S&W Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk Reviewed
Marketing from Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson SW671 Extraction and Evasion Full Tang Tomahawk, Black 1070 High Carbon Steel, Black TPE Overlay Handle Slabs, and Lined Black Nylon Belt Sheath.
Smith & Wesson Tools are manufactured by Taylor Cutlery with an emphasis on high quality at a low price point. Outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and, most recently, law enforcement and fire safety professionals utilize Taylor Brands products.
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson, Smith & Wesson
Model: Smith & Wesson SW671
Overall Length: 15.9″ (40.4 cm)
Blade Steel: 1070 High Carbon Steel
Blade Length: 3.9″ (9.9 cm)
Handle Material: Black TPE Overlay Handle Slabs
Handle Length: 10.0″ (25.4 cm)
Weight: 2.7 lbs.
Accessories: Lined Black Nylon Belt Sheath
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty against any manufacturing defects
I stumbled across Smith and Wesson’s SW671 Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk one day when I was looking for a good tomahawk… I am always searching for anything related to prepping for survival and the movie Patriot happened to be on the tube. While I was watching, I made the realization of how versatile a good tomahawk would be in a survival situation.
Of course, there are many different kinds of tomahawks from traditional forged hawks to the modern tactical and close-combat tomahawks. There are even tomahawks designed specifically for throwing and others for extraction (otherwise known as devastation).
A tomahawk is a general purpose hand axe from North America, resembling a hatchet, but with a straight shaft. Tomahawks were used by Native Americans and European colonials alike, and often employed as a hand-to-hand or a thrown weapon. Metal tomahawk heads were forged and originally based on a Royal Navy boarding axe.
After sifting through hundreds of reviews, I decided I wanted something virtually indestructible so had to try out Smith and Wesson’s SW671 for myself.
The first thing I thought of after picking up the SW671 and removing the sheath, was what could I demolish? I don’t have any steel barrels or a shipping container lying around, so guess I’ll have have to give it a bit more thought before I can answer that question.
The mighty full-tang SW671 is built from a 15.9-inch solid slab of 1070 high carbon steel a whopping .32-inch thick and two 10 inch black TPE slabs bolted to its shaft. It just screams tough. Weighing in at 2.7-pounds, the SW671 can provide ample striking force to its 3.9-inch blade or 3.5-inch spike and then some. It is amazing that this thing was only $65.
The sheath is a thick canvas that is plastic-lined with three snaps for easy tool removal from the bottom of the sheath. There is a belt loop, but the weight of this hawk may not make it belt-carry practical unless you are a hood from Detroit, or you have a good belt (and maybe suspenders too).
This hawk is not at all for the faint at heart… It is a tactical beast designed to perform tasks like breaching doors, smashing through a block wall or extracting someone from a smashed up car. However, all of its brawn comes at a hefty price. It is heavy and slow to wield. So if you are looking for a quick close-combat hawk or one specially designed for throwing, you really need to look elsewhere.
Now lets focus on the SW671’s features in more detail…
The SW671 is a full-tang tomahawk constructed from a solid .32″ thick slab of 1070 high carbon steel 15.9″ long weighing in at 2.7 lbs. The overall shape of the axehead is aggressive, with attractive beveling around the outer edges. The axehead features a with a 3.9″ semi-sharpened blade edge on one side and a 3.5″ beveled spike on the other, nearly 8″-wide end-to-end.
Being 1070 high carbon steel, proper care and maintenance are required even with the protective coating. It is still susceptible to rust. If the blade becomes wet, simply dry it thoroughly and lightly coat it with an oil like Break-Free CLP before storage. If you do, it just might last you a lifetime.
The blade did not come very sharp out of the box at all. Additionally, the bevel-face on both sides of the blade are very far off on mine. In fact, they are off by nearly 1/4″ from one side to the other. On any other axe or hatchet, I would have sent it back immediately. However, the more I think about it, I do not believe the core-function of the SW671 demands that level of tolerance. In fact, a highly-sharpened blade struck against a concrete cinder block would likely wear out or chip rather quickly. I think this is ultimately may be why the SW671 does not ship razor sharp.
The handle consists of two 10″ black TPE slabs lightly scaled and held on with 4 allen screws each side threaded directly into the shaft so they are easily modifiable. This scaling provides a firm grip, even in wet conditions. However, they do not fit well. They may require some slight modifications to make them fit more accurately. As a result, you’d likely want to be wearing gloves to protect your hands and absorb some of the shock from striking the SW671.
One downside I feel is the lack of a lanyard hole. However, one could easily be drilled if you’ve got the right tools and the gumption to do so.
The sheath that comes with the SW671 is cheap, but functional. It consists of two plastic-lined pieces of thick nylon sewn and riveted together around the edges. The sheath also provides a belt loop on the back, and three buttons holding the SW671 firmly in place. The sheath looks like it will not last very long so you’d likely be looking for a better alternative like I am.
Now lets see what the SW671 can do… In order to provide a some sort of apples-to-apples comparison between tomahawks, I will be performing four durability and fine-control tests; Chopping, Log Splitting, Breaking Concrete Blocks and Edge/Point Retention. I chose not to test any fine-bushcraft techniques because the SW671 just won’t do it well without changing the angles cut into the cheeks of the blade.
