If you love the great outdoors, you’ll know just how valuable a tomahawk can be. Use it to chop up a pile of firewood, and recapture that frontier spirit.
There are lot of different models out there, but we’re here to help make your choice easier. Check out our reviews of ten of the best tactical tomahawks on the market right now.
The Best Tactical Tomahawks reviews of 2020
1. CRKT Woods Chogan Tactical Tomahawk (Our Top Recommended)
This traditionally styled tomahawk is made by American manufacturers Columbia River Knife and Tool.
The handle is made from hickory from Tennessee. It’s 19 inches long and is designed to be held with both hands.
The head is made from super-strong 1055 carbon steel. It has a hammerhead too, so you can knock through nails and stakes without needing a separate tool.
The blade is beveled, and the angle changes to create a primary and secondary cutting edge. The whole thing weighs less than two pounds, so it’s easy to get up a big old swing. Those tree branches will be kindling in no time.
A smart leather sheath is available to protect you and the blade. If you want one, though, you’ll have to buy it separately. And the lacquer coat that’s added for durability can make the handle rather slippery. If you find that’s a problem, you can remove it by sanding.
- Strong carbon steel head
- Beveled blade with primary and secondary cutting edges
- Lightweight and easy to use
- The lacquer on the handle can make it slippery
- If you want a sheath, you’ll need to buy it separately and pay extra.
2. CoolPlus Camping Tactical Tomahawk
If you want a tomahawk that screams “survival in the wilderness”, this might be the one for you.
CoolPlus’s tomahawk comes with a distinctive design feature – a picture of a wolf etched on the head. There’s also an attractive floral insignia between the wooden handle and the stainless-steel tang.
If you want to use this for anything other than display, though, be warned that the wolf won’t last forever. The design is acidly etched, so will wear off if used for chopping wood.
The head and tang are made of 440 stainless-steel. It’s low maintenance and tough. The blade is good and sharp right out of the box too.
The head is 6.6 inches across, while the cutting edge is 4.5 inches long and 0.16 inches thick. At the back of the head is a piercing spike that’s sharpened on both edges.
The handle is purportedly made of rosewood. If that’s really the case, it’s a major black mark. All 300 species of rosewood are endangered, and subject to trade restrictions.
- Corrosion resistant stainless-steel head
- Sharp blade
- Distinctive design of a wolf on the head
- Claims to have a rosewood handle – let’s hope it doesn’t, or buying it will mean helping to kill off an endangered species
- That wolf design will disappear if you actually use this for cutting anything.
3. Cold Steel Tactical Tomahawk
If you prefer a simpler design, the Trail Hawk from Cold Steel might be what you’re looking for.
It has an overall length of 22 inches, and the handle is made from American hickory.
The head is constructed from drop-forged 1055 carbon steel. That means it’s strong enough to cope with being thrown at sturdy tree trunks.
The hawk is 6.5 inches long and the whole thing weighs under 1.4 pounds. So you won’t need to have massive muscles to use it.
There’s a hammerhead too, with a surface area of about a square inch. That provides a little extra versatility when you’re out camping.
On the downside, the head is covered in black gloss paint, which won’t be to everyone’s taste. Strip it back and sharpen the blade, and you’ll have a much better tool at the end of it.
If you’re not in the market for modifying what you buy though, there are better options out there.
- Light enough to be easy to use, even for those with a smaller build
- Strong carbon steel head
- Includes a hammerhead too
- Thick gloss paint on the head doesn’t look great – and impairs the cutting edge
- You’ll need to sharpen the blade before use for the best results.
4. SOG Throwing Tactical Tomahawk
Marketed as a “tactical tomahawk”, this is a pretty scary looking thing. If you want to terrify your firewood into submission, it might be worth a look.
The whole thing is finished in survivalist black, with the SOG logo in raised print on the handle. That handle is made of glass-reinforced nylon, so it’s lightweight yet tough. And it has a textured finish so it won’t slip, even if it gets wet.
The edge is straight and flat, and there’s a piercing spike at the other end of the head. It weighs only 19 ounces, so it’s easy to maneuver.
This one comes with a nylon sheath to protect the edge of the blade – and you – when it’s not in use. There’s also a handy carrying loop so you can attach it to your belt. Watch out though – the fastenings are prone to popping open when you’re on the move.
This isn’t heavy duty enough to fell trees, but it will lop off branches with ease. Bear in mind, though, that the handle is short, so you’ll need to swing hard to get powerful cuts.
- Lightweight but tough
- Flat edge and piercing spike offer versatility
- Textured non-slip handle
- Watch out for the sheath becoming unfastened
- The short handle means it isn’t suitable for tree felling.
5. Gerber Downrange Tactical Tomahawk
This tomahawk from Gerber looks like the kind of thing you should need a license to own. Set aside its pseudo-military design, though, and you’re left with a useful and versatile tool.
The head has a hammerhead on the back, and the handle doubles as a pry bar. The whole thing is made of heat-treated 420 carbon steel, so it won’t bend under pressure.
The bar has an angled head, helpful in leveraging tree roots – or for other entirely legitimate camping-related purposes. The head is open in the middle, so you can use it as a handle when you’re levering the bar. But that does mean it has less weight to power through the wood.
The blade is covered in a sheath so you don’t cut yourself when using the other tools.
Unfortunately, the pry bar means that the balance of the axe is off. If you’re looking for a tool for the next zombie apocalypse, this might be for you. If you want something to chop firewood, look elsewhere.
