Tomahawks

Discussion in 'General Preparedness Discussion' started by TechAdmin, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I watched a very brief special on tomahawks recently. They highlighted a new company making them for military use. Anyone know who the manufacture is? It was a one piece solid color model. Very stout looking.
     
  2. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    I believe there is more than one manufacturer in this business right now. I also know of a few custom makers catering to the armed forces.

    This may be what you're looking for, but they're only one of many a Google search came up with... AMERICAN TOMAHAWK COMPANY : LaGana Tactical (VTAC)
     

  3. Smithy

    Smithy Outdoorsman, Bladesmith

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    oops, double post.
     
  4. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Smithy, the one on the opening page of the link you posted isn't the one Dean is talking about.
    That one is a reproduction of the 'Viet-Nam' era tomahawk, the one I'm the most familiar with in operation.

    For camping, I'm more into the 'Indian' or 'Trade Goods' style tomahawk. Works great around the camp, but still isn't as handy as the Canadian survival tool issued to their special forces troops...

    The one Dean was talking about was a full tang version, head, spike, handle all forged as one piece.
    Our special forces troops are just NUTS about them!

    This isn't quite it either, the beard on the blade isn't sharpened, and the latest version of 'Man Hunter' tomahawks have sharpened beards...
    [​IMG]

    Tactical versions of this one,
    [​IMG]
    With sharpened beard, and shorter handle, also in flat green or black is about the ones they are using in Afghanistan, and Iraq right now.

    HERE IS IS!
    Home Page

    Here is the good stuff!
    [​IMG]

    I'm thinking the shaft of the handle is wider and the length of the military contract is a little shorter...
    It's been a while since I've seen them, so I'm not for sure...

    I know the Army and Marines have both made a concentrated effort to NOT have pictures show up with 'hawks in them!
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  5. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    If you were talking about the Viet-Nam 'hawks, take a look to the far right on this picture of my rifle cleaning bench backer...

    [​IMG]

    I make throwing 'hawks out of rail road spikes also, they work pretty good, but I suck at throwing them!

    We used them when I was in the military to make holes in concrete block walls to make sniper gun ports, they worked GREAT for that!
    -----------------------------

    This is from 'Blade Magazine',
    "Eagle Talon
    Ryan Johnson's RMJ Tac produces hawks and larger axes for military and other special-use clients. He said his updated version of a French & Indian War hawk was adopted in 2001 with a commission from the 820th Security Forces of the U.S. Air Force. That year, Ryan said his Eagle Talon Tactical Tomahawk was already seeing action in Afghanistan and later made the cover of the March 2002 BLADE. Since then, SEALs, Delta, Marines, explosive ordnance disposal, and various security police units have used the Talon, including the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, at Najaf, Iraq, Ryan noted.

    The Talon has a reverse spike that can penetrate a Kevlar helmet and also can be used for climbing. Overall length: 18 inches. Weight: just under 2 pounds. It can be used two-handed, which produces far more power, Ryan said. The differential heat treat makes for a hard cutting edge with a tough, springy body.
    I have tried the Talon and would not hesitate to rely on it in the field. The ax blade bit is flat ground for chopping, with a sharpened underside (beard) for hooking and ripping. The all-steel integral design prevents separation of the head from the Micarta? handle, which can be laced with 4 feet of nylon cord or removed and replaced with a 22-foot wrap of paracord.
    According to Ryan, Talons have been used to cut holes in 55-gallon drums used as road barriers in Afghanistan. He added that the troops stationed in Afghanistan do not use the Kydex sheath and strap the Talon on their packs instead.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  6. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    I appreciate all the links. The one I was talking about was more stout and Military grade looking. They showed a whole brigade in Iraq with them. They were light colored and I believe had a hammer end opposite the chopping end.
     
  7. coinguy

    coinguy Guest

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    Perhaps the Viet Nam version from Cold Steel? TOMAHAWKS

    I've got a couple of forged hawks made by a blacksmith that I carry at the annual Boy Scout Rendevous that we have here. There is a hawk throwing session just down from our rifle range. The guys that run it can really throw a hawk!

    G
     
  8. Frank

    Frank Member

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    Dean, I can't answer your orginal post. But I can tell you, I have never seen any one tote'n a hawk on active duty serving our country.
     
  9. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    They had a bunch of soldiers serving currently in Iraq in the show that have started carrying them. I wish I could find the show online but haven't had success.
     
