...called a Tomahawk. More precisely a Cold Steel Rifleman's Tomahawk. Why?... hell, I don' know. Its a guy thing I am sure. I guess it would be cool to have on the rare camping trip I might take for a rifle shoot out East, maybe it would be good for chopping small firewood pieces in the backyard....maybe I could use it to split a zombie's skull when they finally arise to consume us.
I had looked at these before but an article on The Zombie Hunter's blog got me thinking about them again. The thing is with these 'hawks by Cold Steel, unlike a firearm I might want that may take months to save for, I can save for one of these in a week or so at only $30. Cold Steel traditionally makes some decent, if not eclectic, products and I have a few knives from them that are pretty good. They really made a name for themselves when they started to sell tanto style blades in the 90's and have gotten bigger and more expansive since.
The tomahawk is a traditional weapon of the Native American peoples who dwelled on this continent before my ancestors stepped foot on it. The early American frontiersmen quickly adopted its design and use as their own as both its utilitarian usefulness and impressive destructive capability as a weapon were both highly praised by those early settlers. The Ghurkas have the khukri, and the American peoples have the tomahawk, cool. Just like the khukri, the tomahawk could be used to cut wood, clear vegetation, dig holes, skin game and anything else you can thing of...and then be used to slash at an enemy or animal that came charging at you out of nowhere. And unlike the single shot, muzzle loading flintlocks of the time, the tomahawk never ran out of bullets and would work reliably in the wet and rain.
Even the classic "standing orders" of Rogers Rangers includes 2 references to the tomahawk...
Rule 2. Have your musket clean as a whistle, hatchet scoured, sixty rounds powder and ball, and be ready to march at a minute's warning.
Rule 19. Let the enemy come till he's almost close enough to touch. Then let him have it and jump out and finish him with your hatchet.
Early frontier militias and scouts weren't the only ones to use it either. In Vietnam a model was made for the Army to be used for hand to hand fighting and general service use. Opposite the blade head of the tomahawk it had a spike to, reportedly, penetrate the pith helmet of a NVA soldier on sentry duty...yeah, right.
The design has has seen a recent resurgence as their appearance in movies such as "The Last of the Mohicans" and "The Patriot" have reintroduced them to a new generation of outdoorsmen. The Ranger Battalion, looking towards its past has adopted a tomahawk throwing event into its annual Best Ranger competition. Even today the tomahawk is still being used by American warriors in distant lands. Many individuals have rediscovered the utility of these hand axes and have brought their own to war (we can't use privately owned firearms anymore so this is what we are down to). There is even a NSN (national stock number..used for ordering and purchasing things in the military) for them and they have been issued to the Stryker Brigades as breaching and rescue tools, as well as for cutting the heads off of Al Queda members. OK, I am just joking about that last point...but some of them deserve it.
A classic hawk is about 2 feet in length with a straight handle made of hardwook and an axehead with a blade width of less than 3". Traditionally they do not have any reverse point or other head on them, but more recent variations since the 1800's may include one in the design. What the tomahawk may lack in the size and weight of the axe head it makes up for in speed. The smaller head of the tomahawk allows it to be swung faster than a standard axe and even thrown some distance. This makes a blow from one of these extremely deadly. Think of the analogy of a light and fast 9mm bullet versus the slower and heavier round of a .45 ACP to see what I mean on this.
Cold steel makes an entire line of tomahawks and hand axes. So why do I want a Rifleman's tomahawk over say the "tactical" model called the "Vietnam Tomahawk"? Practicality. I like the addition of a hammer head on the reverse to enable me to nail or pound stakes or what have you in lieu of the spike that I would probably just poke my eye out with anyway. Besides, its called the RIFLEMAN'S tomahawk...that just sounds cool.
By the way, you got to love the Cold Steel videos they produce for their products...lol!
lastly, here is a good link to an article by Phil Elmore, AKA "The Martialist", on 'hawks.