Historically, the Tomahawks originated from Native American Indians. These are the people who attached stone heads to wooden handles by stiff untanned leather strips, managing to jump-start a weapon-based revolution in the process. These axes have been widely used as hunting weapons or chopping equipment, which is why they’re so reliable.
A new era of the tomahawk began when the Europeans brought brass and iron processing technologies to the New World in the 16th– 17th centuries. With metal blades, the tomahawk has become a serious weapon, as well as a useful tool for construction-related tasks.
Normally, the opposite side of the blade was enhanced and offered a kind of a hammer (which was quite a useful multi-purpose tool of its time). The European craftsmen used to manufacture tomahawks and sell this popular trade item for the local tribes. As a good tomahawk was considered to be a solid gift, it was widely used to establish political relations (or confirm diplomatic treaties).
With time, the craft of tomahawks has become one of the most popular Native American artworks. An Indian warrior would always wear a tomahawk, as well as show some amazing hunting skills (and extensive agility) while using the tool. If you examine a portrait of a tribal chief, rarely will you come across an artwork without the prestigious Native displaying this item.
American tomahawks have been efficient, silent and multi functional weapons. Not only were they were used in a close combat, but they could also be thrown at your enemies from a reasonable distance. That is probably why the art of tomahawk fighting is still popular nowadays. Since the axe is also an effective multi-purpose tool, you can find plenty of tactical tomahawks that are in different categories.
As an axe or a hatchet is not designed for military or tactical uses, it is important to understand the differences between the types of tomahawks you may encounter. This is necessary, in order to choose the one which will meet your needs. That’ s why we have decided to compile a list of top five combat tomahawks, because it should make your search easier (and much less stressful). We’ve read through dozens of customer reviews as a way to check out the specific features of each model, so we hope you will find this article useful when searching for the best combat tomahawk.
Choosing the Best (Combat) Tomahawk
When preparing your bug out bag for your next camping or hiking trip, make sure you add a combat tomahawk to your gear list. The first thing to consider when looking for this type of equipment, is the purpose that you plan on using it for. Obviously, a combat tomahawk which will be primarily applied as a self-defense tool, and will have different features than the one used for chopping or breaching.
Be smart with your money and read up on specific products a little bit before hand! Make sure you pay attention to the following features when choosing the best tomahawk for combat scenarios:
1. Handle Length
While a longer handle will provide you with more force for tasks like chopping trees or piercing tough materials (heavy plastic, metal, Kevlar), the shorter handle will offer better precision and accurateness to your moves.
When it comes to combat situations, it is recommended to have a tomahawk with a shorter handle. This is to ensure you’re capable of throwing at longer distances, as well as allows for a more comfortable operation in close-range self-defense scenarios.
Another advantage of a short handle is compactness and smaller weight, which are an absolute must if you have to cover long distances in one of your combat situations.
2. Rear Side
Also known as the pole or the butt, the back side of the tomahawk is normally flat or rounded. It provides versatile options if you need to open the door forcefully, or defeat a hanging lock quickly. However, in order to be efficient in a combat situation, the model that sports a spike is preferable.
When it comes to a close-up hand to hand scenario, a possibility of piercing or prying your enemy with a comparatively heavy weapon is quite effective. If you know how to deal with a tomahawk in a close up fight, you are sure to have an advantage over any enemy armed with a knife.
3. Cutting Edge
There are a few features characterizing the main end of your tomahawk. While a greater cutting edge length may add to the weight of your weapon, it will also allow for greater force when you swing it. This will be useful for cutting larger wood, or for any sort of emergency extraction.
On the other hand, a narrower cutting edge will ensure you pierce deeply with every hit, which can be useful if you deal with tough materials (such as body armor). For this reason, a narrow cutting edge is recommended for combat situations. This type is lightweight, and focuses on being more combat oriented than anything else.
4. Extra Options
It is important to realize that many modern tactical combat tomahawks feature additional spike options, which can provide a tactical advantage for defense and attack. Some of the fanciest handles may come with a claw, or a kind of a wedge – both of which are used for enhanced cutting or chiseling. If you work in the military, you know the importance of having a slightest tactical advantage in a combat situation. It works with the tomahawks the same. The more advanced your self-defense gear is, the better your chances are of being successful in battle (or throughout survival scenarios).