  10. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    The longer 'hawk is what the special forces are carrying in Afghanistan.
    they are REAL pleased with it since you can use two hands, and the beard is sharpened...
    It will go through auto body sheet metal like a P-38 through a can lid!

    The shorter version is being carried by a lot of the troops in Iraq right now. They call them 'Entry Tools', but they throw VERY well and do LOTS of damage.

    The 'middle east' is a 'Blade Culture', so they show a lot of respect for things like this.
    -----------------------

    As to our country's soldiers carrying 'hawks, I think they always have.
    They have been in every conflict since the revolutionary war, during our 'Civil' war, both sides were issued several different kinds of 'hawks and 'Fighting Hatches'.

    WW I and WWII the Germans really feared the 'hawks and the 12 Ga. shot guns our troop carried.

    The single most requested of combat hardware for our pathfinder & airborne troops was Marine K-Bar knives (Army troops were issued bayonets, not fighting knives) and right after that, 'Hawks.

    Korea and Viet Nam saw the advent of 'Man Hunter' tomahawks, and they started becoming a very specialized piece of equipment for just that purpose.

    Blades designed to stick deeply in flesh when thrown, and 'Skull Cracker' spikes on the back side instead of the traditional Pipe or Hammer face.

    Todays version have long, relatively thin spikes on the backside to penetrate combat helmets, even our new Kevlar helmets are no match for one...

    The biggest change to the blades is the elongated & sharpened beard under the blade...
    This is so the beard cuts on it's way out, and can be used as a leveraged cutting edge.

    When it's used on humans, if you miss with the edge of the weapon, you simply yank backwards and the beard does the puncture and cutting.

    Critical dimensions of current 'Combat' hawks are defined by it's job, in this case, dispatching enemy combatants.
    If you were to lay the handle against the neck, you would find that the point of the blade/beard lined up with the brain stem at the back of the skull, making for a 'No Reaction Kill' if you simply yank backwards towards you...
    (Yes, I still talk with my Marine and Army buddies regularly)

    On a side note,
    If you want to start military collecting, 'hawks would be a good place to start since they are virtually over looked and still VERY affordable.
     
  11. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    If you are looking at Tomahawks, an old friend of mine custom forges damascus steel and has made some amazing folders, fixed blades, dirks, sgian dubhs and such.

    He taught me what I know of blade-smithing and forging damascus steel - but - my skills are no-where close to his. If you choose to contact him for making you a custom tomahawk, let him know that Vance sent ya.

    Brian Lyttle Custom Knifemaker, Bladesmith, Instructor
     
  12. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    You should invite him on here Naekid if he does the Internet. Would love to have him explain his process and experiences.
     
  13. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    Excellent idea!
    I know good information and ideas when I steal them! :D
    And there has been some EXCELLENT information on this forum already!

    Dean, how about a 'Tech Section', so when we get a really good post or 'How To' article uploaded, we would have someplace to put it for future reference?

    I've already seen two or three articles,
    (one on custom knives!) that should have a prominent place so it doesn't get lost in the 'Search Archives'...
     
  14. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    Bryan used to be a school teacher has given that up to work full time on his knives, take care of his land, sheep, etc. He will teach anyone (in person) that wants to learn how to make their own damascus steel. It is not something that can be "taught" without hands-on instruction. In one of his classes I was taught to make my own sgian dubh - steel folded 170 times. I have never needed to re-sharpen the blade in the last 10 years.

    Some of Bryan's knives have dressed out elephants - and just needed a "touch-up" on the edge. It is a quality knife - well worth the money that you would spend.

    Here is a picture of the knife I made with him:

    [​IMG]
     
  15. George_H_M

    George_H_M Active Member

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    Hello to all .

    I saw this post and know the answer .

    The show you saw Dean was Modern Marvels . History of the Axe on the History Channel here is the link to the episode.
    Modern Marvels - Axes
    I hope this helps , and yes they did show a picture of deployed soldiers all holding a tomahawk each.
     
  16. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    But the question still remains,

    Would you bet your life on this knife in a survival situation?

    [​IMG]

    Is it 'Big' enough and stout enough to chop wood for fires, shelter, hunting gear?,
    Can you pry things apart with it?,
    Can you use it to chip rock to make hunting points?,
    Can you drive or pull a nail with it?,
    Can you comfortably cut sheet metal with it?,
    Will it readily cut through wire?,
    Would you try and dislodge rusted screws/bolts with it?,
    Is it large enough to split the breast bone on big game?,
    Will it take out a black bear that thinks you are dinner because you smell like fish?,

    Large 'Bowie' style knives are not so adept at 'Fine' work, but they will do it...
    And in the case of actually being lost in the woods in an actual survival situation, I'd have to say I'd prefer a Tomahawk and smaller knife than a 'Medium' size knife that was a specialized 'Skinner' or other 'specialized' knife.

