Choice variety: axe, tomahawk or hatchet?
Believe it or not, there are throwing varieties for all three of these tools, but that does not mean that each of these tools is the same. There are throwing axes, throwing tomahawks, and throwing hatchets; each weapon offers different perks and drawbacks, and there are clear differences between each of them.
A tomahawk can be distinguished by its relatively round eye, its ability to be hafted from the bottom with the axe handle typically sticking out through the head, and finally the handle which is longer and slightly more curved than the handle of an axe or hatchet. Due to these differences’ tomahawks are the easiest and typically best axes for throwing because their shape and momentum utilize friction to keep an axe head in place while its spinning.
Hatchets and axes can also be used for throwing, but their different designs will have different effects. A hatchet is shorter at the handle than both an axe and a tomahawk, its head is also typically shorter. For throwing purposes this makes a hatchet faster but less balanced. This means your strikes will be quicker and more accurate, but only at a close range. For far range throwing, the hatchet may not be the best tool.
An axe on the other hand is a long handled heavy tool with a thick head; very few people would ever use these for throwing. Typically, an axe is only used for cutting down trees and chopping logs, although there are some people out there who professionally throw these tools.
Tips for tomahawk throwers
First off, we recommend that rookies should start off with a dull tip. Why is this? Because if you hit yourself or someone else with it, the dull blade will cut wood but not a person; at first learning can be a somewhat dangerous activity.
Next, you’ll want to grip the axe like you’re shaking someone’s hand, that same exact grip you grab their hand with while keeping the axe straight down. Put simply, when your grip is straight the axe head will point down.
Then you’ll raise your hand up – the tomahawk’s head a little behind your ear – swing forward and throw.
The distance between you and your target should measure between 13 to 14 feet for the most accurate throw. Make sure the head of your axe is pointed at the target.
Again, bring the tomahawk straight back then straight forward and release. The hawk should then spin end over end until it sticks into the wood of your target.
A throwing axe does not have to be unaffordable to be good; typically, the best axes are between $90 to $130 dollars. The axes on our list have been rigorously reviewed to make sure the value of their materials and designs match up with the value of their price tag.
Features to consider while buying the perfect throwing tomahawk
Many of the following features you’ll find listed above with our product reviews. Below we have explained these features and their value to a throwing axe, as well as included some of our top nominations for a specific feature.
The tang of a tomahawk is, put simply, the point where the head connects to the handle. Many tomahawks feature a tang where the handle runs straight through the the head, but the best versions actually feature screws which hold the head to the handle. For instance, two great models with ideal tangs are the SOG FastHawk Throwing Tomahawk and the Condor Tool & Knife Throwing Axe.
The basics of balance are that the longer the handle, the slower your throw is going to be. This concept also applies to weight; the heavier the weight, the slower the throw. The ideal handle length is about 15 – 20 inches, where the ideal weight is around 1.5 pounds. These are the easiest axe measurements to start learning with for an easily balanced throw, and as you change the weight or the length it can make the learning curve much more difficult. On our list the top axes with an excellent balance are the BLADED Tomahawk Throwing Axe and the SOG FastHawk Throwing Tomahawk.
Handle and grip
As you take up tomahawk throwing you’ll find that a unique culture persists around using only axes with wooden handles. Wood material handles are, yes, the original designed tomahawk specifically for throwing and they offer a fantastic grip. The downside about these handles, however, is that they concentrate most of the weight on the head and often cause the head to break much sooner than it ever should have. Another factor worthy of note is that wooden handles are very inexpensive and keep the cost of your purchase low.
Rubberized handles have been becoming more popular, with the downside that these handles can actually become sticky and even brittle over time. What’s best when it comes to a rubberized handle is if the manufacturers have included a parachute cord, grip tape, or other wrapping specifically for a throwers hand placement. All metal handles are also becoming more popular, but like rubberized handles you need to make sure the tomahawk includes a grip at the base made from a different non-slip material. Just take a look at the binding on the Condor Tool & Knife Throwing Axe, that’s exactly the good quality base we’re talking about.
Head and materials
Different head shapes include a single head, double head, and even flat back and spike heads. Although there are even more unique shapes, these are the most common and they encompass the tomahawk heads listed in our review. For instance, the Condor Tool & Knife Throwing Axe offers a double bit, and in many ways, this can determine its uses and performance. This product is great for throwing because it has double the chance of hitting its target, it offers a better throwing balance and a better throwing arch, and it’s even stylish and fun to look at. The downside to different heads, like this double bit, is that they can’t be used for certain activities; in this case it’s log splitting and chopping kindling.
The material is also very important and should be made from either stainless steel or carbon steel. A soft edge is also preferred, and this is because axes with harder edges are actually more liable to shatter when they make contact with a target. For a truly great axe with a unique head made from strong steel, take a closer look at the BLADED Tomahawk Throwing Axe which is ideal for a wide range of activities and not just throwing.
It’s a good idea to have a leather sheath, not only because it will keep your axe sharp and protected from the elements, but also because leather isn’t easily cut while being fit on an axe, and then the axe itself won’t cut you. Other great sheaths include thick canvas and even nylon. All the axes on this list come with superior sheath guards to protect your axe from growing dull or picking up rust, and also to protect you from getting cut on your travels.
For the highest level of protection against manufacturing defects, make sure you choose an axe which comes with a superior warranty. For our review the best warrantied axe on this list is our budget pick with a lifetime limited warranty, the SOG FastHawk Throwing Tomahawk.
Axe throwing safety tips
Safety first! Always! Here are just the basic safety tips to keep in mind before throwing, during throwing, while throwing, and everything in between. First, always secure a perimeter between you and your target. This perimeter should encompass around 45 feet around the throwing area – we even suggest painting a distinct line or putting up flags – and then enforce the rule that while one person is throwing no one else is allowed to cross this perimeter. Some experts even suggest creating a secondary safety line of 10 feet behind the throwers.
If multiple targets are included in a perimetered space, ensure that each target is spaced at least 10 feet apart. So there isn’t as much moving or trading of axes, during a throwing rotation make sure that only one set of hawks is in use per target. If children or teenagers are throwing an adult must be there to supervise at all times; an adult who can drive to the hospital if needs be. Which brings us to another pro tip: always have a safety kit on hand.
Other somewhat obvious safety tips include storing the axes when they’re not in use and storing them out of reach of little children.