Survival Gear Review: The SOG Tactical Tomahawk

For centuries, tomahawk-style axes have been a feared armament on battlefields. From Vikings and pre-contact Native Americans, to modern soldiers in the Vietnam War, diverse peoples have used the tomahawk as a devastating weapon. And just as the simple hand-held knife is still carried by today's soldiers, so to is the tomahawk.

The SOG Tactical Tomahawk is an updated incarnation of an ancient design, used both as a hand-to-hand weapon and a thrown weapon. Military and LE personnel use tools like this for breaching doors and windows, excavation, cutting cables, and as a back-up to all their other back-ups. To suit these needs, this tomahawk must be well-built and thoughtfully designed. Since it's not a tomahawk without the axe head, let's start there.

SOG's Tactical Tomahawk features a 420 stainless steel head with hard case coating to provide durability and utility. The matte black coating prevents shine, and keeps the tool low profile. The head has two holes bored in it that both decrease its weight and allow it to be utilized for prying tasks. Unlike many other 'hawks, this one has a spike opposite of the blade, which can be used as a weapon, a digging pick, a glass breaker and for countless other chores. On each side of the head where ti connects to the handle, a small square space is adorned with checkering. These hammer spots can be used to drive stakes and nails.

The head is mounted to the ribbed handle with heavy-duty bolts and a steel ferrule for stability. This ferrule also protects the handle below the axe head, a common spot for wear and breakage. SOG's propensity toward fiberglass reinforced nylon handles continues with this tool. The material strikes a good balance between weight savings, strength, and shock absorption.

And it's not a 'hawk if you can't throw it. After getting a feel for its balance, I was getting it to stick pretty well into a log target at 10 yards. There's just one thing that doesn't sit well with me about this tool - the spike. Every time I pull the axe head back, I'm swinging the spike toward myself. I'd love to see some kind of a clip-on cover for the spike, so it can be sheathed while the blade is exposed. I think I'll try to make one out of ½ inch plastic pipe, melted into shape. Just a thought, SOG.

This tool weighs 24 ounces, has a blade length of 2.75 inches, and is 15.75 inches in length. The SOG Tactical Tomahawk comes with a black nylon sheath, and costs $64.25.