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The 20 Best Tactical Tomahawks You Can Buy

By October 23, 2020 No Comments
20 of The Best Tactical Tomahawks

Sure, it’s easy enough to be derisive of the need for a tomahawk. I mean, it’s a freaking tomahawk after all. But the moment you realize the entire breadth of what a tomahawk may be useful for, that nagging “you don’t need that” whisper in your mind will quickly melt away. 

So what can you expect from a modern tactical tomahawk? Sometimes referred to as a tomahawk axe, these capable tools have had a high-tech transformation in recent years. The end result is the blending of space-age materials and manufacturing techniques that have produced versatile, effective, and durable cutting and chopping machines that you can deploy for a wide variety of field and at-home uses. No, it won’t replace your trusty EDC pocket knife, but the best tomahawks from brands like CRKT, Gerber, SOG, Benchmade, and others will give you the tool you need in a dangerous or downright fraught circumstance. The way things have been going in 2020, and increasing civil unrest pretty much baked into the coming decades (thanks to climate change), you might find yourself in need of a capable tomahawk more than you thought. 

I’ve done a deep dive on dozens of the best tactical, combat, and throwing tomahawks available on the market, and here are the twenty best and why I think each one deserves to be on this list. 

1. Spyderco Warrior Hawk Hatchet

When it comes to evaluating the efficacy, quality, and all-around awesomeness of a tactical tomahawk, the first thing you want to consider is the brand. Does the company that made this tomahawk have a reputation for excellence in producing steel products. In this case, Spyderco is one of the better-known brands in the world of high-quality knives and blades. They’ve been around since 1976, and I’ve featured many of Spyderco’s knives in previous articles.

The WarrioHawk Hatchet tomahawk is a product that is the end-result of thinking about the real-world application of this type of tactical tool. Designed by Laci Szabo, whose own military and law enforcement experience went into creating this tomahawk, the Warrior Hawk was made to be extremely reliable and perform in multiple roles. From simple utilitarian cutting to breaching a door or close-quarters combat, this multi-application tomahawk can handle it all.

Key Features

  • Ergonomically curved handle for maximum torque delivery
  • The blade is corrosion resistant due to the titanium carbonitride coating
  • Both edges are zero-ground for superior edge geometry
  • Multi-purpose spike capable of puncturing tires, fuel tanks and can serve as a Halligan tool for breaching operations
  • Full-tang construction
  • 3-D machined G-10 scales for excellent grip
  • Comes with a high-quality sheath and zippered pouch for long-term storage
  • Kills zombies good

Specifications

  • Length: 13.68″
  • Blade length: 5.85″
  • Edge length: 2.17″
  • Steel: D2
  • Weight: 28.5 oz
  • Blade thickness: 0.307″
  • Grind: Flat

2. SOG - Voodoo Hawk Mini

SOG - Voodoo Hawk Mini

This pint-sized tomahawk from SOG is what you get when you combine a full-sized tomahawk and combine it with the speed and agility of a small axe. Lightweight and with plenty of cutting and chopping capability, this tomahawk is great for use in spaces that don’t allow for a lot of swinging room. The extended cutting head features an extraordinarily sharp and think blade along with a spike on the opposite side for piercing applications. This small but capable tomahawk makes for a very useful companion the next time you go camping, hiking, or hunting.

Key Features

  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle
  • Nylon carry sheath
  • Also kills zombies

Specifications

  • Length: 12.5″
  • Blade length: 2.75″
  • Edge type: Straight
  • Weight: 23.1 oz
  • Blade steel: 3Cr13MoV

3. Gerber Legendary Blades Downrange Tomahawk

Gerber Legendary Blades Downrange Tomahawk

If I were living in a post-apocalyptic hellscape as a result of some global pandemic (wait, am I?), chased by ravenous cannibals and roving bands of psychopaths, this is the tactical tomahawk I’d want at my side. Of course, it has its other uses as well. It was developed by Gerber to provide power and simplicity and deliver it when you need it. No moving parts, nothing to get jammed, just an incredibly solid tomahawk with an integrated hammerhead and a pry bar. Need to chop through some thick brush as you make your way to your next waypoint? No problem. How about smashing through some drywall or poorly positioned door in your way? Yup, the Downrange Tomahawk can make quick work of those as well. The third tool it can easily turn into is a capable pry bar for situations where you need to enact some much-needed leverage upon a stubborn object.

