Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Praxis: Modding the Trail Hawk. (I'm sure The Trainer will chime in on this one.)

An outstanding praxis post from Armed and Christian on modding the Trail Hawk tomahawk.

Part One.

Part Two.

We don't fight with smooth-bore muskets anymore nor do we fight with flintlock rifles like Daniel Day-Lewis in Last of the Mohicans.

Not even our ancestors fought the stylized way close quarter battle is portrayed in most movies. But the tomahawk remains an effective killing tool. It also has an undeniable and immense psychological terror impact upon the troops on whom it is used, both during and after the fact.

The fact that these days it is mostly used for motivation and ceremony (see photo below) does not alter that fact.

There is an outfit up in Michigan whose CQB skills are second to none. They prefer the tomahawk for sentry take-out and CQB. I am sure some of them will respond to this post.


Sgt. Wesley A. Laney, a squad leader with Company K, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, has Company K's tomahawk signed by Gen. James T. Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, at Camp Dwyer, Helmand province, Afghanistan, Feb. 6. The tomahawk is awarded to Marines who show physical and mental aptitude. Laney has been carrying the tomahawk for more than a month.


The Trainer said...

The pic is very close to ideal. Add a wrist loop hole in the shaft and extend the wrap up the shaft for 10 - 12 inches. That lets you choke up for speed and control. Lose the wrap around the top of the shaft...unless you're using it for a hammer.

Cold Steel has also put out the 'Pipe Hawk' with a faux pipe that is a hardened hammer. Better hawk as it has a hook for trapping limbs and such.

Chime off.

Anonymous said...

Tomahawks have some advantages I had not considered until someone brought it up. Because of their round poll, their handle is much easier replaced than a hatchet, whose elliptical shape has to be carved and fitted. Also means that the head of a tomahawk can be stored in just in case of an emergency to save space. Cutting a branch and limb is much easier. Cool beans.

Nice mods - thanks for linking the information to us.

Witchwood said...

Hopefully the Bowie Knife is next.

Chuck Martel said...

I like a real kukri. Real ones are made in Nepal over open forges from the leaf springs of Volvo trucks. They hold an edge and will cut through anything.

Anonymous said...

The punyo (butt) of the tomahawk plus a proper boxing hook is a fabulous thing in CQB. Every surface of the weapon can be fatal in the right hands.

Uncle Lar said...

If you really know how to work metal a bench grinder or stationary belt sander makes the process go much quicker. Just be very careful not to overheat and detemper the steel.
Personally, I'd buff off all paint and either blue or brown the head. Once you get the finish you want flush the metal well with water or denatured alcohol to remove all traces of acid. Then give it a good coat of oil. Surface coatings resist rust but cannot totally prevent it without regular care.
On browning metal, if you want to really go old school the main ingredient used to brown rifle and musket barrels was urine.
And forgive me, I have made more than my share of cardboard edge protectors for knives, swords, and various other sharp edged tools, but with the work you're putting in to this hawk it deserves a real leather sheath. Get a good piece of 9 or 10 ounce cowhide and learn how to saddle stitch with a belt loop and snap fastener for security.

Great Lake Survival said...

take a hawk, because it can do everything a knife can do and more (although I will always have both)

the hawk . . .

extends your range in hand to hand combat

like mentioned above, you can choke up on for the speed of a knife, or choke down for power,

can be used as a camp tool for just about anything from tending a fire to making a survival shelter

can be used to clean, kill and skin trapped game

the rifleman should probably never be without his hawk . . .

Jimmy2Times III said...

To each his own, I suppose. I was perfectly happy with my cold steel Vietnam Tomahawk the way it came. All I did was wrap some rubber tape around the handle. Some guys are into overmodifying simple weapons, especially firearms. If that's your thing, that's cool, all the power to you.

I have a link somewhere to a kick ass molle tomahawk pouch, I will find it and post a link to it.

sofa said...

RMJ tactical tomahawks


goto 'order products', 'tomahawks'.

