While a trusty knife may be a staple in the kit of anyone who goes into harm’s way, those who are in the business of thinning the ranks of the enemy have long carried another ancient tool at their side, the tomahawk. So when the well-known knife company Benchmade released their 172 Killian Forged Tomahawk Axe into an already well saturated market, it needed to be more than a pretty shelf-piece with a well-known name to separate itself from the herd.

Although it has many well-crafted features, there are a couple of things that it is NOT. It is not a hatchet, so it is not going to split wood or drive tent stakes with ease. It is not a battle-axe, so it will not cleave limbs or slice meat. Then what is it? Well, it’s a balanced measure of both.

Forged from 4140 steel, the Benchmade 172 Killian Forged Tomahawk Axe has a spike at one end and a dull edged “blade” at the other. At the base of the handle is a pry-claw. This ‘hawk comes out of the package as a balance between a highly functional tool that doubles as a highly effective weapon. Both of these applications were put to the test using the ‘hawk to cleave an assortment of bones from a deer (a femur, a shoulder-blade, and a skull), as well as chopping branches off of a tree of approximately the same size one would use for building a shelter or making a spear.

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