Key Features

  • 3-in-one tool (chopping, hammering, prying)
  • Ax head functions as a hammer
  • Pry-bar
  • Unique shaped Gerber ax head
  • G-10 scales on the handle for added grip
  • 420HC steel body with Cerakote
  • MOLLE-compatible sheath
  • Made in the USA
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Quickly disposes of zombies
  • Lanyard hole on the handle
  • Nail puller on the handle

Specifications

  • Length: 19.27″
  • Weight: 1.9 lbs

4. Tops Knives - VI AX

Tops Knives - VI AX

Expensive is as expensive does. Isn’t that the saying that is used to justify the price of something? Ok, maybe not. But there’s a general correlation between what a thing costs and how good you can expect it to be. That’s true of this tomahawk axe that any Viking would be proud to wield. In fact, that’s the inspiration behind this combat tomahawk, whose look and feel is a not-so-subtle expression of aggressive deterrence. Made from a solid 1075 steel slab, this tomahawk features a large 5.25″ blade with incredible sharpness.

Camping, hiking, breaching the occasional enemy door? The VI AX is more than capable of all those tasks, and with such a capable blade at your hands, you’ll know you can trust this tomahawk to do the job.

Key Features

  • Spike on the back
  • Handle covered in grippy black linen Micarta
  • Comes with a black leather sheath
  • Sheath is MOLLE-compatible
  • Has no patience for zombies getting in the way

Specifications

  • Length: 15.25″
  • Blade length: 5.25″
  • Cutting edge: 2.13″
  • Secondary edge: 1.88″
  • Blade thickness: 0.31″
  • Weight: 39 oz

5. CRKT Kangee Tomahawk

When it comes to blades of all kinds, CRKT (Columbia River Knife & Tool Company) is one of my all-time favourites. When it comes to the materials and methods they use to produce their gear, they don’t mess around. Nowhere is that ethos of manufacturing excellence more present than in this Kangee tactical tomahawk. Designed to dispatch obstacles of animate and inanimate matter, this tactical tomahawk is intended for manual chopping and self-defense tasks.

With a body and blade made from SK5 carbon steel accompanied by a sharp and aggressive spike, this combat and utility tomahawk is the end-result of 30 years of tomahawk design refinement. Featuring a curved handle and a finger grip choil along the front, you’ll enjoy enhanced grip and control while making your way through any challenging outdoor or urban environment. Good for destroying anything in your path, including zombies. So don’t forget to toss it in your bug-out bag.

Key Features

  • Blade geometry optimized for cutting, splitting, chopping, or shaving
  • SK5 carbon steel construction
  • MOLLE-compatible sheath
  • Well-balanced weight throughout
  • Did I mention it cuts well through zombies? 
  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle

Specifications

  • Length: 13.75″
  • Blade length: 2.93″
  • Blade thickness: 0.23″
  • Grind: Flat
  • Weight: 1 lb 8.4 oz

6. Estwing Black Eagle Tomahawk Axe

6. Estwing Black Eagle Tomahawk Axe

Cutting, digging, breaching, trenching, excavation, destruction, mayhem, self-defense, I mean, should I go on? This full-sized tactical tomahawk from Estwing is the real deal. Well balanced with even weight distribution throughout, this tomahawk features a matte black finish and is made in the USA. Because of its finely distributed weight, it also makes for an excellent throwing tomahawk. The head features a 2.5″ beveled cutting edge and is accompanied by a 2.75″ spike on the opposite end.

