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The modern “tomahawk” can be an ideal tool for SWAT teams making forced entries.

The modern “tomahawk” is seeing a renaissance in use as a tactical tool in law enforcement circles, but with a very specific tack. To help place this in context, as far back as the American Revolution, “boarding axes” were standard equipment on war ships for cutting away damaged rigging and digging burning wood out of the ship’s hull. Firefighters have also long carried various types of axes for chopping their way into buildings. This type of use is probably where the tomahawk/entry axe really comes into its own, namely as a tool for breaking into things when time is critical and finesse has gone out the window. Need to make a hole in a door or wall, smash a window, pry open a locked container, cut a wire or rope in a hurry? Then the modern entry tool tomahawk is just the piece of gear you want by your side.

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Ontario 24” Entry Tool. Steven Dick photo

Before I delve into the current crop of hawks, I should say that I’m using “tomahawk” as a generic term for this type of chopper as a group. Many of the companies involved have their own phrases and terms for their products and not all consider their tools “tomahawks,” per se. However, for our purposes here, I think the term works as a general description.

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