Looking for the best tactical tomahawk you can find in 2020? Look no further. We’ve compiled a list of our favourite & most reliable tomahawks that’ve been released in the last few years.
There are a fairly wide variety of manufacturers out there. The shape, size, weight and colour of the tomahawks that you can find online seems to vary pretty wildly too. This can make it really difficult to reliably source a high quality one.
The high price point can be prohibiting for some people, so it’s made even more frustrating when you don’t know if you’re actually going to get your moneys worth.
As such, we have compiled this guide.
But first, let’s get started with the basics. It’s honestly exciting to consider the possible variations we’ll see in the near future too.
Tomahawks – What Uses Do They Have?
Axes have been commonly used as both tools and weapons by humans for thousands of years. All manner of different designs have stranspired over the years, but a particularly unique one is the Tomahawk.
Tomahawks are a specific type of axe that are designed to be wielded with one-hand. They originated in north-america, more specifically amongst the native residents of algonquin. Before the European settlers arrived, tomahawks were traditionally made out of sharp stones, fastened to a wooden handle the long strips of rawhide.
After the Europeans arrived and introduced the native americans to metalworking, the old style tomahawks were gradually phased out by their much tougher, metal descendants.
Changes to the design and shape of the tomahawk gradually warped over time with european influence, but at their core they still had the same purpose: they were invaluable as multi-purpose survival tools that could do anything from skinning deer to chopping up firewood.
One key feature that is missing from modern tomahawks is the inclusion of a small hole in which to smoke tobacco. Although, it would not be surprising to see a brand manufacture a tomahawk in this style.
Modern tomahawks are made out of all sorts of fancy composite materials that early European settlers did not have access to. They’re well saught after for bushcraft and survival enthusiasts and for good reason.
It’s much easier to chop up wood with an axe than with knife. The presence of the spike further expands it’s use case. Overall these things can be used as great general multi tools.
For something to truly qualify for the title of best tactical tomahawk, it should meet a specific criteria. You should be able to use it for anything from skinning animals to ripping tree bark and chopping up wood.
Modern Tomahawks have even seen use amongst both law enforcement and military professionals. Both as a weapon for use in hand-to-hand combat and as a breaching tool. With modified shafts that double as prybars.
The possibilities with modern Tomahawks are virtually limitless.
Our Top 5 Tomahawks
1 – CRKT Kangee Tomahawk with Sheath
This stylish tactical tomahawk is manufactured from a super strong SK5 Carbon Steel. It has an ergonomic handle design, with textured nylon handles to ensure maximum grip regardless of the weather conditions. The handle is even reinforced with glass to give it an added layer of security.
It’s incredibly sharp, tapered edges can be used for all manner of cutting, slicing & chopping. The spike on the opposite end can deliver a tremendous amount of cutting force concentrated into a small area.
It’s balanced incredibly well, it doesn’t feel too heavy or too light in your hands. Heavy enough to deliver a necessary amount of force but light enough that you don’t break too much of a sweat doing so.
The curved handle compliments the shape of your hands and the gripped choil allow for an excellent level of control.
This is one of the higher end tomahawks on the market, designed personally by a gentleman with over 30 years of industry experience.
2 – Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk
Smith & Wesson have truly went back to their frontier routes by crafting a tomahawk. This is full on tactical tool. It can be used as a prybar in an emergency, and the spiked side doubles as a pick for ice/stone/gravel/dirt.
This tool is incredibly sharp, so it’s ideal if you find yourself in a scenario where you need a fixed & sharpened blade that you can put a bit of force behind.
Whilst you could consider this a breaching tool first and foremost, it can be used on wooden doors, cinder block walls & realistically anything shy of reinforced concrete.
It’s made of a decent quality 1070 carbon steel. Not only is this a fairly durable metal, you have the added benefit of enhanced edge retention. The blades will stay sharper for longer. The handle is made of a thermoplastic polymer designed to enhance your grip so you don’t drop this important tool.
This grip can be removed and replaced with paracord if you wish – many people do this as you can lay it on fairly thick to eliminate all shock transfer to your wrists. This is a matter of personal preference though.
Another key benefit to paracording the handle is that you can opt for a paracord of your choice. We’ve found a maroon red compliments the charcoal black design of this axe incredibly well.
It’s incredibly durable, you can expect to abuse this axe for a long period of time before it starts to give out under the pressure.
Overall, this tomahawk could be considered as a jack of all trades. It’ll assist you in climbing, it’ll break boulders, it can be used for breaching in an emergency scenario and it can even be thrown.
3 – Red Rock Rifleworks MT-1 Monolithic Tactical Tomahawk [Premium Product]
The Red Rock Rifleworks MT-1 is a very, very hardy tomahawk. It’s made entirely out of 4140 alloy steel, then it’s tempered to a minimum of 54HRC. This alloy is coated by a substance known as Black Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC).
DLC has some of the material properties of diamonds but can be manufactured in the lab. DLC applications greatly extend the lifespan of objects such as survival gear that are regularly subjected to trauma, stress and other environmental conditions.
