The Tomahawk is a design that dates to antiquity and spreads across many cultures, whether a tomahawk or a hand axe, boarding axe, hatchet, or what have you. I see these tools as weapons first and wood-chopping or breaching tools second. While we often associate it with a Native American design, tomahawks and hand axes seem almost universal in design, as we will see in this model from TOPS Knives called the TOPS Microhawk.
Small, But Mighty:
The Tops Microhawk was designed by FMA (Filipino Martial Arts) expert Shawn Owens, a bush pilot. Owens has trained for over 30 years in Filipino martial arts and Muay Thai. He is an instructor who has trained civilians, LEOs, and military personnel alike. On top of all that, his experience as a bush pilot is a key dynamic in this design, as weight is always a crucial factor in those small planes. Onboard tools must be as small or light as possible; this design never leaves his belt.
Here, we have a hybridized design consisting of equal parts Tomahawk, knife, and karambit; it fits the multi-tool nature of the tomahawk idea. Note that some tomahawks might have a spike; many more will have a hammer on the reverse end or, as we’ll see with a few: a pipe bowl for tobacco.
While incorporating a karambit or more of a knife design into a tomahawk may sound unusual, this scaled-down design is a lightweight engineering wonder that, like an American Express card, you don’t want to leave home without.
Constructed of 1095 steel with a black coating, The handle is wrapped in paracord to ensure a secure grip and to give some spare paracord for use in various survival situations if you need it. The head has a traditional tomahawk edge with a sharpened top edge you can shave with if you desire. The reverse of the axe head has an armor-piercing rear spike.
At the base of the handle is a karambit ring. It was just a hair too small for my XXL-sized fingers and a bit too inline for my favorite karambit techniques. I preferred a slightly larger ring on more of an offset and another inch longer in handle length for complete comfort in use. Despite this personal shortcoming, I find the TOPS Micro Hawk extremely useful for various tasks.
The key to this design is to think of it as a knife first. It is perfectly suited for completing a majority of tasks that you might normally tackle with a knife blade. You can pry with this design on materials that might bend or break a typical EDC blade. It works well as a light chopper and can even perform food prep if you need it.
Comfortability With The TOPS Microhawk:
Looked at in this manner, you will find it extremely comfortable to use and hold, Be careful as TOPS grinds these little guys with scary sharp edges. It may take a little time to get accustomed to where all these sharp edges are while using the Micro Hawk, and ensure you don’t grasp or hold it incorrectly.
TOPS provides a tight Kydex sheath that requires a lot of force to release it. It secures to your belt or gear with a metal spring clip. I’d prefer a Tek-Lok to attach the sheath to a belt or pack, as you can risk cutting yourself or your gear if you draw it in haste. I suggest using a paracord to secure the sheath to your belt or pack for this reason.
With this one, you won’t find yourself felling many trees or splitting oak rounds to use for firewood, but it is great for breaking smaller pieces into kindling. I see it as more of a knife first, a CQC weapon second, and a Tomahawk third.
This is a model that I typically carry in my “Bag of Evil,” a small RUKX Business (laptop) bag imported by American Tactical Imports, which also holds an additional firearm, spare magazines, several knives, a first aid kit, and other essential gear that may run slightly more to the lethal side. This bag never gets used as a carry-on for air travel for obvious reasons, but it makes its way with me in the vehicle whenever I need more than my basic EDC loadout.
This is an extremely useful tomahawk for an urban environment. Bear in mind that it is 1095 carbon steel, and while it is coated, the edge can be prone to rust without proper maintenance. Keep it clean and oiled whenever you can, and you will get a lifetime of service out of this model.
TOPS Microhawk Spec Box:
Maker/Manufacturer: TOPS Knives
Model: Micro Hawk
Designer: Shawn Owens
Blade length: 1.95″
Overall length: 6.9″
Weight: 11.2 oz.
Handle Material: Paracord wrap
Blade Steel: 1095