I’m always on the lookout for new and better gear. We should all be doing that, and for most of the readers of MDCreekmore.com, I think that statement holds true. Today I’d like to talk about the SOG Tactical Tomahawk. I saw it for sale on Amazon and decided to snap it up for the following reasons:
- The cheap hardware store hatchet I bring backpacking with me is heavy, dull and clumsy. The SOG Tactical Tomahawk is listed as much lighter and I wanted to see if it could cut branches and wood as well or better than the average cheapo hatchet.
- I wanted something that could also be used for self-defense if need be. I reasoned that if the tomahawk was used successfully by both the Native Americans AND later the American military, there had to be something to that. This holds especially true because as a Canadian, I cannot bring firearms into provincial parks and conservation areas where I typically backpack, and as of late the bears, coyotes, and wolves have been getting more aggressive as they get hungrier.
- I’ve read good reviews of it elsewhere and:
- It was very reasonably priced.
Before I go on any further, let’s get a look at this thing. It looks pretty mean, and it also looks pretty functional in my opinion:
Let’s look at some cold facts about this device. The overall length is 15.75”, and it weighs in at less than 2 lbs (24 ounces). The blade length is 2.75” and 0.26” in width and it’s made of 420 stainless steel with a black finish (except for the end of the blade). It has a fiberglass reinforced nylon handle and comes with a nylon sheath with a belt loop in it.
The uses of this device listed on the website include “… breaching operations, excavation, obstacle removal, extraction, and other utility applications.”.
So, my first impressions were good. Anybody with any kid left in them will look at this thing and exclaim “COOL!” I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what I did. It does have a mean look too it, something that when you pull out in the company of friends, they want one, and in the company of enemies, they might think twice about messing with you.
Aside from the aesthetics, this is a fairly light axe but it does have heft. SOG claims its well balanced and I agree. Gripping it at the end of the shaft it has a natural swing to it. I feel that it follows the proper path with my stroke. It seems well designed for the mechanics of the human swing.
There’s quite a bit of meat to the blade. As you can see from the picture above, it’s quite thick and should stand up to quite a bit of abuse. Just like the shaft. The fiberglass reinforced nylon is very light, provides excellent grip and it seems to be very strong.
There are videos on the SOG website showing them propping the shaft on a piece of wood and driving over the shaft with a truck. The shaft flexes but does not break. Sorry folks, but we’ll just have to take SOG’s word on that one unless you want to buy one of these and do it for yourself.
Still, I tried bending it in my hands and beating the shaft against some concrete and it held up with no breaking and no marking up. That should give us some clue on to the longevity.
The blade is attached to the shaft with what seems to be a tang of fair length. It’s hard to tell but I’d say it’s about 3”. The blade is held onto the shaft by what looks like two screws as well as a tight metal band that is about 1.5” in length. It is attached with a lot of strength and I feel zero give or wiggle to it.
I really just got this Tomahawk so I haven’t had a chance to use it much. However, I wanted to try it out as best I could before actually taking it into the field (my next backpacking trip isn’t until August 12th, sorry). I did beat up a big stump pretty good and I did bury the end of the blade into a tree with minimal effort.
But to show you how it works, I put together a video showing what it does to both a 2×4 and a pineapple.
The 2×4 is pretty self-explanatory. How well does it split wood? The pineapple, well, I wanted to show how well it would work in a self-defense application. The example I use in the video is for protection from animals and nothing else just for the sake of the YouTube moderators.
Be that as it may, I selected a pineapple while feeling both my head and different fruits in a grocery store and it seemed to me that the pineapple best felt like my Neanderthal skull. For your viewing pleasure:
The SOG Tactical Tomahawk retails for about $65. I bought it on sale from Amazon for $31. I’m sure there are better axe devices out there, but how much money are you going to spend? This thing seems solid, VERY solid and well worth the price if you’re in the market for one.
Also, the pineapple was delicious. Just thought I’d let you know… please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you!