In a survival situation, all resources are fair game. However, since I am not in a life-or-death situation, I’ll stick to some seasoned logs and concrete blocks that I have lying around for these tests. I thoroughly recommend wearing eye protection and a good pair of gloves to protect your hands and absorb some of the vibration.
First, I decided try my hand at some bushwhacking techniques by chopping some long branches and limbs into a manageable size like those necessary to build a simple shelter or to create a stockpile of firewood for getting through a cold night.
The SW671 was able to chop through smaller branches around 2″ in size without too much effort, many with 2-3 swings on average. Moving on to larger 4-5″ material obviously required a lot more effort. Due to its 2.7-pound weight and long stroke, the SW671 was able to produce a fair amount of striking force. However, with a semi-sharp edge, I took a lot more effort to cross-cut through two logs than I would have liked.
I was fairly impressed with the results of this test. I really didn’t think it would chop as well as it did. However, the blade did much more smashing through the logs than actually cutting. The SW671 properties just did not bode well for this functional challenge. This is really a job for good a hand axe or hatchet.
After chopping wood, I think some log splitting is in order. To start, I chose to split a log approximately 12″ diameter and right around 12″ tall. However, the SW671 is much too small to quarter a large-diameter log, as with any hand axe or hatchet. You cannot use the same method as you would splitting logs 6″ or smaller, the exercise would be futile. Quartering a large-diameter log is really a job for a wedge or splitting maul.
To properly split larger material like this with a hand axe or hatchet, you still strike the axe against the top edge of the log, just not perpendicular to the rings. You must instead align the blade in the same direction as the rings. As a result, you are only removing small sections of the log, just an inch or two thick and maybe 3-4″ wide. As you work your way around the log the diameter will continue to decrease, getting smaller and smaller until it is finally quarterable.
A word of caution when performing a task like this… It can be very dangerous with a short axe. Make sure never to break the vertical plane rule. Avoid any condition where the axe could swing beyond its vertical plane without hitting something other than your leg first. This task is best performed safely from the ground-level, and not from high-up on a stump. Simply place the log you are sectioning on the ground, and kneel in front of it as you section it off.
I was happy with the way the SW671 performed on this challenge. Using two hands coupled with the size, weight and only taking small sections at a time, the SW671 was able to section the log as well as any dull hand axe.
Breaking Concrete Blocks
This test is the one I expect the SW671 to excel. For this test, I have a concrete block 6″ x 10″ x 2-1/2″ thick. I placed the block on a stump and struck it with the pointed spike. The block immediately broke into four pieces with a single strike. Quite impressive.
After all of the functional tests were completed, there were no sign of cracks, chips or imperfections of any kind with the exception of some wear on the blade’s protective coating. The SW671 held its edge (what little it had) for all tests. However, I did not strike the concrete block with the blade. As far as the spike point, it remained sharp even after striking the concrete block numerous times. Although, under heavy use it will surely dull.
The SW671 is an Extraction and Evasion Tomahawk by design, and it was built to last. Whether you are preparing for a Zombie Apocalypse, civil unrest, or you are part of a demolition crew, the SW671 may be for you. This tactical tomahawk must have been developed with an urban setting in mind, providing insane durability and a trail of devastation left in its wake, and then some. I say this only because if you get one, you’ll likely decimate everything you can find with it just like I did. The SW671 Tomahawk certainly does the Smith and Wesson name and reputation justice, and at an outstanding price.
This is probably the most durable tomahawk you will ever find under $100. Just be aware… The SW671 is not a very good choice for performing light bushcraft techniques, hand-to-hand combat, or building a log cabin. It is just too heavy to wield with any speed or accuracy, and burdensome to carry on a long treks through the woods. But if you need to breach a door, tear down a wall, or bust up some concrete, you’d surely be glad to have one in hand. And for a little less than $65, you can own one of these too.
Disclosure of Material Connection: We received the product(s) mentioned above for free in consideration for a complete, honest and impartial product review for publication on LetsTalkSurvival.com with no gurantee of the outcome whatsoever. Any opinion provided herein is based entirely on our personal experience with the product(s).
About Taylor Brands and Smith & Wesson
Founded by Stewart Taylor in 1975, Taylor Brands has been manufacturing, designing and distributing high-quality stainless steel knives and accessories since its inception.
Taylor Brands manufactures Smith & Wesson Cutlery such as S.W.A.T., Extreme Ops, Homeland Security, Search & Rescue, and H.R.T. Taylor Brands is also renowned for their specialty items and custom designed pieces such as the Texas Ranger Commemorative Knives celebrating the 180th Anniversary of Texas Rangers.
Taylor Brands also manufactures Schrade Cutlery such as Old Timer, Uncle Henry, Schrade Tuff, and X-timer. They have recently introduced a high quality line of Schrade flashlight, scissors, and shears.
Outdoor enthusiasts, hunters and, most recently, law enforcement and fire safety professionals utilize Taylor Brands products.