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SOG has always been one of the industry leaders when it comes to innovation. Now, using state of the art, corrosion resistant, and durable stainless steels cleverly mated with high-tech, lightweight, synthetic handle materials, the company has brought the simple tomahawk into the modern age of combat, utility, and exploration. There are three sizes available in order to be better matched to the personal needs of the user.

Long-handled cutting tools and throwing weapons have been used in warfare for hundreds of years by different cultures around the globe. Early Scandinavian explorers and raiding parties settled much of Europe wielding their bearded axes in the 10th century. Various tribes in Africa are known for using similar weapons, known by names like Nzappa zap or hunga munga. Even the Powhatan tribe of Virginia used stone tomahawks when Europeans arrived some 400 years ago. The tomahawk was a great all-around, general-purpose, chopping and cutting tool used by the indigenous peoples of the region, and later by the European colonials, for various cutting and chopping tasks in day-to-day life. However, it was also often wielded with great effectiveness in close-quarter combat, and as a hand-thrown weapon as well. In fact, the simple tomahawk is such an effective tool that, even with all of our advances in modern weaponry, it is still being used on battlefields around the world today.

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All three of these tools have a CNC-machined head and an integral flared tang that is made of 420 stainless steel, heat-treated to a durable 51-53 Rockwell. The tangs are all 3.5 inches long, 3/16-inch thick, fitted into a slot in a fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle, and held in place by two heavy-duty bolts and a steel feral. The handles are oval-shaped for easy indexing of the edge in the dark, and taper from 1 inch by 5/8-inch at the feral to 1.24 inches by 7/8-inch at the lanyard hole. All three come with bottom-eject, ballistic nylon sheaths that have belt loops on the back and secure the tools by means of heavy-duty snap fasteners. All three of the samples I received for testing came out of the box extremely sharp.

SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, no stranger to the field of producing wickedly efficient cutting tools purpose-designed for combatants and rescue operations personnel, has brought the simple tomahawk into the modern age. Using modern synthetic handle materials and durable, corrosion-resistant stainless steels, SOG has brought forth a trio of hawks well suited to modern warfare, rescue and exploration.

All three of these tools have a CNC-machined head and an integral flared tang that is made of 420 stainless steel, heat-treated to a durable 51-53 Rockwell. The tangs are all 3.5 inches long, 3/16-inch thick, fitted into a slot in a fiberglass-reinforced nylon handle, and held in place by two heavy-duty bolts and a steel feral. The handles are oval-shaped for easy indexing of the edge in the dark, and taper from 1 inch by 5/8-inch at the feral to 1.24 inches by 7/8-inch at the lanyard hole. All three come with bottom-eject, ballistic nylon sheaths that have belt loops on the back and secure the tools by means of heavy-duty snap fasteners. All three of the samples I received for testing came out of the box extremely sharp.

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The heavy mass and obtuse grind on the Double Headed Axe made quick work of a downed tree across the road to my favorite fishing hole. Using this tool, in both one-handed and two-handed grips, I was able to quickly power through the tree top, throwing large chunks of wood with every blow.

Tactical Tomahawk
First in line for testing was the Tactical Tomahawk. It has an overall length of 15.75 inches, and a head that is 8.5 inches long. The face of the hawk has an up-swept tip for good penetration and has a straight cutting edge that is 2.75 inches long. The wasp-waisted and beveled spike extends 3-1/8 inches to the rear of the head, and the total weight of the tool is 24 ounces.

The size of this hawk makes it a real workhorse in the field. The long handle gives the user great leverage when chopping, whether the target material is logs and branches in the field or doors and windows in an urbanized environment. A couple of things I love about tomahawks are the extra reach they offer, and the ability to move objects and debris in a controlled manner without having to touch them with my hands.

On these hawks, there are two relief holes machined into the blades to reduce weight, but the head still has plenty of mass to bite deeply on impact. In my tests, I found that neither solid hardwood limbs nor laminated lumber were any match for it—it handled both like a true champ. In the field, I used the hawk to cut through hardwood limbs of varying diameters as one might while setting up a fighting position. With the leverage provided by the long handle, the sharp edge easily powered through 4- and 5-inch seasoned hickory limbs that could be used for structural members for the roof of a foxhole. It made very quick work of cutting 1.25-inch limbs to use for stakes to mark field-of-fire limits or to use for securing a shelter, and the oval handle helped make the tool easy to control in more detailed work, like chopping out the points.

