately notice that this Condor Tomahawk one-piece high carbon steel is folded and welded directly into the handle. It’s 1/4 in thick, has an epoxy black powder finish and is plenty strong. The head is 7 in overall with some great features. First, the well-sharpened blade edge extends down the backside of the beard, greatly increasing the cutting area (and contributing to a great look).
At the termination of the backside blade there is a cutout to use as a nail puller or a prying point, a nice feature. On the other end, the poll is fashioned into a deep narrow spike with heavy serrations along one side. This is perfect for piercing, prying or digging and debris removal. This thing screams utility… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
The Cold Steel Company has been around since 1980 and quickly earned a reputation as a quality knife maker. In addition to knives and tomahawks they make an array of tactical and outlandish weapons, throwing stars? Sword cane? Steel-knuckled tanto trench knife? So naturally they have an offering of the tomahawk variety.
They make a Vietnam style hawk but the Cold Steel Trench Hawk Axe is their most popular offering and it’s easy to see why. It’s a long handled, lightweight, small head hawk with good looks and some interesting features. The head is made from Drop Forged 1055 Carbon steel and has a 3.5 in edge with extended beard. The bevel angle is quite steep, not made for deep cross cuts but instead, brute chopping strength.
The poll is shaped into a flattened wedge triangle point with deep, sharpened edges; excellent for piercing penetration. The differentially hardened drop forge steel head holds an edge well after a thorough sharpening and is able to withstand a tremendous amount of abuse. It’s finished in a matte black which sets it off from the slightly shiny handle. The Cold Steel weighs in at just 24 oz so it’s a capable thrower if that’s your thing… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
Columbia River Knife and Tool is another Oregon outfit that makes a unique and effective tomahawk. Custom designed by Ryan Johnson who has decades of experience and know-how, the Kangee is a smaller hawk with excellent balance and some features that make it a great combination of breach tool and self-defense weapon.
The Kangee tomahawk is a beauty, with a one piece design out of SK5 carbon steel in black powder coat. The head is heavily beveled for smooth entry and deep cuts with a sharpened top edge that transitioned into a spiked poll. This thing is lethal, the wrap around cutting edge means this thing is deadly from every angle.
For those interested in self-defense and hand to hand combat capabilities this is your match. The compact head design is excellent for chopping, piercing, breaching and more and the SK5 hardened steel holds an edge exceptionally… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE
Smith and Wesson is another big name manufacturer with a indisputable reputation that has thrown their efforts into the tomahawk game. The S & W branding on this hawk is unmistakable if a little overdone. But quality is paramount in a tool such as this and its clear immediately on handling the E & E that it’s a contender in every way.
The first thing you will notice about the Smith & Wesson Tomahawk is the weight. This is no lightweight throwing T’hawk and its 43 oz makes that perfectly clear. This thing is a monster, the full-tang design is made of a single piece of 1070 High Carbon Steel and is nearly 3/8 in thick and has a sleek satin grey finish.
The Smith and Wesson tactical tomahawk is beveled all the way around which adds some style to the look and the sharp bevels of the cutting blades (approx. 20 degrees) bring this behemoth to a sharply pointed poll on the backside and a 4 in razor sharp edge on the front.
The long edge beard is not sharp on the backside but allows you to choke up on the handle for carving or shaping while protecting your hand… READ THE COMPLETE REVIEW HERE