How to Throw a Tomahawk

throwing tomahawk

Some people get extreme enjoyment from throwing a tomahawk. It is most enjoyable when the tomahawk is properly thrown and sticks to the target.

There is more to properly throwing a tomahawk than getting any old tomahawk and throwing it at a target. The correct technique and, of course, safety, need to be practiced to make one’s tomahawk throwing session successful and enjoyable.

The first thing to note is that not all tomahawks are ideal for throwing. If you want a tomahawk just to throw in the backyard, you’ll need to find one that is made just for that purpose. Throwing tomahawks are specifically weighted differently, and have a handle that can more easily and comfortably fit into the thrower’s hand.

As surprising as it seems, one must not keep their throwing tomahawk’s blade too sharp, but rather blunt. It is the force of the blade, not its sharpness that makes it stick into the target. An overly sharp blade can make the tomahawk blade more brittle, cause extensive damage to the target and pose an increased danger to the thrower and others around the thrower.

After finding right throwing tomahawk, one must get a proper target and stop. The ideal target for a tomahawk is a large, thick, flat piece of wood. Tree stumps make excellent tomahawk throwing targets. Any material other than wood is not advised as the tomahawk won’t stick, causing dangerous bouncing and excessive wear of the tomahawk head. Don’t throw the tomahawk at living trees as the rounded surface can cause the tomahawk to bounce and glance in unpredictable directions, posing a greater risk of injury.

As always, be aware of your surroundings and take great safety precautions when throwing your tomahawk.

Proper Tomahawk Throwing Technique

The proper tomahawk throwing stance is as follows:

  • Stand facing the target
  • Feet are shoulder width apart
  • Stance is upright and level
  • Arms are loose and are comfortably resting on your sides

Throwing the tomahawk is all in the motion of your arm. The tomahawk is to be released at the natural peak of your throwing motion.

To get the best grip of your tomahawk it is encouraged that you hold the tomahawk handle with your thumb wrapped around it like a hammer instead of placing the thumb underneath the handle like a knife. The grip should be firm, and the hand should be an inch or two away from the end of the handle.

The tomahawk has the best chance of going straight and with proper spin when the handle is pointed straight at the thrower’s body.  

The flight and spin of the tomahawk will be impeded with the improper positioning of the thumb on the handle and incorrect release of the tomahawk. It is a good idea to practice good throwing form and learn how the tomahawk spins.

As you’re line up your throw, be sure to hold the tomahawk blade perpendicular to the target. If the blade’s axis is off, the tomahawk will have an inaccurate flight.

A way to tell that the tomahawk’s blade is on a straight axis is to let the tomahawk swing at naturally and comfortably at your side. The blade should be parallel to your leg, pointing either toward you or away out from you.

Try loosening your grip if the blade is not in correct positioning.  

It is important you throw from the right distance from the target. Throwing a tomahawk is not a long-distance activity. For a proper throwing distance, stand with your back toward the target and take five natural steps forward, away from the target. After the fifth step, stop and turn around, facing the target. This is your proper throwing distance.

Proper Throwing Technique

Now that you have a throwing tomahawk, an adequate target, the proper throwing distance, stance and a straight blade alignment, it’s now time to learn correct throwing technique.

While maintaining a firm grip, slowly raise up the tomahawk, keeping your arm straight. As you reach the apex of your throw, bringing the tomahawk forward, your elbow should flex slightly and end up by your ear.

As you bring the tomahawk forward, maintain a firm grip and have your motion be as slow as when you brought the tomahawk back.

Don’t bend your wrist or rely on them as they can cause the tomahawk’s flight to go astray and cause pain to the wrist. 

It is also important that you release the tomahawk at the correct time as releasing it too early or too late can cause the tomahawk to go into the ground or sail erratically in the air. The tomahawk should be released when the middle of the handle is in the top area of your right field of vision (if you’re right-handed). After letting go of the tomahawk, continue forward with your throw. When your hand is level with your eyes, the tomahawk should have already been released.

A common misconception is that the faster and harder you throw, the greater the chance the tomahawk will go straight and stick to the target. In fact, speed and strength have no bearing on the success of the throw. Rather, a proper technique and slow motion will yield better (and safer) results.

Another thing to keep in mind is that your feet need to remain firmly planted on the ground when throwing the tomahawk.

Like shooting an air rifle or throwing knives, it takes time and practice to hone in on the proper tomahawk throw that will result in a successful, straight throw.

Whether you’re looking to learn how to throw tomahawks, shoot an air rifle, or learn more about survival and self-defense, Kiehberg has the equipment you’ll need to pursue your new passion. Contact us to learn more about our products and get suggestions.