Benchmade has long been a tool of choice for American servicemen, and many of their blades can be found with National Stock Numbers in the military supply channels. So it’s only natural that when war fighters in the field expressed a need for dynamic entry tools, Benchmade paid attention. While the concept of a “tactical tomahawk” is not new, it’s taken on a renewed interest since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, where heavy urban warfare has led to an increased need for portable entry tools.
Rather than reinvent the wheel, Benchmade teamed up with Ed Killian of K5 Tactical. Ed has years of experience making tactical hawks and his custom models have seen hard use on the battlefields of the Middle East and Central Asia. The Benchmade Model 172 is based off of Ed’s proven spike model, the Tactical Hawk, and brings it into a production version readily available to military, law enforcement and civilians in need of a hard-use tool.
Army Ranger Heritage
The 172 is a stout piece of equipment. It’s also a very modern take on the tomahawk. A far cry from the old hand-forged head and hickory handle of the Roger’s Rangers days, the Benchmade 172 is a solid hunk of 0.360-inch thick 1095 steel. The minute you pick it up and feel its 36.8-ounce weight, you realize this isn’t a lightweight thrower—this is a tool with some mass behind it to dole out some damage. The axe head is 3.5 inches along the edge face and it’s balanced out by a 3.5-inch spike on the other side. Overall length is 16.25 inches and the butt of the handle ends in a pry-bar wedge with a lanyard hole in it. Handles are checkered slabs of black G10 held on by three bolts on either side. They provide a firm grip even with gloves on, and at around 9.5 inches long, they’re roomy enough to get two hands on so you can really wind up for a solid blow if needed. The entire hawk is finished in a flat black, nonreflective finish. The Model 172 comes with a sturdy black nylon cover with a hard polymer liner. The flap Velcros shut, but is fast to pull open with two attached tabs, making access to the Tomahawk easy and convenient. There is an optional piece that attaches to the sheath that allows you to secure the handle as well, in case you’re trying to attach the hawk to a MOLLE pack or the back of a tactical vest. The rear of the cover has two rows of MOLLE loops to make attachment easy.