- Blade, hammerhead and pry bar offer plenty of versatility
- Quick release sheath protects the blade (and the user)
- Heat-treated carbon steel means this is tough and hard-wearing
- The balance of the axe is adversely affected by the pry bar
- The axe head is made less effective by doubling as a handle for the pry bar.
6. M48 Tactical Tomahawk Axe
This tomahawk looks more lethal than anything you’d imagine being made by a firm called “United Cutlery”.
Like the SOG, it’s gone for distinctly special forces aesthetic. Matt black finish? Check. Scary-looking spike? Check. Screws in the handle that make you wonder how well it will stand up to hard use? Yes, those too.
Let’s start with the bad news. Those screws are a weak point. We’ve heard stories of the handle snapping below them. If you’re going to fling a tomahawk at a tree trunk – apparently people do – you expect it to stand up to the impact. In this case, it’s not guaranteed.
On the plus side, the handle is long enough to be used with two hands. That means you can get a decent swing to break up your firewood. The light nylon construction of the handle coupled with the heavier blade also helps create downward force.
There’s a pick on the back – sharpened to a horrific looking point that’s doubtless strictly for home dee-fense. Use it when you’re camping to dig a water channel.
- Well balanced to maximize downward force
- Pick can be used for piercing or digging
- The handle is prone to breaking.
7. Smith & Wesson Tactical Tomahawk
If you have ethical qualms about buying a tomahawk from weapons manufacturers Smith & Wesson, look away now.
This is marketed as a tactical tool for people who want to bust down doors and – er – other things. If you’re looking for a tomahawk for bushcraft, however, it has some positive features.
The head and tang are made in a single piece, so there are no weak points. The cutting edge is sharp too. You won’t need to do any preparation before the first use.
The cushioned handle is attached to the steel with four bolts, so it won’t be coming off in a hurry. There are three holding positions, for plenty of flexibility.
One disadvantage, though, is that the handle isn’t flush with the tang. That can make it pretty uncomfortable to carry if you hold it in the wrong spot.
- Head and tang are formed a single piece for strength
- Made from hard-wearing 1070 carbon steel
- The handle isn’t flush with the tang – so it’s not as comfortable to use as it should be
- Fairly expensive.
8. Cold Steel Rifleman’s Tactical Tomahawk
The second tomahawk from Cold Steel to make our list, this one has a workman-like appearance. In addition to the blade, there’s a hexagonal pommel that makes it great for hammering in stakes.
At 19 inches, the overall length is a shade less than the Trail Hawk reviewed earlier. But like that one, the handle is made of good quality American hickory for a traditional look and feel.
The head is made of 1055 carbon steel. Its relatively low carbon content means that it’s less brittle than other steels. The sloping sides make splitting wood a breeze. And it’s light enough to swing easily, so you can build up plenty of force.
So are there any negatives?
Well, the head is set into the wood of the handle with a tiny screw. It’s not efficient, and it weakens the handle too. Take it out. A piece of inner tube from a bicycle placed inside the eye does the job much better.
- Traditional look and feel
- Strong head made from 1055 carbon steel
- Hexagonal pommel for hammering in nails or stakes
- The screw set into the head weakens the handle. Be prepared to remove it.
9. Ottoza Custom Handmade Tactical Tomahawk
This handmade tomahawk from Ottoza is pretty expensive – but is it worth it?
Without doubt, some people will buy this for display. It’s beautifully finished, with handmade straps in cow or buffalo leather covering the handle. It comes with a good quality leather sheath too.
But if your concerns are more practical, there are pros and cons.
It has a 17.5-inch long wooden handle. The head is 7 inches long, and an inch thick at its widest point. It looks the business, and it’s sharp. It will work well for chopping kindling. But if you want to fell trees, you’ll find an axe with a longer handle more effective.
Good maintenance will make this last longer. Oil the blade if you’re not going to be using it for a while to prevent rust. We have, however, heard the occasional tale of a broken axe head.
- Attractive enough to display in your home when not in use
- Good quality leather sheath
- Sharp blade
- Will need proper maintenance to avoid rust
- There are some question marks over the durability of the head.
10. CIMA Tactical Tomahawk
Another “tactical” tomahawk, this one has a less-than-subtle skull design emblazoned on the tang.
While that won’t be to everyone’s taste, there are nevertheless some nice features here. The 11.5-inch handle is made of nylon glass fiber, so it’s light and strong.
The 20mm thick surface is coated to prevent rust. The blade is sharp enough to slice smoothly into the wood. And there’s a spike to break glass or concrete.
It comes with a three-layer nylon sheath that can be hung from your belt when you’re out in the wild.
Beware of the handle, however. The tang isn’t the full length, and we’ve heard of a number of cases where it’s snapped in two.
Also, check the guide if you want to make a tomahawk youself.
- Short handle and light weight make it easy to use
- Blade is coated to prevent rust
- Comes with a sheath that can be attached to your belt
- The handle is prone to snapping
- The skull design on the tang won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
Ready to choose?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our round-up of the best tactical tomahawks on the market today.
Our hands-down favorite is the CRKT Woods Chogan Tomahawk. It’s well designed and made, and is a great tool for use in the outdoors. It isn’t the cheapest, but we think it’s worth the investment.
Whichever tomahawk you choose, take care of yourself and others when you use it. And enjoy getting back to nature on your next trip to the forest!