Key Features

  • Made in the USA
  • One piece of steel construction
  • 7.5″ nylon rubber handle with shock reduction
  • Includes a black nylon sheath
  • It would make for a fine zombie disposal tool

Specifications

  • Length: 15.5″
  • Cutting edge: 2.5″
  • Handle length: 7.5″
  • Weight: 1 lb 13.9 oz

7. Tops Knives Hammer Hawk

Tops Knives Hammer Hawk

If you’re in the market for a tomahawk that isn’t just all about utility, then the Tops Hammer Hawk is the tomahawk you’ve been waiting for. It is the ultimate expression of looking good while using an incredibly powerful tactical tomahawk designed for a multi-purpose role. This full-tang piece of steel is not meant to be a lightweight tomahawk, but while it may lack the ultra-portability of other axes, it more than makes up for that in design and power. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to say that this is perhaps the most beautiful tomahawk you can buy.

The massive 4.5″ cutting edge is large enough to perform chopping tasks that smaller bladed tomahawks can’t handle. The handle has multiple grooves giving you plenty of grip options up to the head of the tomahawk. So if you want to look as good as this tomahawk feels in the hand while you’re doing some serious camping or use it as a capable survival tool, this is the right tomahawk for you.

Key Features

  • 4.5″ cutting edge
  • 3/8″ thick 1075 RC 56-58 steel
  • Hammer on the back end is hardened for additional durability and power
  • Comes with gorgeous 2-piece leather sheath
  • I mean, the hammer itself is probably good enough to take out a zombie right?

Specifications

  • Length: 14.5″
  • Blade length: 4.5″
  • Cutting edge: 4.5″
  • Blade thickness: 0.38″
  • Weight: 36.3 oz

8. Boker Solingen - Vox T-Hawk

Boker Solingen - Vox T-Hawk

Made from a single piece of SK5 carbon steel and coated with a corrosion-resistant powder, this simple and capable tomahawk axe from Boker features a hollow ground, something not often found on a tomahawk axe. So what does that mean exactly? A hollow-ground grind on a blade can be made incredibly thin and thus sharper than the average, in this case, tomahawk. How sharp is it? Have you ever used a straight razor? Almost all classic straight razors have a hollow-grind. Now imagine that level of sharpness on a tomahawk.

Another unique feature of this survival tomahawk is that the G-10 scales handle can be removed by unscrewing it and be replaced with a paracord handle wrapping.

Key Features

  • Includes a nylon sheath
  • Swappable handle material
  • Hollow-grind blade
  • If you’re thinking that I’m obsessed with zombies by pointing out the zombie extermination capabilities of each tomahawk, you’d be right

Specifications

  • Length: 13.98″
  • Blade thickness: 0.24″
  • Weight: 27.83 oz

9. SOG Survival Hawk SK1001-CP Tomahawk

SOG Survival Hawk SK1001-CP Tomahawk

This barbarous beast of a survival tool is perhaps the perfect survival and self-defense minded tomahawk on the market. That’s because it’s got two features that have been prioritized above all others. It’s fast, and it’s lightweight. That means it can deliver a blow faster than most other tomahawks in a dangerous situation. It also happens to include some fantastic survival features such as a reflective paracord wrapped handle, a firestarter rod, handily concealed in the handle, a nail puller, a hammering head, and, of course, a sharp multi-purpose blade. So go ahead, tote this thing around anywhere, including the backcountry. You’ll be glad you brought it along.

Key Features

  • Lightweight tomahawk
  • Nail puller with hammering head
  • Fire-starter kit
  • Paracord wrapped handle
  • Ballistic nylon carry sheath
  • An excellent zombie deterrence device

Specifications

  • Length: 12.1″
  • Blade length: 3″
  • Blade steel type: 2Cr
  • Weight: 19.5 oz
  • Edge type: Straight

10. Cold Steel Trench Hawk Axe

Cold Steel Trench Hawk Axe Tomahawk

I’m really not a fan of violence. I don’t think most people are. But sometimes, for some reason that is often beyond your control, you may find yourself in a situation where even a mid-sized tomahawk will be enough to persuade your attacker to walk away. That’s the ideal situation. For non-ideal conditions, this capable tomahawk from Cold Steel is designed for the modern warrior to wield and use as a self-defense tool. Drop-forged from 5150 carbon steel, the head of the Trench Hawk will withstand even the hardest of blows by an enemy’s attack.

