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New line of tactical tomahawks


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This is something that has been in development for a very long time and has finally come to fruition: a line of tactical tomahawks. I've hinted at them recently, but did not want to reveal what I was working on until they were ready for sale, and would not put them up for sale until I could trust a soldier's life on my work. That meant a lot of prototyping and thorough testing, part of which resulted in this picture I've posted a few times:


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On top of the clothes dryer is the end of a propane tank that has been forcibly converted into a sieve by the prototype spike 'hawks. The second, untouched dryer in the background is destined to get mangled by the finalized tomahawks for a Youtube video.


For a long time I planned on building them with a traditional construction using a forged head with an eye and a separate handle. I used nylon 6/6 for the handle, which felt very much like hickory as far as shock transfer while chopping. I was mostly happy with the results, but still had some questions in my head about them. One such question was the handle, while plenty stiff enough to transfer power when chopping, would flex too much when prying. Since breaching is a major usage of a modern military tomahawk, it concerned me.


Then a Navy SEAL, who has become my best customer, requested a full tang tomahawk. Logistically, it makes more sense to build something like that in a batch than individually, and it would solve the questions I had. It's all a matter of balancing what the end user needs, and military end users have a greater need of being able to use their tomahawks as a multitool or wrecking bar that they can also fight with if the need arises.


So I shifted direction on the entire project and went the stock removal route, something very different from my usual approach of forging. I drew sketches, lined up material suppliers, got CAD files built, and found a local waterjetter. After the prototyping phase and a few minor tweaks in angles that had substantial increases in utility, I got my first batch waterjet cut.


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The steel is 1/4" thick 4140, the same alloy I have built my own power hammer dies from; very tough stuff. There are three different back ends available: hammer poll, combat spike, and pry spike. Each one is available in either 12" overall length or 18" overall length, and with or without sharpened inner beards. The handle slabs are 1/4" thick canvas Micarta with stainless steel flared tube rivets. The steel is coated in Durabake in one of three colors with matching Micarta colors: black, desert, and olive drab.


Here are blanks of one of each design prior to normalizing or grinding:


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Pry spikes:


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Hammer polls:


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Combat spikes:


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Stacks of blanks in the background and a blank cooling from normalizing in the foreground:


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I really wanted to be able to debut the 'hawks at the Blade Show, and things came together just in time to do so (though the rivet tubing I ordered in plenty of time only got there the day before I drove to Atlanta! ). I grabbed out one blank of each design to get ready for the show.


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Then I got to grinding.


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And heat treated them.


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Then Durabaked, installed handles, and sharpened.


Hammer polls, unsharpened beards:


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Combat spike, sharpened beard. The long one is black and is with a Kydex sheath maker.


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The combat spike is designed to penetrate well and then withdraw quickly for any needed follow-up shots. It excels at that, and the spike punches through the propane tank end like butter.


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Pry spike, sharpened beard.


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The pry spike is narrow enough to fit easily into a door jamb, while stout enough that it also penetrates the propane tank end without taking damage. Once the spike is nicely seated, the rounded top acts like a roller head pry bar, providing plenty of leverage.


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The short one (olive drab) sold at the Blade Show, and this was the only picture I managed to get.


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The handles have exposed pommels, allowing for some hammering ability with all designs and an extra striking area for CQB.


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One advantage of shifting over to waterjetting is that I can build trainers fairly easily. These are cut from 3/4" ABS plastic and are the same pattern as the hammer polls, but with the corners rounded for safety. They are the same thickness as the handles of the real tomahawks and are beveled all over the same as the handles.


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The extra holes allow you to slip a piece of foam pipe insulation or pool noodle over the ends and anchor them so you don't damage your sparring partner as much. The hammer polls are a bit shorter than the spikes, but are still long enough to practice hooking and deflecting limbs. The holes in the trainer handles allow practice with a lanyard.