    Drop point, good curve in the blade, stout back bone makes for a good large game skinner,

    [​IMG]

    The top one skins the best, the middle one works best on smaller game, and the bottom one is MUCH more rugged.
    The bottom Becker makes a very good skinning and camp knife.

    I sure wouldn't want to bet my life in bear country on any of these, but for what I do around here, they work GREAT when I'm trying to keep pack weight down!
    -------------------------

    My first choice for a 'Survival Knife' would be this thing from Ontario Knife Company.
    Model SP8 And called a Machete, http://www.ontarioknife.com/specplus_pg1.html

    1/4" thick back, functioning saw back, and it's the first chisel ground blade that is actually facing the right way for a right handed person!

    [​IMG]

    The only draw back I have ever found is,
    It doesn't have a 'Stabbing Point', so it would be useless for serious self defense...
    But it's GREAT around the camp and in the woods!
    -----------------------------

    When it comes to large knives, it's hard to beat a Bowie style!
    The knife is just so successful because it's so functional!

    Fellow Marines will have to forgive me, my Kabar is in a vehicle that isn't here right now, so I can't snap pics of it with these!

    Don't fool yourselves people, the Marine Corps P-4 standard issue 'Fighting/Survival' knife for 50 years is VERY hard to beat in the field!

    Top one is a Kempo karate fighting knife, but I find it very comfortable to use in about any situation.

    The bottom one is a Becker Bowie that I'm currently using in the woods a lot. Light weight, good balance, and it's REALLY TOUGH!
    I did skin the scales off and cord wrap the handle, makes it easier for me to hold onto...

    [​IMG]

    -----------------------------------------

    This is an 'Rescue & Extraction Tool' being issued to our troops on a selective basis..
    VERY interesting design!
    Ontario calls it a 'Spax' for 'Special Purpose Ax'.
    I've seen a couple, but haven't laid hands on one for field work yet!

    [​IMG]

    The funky shaped hole in the middle turns on and off fire hydrants, gas meters and other fire/rescue stuff.

    The military guys say this design will go through aircraft skin like butter, and works great on doors, 2x4's, ect...
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2008
  17. NaeKid

    NaeKid YourAdministrator, eh?

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    A sgian dubh in the original celtic tongue means "knife black". Its very design is a "last ditch" weapon. It has been nick-named the armpit knife because of the place that it is traditionally carried - strapped to the bicep muscle. For ladies, it was traditionally carried under the skirts. It is a stabbing / killing knife. Survival - yes, against humans primarily.

    I have lots of other knives - including a bushman knife that I can carry on the top of my hiking stick and use as a spear point. That would be my best defense against attacking bears. But, where I grew up, and, where I live now, bears are very common. I have been hiking and come across a momma bear and her 3 cubs. I have worked in the back yard while bears were playing in the front yard. I have never needed to "protect" myself from them.

    As far as my collection of knives, I have a small collection of knives that I have either made, bought, or have had given to me. I have a hand made machete from Africa. I have hand made weapons from South America. I have dress knives. I have Chinese and Japanese and medieval swords (yes, I can use them properly). I have hunting knives, skinning knives, fillet knives, show knives and the knives that I use daily.

    No one knife can do it all - that is why I have many. They are stashed throughout my house - some hidden - some on display - and some on me at all times.
     
  18. George_H_M

    George_H_M Active Member

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    Just a reminder the episode on the history of the AXE will be running Friday night on the History channel . Just ion case anyone wanted to see what Dean was asking about.
     
  19. JeepHammer

    JeepHammer Well-Known Member

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    If the weather turns bad Rain/Snow/Cold, I was thinking about pounding some hot steel this weekend...
    I've been wanting to make another tomahawk, I have a design I'd like to try and working around the forge on cold, wet days is a good way to stay productive and occupied!

    I'll try and take some pictures while I'm at it, maybe that would be something for an article here...
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2008
  20. TechAdmin

    TechAdmin Administrator Staff Member

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    Thanks for the heads up George. If anyone catches that show please let me know the manufacture of the tomahawk they feature.