The Benefits of Having the Best (Combat) Tomahawk
While tomahawks are normally subdivided into three main categories (those being: throwing, breaching, and tactical), the best item for combat would obviously belong to the tactical type. These are the ones designed to be used for self-defense and other fighting situations.
With a good combat tomahawk, you will have the following benefits:
1. Slice and Chop
With the sharp main blade, you can cause a serious damage to your opponents (as long as they are within the reach of your tomahawk). A smaller blade can penetrate soft tissues deep enough to either cause a serious wound or even kill your enemy.
For those practicing self-defense with the help of a tomahawk, it is recommended to take special courses that each you about the human anatomy. This is to know the exact body areas you should be targeting – but it should only be used for self-defense (and nothing else). Stopping an enemy by being non-fatal does make the difference, so you need to learn the ropes.
2. Throwing Distance
It is always better to stop an enemy before you get into a close-up fight. The tomahawk can be thrown at a comparatively long distance with precision, provided that you’ve practiced in abundance. However, it is important not to overestimate yourself, as swinging a few pounds of steel may require training your ligaments and tendons thoroughly.
Top 5 Best (Combat) Tomahawks
Yes4all Outdoor Camping Hunting Steel Axe
This 15-inch survival/combat steel tomahawk features a nylon cord handle, which is really easy and comfortable to grab or pull. This model features a case for storing with a Velcro fastening, which is actually really efficient.
The durable and very sharp piercing spike point can be used for all sorts of things, such as cutting wood or climbing trees. The main blade (3-5/8 inch) is broad enough to cope with most cutting and chopping tasks as well. The model has a nice weight (around 23 ounces) to hammer with, and you don’t want the tomahawk to be too heavy.
It’s a little heavier than most, but it’s still perfect for most activities. It is made of stainless steel with anti-corrosion black finish, which adds a smooth look to the tomahawk itself.
Many reviewers would recommend it as a nice gear for hiking, hunting, fishing, etc. ShettyBrain stated: “I actually thought it would be heavier, but looks like the idea with cut-in holes worked well!”. Wayfinder added: “It’ s a great emergency tool, as well as a nice throwing axe. It’ s a really well-balanced item”.
Most of the critical reviewers were complaining about the paracord handle, which would sometimes put the hurt on your hands. However, it doesn’t take much to redesign the handle and wrap it in a more comfortable material.
United Cutlery UC 2836 M48 Ranger
If you think a well-crafted fixed blade knife is the only camping tool you need, think again. With an overall length of fifteen and a half inches (and the axe head measuring in at eight inches), the Ranger UC2836M48 by United Cutlery is the ultimate tactical and survival tool.
The head of this axe is made of stainless steel and features a wide structure that is perfect for chopping, slashing, and cutting.
The blade of this tomahawk also features a large spike at its end, one that is ideal for use as personal defense (and a breaching tool). Although this model is a low-grade steel type for a decent knife, it suits the hefty build of this axe head quite well. The handle of this axe is composed of a green fiberglass reinforced nylon, wrapped with black paracord for added texture.
This model has received many positive comments from reviewers such as “a great tactical gear” or “a superior ‘ hawk for all kinds of outdoor experiences”.
The only drawback we’ve noticed is that some clients had their handles broken after a few days of use. For this reason, we would recommend contacting the UC’s support line (as the company provides an excellent 24/7 customer service!).
Smith and Wesson SW671
This robustly designed tomahawk (by the well-known brand Smith and Wesson) features an axe with an overall length under 16 inches; as well as a weight of about two pounds and ten ounces. It is made of 1075 carbon steel, while the handle has removable rubberized polymer grips (fixed by four hex-head screws on each side).
This tomahawk features the blade length of about 3.9 inches and the handle length of 10 inches. This particular model also comes with a black polyester belt case and has a demolition spike on the tail end of the blade.