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The knurling on the sides of the head is another handy feature as it greatly reduces the chances of a glancing blow in the process of driving those stakes. As a hand-thrown weapon, the tomahawk also did really well. At distances of 7 to 10 meters, I could consistently get over an inch of penetration in solid wood. It even withstood some handle strikes with no trouble as I adjusted the spin when changing distances. In an urban environment, I tested the Tactical Tomahawk in tasks commonly encountered in breaching and rescue operations. The up-swept tip had no problems penetrating 0.5-inch plywood over a window opening, a few well-placed blows were sufficient to create an opening for observation or a firing port, and a few more well-placed blows chopped the sheet of plywood in half so that the pieces could be levered off of the opening by hand. After a few days of chopping, digging, prying and throwing, there was no damage to the handle or any loosening of the head—only a little coating lost, a few scratches and some slight dulling of the edge.

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The edges of the Double Headed Axe are well designed to make the tool easy to use choking up on the haft. The axe is comfortable to use in such applications, and there is little chance of any contact with the wrist or arm when doing so. The axe came very sharp and easily produced fine curls when whittling on a cherry branch.

Fast Hawk
The Fast Hawk is identical to the Tactical Tomahawk in overall appearance, but in a scaled down, more portable package. The overall length of the Fast Hawk is 12.5 inches. The head on this one is just 6.5 inches long, has a 2-inch cutting edge, and the spike extends 2.25 inches from the rear of the head. The weight of this tool is just 19 ounces.

While all of the hawks come with nylon sheaths that have belt loops, for the most part while testing this hawk, I just carried it stuck in my belt at the small of my back. It is so light that there were times I could have forgotten it was there, but that low weight belies the usefulness of this capable little hawk. Even with its shorter handle, the Fast Hawk is no slouch at chopping. While obviously it did require a little more effort than its big brother, I still had no trouble with chopping through 3- and 4-inch solid hardwood limbs. Using a log as a chopping block, even with the shorter handle, the Fast Hawk easily cleaved through 1-inch and 1.25-inch diameter hardwood limbs in one quick cut.

The spikes on these hawks are of an ample size and thickness to serve well for digging in hard-packed or rocky soils, frozen ground or even solid ice. In my experiences, all of these capabilities are handy to have out in the field for various tasks: obtaining water in a frozen environment, getting to roots and tubers in frozen ground, digging through decaying logs to find grubs, or even removing glass from a window or door in a breaching operation. The nylon handles make a great electrical insulator for the times when you may need to cut through live electric wires in a rescue operation or to “put out the lights.” The 420 stainless showed little effects after chopping through 8-gauge braided copper wire, 12-gauge solid copper wire, and even heavy-gauge aluminum range wire.

Double Headed Axe
The Double Headed Axe has an overall length of 17.25 inches, and the head is 7.5 inches at the widest point. The cutting edges are radiused and measure 3-3/8 inches each. Visually, this axe is reminiscent of medieval battle axes on one hand, and the Nessmuk on the other. Weighing in at 31 ounces, this axe has the most mass of the three, and its edge geometry is well suited to working with wood.

The first task I put this tool through was some whittling just to see how it handled, and to check the clearance on the hand when choking up on the haft. The head is cleverly designed so that even when choking up on the haft, it would be really hard to make contact between the wrist and the point of the cutting edge. In fact, I could not comfortably cause such contact when I was trying to do so. I had no trouble with this at all while whittling shavings and notches.

The first real workout for this one came unexpectedly when I had it in the truck and found a tree down across the gravel road that leads to my favorite fishing hole. Since the diameter of the tree was about 7 inches at the point that it entered the road, I thought it would be a good chance to see how the axe handled some heavier chopping. The more obtuse edge geometry did not bite as deeply into the wood as the Tactical Tomahawk; however, what the Double Headed Axe lacks in penetration, it more than makes up for with raw power. It sent large chunks of wood flying with every blow. The tree top that was blocking my way was roughly 25 feet long with multiple branches, and I chopped through the largest section and removed the heavier limbs, even shearing through 1.5-inch limbs in one blow at their bases. In roughly half an hour, I had the road cleared and was back on my way to the fishing hole.

The mass of this axe also allows it to excel at wood splitting; it easily and quickly reduced 3- and 4-inch diameter sections of hardwood limbs to kindling and fuel for a fire. It may be a bit heavy to carry in the field on high-speed operations, but would definitely be a good one to carry in a vehicle.

In the process of writing this article, I spent two weeks testing these tools with various tasks in both wilderness and urbanized environments, and against both organic and synthetic materials. If you are in the market for a lightweight, yet fully functional chopping tool that is durable, and is not environmentally sensitive, all at a very affordable price, then SOG has definitely got your needs covered

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