Updated 05/25/2020 by Sarah Harris
Its pretty difficult not to notice a man that’s wielding a tomahawk. As much respect as a quality tomahawk will earn you, they can also serve more practical, functional purposes beyond intimidation such as forcible entry, self defense, military hand to hand combat applications, and light to medium around-the-house demolition.
While they’re much larger and harder to carry than a fixed-blade, most tactical tomahawks sport a rugged, nearly unbreakable steel body and feature several different tools built into the design, increasing its functionality and real world application. Without further ado, here is our list of the best tactical tomahawks money can buy, in no particular order.
Spyderco Warrior Hawk
From the creative mind of renowned American knife designer Laci Szabo comes a practical, tactical tool suited for cutting, breaching, and close combat. Szabo’s background in military and law enforcement shows with this performance tool, which features a one-piece, full-tang construction in steel, with anti-reflective, corrosion-resistant titanium carbonitride coating. 3D machined G-10 scales flank the handle for comfort and non-slip function, and a custom-molded, snap-fit Boltaron sheath ensures safety when not in use. Swing it, throw it, or flip it around to make use of the multi-purpose spike.
Winkler Knives Combat Axe
Originally developed for use by military and law enforcement, this tool is equally well-suited to combat and breach applications. Naturally, it will cut, as well, and a smallish spike on the back serves admirably when you need to puncture, rather than chop. One addition you won’t often find is the glass breaker located at the end of the handle, and the fast draw carrier is sure to please when you need quick access to your tomahawk in the event of emergency. Partial cord-wrapped upper handle is optional.
CRKT Freyr Tactical Axe
CRKT has found a way to couple modernity and tradition with its tactical axe designed by artisan Elmer Roush of Brasstown, North Carolina. The blade design leans on traditional viking weaponry for its inspiration, while the material reflects the modern utility of highly resistant, lightweight carbon steel sealed with a protective magnesium phosphate coating. Tennessee Hickory, a tried and true material used for tool handles of all kind, is the wood of choice for this axe handle. Tennessee hickory is known for its shock absorbing qualities, straight grain, high density, and strength — so no need to go modern here.
Even more striking than this old-new juxtaposition is the tactical nature of this axe. At just under 2 pounds in weight and 16 inches in length, it won’t wear you down while trudging through the woods on your next backpacking trip.
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk
By far the most recognizable tomahawk on this list, the Gerber Downrange Tomahawk was designed to pull military forcible entry and self defense duties thanks to its unique triple purpose axe head. The axe head features a beveled edge that can eat straight through walls and doors, a pry bar on the opposite end with a cutaway grip, and a blunt edge on the back side that pulls hammering duties. The Downrange Tomahawk boasts a 420HC steel body, a sturdy G-10 handle, and absolutely no moving parts — making it a tomahawk you’ll only need to buy once.
CRKT Kangee Tomahawk
Designed by RMJ Tactical’s Ryan Johnson, the Kangee Tomahawk is crafted from a single piece of SK5 carbon steel for superior durability during hard use and features a curved handle and grip choils along the front for improved grip. The rugged hammer head design of the Kangee Tomahawk’s blade provides exceptional balance, control, and the toughness needed to demolish anything you swing it at.
Tops Hammer Hawk Tomahawk
Beautifully crafted in 1075 steel (head and full tang), with a handle flanked by canvas Mircata scales, this tomahawk is pretty enough to display on your wall – that is, when you’re not using it as a survival tool on camping excursions. Conveniently compact, this tomahawk fits into any pack, but it also comes with an attractive leather frog/sheath cover for safe and balanced belt carry. While many tomahawks feature a spike to complement the cutting edge, the back of this blade is equipped with a hammer instead, adding functionality when you’re pounding tent spikes or cracking stubborn nuts.
SOG Survival Hawk Tactical Tomahawk
Because SOG specializes in knives and tools for both civilians and the military, it’s no surprise that several of their tomahawks made this list. The first mention is the Survival Hawk shown here. This tactical tomahawk is crafted from blacked-out 2CR blade steel and is decked out with all of the trimmings including a reflective paracord-wrapped handle, a nail puller, a straight edge axe head that doubles as a hammer, and a ferrocerium fire starting rod integrated into the handle just in case.
