"Tactical" Tomahawks... some questions

breamfisherbreamfisher Senior MemberPosts: 13,103 Senior Member
Saw a SOG 'hawk at Walmart the other day, and it got me thinking....

1. What's the difference between one of these and a hatchet from a functionality standpoint? I realize some have the underside of the blade sharpened for sweeping moves, but the overall blade length is shorter than a hatchet. Is this done for a purpose?
2. How useful are they really?
3. What can they do that a hatchet can't do?

Explain them to me, please.
Overkill is underrated.
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Replies

  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,618 Senior Member
    Usually longer handled than a typical hatchet. Lighter weighted at times as well. Have a spike or "hammer" on the back side.

    Some are absolutely awesome looking! I keep fighting the urge to buy one because they serve absolutely zero purpose for me. I'm more likely to use a knife than a Tomahawk.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,653 Senior Member
    They might good to have in your off hand in a knife fight, although my personal preference would be a .45.
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,041 Senior Member
    I was very heavily into martial arts in 1992 when The Last of the Mohicans came out. It had us contemplating tomahawks for a while. . .

    A wood-cutting hatchet is going to be heavier. The idea is that all that momentum goes into the wood, creating a deeper cut.

    A fighting tomahawk will be lighter so that it is easier to change direction with. The head will be longer so that you can bury it deeply into your opponent's innards.

    It was a decent compromise tool for field situations where you needed to strip your kit down to your flintlock, scalping knife, and barest provisions. You can drive a tent peg or nail with the back of it, and use it as a hatchet with only a little more work than with the real thing. In combat, you probably only have to hit somebody once with one to make them stop whatever it was they were doing. Given repeating firearms, I'd re-prioritize.
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • bullsi1911bullsi1911 Moderator Posts: 9,729 Senior Member

    Explain them to me, please.

    They look cool.

    That's about it... and yes- I have one of the SOG hawks.
    To make something simple is a thousand times more difficult than to make something complex.
    -Mikhail Kalashnikov
  • Big ChiefBig Chief Senior Member Posts: 32,995 Senior Member
    bullsi1911 wrote: »
    They look cool.

    That's about it... and yes- I have one of the SOG hawks.

    White boys (idy of) with Tomahawks scare me worse than Injins would fer some reason :yikes::yikes::tooth:

    Especially large white boys like Buford, Jerm and bullsi, I don't know about Bigslug??

    Cause it just wouldn't be right/look natural and who knows what they are liable to do with one.
    It's only true if it's on this forum where opinions are facts and facts are opinions
    Words of wisdom from Big Chief: Flush twice, it's a long way to the Mess Hall
    I'd rather have my sister work in a whorehouse than own another Taurus!
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,533 Senior Member
    I have one on my pack. It is not a compromise anything. It isn't a taticool one, but a trail hawk.

    It is a lot more efficient than a hatchet for anything you should be using a hatchet for at less then 50% of the weight, which is basically trimming branches from poles, cutting small (2" dia) poles, splitting 2-3" wood for a fire and skinning the heartwood for tinder. With a hawk, its the fulcrum where the power comes from, not head weight. You can also remove the head from a real hawk and use it for a splitting wedge. I am going to field dress this years deer with it, just because I think I can.

    On our 107 mile canoe trip, on a cold rainy day, we landed, I found a down branch, lopped off 3, 5' long 1' branches, sharped both ends and had a tarp lean to up in less than 10 min from the start covering my gear and me so that I could access my pack without getting everything inside wet. One of the guys who thought I was a bit off saw me do that and said "I guess that thing works pretty well". There is a reason that they have been around since before Charlemagne, they work.


