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A solution in search of a problem.” Statements like that are easy to make when confronted with something new. At first glance the Krudo Knives KHatchet certainly runs the risk of inspiring such sentiments. It is different, yes: In a market glutted with “tactical tomahawks,” the KHatchet is radically different, offering curves, spikes and ridges where you don’t expect them. But the Krudo KHatchet will win you over through the sheer brutal beauty of its design. This is a tool meant for close-quarters violence first—its utility is an afterthought. It is an instrument of pain that offers multiple applications, and in the words of its creator, Louis Krudo, it is deliberately so.

“I wanted to create a one-hand axe that would be different, in part, from the typical tactical hatchets [on the market],” Krudo explains. “Not only in design shape, but most important in its tactical application, sheathed and unsheathed.” The result was the KHatchet, manufactured in the U.S. from a single piece of quarter-inch, 1095 carbon steel stock.

Fighting Style
Each 15.25-inch KHatchet is black-powder coated and bears two G10 handle slabs, at the top and bottom along the axe’s shaft. The wickedly curved blade is hand-ground and includes a grooved control surface reminiscent of the pain-compliance surfaces on Krudo’s Snag tools, which sport a spike that points up, not out. This curved blade is probably the first deviation from more-conventional tomahawk designs that the user will notice at first.

A common selling point of the tomahawk as a close-quarters-battle tool is the power generated through strikes with the spike opposite its blade. “At the head of the tool, you will notice that it is not like your typical tomahawk or hatchet,” Krudo admits. “No, there is no spike at the end, because I wanted the user to have the ability to hold it in an icepick position. It does have a small spike pointing forward for spear striking, and it has teeth [the grooved control surface] because I just like what the teeth can do.” In referring to “what the teeth can do,” Krudo is alluding to the special manner in which his tool is intended to be used. He has devised an entire martial methodology for using his knives and compliance implements—the KHatchet is no exception.

“I designed this tool for close-quarters-combat and extreme close-quarters-combat purposes, not for chopping doors or opening cars or removing nails,” says Krudo. “It delivers blunt trauma and cutting.” Beyond the obvious, however, the KHatchet’s design facilitates a variety of hooking, clearing and deflecting moves. Reversed in the hand, it can be used to strike with the shaft or the spike, or to hook with the handle’s end. The KHatchet can be used “choked up” for chopping and hooking, or in a more traditional grip for hacking, poking with the spike or even trapping and redirecting with the teeth as a pain-compliance tool. Even the head of the KHatchet is curved to facilitate trapping and redirecting a limb, or digging into an assailant’s body.

“The handle is almost 1-inch wide and slightly curved,” explains Krudo. “The width of the head is 4.5 inches, and the blade portion is 3.5 inches. Where most or all axes or hatchets have a straight handle throughout, the KHatchet has that slight hook and a V-shape point, which is bevel-ground on one side. It was created that way so that, in combat at close quarters, it could be used in a standard forward grip or in a reverse grip, choking up on the blade portion. The shaft can be used to strike, to block and parry like a baton, and even to hook appendages.”

Chop, Hack & Slice
The cutting edge of the KHatchet is very sharp and very scary. Its curve makes it a natural slicer, and its points make it a close-quarters terror. It will chop and hack, yes, and the 1095 steel holds up to abuse reasonably well. After enough strikes at a telephone pole, it did require honing on a diamond rod, but it took a new edge quickly and was soon sharp enough to shave with. Fit and finish are excellent, although in a tool made from a single piece of steel, there isn’t much fit and finish to be had except where the handle halves are joined to the shaft. The G10 slabs are perfectly mated and rounded, eliminating any possibility of snagging the hand on a rough corner. The gap between the two slabs is also quite intentional. Krudo explains that it is for orientation. A user need not see the KHatchet to know where he is gripping it, and should the handle slabs be removed (they are held in place with flush-fit hex screws), a paracord or leather wrap could be applied.

Tomahawks, being somewhat awkwardly shaped by design, offer a unique problem when it comes to tactical applications: the sheath. Many a great tactical tomahawk design comes in an awkward leather or ballistic Nylon sheath that, while enclosing the tomahawk’s business end, is slow to remove and almost a hindrance to carry. The Krudo KHatchet, by contrast, offers a beautifully executed, finely finished Kydex blade cover. The cover does not try to be all things to all people. Instead, it has a simple paracord pull attached to one of its grommets. A smooth yank on the pull is all you need to snap the Kydex sheath free of the KHatchet. The sheath does rattle slightly on the KHatchet’s body (this is inevitable if the KHatchet is to clear the sheath without a tug of war), but the sheath could also do double duty as a shoulder harness with the addition of more paracord. Louis Krudo has designed the blade cover so that, should the ’hawk be carried this way, it can be drawn from under the shoulder into a fluid self-defense strike.

Going Airborne
The KHatchet is not designed for throwing. Even the question seemed to take Louis Krudo by surprise. “I have been asked if the KHatchet has good balance for throwing,” he says. “My question in return is, why would you throw it?” The irony is that the KHatchet doesn’t just throw; it throws well. While the hook at the end of the handle makes releasing the ’hawk a little more difficult depending on your grip, it will sail through the air and land on its edge or its forward spike as if that were its intended purpose. The KHatchet is tough enough to stand up to this type of recreation too, despite the fact that this could be considered abuse.

Krudo Knives’ Tactical KHatchet is different. It is also superb. This is a well-made, well-thought-out, close-quarters weapon whose unique form follows its designed function. It will cut, it will slice, it will hack, it will stab, and it will fend, block, parry, hook and deal tremendous damage in the process. The training partner in these photographs took one look at the KHatchet and exclaimed, “It’s like every angle of this thing is designed to mess you up.” There is no better testament to the KHatchet’s potential—or its applications.

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