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Tactical Tomahawks - Made in Chattanooga

As a child, trucks and blocks never held Ryan Johnson's attention.


"I've made tomahawks since I was kid," RMJ Tactical's President says. "I began forging when I was 12."


That pursuit soon turned into a passion and then a path to pay the bills. A gentleman in Air Force special ops asked me to make him a tactical tomahawk, Johnson says.


Today, inside Chattanooga's Business Development Center, Johnson and just under a dozen employees create eight strategic styles of these once-historical weapons.


"So we take French and Indian War-style tomahawks," Johnson explains, "and use modern manufacturing methods and materials and engineering to make them high performance tools."

The process is sparked with the help of another local company and their 5,000 pound forging hammer.


"So this starts off with a piece of 4140 steel. They forge this blank and that blank is trimmed out and that is where we start out," Johnson says. "It runs the cutter around the profile and that gives it the final profile shape, It also comes in with a cutter and cuts the edges so they aren't as thick.


"When the shape of the steel is suitable, it's time to treat with heat, douse with water and then basically bake in the 400 degree oven for two, two hour cycles. We harden it so the body is tough and the cutting edges are hard," Johnson says.


When the blade is sharpened and a rubber handle molded on, the tomahawk is ready to test. Its a task that's really not that easy. Luckily, the men and women who reach into their own pocket to purchase these tomahawks are professionally trained and have better aim. Most of the soldiers or law enforcement use it as a breeching tool, says Johnson. They use it to get in doors, break locks they can break windows.


And in some cases, they also use the tomahawks to save lives and bring a story back to Chattanooga.


"My son and his team had been pinned down by heavy enemy fire," Richard Carmack remembers a customer's father saying. "He used his tomahawk to break a hole in the concrete wall and he and his team escaped. He is not going back without one of your tomahawks. It doesn't get any better than that," Carmack says. "It really doesn't."

For more on RMJ Tactical s tomahawks, click here to visit their website.

By: Latricia Thomas

Tactical Tomahawks - Made in Chattanooga

Tuesday, November 12 2013, 03:50 PM EST

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