It seems the tomahawk is the most featured weapon on Castra Praetoria. Recently in comments I was asked: “Have you scalped anyone with that Tomahawk yet? Did you actually learn how to fight with it, if so where?” 

Since we are in the season of Christmapocalypse, I thought it would be appropriate to address these questions.  Keep in mind I have addressed preferred arms in case of zombie plague in the past. In this case we’ll address less fictional applications. 

Identifying myself as an arms carrying professional, I own an assortment of edged weapons.  When it comes to tomahawks, I’ve collected a few throughout my travels.

Above is the tomahawk I keep on my desk at work. A lovely piece designed for one thing (hint: chopping kindling is not it). In my office it acts as a handy stupidity repellent. All I have to do is wave it around like a wand and boneheads are magically rendered silent. Harry Potter’s got nothing on me. 

It is a crying shame I only have two hands.

Pictured above from left to right are a Hardcore Hammer hatchet, Best Made Hudson Bay Axe, Wetterlings hatchet, a Cold Steel Trench Hawk, and a more traditional tomahawk I bought at a gun show. It should be noted the first three are primarily tools which could be used as weapons. The last two are primarily weapons designed solely to inflict grievous bodily harm on evil doers.  In the event I had to run out the door, I’ve decided the Wetterlings hatchet would be the one to snatch up. It’s fits well in one hand and is the lightest of the three tool based designs.

Have you scalped anyone with that Tomahawk yet?
No. There are far better tools for scalping. Like knives for instance.

Did you actually learn how to fight with it, if so where?
Well sure, but probably not the way you are thinking. I have never attended a tomahawk class if that is what you mean. As stated in other posts, I train in a traditional Japanese battlefield system as well as more modern applications at a place called the Spartan Training Center in Sedona, Arizona.  According to Integrated Combative Systems training philosophy: “Most modern training systems take a compartmentalized approach to training the individual in non-natural, fabricated fighting skills. Such training generally covers only very specific weapons and techniques related towards and driven by those weapons.” So no, I have not trained to specifically use a tomahawk. I have trained in the use of a broad spectrum of weapons from firearms, to spears, to blades, and open hands.

Ideally this means if confronted with a given situation, I would be able to logically apply the use of any weapon at my disposal. This would be up to and including not using it. I would feel perfectly confident wielding a tomahawk, though I imagine I’d prefer a firearm. In my mind these are not mutually exclusive weapons.

Though I like the idea of a tomahawk I must admit it would not be my go to hand weapon in the event of an apocalypse of any kind. My understanding is the tomahawk was historically an above the neck weapon. This certainly narrows the choice of target areas. I’ve also been led to believe, over the centuries, frontiersmen eventually transitioned from carrying tomahawks to large Bowie style knives. This leads me to surmise, if they could afford it, those whose lives depended on it preferred large knives to tomahawks.

In the large knife category I prefer these:

Applegate/Fairbairn style smatchet.
Randall Arkansas Toothpick.

In the end I’m sad to say the tomahawk would not be my primary hand to hand weapon of choice. Though the tomahawk does seem like a satisfying way to dispatch a foe, I’m more an advocate of a tomahawk attitude vice literal tomahawk use.

Semper Fidelis!

America’s SgtMaj


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  1. Weapons? I thought you could kill a man with a single well-timed eyebrow twitch?

    I’ll stick to my trusty old iceaxe. I might not be fit enough anymore to yomp up a continental icefall, but it still feels like an extension of my arm when i pick it up.

    *ahh, snowy nostalgia moment*

  2. Okie, you can’t fool me. We all know digital cameras only took black and white photos back then.

    Magoo, one has to be sparing with the eyebrow use. Wouldn’t want to lose a whole city block now would we?

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