    As to the tacticool ones? I think they should stay on the junk for mall ninja's catalog pages. However, tomahawks were used in VN and some of the troops are carrying them in Afghanistan, so I guess they work also but if you want one, spend enough so it isnt a pot metal one with dragons on it. The franciscas were throwing axes, and tomahawks can be projectile weapons also.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
  • Fat BillyFat Billy Senior Member Posts: 1,813 Senior Member
    A strong swipe with a tomahawk will keep a bad guy off you till you can get to your 1911. A big tomahawk wound can't be fixed with piece of ducktape. :nono: Later,
    Fat Billy

    Recoil is how you know primer ignition is complete.
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,618 Senior Member
    Fat Billy wrote: »
    A strong swipe with a tomahawk will keep a bad guy off you till you can get to your 1911. A big tomahawk wound can't be fixed with piece of ducktape. :nono: Later,

    So tell me this........how is it you had a Tomahawk in your hands and not a 1911 in the first place? If it wasn't in your hands, why would you reach for it first instead of the 1911?

    And a Louisville Slugger to the head would keep him off as well.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • JermanatorJermanator Senior Member Posts: 15,222 Senior Member
    Silly. You use the tomahawk if your PT1911 jams.
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 10,930 Senior Member
    I can't think of a good reason to get one, they are only like 25-30$, being cheap I guess. I think it might be good to throw in the truck, dispatch a hit deer or other critter, tool for a car wreck rescue, emergency use in remote areas. The other thing is, the boys would want to throw it at stuff to make it stick, cons out weigh the pros.
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,058 Senior Member
    Zee wrote: »
    So tell me this........how is it you had a Tomahawk in your hands and not a 1911 in the first place? If it wasn't in your hands, why would you reach for it first instead of the 1911?

    And a Louisville Slugger to the head would keep him off as well.

    Silly man! He was obviously chopping a limb when he was accosted...Geez....
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • JayhawkerJayhawker Moderator Posts: 15,058 Senior Member
    CHIRO1989 wrote: »
    I can't think of a good reason to get one, they are only like 25-30$, being cheap I guess. I think it might be good to throw in the truck, dispatch a hit deer or other critter, tool for a car wreck rescue, emergency use in remote areas. The other thing is, the boys would want to throw it at stuff to make it stick, cons out weigh the pros.

    Lemme tell you a story....back in the late70's early 80's I was into the buckskinning scene very heavily. Consequently there WAS a tomahawk in my International Scout the night I hit a little forkhorn buck while I was on my way to work. So I grab my 'hawk and jump out of the truck to administer the coup de grace.....I grab him by the antler and wind up....he gets up...that's when the fight started. We're out in the middle of the road, I'm hackin and slashin, he's pokin, jabbin and kickin....and he's wearing my butt out. It's only when I let him go and he went bouncing off into the pasture, that I notice the line of cars that have stopped to watch the show....Moral of this story....there's a reason they invented guns...
    Sharps Model 1874 - "The rifle that made the west safe for Winchester"
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,618 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Lemme tell you a story....back in the late70's early 80's I was into the buckskinning scene very heavily. Consequently there WAS a tomahawk in my International Scout the night I hit a little forkhorn buck while I was on my way to work. So I grab my 'hawk and jump out of the truck to administer the coup de grace.....I grab him by the antler and wind up....he gets up...that's when the fight started. We're out in the middle of the road, I'm hackin and slashin, he's pokin, jabbin and kickin....and he's wearing my butt out. It's only when I let him go and he went bouncing off into the pasture, that I notice the line of cars that have stopped to watch the show....Moral of this story....there's a reason they invented guns...

    Should have grabbed that 1911 instead of the Tomahawk.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,618 Senior Member
    Don't get me wrong......Tomahawks just about peg the CDI meter and I want one bad to put on my kit. But.................I know it will sit on that kit for years getting lugged around and be nothing but added weight defientely carried because it LOOKS cool. I'm past the point of carrying gear because it looks cool.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • gatorgator Senior Member Posts: 1,689 Senior Member
    I also have one of the SOG hawks and have no good use for the thing, to tell ya the truth I use it more as a back scratcher (with the sheath on) than for anything else.

    In the Mule I carry my old roofing hatchet, blade on one end and hammer head on the other, I find it much more useful.