Key Features

  • Makes for an excellent throwing tomahawk
  • Carbon steel 1055 construction
  • Handle material is Polypropylene
  • Hammer spike can make quick work of any obstacle
  • Zombies call this the “widow-maker” – wait, does that make any sense if they’re already technically dead?

Specifications

  • Length: 19″
  • Weight: 29 oz
  • Blade length: 3.5″

11. Hogue Knives - EX-T01 Tomahawk

Hogue Knives - EX-T01 Tomahawk

When quality construction and a priority on creating a tomahawk that can serve in both tactical and outdoor applications are combined, the result is this product from Hogue Knives. Unique amongst many tomahawks, this particular model features a skeletonized head (that means it’s hollow inside), providing superior mobility. The partial tang blade means the blade does not fully extend into the handle. Constructed from S7 steel, this air-hardened tomahawk features an excellent combination of high strength and durability. The back of the tomahawk’s head features an impact tool with two holes to accept optional spike, pry bar, and hammer attachments.

Key Features

  • Great at chopping and slashing tasks
  • Two head holes for optional attachments
  • Thick G-10 handle scales
  • Includes a G-10 sheath with powerful magnets
  • If a zombie approaches you, just show them this; they’ll know they’ve made a mistake

Specifications

  • Length: 14.125″
  • Head width: 4.75″
  • Head thickness: 0.25″
  • Blade edge: 3.125″
  • Weight: 14.2 oz

12. CRKT Jenny Wren Compact Axe

CRKT Jenny Wren Compact Axe

This compact outdoor tomahawk was made for the expressed purpose to pack a big punch in a very small package. The three-sided edge will make quick work of any branch, log, or brush that happens to be in your way. And because of its compact nature, this tomahawk can even double as a handy sharp knife in a pinch while you’re preparing your camp meal. Made from SK5 Carbon steel, the head features a curved edge for scraping while the leading edge can take on practically any slashing or cutting task thrown its way.

Key Features

  • Glass-reinforced nylon handle
  • MOLLE compatible sheath with buckle strap
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Three-edged head tomahawk
  • Blade Edge style is Plain
  • A little small for zombie killing, but in a tight bind, it will do

Specifications

  • Length: 10″
  • Blade length: 2.59″
  • Blade thickness: 0.25″
  • Weight: 1.12 lbs

13. 2Hawks - Warbeast Tomahawk

2Hawks - Warbeast Tomahawk

Knowing that this military tomahawk is located in your go-bag is enough to give you some peace of mind. Designed with a tremendous sense of craftsmanship, this tomahawk is made for maximum damage dealing. And as much as it’s a work of beauty, with obvious care and dedication infused into its making, it’s a perfect throwing tomahawk as well. The three cutting edges are quite useful when cutting through tough surfaces. Made from 6150 carbon steel, the blade has a massive twenty-five-year warranty.

Key Features

  • Paracord wrapped wooden hickory handle
  • Head is constructed out of 6150 carbon steel
  • Optional sheath
  • Hammer-polled head
  • A zombie’s worst nightmare (do zombies dream? or sleep for that matter?)

Specifications

  • Blade length: 4″
  • Secondary blade length: 1.75″
  • Length: 19″
  • Weight: 15.5 oz

14. Boker Knives Tactical Plus Tomahook Axe

Boker Knives Tactical Plus Tomahook Axe

Cleverly named and cleverly conceived, this high-quality tactical tomahawk provides two functional capabilities. There’s the long cutting blade, but because its design is influenced by the Celts, Vikings, and Native Americans, it also features a large head surface area with a large hook for prying activities. The upper part of the tomahawk head is sharpened like a chisel, while the wide-area means it can be used as a small shovel in a pinch. The back end of the axe features a rounded point that can serve as a valuable glass breaker. This Boker product is one of the best tomahawk hatchets you can buy.

