A lot of people are only familiar with tomahawk axes because of Call of Duty. However, they have been around for centuries, and they’re one of the most versatile tools/weapons even today. Outdoor enthusiasts consider tomahawk axes an essential piece of survival equipment, as they can chop and split wood with them, and use them to build emergency shelters. You might be telling yourself: “Well, a conventional axe can do all of that as well”, and while that’s true for the most part, tomahawk axes are more portable and lightweight, yet still strong, making them more versatile than conventional ones.
A tactical tomahawk axe can act as a replacement for several tools, while still being compact and lightweight enough to be carried and deployed anywhere in the outdoors. However, in order to get the best tactical tomahawk axe design, there’s a list of factors you should take into consideration, namely: the head shape, the cutting edge, its length and its overall weight.
A tactical tomahawk axe can come in a single, double, and spike/flat back head. There are several other types, but these are the most common ones. Double head tomahawks with a spike are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they’re great multitasking tools. You have a precision tool on one end, and a large cutting edge on the other. Mountaineers especially love this style, bushcrafters, on the other hand, typically go for flat back tomahawks, as they’re better for hammering and pounding in general. Simply put, tomahawks come in a wide range of sizes and shapes, some of which are more well-rounded in what they do, while others are great for specific tasks.
Tomahawks that have a longer cutting edge require a heavier and larger head. This adds weight and length, which reduces the axe’s portability but greatly increases the amount of force you can apply with it. This makes chopping and splitting wood significantly easier. Many tactical tomahawks feature circular cut-outs to save weight without sacrificing the cutting edge size. A narrow cutting edge, however, allows you to pierce easier due to the fact that it will meet less resistance. Narrow cutting edge tomahawks are preferred for piercing heavy-duty materials and for emergency vehicle extraction.
Tomahawk axes range in size from about 20cm to 50cm. Determining what the ideal length is will depend on how you intend to use it. Longer handles give you more force when swinging and more leverage when prying, but they are heavier and less compact. A smaller handle, on the other hand, gives you better handling and less weight and volume to pack.
The weight of tomahawk axes is difficult to discuss, simply because technological advancements have made it so that manufacturers are able to make tomahawks with lighter and stronger materials than before. In other words, a 20-year-old tomahawk axe is probably heavier, yet weaker than a modern one.