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Sheaths are forthcoming, but should be Kydex, bottom eject, jump-ready, ambidextrous, MOLLE compatible, with multiple carry options. :)


These have been a long time coming, and I'm quite pleased to be able to finally have them on the table, ready to serve.

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How about throwing them? You gotta throw em, that's a blast! With as many as you got piled up there , UM what fun. Great design Stormcrow! You've brought Rodger's Rangers into the 21st century!

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Well, now I have to try to get my Zombie CRD Combat series machete finished up so that I can show it off here. Stormcrow, What are all the requirements that the men and women in kevlar and camo expect for a tactical version of an edged tool/ weapon?

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Very Nice. Those are some great designs,

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Thank y'all! I was kind of hoping that Alan, as the resident 'hawk whacker-outer, would chime in, but he's expressed his disdain for the tactical side of cutlery in the past. I seem to recall him using the term "gray turd" to describe the general aesthetics. :D

 

Per questions from various folks, here are a couple of pictures showing the point of balance on long and short versions:

 

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And some measurements. The blades are 2 13/16" from point to point. The hammer poll heads are 6 3/16" long, and both the pry spike and the combat spike heads are 7 5/16" long.

 

I am away from my shop for a few days and don't access to a scale to weigh them, but will do so when I can.

 

How - I threw prototypes a bit mostly to check for endurance, not really trying to stick 'em. I didn't build them with throwing in mind but grip retention.

 

Raymond - A major consideration for modern military 'hawks is that most of their usage is utility tasks, largely breaching type activities, so toughness is a big factor. They also need a good sheath system to allow ease of carry and access with maximum retention. Being large enough and stout enough to do the job while compact enough to not get in the way or add unnecessarily to the weight of their gear is a big thing. Getting into and out of vehicles with it strapped to the LBE has to be considered. That's why I have longer and shorter versions, to let the end user tailor it to their needs.

 

Wade - Yes indeed, a lot of thought. :)

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:lol:

 

It's only a gray turd if it's an overly thick chisel grind with stealth fighter geometry. ;) I actually like these, and have been sort of comparing them to Ryan Johnson's. I think I like your short spike better, but don't tell Ryan that, we have a gentleman's agreement. ;)

 

If I were going where these are going, and needed it to perform as advertised, I'd certainly go for this style over a traditional wooden handled one.

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Thanks, Rob and Alan.

 

For general usage, I prefer a hickory handle over anything else on an ax. Nothing else has felt better. But I've spent too much time replacing broken handles to trust a soldiers life on one. You balance out how you build a tool with what the end use is, and in this case the full tang makes sense.

 

I think some of those tactical guys get grinder-happy. I swear I've seen up to five different grinds on one fairly short blade. :P

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  • 2 weeks later...

Finally go a chance to weigh the 'hawks. I found that whether it had a hammer poll or a spike didn't change the weight much; the length did.

The short ones are around 25 ounces, and the long ones are around 30 to 31 ounces.

 

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Edited by Stormcrow
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Storm ,

 

I reserved judgement until i saw just how you finished the grind out on the ax side and the tip side the function seems perfict along with the ark of the top every one seems to want to know how the throw i 'll be the first to say I don't I would NEVER throw away such a valuable and well built Hand to Hand Combat Tool=HHCT you have knocked this one out of the park I just wished I had one like it when I had boots on the Ground in the sand box.

Brother if you ever desire to let some of the small ones go for Vets and have them etched with Service Logos let me know myself and a few of my friends would like to get a few .

 

Best Regards and thank you good Friend .

 

Sam

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Sam - Personally, if I were in a situation where I needed to fight with my 'hawk, I'd be so jumpy that if I threw it, the 'hawk wouldn't get within twenty feet of the bad guy. :)

 

I'm getting ready to do the next batch of grinding and heat treatment, hopefully in the next couple of weeks or so. Hopefully I'll be making a whole lot more of 'em. :)

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Storm that sounds Awesome just let me know when you get some done Pm me so we can work things out .

 

Sam

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  • 4 months later...

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