Even before the tomahawk was invented, early man’s instinct to chop with a sharpened stone indicates that our most primal motor function was not to slice, slash, or stab, but it was to chop. Whether cutting down a tree or dressing captured wild game, this cutting motion is man at his purest form.
Fast forward till today, the tomahawk has transcended into the tool it is today. Whether for sport that North Americans engage in with tomahawk throwing, or as a utility tool for camping, for self defense, to tactical hawks for elite military units that use it as a secondary weapon or as a breaching tool, the tomahawk design has remained timeless and mostly unchanged. In fact, little needs to be changed with a design that is so effective for close quarters combat, and deadly in the hands of a trained operative.
The design for different applications of the tomahawk varies with the expected use of this tool. Utility hawks generally look like camp axes except they are lighter, and feature a hammer end for nailing tent stakes or other utility tasks. While most people feel that camp axes do the job well, I generally prefer the reduced weight of the hawk. The ability to instantly deploy the hawk as a self defense tool in the outdoors outweigh the fact that the lighter head will mean more effort in chopping wood. Looking at it from a hiking perspective, every ounce saved in my backpack lets me cover further distances so that works for me. The Cold Steel Trail Hawk is a great example of this utility hawk.
While most tomahawks are now made overseas in China or Taiwan, there are people who still insist on American made tomahawks, and who can blame them? Most US made hawks are small batch, custom made models that are hand forged so no two are alike. I personally am a big fan of DM Forge’s tomahawks that Craig Barr makes out at Colorado. The custom damascus ones are simply the finest in what I call hard-use, exhibition grade hawks like the one at the top of this page. These are hawks you will be passing down from generation to generation, and worth every penny spent.
And then there are the tactical hawks. RMJ Tactical has always been much sought after for their Tactical hawks, but the waiting list and the price goes slightly into the custom territory so it has been prohibitive for most regular folks…until now. The CRKT Kangee and Chogan tactical hawks designed by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical bridges this gap with production hawks at half the price. The main difference between both of them is that the Kangee has a spiked end, with a sharpened top, while the Chogan has a more reserved hammer end with an unsharpened top. Both hawks come with a kydex sheath for multiple attachment options to MOLLE gear. It even comes with an included shoulder strap, although I really think it isn’t the best way to be carrying this hawk. I have attached a single short MALICE clip on mine with 2 screws and I think by far it has proved to be the best option for belt carry. This method also allows for the quickest and safest deployment which works for me.
The Kangee is designed more of a tactical breaching – close quarters combat tool, while the Chogan is more of a utility version of it, so depending on your needs and skill level, you can choose accordingly. Be careful of the Kangee’s spike though, if you aren’t trained for it as you can seriously injure yourself with almost every edge on the top sharpened, but for breaching doors or windows with something weighing just 1lb 8oz, it is wicked effective at its job.
For more info, or to have a closer look at the above tomahawks head over to the EPI.shop.