Cold Steel Trench Hawk
It’s hard to imagine a simpler version of the tactical tomahawk than this model from Cold Steel, which plays to minimalist sensibilities. From the shock-resistant, black polypropylene handle, to the drop forged 5150 carbon steel head, complete with a super sharp cutting edge and a wedge-style spike, you’ll be hard-pressed to find fault with this streamlined beaut of a chopper. It holds up to a heap of abuse, and when you’re ready to replace the handle, you’ll find it surprisingly cheap and easy.
CRKT Jenny Wren Compact Tomahawk
Best known for multi-purpose tactical knives with wicked designs, CRKT keeps it short and sweet with their compact tomahawk. You could be forgiven for wondering why they didn’t call this model a hatchet, what with its truncated handle, but the difference lies in both intent and construction. While heavier hatchets are designed for utility, this lightweight, tactical tool is all finesse. A three-edged head lends maximum cutting power in steel with a powder coat, and the glass reinforced nylon handle offers exceptional grip and optimal control.
Boker Plus Tomahook Tactical Tomahawk
Tomahawks have been around a good long while, and when it comes to design, there’s no need to tamper with perfection. As a result, innovative takes on this tactical tool are rare. Boker bucks the trend with their Tomahook, a long-handled affair with a distinctively hooked head design that you’ll have no trouble using in real-world situations. Cutting applications are myriad, thanks to a wide, sharp edge in SK5 carbon steel, coated to resist corrosion. The spike in the back is less prominent than competitive tomahawks, but handy, nonetheless, and the hook provides untold added utility you won’t get from other tomahawk models.
Walther WAL50748 Tactical Tomahawk
The top tomahawk choice by us for urban carry — although we don’t recommend open carry of a tomahawk on the streets — the Walther Tactical Axe not only looks the part, but was built to perform whatever tasks you require of it. It’s no coincident that it is made from the same company responsible for James Bond’s sidearm, the PPK handgun. Its tough, durable, and ready to inflict damage thanks to a 4.25-inch black coated stainless steel blade, an intimidating rear spike, and a composite handle with a built-in glass breaker on the bottom and a checker-cut grip.
SOG Voodoo Hawk Tactical Tomahawk
Designed to be both tactical and portable, this compact tomahawk by SOG can easily be used for self defense or other applications in tight quarters with limited space and features a heavy-duty stainless steel blade, an extended cutting head, a compact glass-reinforced nylon handle, and a metal butt cap. Included is a nylon carry sheath.
The Traumahawk is no ordinary tomahawk. While it certainly plows through doors, windows, and other stationary obstacles when coupled with the right amount of strength or aggression, it was designed specifically for close quarters combat. An all-steel, full-tang construction renders it heavier, and more powerful than most tomahawks, while a hooked axe head will catch and rip your zombie attacker’s face right off. Included is a a Kydex blade cover and a leather retaining strap.
Boker Plus Vox T-Hawk Tomahawk
Much like their tactical pen, Boker’s Vox T-Hawk Tomahawk was designed to be as aesthetically pleasing as it is functional. Its single piece SK5 carbon steel construction features a hollow ground on the cutting edge for maximum sharpness and built-in openings in the tang to reduce weight and drag. The tool itself is protected by a corrosion resistant powder coating, while a paracord wrapped handle is outfitted with large, removable G-10 scales for an impeccable grip.
Another eye-catching number from the mythical mind of Laci Szabo, this tomahawk features a uniquely curved handle, which serves the purpose of shifting the balance to midway up the handle (unlike others, designed for end-of-handle grip). What’s the point? Greater control in hand-to-hand combat situations. The blade and handle are D2 steel, coated in black titanium carbonitride coating for added strength and corrosion resistance. G-10 scales run the full handle length for comfort grip, and the butt end of the handle serves as a pry bar. A hammer poll on the back of the head adds crushing force to complement cutting power.
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