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Tomahawks were all-purpose tools that benefited both Native Americans and European pioneers. The traditional metal heads were inspired by a Royal Navy boarding axe. They were frequently traded with Natives to gain food and additional necessities for living.

In the colonial territories inhabited by French pioneers, a significantly different design was used for the tomahawk. It was designed to resemble the Francisca, a tool used by both indigenous folk and French settlers.

The shaft is usually two feet (61 centimeters) or less in length. It is typically crafted from fine wood such as hickory, maple, or ash. The head weighs between 9 to 20 ounces (260-570 grams), and the cutting edge is approximately four inches (10 centimeters) in length. The poll of this tool may feature a spike or hammer, though they are commonly rounded off. Some have a pipe bowl with a hole crafted into their polls used for smoking tobacco. Pipe tomahawks are exclusive to North America. These were symbolic of the choices present between Europeans and Native Americans. The pipe end of the tomahawk represented peace while the axe end represented war. When periods of war occurred, they were used as both weapons and tools.

Many members of law enforcement tactical teams (SWAT teams) respect the tomahawk as a weapon. Due to rising popularity, a few companies are producing items called “tactical tomahawks.” These tools are designed with SWAT principles in mind. They have composite handles, are fairly light yet very useful. Some modern “tactical tomahawks” feature a shaft that can be used as a Prybar. There are also models that have tools like line cutting notches, heavy-headed models for breaching doors.


Survival Self Defense - How to protect yourself and your family
Survival Self Defense - How to protect yourself and your family

Discover the secrets to defending yourself and your family when disaster strikes!