Key Features

  • Recessed G10 scales on the handle
  • Almost every point of the tang is usable as some sort of tool
  • Made of SK5 Carbon steel meaning its corrosion-resistant to a high degree
  • A formidable zombie disposal apparatus 

Specifications

  • Length: 18.1″
  • Blade thickness: 0.18″
  • Weight: 28.36 oz

15. United Cutlery - M48 Liberator Infantry Tomahawk

United Cutlery - M48 Liberator Infantry Tomahawk

Soldiers of the world, take note. The Zombie threat grows. Better gear up with the M48 Liberator Infantry Tomahawk. – Well, at least that would be the rallying cry you would hear from some battle-hardened general in a sci-fi movie. And while we can all fantasize about some sort of apocalyptic zombie invasion scenario where we get to wield this tomahawk, it also has its practical uses!

This tactical tomahawk is cast from 2Cr13 stainless steel with a black oxide coating and features a gorgeous satin finish that is beautifully polished and features a stamped M48 logo. This tomahawk’s partial tang means that the injection-molded nylon handle is secured to the head by three heavy-duty metal bolts. This tomahawk even features a small knife edge on the back for an additional cutting surface.

Key Features

  • Constructed from 2Cr13 stainless steel
  • A piercing point on the back of the axe head
  • Heavy texturing on the handle for added grip
  • Comes with a TPU and nylon sheath

Specifications

  • Head size: 8.375″
  • Blade edge: 3.4″
  • Length: 15.75″

16. SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini Throwing Tomahawk

SOG Voodoo Hawk Mini Throwing Tomahawk

The Voodoo Hawk Mini from SOG is a combination of the company’s previously created tactical Tomahawk and FastHawk products. Think of it as a marriage between a very tall tomahawk and a very mini tomahawk. The result is this lightweight tool perfectly designed for many operations, not the least of which to be an incredibly accurate throwing tomahawk. It’s perfect for any outdoor adventure and makes for a useful companion for hunters, hikers, and paddlers.

The multi-purpose head is exaggerated and extended to provide both a large cutting edge and a reinforced spike to make it a perfect multi-purpose tomahawk. The compact design also means it’s easy to hold and features a rounded pommel cap intended for added grip and comfort. With a head designed for chopping, hammering and piercing, and a more than friendly low price point, I’d be tempted to get more than one of these.

Key Features

  • Satin finish head and body
  • Constructed from 3Cr13MoV steel
  • Glass-reinforced handle
  • Includes ballistic nylon carry sheath

Specifications

  • Length: 12.5″
  • Weight: 23.1 oz
  • Blade length: 2.75″
  • Blade edge: Straight
  • Sheath attachment type: Belt loop

17. Paragon War Party Tactical Tomahawk Axe

Paragon War Party Tactical Tomahawk Axe

At first, and by simply just looking at, you might think that this tomahawk belongs more in the hand of an Orc, wielding its axe on a battlefield in the Lord of the Rings, and you might be right. The brutalist design is on purpose! But what makes this tomahawk interesting is that it’s the result of a collaboration between two companies, Paragon Knives and Sakura Blade Works of Japan, who teamed up to create an exceptionally intimidating piece of hardware.

Decked out with a G-10 / Carbon fiber handle, the fit and finish of this tomahawk is simply spectacular. The D2 steel blade is covered in a durable grey coating and includes a massive cutting edge.

Key Features

  • Constructed out of D2 steel
  • Limited run
  • Includes a Kydex sheath with a belt loop attachment

Specifications

  • Length: 13″
  • Head width: 4.5″
  • Head thickness: 0.21″
  • Cutting edge: 5.875″
  • Weight: 2 lbs 6.36 oz

18. Camillus Cutlery Company Camtrax 3-in-1 Hatchet

Camillus Cutlery Company Camtrax 3-in-1 Hatchet

This ready-for-anything mid-sized tomahawk from Camillus features a blended titanium and stainless steel head and a 7″ lockbar folding saw. That adds a level of utility not commonly seen in any other tomahawk. So who is this tomahawk best suited for? With the hatchet blade, hammerhead, and saw combination, I’d say any camper that prefers to explore the unexplored would be lucky to have one of these lightweight tomahawks in their bag.