    Might come in handy when the ammo is all gone and the zombies are still coming :jester:

    001.jpg
    USMC 80-84
    -96 lbs
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,559 Senior Member
    This goes to show how much schools have changed in the last 25 years. Our first 'required' project in machine shop my freshman year was a throwing tomahawk......

    looked like this one.....

    statechamp.jpg
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • BigslugBigslug Senior Member Posts: 7,041 Senior Member
    I'm not too crazy about the tomahawks with the pointy back end. I'm pretty sure the idea there is to increase the likelihood of sticking something if it were thrown. Never been much for the notion of throwing away a perfectly good weapon, and it gets rid of the hammer option that the frontier 'hawks give.

    But having played with them, I never got too crazy about the notion of hatchets as CQB weapons anyway - even the light ones tend to take more arm strength than I've got to be good with. Now KNIVES are another story; I had fun training with knives. . .

    Dangit! Now I wanna watch LOTM again!
    WWJMBD?

    "Nothing is safe from stupid." - Zee
  • ZeeZee Senior Member Posts: 20,618 Senior Member
    Yes, knives I'm fond of. Those have a use.
    "To Hell with efficiency, it's performance we want!" - Elmer Keith
  • 5280 shooter II5280 shooter II Senior Member Posts: 3,923 Senior Member
    Remember the history!

    A Tomahawk is just a light hatchet........it's a hand axe, and a pretty poor one at that if it's too light like the "tactical" ones meant for throwing......for utility see Mr. Stanley.........like a good hand sledge, you need weight on the head. A tactical tomahawk it nothing more than a swinging knife.........it'll have it's uses, but so does a Machete or a Katana sword.

    It's easier to swing and hack with an axe VS the training it take to wield a 7" K-Bar knife............if you know how to wield a fighting knife, you are one deadly SOB! It's not just stabbing and swinging, you have to know how to parry........basically the Marine K-Bar is the modern version of the Roman Gladius sword. Gurkha knives are somewhere between a knife and a machete.........go figure that machetes are farming tool like nun-chuka (nun-chucks were designed as rice threshers originally) and a Katana was originally built as a gardening tool on plantations to hack encroaching bamboo...........bamboo is a grass, like a weed it takes hold and overgrows like Kudzu in the SE areas of the states.
    God show's mercy on drunks and dumb animals.........two outa three ain't a bad score!
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,103 Senior Member
    Now ponder this: which would probably be more useful: a 'hawk or a kukri?
    Overkill is underrated.
  • tennmiketennmike Senior Member Posts: 26,106 Senior Member
    I have an Estwing carpenter's hatchet that's right handy in the woods. Wider blade and more weight than the roofer's hatchet. It works pretty good for trimming limbs and small saplings. The hammer head on the other end was handy for tent pegs when I went camping.
    If the U.S. Congress was put in charge of the Sahara Desert, there would be a shortage of sand in under six months.



  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    I have the Wife's Grandfather's old carpenter's hatchet (the kind with a hammerhead on one end), as well as several large knives. I have used the knives to good effect clearing brush, and prepping campfire kindling, and even once to cut into a camp steak.

    I have never used the hatchet; in fact it hangs on my shop wall right where it got hung when he passed.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • SlanteyedshootistSlanteyedshootist Senior Member Posts: 3,947 Senior Member
    I have knives, including a Cold Steel folding Kukri, a katana and a tomahawk. Must be an Asian fetish. I just like sharp objects.

    As far as using a hawk to give time to pull out my 1911 or sub for a malfunctioning PT1911, nah, I'll just shake my 24/7.:yikes:
    The answer to 1984 is 1776
  • jbp-ohiojbp-ohio Senior Member Posts: 9,559 Senior Member
    cpj wrote: »
    I want that.
    I love my Gerber hatchet. It was the shortest handle model. I said was, because I broke the handle. It now sits on top of an Eastwing hammer handle, one that I lopped the hammer head off of. I welded the hatchet head to it. It's mo bettah with the longer handle.
    I got to throw some hawks at our fall festival last Saturday. Made one, too. The guy had forges set up ona flat bed trailer, and had the hawks started. Basically had the hole for the handle done. They helped you beat em into shape.
    Mine turned out...poorly. It was a rushed deal, and we were trying to get a bunch of kids run through. I think I can heat it and straighten it, then file it pretty.

