Nowadays, due to the War on Terror and more troops being on the ground in villages and around civilians, the military has moved from fighting using long-range weapons and armored vehicles back fighting more man-to-man fighting in close-quarters. Due to these changes, the tomahawk has once again become popularity as an effective weapon and useful battlefield tool. They are replacing knives as the last-ditch close-quarters battle weapon of choice by some of America’s most elite fighting forces.
While many tomahawks are sold as breaching tools, no other weapon of comparable size may generate as much force with a short stroke in an enclosed space. In close-quarters with others around you, you cannot shoot an attacker without endangering others. A knife requires skill, it is difficult to injure an attacker enough with a knife to stop an attack, and a knife wound is a slow kill. To eliminate an attacker quickly, there is nothing deadlier than swinging a tomahawk and driving its spike into the attacker’s head or body. In addition, if you want to get through a wooden door, break glass, or bust a door handle, the long-handled tomahawk does the job. On a fighting tomahawk, the upper and lower edges are also used to fight. The top tip is used for thrusting and stabbing and the bottom point may be used to rip an assailant.
One of the keys to a tomahawk’s durability is the way the handle connects to the head. Some tomahawks have a head that may be easily detached to make it easy to transport. In addition, one could simply carry the head and cut a handle when needed. However, for a fighting tomahawk, one wants a head that will not come off and a handle that will not break. Nylon handles attached to steel heads will bend back into shape after a hit, but the head could eventually separate. Full-tang designs are constructed so the head and shaft are made from a single piece of material so there is no chance of head separation. When it comes to the grade of the material used in tomahawk construction, you get what you pay for in terms of weight, durability, and edge retention. To get the best, expect to pay more.