Key Features

  • 7″ Lockback folding saw (folds into the handle)
  • Glass-filled nylon handle
  • Reversible belt clip sheath for easy carrying and storage
  • Integrated bottle cap opener (always handy)
  • Lifetime warranty

Specifications

  • Length: 12″
  • Blade width: 2.75″
  • Blade grind: Scandi

19. Browning Shock N' Awe Tomahawk Knife

Browning Shock N' Awe Tomahawk Knife

This is not your daddy’s tomahawk. Made from 1055 carbon steel, this tactical tomahawk sports four novel features. First is the unusual but awesome, curved penetration spike at the end of the head that offers added power to this tomahawk’s penetration capabilities. Second is the oversized blade width at 2.75″. The third is the spiked pommel at the end of the handle, which serves as a handy glass-breaking implement. And finally is the hand-wrapped nylon paracord that snakes its way around the handle.

Key Features

  • Blade composition is made from High Carbon 1055 Tool Steel
  • Glass breaker spiked pommel
  • MOLLE attachment system

Specifications

  • Length: 10.5″
  • Blade length: 2.75″
  • Weight: 2.4 lbs

20. Red Rock RifleWorks Monolithic Tomahawk Axe

Red Rock RifleWorks Monolithic Tomahawk Axe

Super lightweight at only 1 lb and 7.44 oz, this tomahawk is an exceptional full-sized tactical tomahawk made from a single piece of chrome-moly 4140 steel. With a large head that measures 8.25″ from blade to spike, this specialized military tomahawk can take on various tasks. But where it truly excels is chopping, splitting, puncturing, and breaching. Ready for paracord wrapping, the naked handle provides ample grip while complementing the Viking look of this tomahawk.

Key Features

  • Double-beveled blade
  • The included sheath has PALS and MOLLE compatibility

Specifications

  • Length: 14.75″
  • Head thickness: 0.3″
  • Cutting edge: 2.875″
  • Weight: 1 lb. 7.44oz

The Ultimate Tomahawk Buying Guide

We’ve already done the work of showing you what we think are the best tactical tomahawks you can buy. But before you make your final purchasing decision, maybe you have some more questions about tomahawks. This handy buyers guide aims to answer your questions. 

What is a Tomahawk?

A tomahawk is a type of axe that is single-handed and relatively easy to wield for almost anyone. In the hands of experienced tomahawk handlers, it can be wielded as a fantastic outdoor multi-tool for chopping, cutting, piercing, and splitting. But modern tomahawks are often used by police, firefighters, special forces, and other military personnel as tactivcal survival tools and weapons. 

Invented by the Algonquians in early America, the tomahawk is still useful in various camping and bushcraft scenarios. Often referred to as a large hatchet, the distinction between a tomahawk and a hatchet is that tomahawks are generally purpose-built for a few tasks, are lighter, and generally a bit more expensive to procure. Modern material science has allowed tomahawks to become nearly indestructible tools of operators that use them in various roles. Some soldiers have adapted the tomahawk as a hand-to-hand close-quarters weapon of choice over the standard-issue military knife. Part of that attraction is that experienced operators have learned how to throw a tomahawk with great precision and power. 

What are the Different Types of Tomahawks

Tomahawks break down into 4 main categories: 

  • Tactical tomahawks
  • Breaching tomahawks
  • Throwing tomahawks
  • Hybrid tomahawks

Tactical Tomahawks are most often used in close-quarters combat situations and other dangerous law enforcement and military applications. But while many tomahawks are optimized for this use, they can also serve as a great multi-role tool in the great outdoors. Hikers, campers, hunters, and adventure seekers are more than happy to bring along a tomahawk in their bag as they are often lightweight and provide a great deal of value in terms of what they can do. Need to build a small shelter in an emergency? A tomahawk and help with that. Need to breach a door or glass entryway? A tomahawk can help with that also. Need to knock down some drywall or pry out some huge nails on a construction site? A tactical tomahawk can be of use there. 

