by Jeremiah Johnson, Ready Nutrition:
ReadyNutrition Guys and Gals, the stores are flooded with the types of knives and axes you can pick up. So, what to buy, and why? A simple question, fair enough. One of the problems that people face is that they like an “all-around” tool with multiple functions, when there are different, specialty tools and weapons for diverse functions. Let’s compare tomahawks and knives, and see where we go to, alright?
Firstly, whether it is a knife or a tomahawk, the first essential is to know your tool and train with it to maximum capacity. You should follow this principle in all you do with weapons, tools, or gear.
Here’s a rule to follow. You need to be able to use your tool or weapon: 1. specifically, and then 2. generally
I will explain. When you have an OSS Fairbairn-Sykes stiletto dagger, this blade is primarily a combat knife. That is its specific function: to fight with, plain and simple. In addition to this, you need to know the other capabilities the knife possesses and how to employ them. An example is a “thrower,” or throwing knife. The Fairbairn-Sykes can be thrown; however, this takes practice and it is not the knife’s primary function. Its primary function is close-quarters combat and for stealth (such as sentry takedown, etc.). I mentioned that you should always buy such tools and weapons in pairs: one to practice with, and the other to have in mint condition for use in the “real” world and when the SHTF.
Same for a tomahawk. Oh, there are some that are really high-end, such as those made by Hibben, Schrade, Kel-Tec, etc., that can run you into the hundreds of dollars. This is a combat weapon, and needs to be trained with as such: buy two and use one to train with and the other for when the SHTF. That is the specific purpose of a tomahawk: not to cut sector stakes or firewood. The tomahawk is not to be used for pounding in tent poles and then making kindling for your campfire.
And yet it can be used as such, as a general use if called for. When would that be called for? When you’re freezing to death and need to build a fire, and that’s all you have to cut dead fallen timber. The need outweighs the original specialty use. Tomahawks take a lot of practice to use. Personally, I prefer throwing knives over tomahawks. They cannot be used the same to cut wood and kindling or to chop, but as fighting implements, they are (for me) more accurate and reliable. Also, you can mount one on the end of a staff and turn it into a spear either for defense or hunting (a secondary, general function).
As I mentioned in another article, Hibben makes (in my opinion) the finest throwing knives that money can buy. Another factor about throwing knives that I like is the fact that they can be mounted on your vest and employed more easily and quickly than the tomahawk can be drawn. On the other side of the coin, the tomahawk generally provides you with more reach on your opponent if you swing it rather than throwing it. The decision is one of preference, but the point of effectiveness is the same for each weapon: training.
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