Most reviewers consider this item to be a perfect combat hawk, as it offers up ‘a great weight and is easy to maneuver in a close-up fight’ . Juan Colorado stated: “Although it is not a camp axe, it still looks like it can deal with lots of tactical tasks pretty well!”. Zane added “That’s probably the most reliable tomahawk you will find at this price. Trust me, the higher in quality you go, the pricier they get”.
The only thing many customers (and we) did not quite like about this model, is its weight. It will definitely be too heavy for a 3-5 day mountain hike, but it should be perfect for a day trek. When it comes to combat situations, this is pretty much the most reliable tomahawk you could go about purchasing.
Cold Steel Trench Hawk Axe
This model features an overall length of 19 inches and a polypropylene handle, which is fastened to the metal blade with two bolts on each side. The top of the tomahawk is eight and three-quarters inches wide, and the actual cutting surface is three and a half inches. The total weight makes up 24 ounces. The steel is 1055 hardened carbon which offers a pretty decent quality and durability.
When it comes to chopping wood, it deals with the task perfectly. However, you should remember that the model hasn’t been designed for that specific task. The spike of the blade is thin and sharp, so with the power generated by 19 inches handle, it can cut through an entire piece of wood with ease. This generally means it will deal with all kinds of combat situations in the perfect sense, something a lot of shoppers are looking for.
Many reviewers have called this model “one of the most coveted around”. Michael Birch states: “I am reasonably sure this ‘hawk would make a perfect fighting or throwing axe for all sorts of combat situations. It’s one of the most durable, as well as sharpest, tomahawks I’ve ever used!”.
The only real flaw of this model is the sheath, which is made of hard plastic (with no belt loop). Obviously, if you plan to use it often, you’ ll need to buy a more advanced sheath – but it’s probably okay for beginners.
SOG Specialty Knives F01TN-CP Tactical Tomahawk
This tactical tomahawk is a perfect combat weapon for many different reasons. It sports a length of fifteen and three-quarter inches, as well a weight of about 24 ounces. This makse it a comfy selection, but one that is heavy enough for all kinds of breaching and extraction (among other things).
The blade is comparatively small and features only two and three-quarter inches of the cutting surface. The handle is made of ballistic nylon, which is a virtually indestructible, all-weather synthetic substance.
The handle is joined with a blade through the help of two bolts and a metal collar, this is there for extra security. The back spike is durable enough to break up bricks or bones, which makes it a great feature for self-defense (and construction); although it is made of 420 stainless steel, which is a less expensive material. However, that doesn’t influence the general performance of this model, so it shouldn’t be held too high in regard.
Most reviewers had nothing but positive things to say about this particluar model, and that’s due to many different reasons. One person (going under the persona “Superhunter26”) stated that: “This tomahawk hasn’t let me down. Not even once!”.
I guess that just solidifies the reliability of this product!
The only imperfection we’ve found about this model, is that the handle may be slippery; especially if you grab it in the heavy rain. For this reason alone, some additional wrapping may be a solution. Just look at it as a chance to customize your tomahawk, and nothing more!
If you ever opt for a combat tomahawk, you’re going to want the most reliable option on the market (and for your needs). This type of tomahawk is the lightest you’re ever going to find, especially since others aren’t built with weight in mind.
As for the survival purposes, the combat tomahawk is more similar to a knife (due to the thin blade it uses). Not only are they perfect for combat use, but they can even allow you to chop up wood (and other survival-related processes like that). Versatility is ideal, and combat tomahawks definitely have that.
If you manage to practice and perfect your tomahawk skills, there’s nobody around that will be able to challenge you in close combat. It’s just that simple! Unlike a hatchet, a good tomahawk is throw able and easier to use. Not only that, but it’s also equipped with a longer handle, and provides additional leverage for chopping.
As long as you’ re walking in the woods and there’ s no one trying to kill you, the hatchet (with its wider cheeks) is probably a better option for chopping and splitting wood. However, when it comes to self-defense (or a close-course combat, survival and even a rescue situation), finding a good and reliable tomahawk just may give you the upper-hand you so desperately need.