It weighs in at about 1.4lbs, giving you a reasonable amount of weight to exert force without making the axe impractical. The centre of gravity is based slightly closer to the head, this allows you to focus more force onto the bladed, striking porting of the axe.
The grip is designed to enhance grip when wearing tactical gloves, but if you’d prefer to alter it you can easily secure paracord to the handle.
The enhanced durability and weight of this axe mean it can be used for hunting, breaching, climbing, chopping wood without fear of degradation.
However, whilst this axe can resist trauma fairly well, you should make sure you keep it cleaned and oiled. Whilst the steel alloy it’s made of is incredibly durable, it’s subject to rust. Cleaning, drying and oiling your axe will ensure it stays in peak condition for years to come.
It can also be hand-sharpened with ease, which is ideal in a survival scenario.
4 – Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
The gerber downrange tomahawk is probably functionally the most practical for multi-tasking. It’s designed to double as a hammer and a prybar.
A detachable sheath covers the bladed portion of the axe. This sheath has an ergonomic hand grip that can be used to better leverage the metal when utilising the axe as a prybar.
The body is comprised of a high carbon steel (420HC).
When you remove the protective cover, you’re greeted with a sharp, sturdy axehead. It’s capable of breaching drywall, chopping through wood and other axe related needs.
The rear end of the axe-head functions as a hammer, which can be used to break through hinges, smash glass or install kitchen cabinets (if you’re not feeling destructive).
The compact design of this device, multipurpose sheath and overall aesthetics make it well suited for law enforcement or military purposes.
It’s even coated in an epoxy finish that enhances the users grip greatly.
Despite this it could still function as an excellent survival tool if the situation called for it.
5 – M48 Tactical Tomahawk Axe
The M48 is a lightweight, tactical tomahawk that consistently gets a good write-up from those who choose invest in one. The up-swept, angled blade design make chopping through wood easy.
The rear end of the axe honestly functions more like a dagger than it actually does as a pick. This isn’t for no reason either, the manufacturers have stated that the axe is intended to be fully functional as a reliable self-defense weapon.
Despite this, both ends can still be used reliably for breaching and survival purposes.
The handle is made of fiberglass and reinforced with a tough nylon to absorb shock from the rest of the weapon when striking. It also comes with a quickfix snap on magnetic sheath. This will keep the blade from inadvertently damaging you or your clothes.
With that being said, we do not recommend this axe for heavy, repeated traumatic use. This axe is sturdy enough to hold up well as a survival or breaching tool, but using it to practice your axe throwing may result in a broken handle.
6 – Browning Shock N’ Awe Tomahawk Axe
This axe is from yet another manufacturer that traditionally manufactures weapons. As such, they seem to have access to a reasonably reliable quality of steel. The 1055 carbon steel in this axe will see it withstand more than its fair share of abuse.
Its paracord fastened handgrip is more reminiscent of a traditional Japanese katana than that of a traditional tomahawk. Despite this it grips very well (and the fabric can double as a survival tool).
This design is pretty useful as you can swap out the paracord when you feel like the stock fabric is getting old. We’re personal fans of a red-on-black approach to the grip. The sheer variety of situations that could be aided with paracord is another good reason to just go for it.
It’s an ideal size for fans of the traditional design, it’s not so small that it’s of no use, but it’s not so big as to be unruly. It’ll fit snuggly in your belt and won’t get in the way.
The spike on the rear end is hooked which grants it a slightly more specific use case. It can be better used to manipulate and control objects in your environment than a spike would. Functionally it could also be used to assist you in climbing through steep terrain.
Tomahawks – A Buyers Guide
What To Look For In A Tomahawk
The materials used, and the quality of said materials will be a huge factor in your purchasing decision. Cheap metals will bend, break and dull much easier than good quality metals.
The size of your tomahawk is an important factor too. If it’s too large and unwieldy it’ll be a nightmare to transport. An ideal size is one that can be safely sheathed on your belt without getting in the way. This will differ from person to person based on your own size and proportions.
You need some level of weight behind a tomahawk to be able to chop wood, but too much will kill the functionality of the axe completely. Finding a good, solid middle ground is your best bet.
There are a wide variety of designs out there from a huge variety of manufacturers. Some of them have pretty obvious benefits – from doubling up as prybars and breaching tools. Some of them have more subtle benefits – being crafted entirely out of high quality, durable steel to ensure you don’t encounter equipment degradation. Branding a particular model as the best tactical tomahawk seems a bit disingenous.
The truth is, the best bar for you is the one best suited to what you intend on using it for. If you plan on delving into the world of bushcraft feet first and want something that’s going to stand the test of time – opt for a premium quality product. The same rule applies to those of you would like to get immersed in hunting or any other outdoor pursuits.
Cutting corners with cost might be tempting at first, but it can creep up on you – you should only ever cheap out on an axe if you’re planning on throwing it away in a relatively short span of time regardless.