    I took mine to the creek to trim some tree limbs to make a few more fishing spots were I could cast and fight a fish. Got done and stuck it in a small tree. Fished till dark and started home. I remembered it as I was walking out but didn't worry, I fished near every day. I would get it later. Well it rained...... for three days. Still no worries, I can clean a little rust off of it.

    Finally went back and the whole bank and tree had washed out. Never saw it again....
    "The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." Thomas Jefferson
  • LMLarsenLMLarsen Senior Member Posts: 8,337 Senior Member
    As far as using a hawk to give time to pull out my 1911 or sub for a malfunctioning PT1911, nah, I'll just shake my 24/7.:yikes:

    I see what ya done there.
    “A gun is a tool, no better or no worse than any other tool: an axe, a shovel or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that.”

    NRA Endowment Member
  • CHIRO1989CHIRO1989 Senior Member Posts: 10,930 Senior Member
    Jayhawker wrote: »
    Lemme tell you a story....back in the late70's early 80's I was into the buckskinning scene very heavily. Consequently there WAS a tomahawk in my International Scout the night I hit a little forkhorn buck while I was on my way to work. So I grab my 'hawk and jump out of the truck to administer the coup de grace.....I grab him by the antler and wind up....he gets up...that's when the fight started. We're out in the middle of the road, I'm hackin and slashin, he's pokin, jabbin and kickin....and he's wearing my butt out. It's only when I let him go and he went bouncing off into the pasture, that I notice the line of cars that have stopped to watch the show....Moral of this story....there's a reason they invented guns...

    In city limits or out of city limits dictates the method of dispatch, you should have poked his eye or kicked his butt first before you asked him to dance:deadhorse::tooth:
    I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn away from their ways and live. Eze 33:11
  • gatorgator Senior Member Posts: 1,689 Senior Member
    I guess I should have called the one I carry in the Mule a carpenters (not a roofers) hatchet.

    Looks like this one

    http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31B4V1ZB55L.jpg
    USMC 80-84
    -96 lbs
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    Sure wish I knew how to take and post photos. I have 3-4 that are replicated from originals used by both woodsmen and Indians in the last half of the 1700's. I think any of them would be highly effective in close-in combat which I've never experienced and hope never will! I knew and worked with several advanced recon Marines shortly after the 'Nam War, and one told me in confidence and, I would think, from experience that the quickest and quietest way to kill an opponent was with a tomahawk blow to the kidneys.
  • TeachTeach Senior Member Posts: 18,425 Senior Member
    A small hatchet, filed to a sharp edge and then honed even sharper, is a tool I use when field dressing deer. It's carried on the 4-wheeler I use to bring 'em back to the barn for skinning. Getting the gut trimmed out from between the hams is a LOT easier if the pelvis is split, and that razor-sharp hatchet is just the thing to get that little job done. If you're not good at hitting the exact spot, just place the blade where it needs to go and hit the back of the blade with a rock. Works every time!
    Jerry
    Hide and wail in terror, Eloi- - - -We Morlocks are on the hunt!
    ASK-HOLE Someone who asks for advice and always does something opposite
  • VarmintmistVarmintmist Senior Member Posts: 6,533 Senior Member
    http://www.coldsteel.com/Product/90TH/TRAIL_HAWK.aspx

    90TH_1.jpg

    This is the one I have. First thing I did was pull the set screw out, its a friction fit just like a pick so the set screw is redundant. Second was to wrap about 15 feet of duct tape just under the head. Duct tape will stay there until I need duct tape like a hole in the tent.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pvv97vPLHk
    This guy is into it pretty far. He has a great vid on the canadian cinch knot, its a wonderful thing.
    It's boring, and your lack of creativity knows no bounds.
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