Breaching Tomahawks are usually made from one giant piece of steel that runs the length of the tomahawk handle. This is known as a full-tang structure. These tomahawks are generally thought of as the toughest type of tomahawk and often come with an integrated or attached pry-bar for breaching stubborn doors. Because sometimes it’s hard to chop-down a metal door! 

Throwing Tomahawks are most commonly associated with competitions where tomahawk throwing accuracy is measured. They’re light, short but usually still sport a fairly large axe head. They’re also traditionally balanced for flight and penetration rather than for handling. And yet, both outdoor adventure enthusiasts and special forces operators often prefer throwing tomahawks for their portability, quickness, lightness, and ability to even use as a chopping knife when preparing food around the campfire.

Hybrid Tomahawks are a more modern invention and have come a long way since manufacturers first started to combine the above-mentioned tomahawk types’ various features. In short, hybrid tomahawks combine the many features of tactical, breaching, and throwing tomahawks into one formidable tool that becomes a fantastic tool for nearly any occasion.

How to Pick the Right Tomahawk?

Aside from the usual consideration of price, picking a tomahawk might seem simple. Still, with the advent of hybrid tomahawks and the now far more capable tactical tomahawk, the path to your choice has been made more difficult. Yet there are still a few key factors you should consider when choosing the tomahawk you’ll spend your money on. 

Purpose – Consider what you think you’ll use your trusty tomahawk for. Is it primarily for combat situations, or do you like to tool around at a campsite and simply cut and chop wood with a mid-sized axe? How tough or survivable do you need this tool to be? Consider all the uses that you want your tomahawk to fulfill, and that will give you an initial idea of how to choose one. 

Blade Edge – When considering the blade edge of your tomahawk, think about a few related items:

  • The total number of blade edges – most tomahawks only have one blade edge, but some hybrid and tactical tomahawks feature multiple edges.
  • Size of the edge – this will be your rough contact point with whatever you’re chopping, splitting, or cutting
  • Blade grind – just like with knives, tomahawk blade edges can come in various grinds, all serving a slightly different purpose. Grinds can be hollow, flat, convex, Scandi, or some combination thereof. You can learn more about blade grinds here

Handle – Tomahawk handles are generally associated with their length and have a few other differentiating factors. Let’s look at those:

  • Handle length – the longer the handle, the longer the tomahawk. A longer tomahawk can generate a far greater head speed at the point of contact, making it a better tool for splitting or chopping larger and more robust materials. On the other hand, short-handled tomahawks are usually prized for their speed, lightness, and ability to perform precision cutting tasks. 
  • Handle tang – How does the head connect to the handle? Is it one piece of steel that is simply wrapped by a different material? Full-tang tomahawks have more durability than partial tang ones that rely on bolts or glue to connect to the head. 
  • Handle grip – Some tomahawks are wrapped in specialized materials like G-10 scales or paracord designed to improve grip and shock absorption. 

Head Material – Not all tomahawk steel is made equal. Some are made out of stainless steel, while others are made from a blend of carbon and steel. Regardless of what you pick, do your research on the type of material the main tomahawk head is from. Some steels are designed to be tough but can chip easily, while others are made of softer steel that doesn’t have the same chopping or cutting pedigree but is far more resistant to damage. Other steels are notoriously difficult to sharpen, while others are a breeze. And finally, consider what kind of coating your tomahawk head will have. Many manufacturers have recognized that tomahawks tend to live in the great outdoors, leading to extended exposure to the elements. The ability of your tomahawk’s steel coating to resist corrosion should play a reasonably sized factor in your decision-making process. 

Weight – Finally, consider the weight of the tomahawk you want to wield. The heavier, the more damage you can deal with each blow or chop, but then you’re stuck carrying around a heavy tool. If speed, precision, and the ability to move quickly is a higher priority, consider something a bit lighter, you’ll thank your muscles for it. 

Sebastian Arciszewski

Sebastian Arciszewski

An enthusiast of all things minimalist. I love the simple design and always look for an aesthetic that complements how an item works. Because after all, a design is how a thing works. You can find me on twitter: @sebastian_a