Various models & lengths. They also have nylon model for training. They come with a kydex sheath.

RMJ tomahawks were featured on Discovery Channel 'Modern Weapons' about Axes.

j said...

And although it was as much tool as weapon back in the day, look up the original list of required equipment for Roger's Rangers, the ancestral forerunners of today's Rangers.

Anonymous said...

I would like to elaborate on one of your comments, i.e. that we don't fight the close up hand to hand fight anymore. In battle and by intent that is true. But every victim of a mugging or any type of street crime knows this isn't true. While a trail hawk might be a handy thing in that situation it is unlikely you will have one. I am looking for that perfect, or near perfect self defense weapon that is readily available for defense in a sudden attack. Something up close and personal, like a knife or ice pick, but something that would not attract the attention of the police. Nothing gets the attention of an attacker like a 6" blade thrust upwards just below the rib cage...

Anonymous said...

After reading this last night and then mulling it over, letting it mix with some conversations I've had over the last couple of months I have a quick question for the more experienced people out there.
I understand the usefulness of the hammer on the back of the hawk, but how useful are the tomahawks with the spike on the back? Would the spike penetrate modern armor (PASGT, MICH, ect) as well as it does medieval?

Anonymous said...

Mike: Thanks for linking my post! the tomohawk is certainly a useful tool in many respects.

Trainer: "Ideal" depends upon the user. The cord wrapping acts as an overstrike barrier as well as a hand stop. I find that I have a better grip and more control on the bare wood than I do over the thicker cord wrapping. The bottom of the haft has been left unwrapped specifically for a lanyard; I just haven't decided whether or not to put one on it.

Great Lake Survival said...

from that group in michigan . . .

in response to the question regarding the spike . . .

it's an accident waiting to happen, the spike is a psychological addition to an already useful weapon, God forbid you are holding your hawk up-right and a force knocks that hawk back at you, a spike could leave you impailed.

just my own thoughts, people use the tools they like I suppose.

j said...

Anony@ 8.25 -

The original spike on the Pete Lagana hawk ( had the honor of meeting him in another lifetime; he died way too soon, and the US military bureaucrats laughed at his hawk) was intended for a specific purpose - to crunch through pith hats or helmets or lightweight gear as thick as a helmet liner, nothing more. It was made short to facilitate getting it back OUT of whatever you stuck it into, rapidly. A serious problem with long or fancy spikes is that they can become seriously caught in bone and muscle and can leave you either choosing to leave yourself temporarily disarmed ( until after the fracas) or to take precious seconds prying it out. Contrary to movies, a man won't necessarily go down like a bag of dirt from a single blow, and he may still be fighting, and be slightly pissed at you.

The Trainer said...

Armed and Christian: My comments were from my perspective and based upon what my 'merry little band' has found to work well. You like it different and most likely train different. That's great. Different perspectives on employment can sometimes bring about a synthesis that eclipses 'tried and true' methodology.

Consider that you may find when your hawk shaft is covered in viscous fluid you'll wish for the higher wrapping of 550. But as always, each man chooses his own way.

Anonymous: Our guys don't subscribe to spiked hawks because when fighting with them, a well-trained opponent can use the spike against you with a parry and thrust back at you with your own hawk. The hammer on the hawk, while an obvious useful survival tool is also properly used on human targets in the Medula Oblongata target area.

Thanks for your thoughts, fellas.

Anonymous said...

And besides the CQB use, a tomahawk or similarly sized long handled hatchet is indespensible around a primitive camp or in emergency situations. It is much lighter and easier to carry than a full on axe, yet offers more leverage for cutting/hacking/wacking than the venerable short handled hatchet.

Bob Katt

Anonymous said...

[i]Consider that you may find when your hawk shaft is covered in viscous fluid you'll wish for the higher wrapping of 550. But as always, each man chooses his own way.[/i]

I've dealt with it before, and it was never a problem. As you say, each man chooses his own way

JenniferRanger said...

I Like the one in the picture. Where can I buy one??Let me know.