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American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC

Posted by Bugout Bill 
American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 02:11PM
Tomahawks, while very much an integral part of American weapons lore, have been making something of a resurgence, making widespread appearances in popular culture and in the hearts of testosterone laden young men everywhere. Countless makers have produced their interpretations of this classic design, ranging from very affordable 3cr13 models to multi-hundred dollar customs. The Lagana VTAC, however, is the granddaddy of them all. Conceived by Peter Lagana in the 1960s, the original VTAC was envisioned as a close quarters and stealthy killing tool for US forces in Vietnam. In 2001, a pair of competition tomahawk throwers restarted Lagana’s American Tomahawk Company, as well as reintroducing the VTAC with a synthetic nylon handle as a breaching tool, eventually being issued to American servicemen.



Some Specs (From ATC)

Steel: Drop-Forged 1060, Rc 52-54**
Handle: ST “super-tough” modified nylon
Ergonomics: Oval design – indexing finger grooves
Overall Weight: 1 lb./453.59 grams practical*
Overall Length: 14”/355.6mm practical*
Sheath: Jumpable nylon – LBE/LBV, MOLLE, Sling, Belt

Ergonomics
Like most large, tactical objects, the VTAC inspires a certain degree of confidence from the user as soon as it is picked up. Upon use, however, some of its drawbacks become immediately clear. The handle is horrific in any kind of use, being very slick and prone to rotating even in light impacts. This has necessitated a paracord wrap in order to do any work. With the grip issue taken care of, a decent amount of power can be generated on a swing despite its relatively light weight. There are a number of fairly large safety concerns with this tool, so care should be taken when chopping to avoid accidental impacts by the spike into yourself or others. Also, I will flat out say that the VTAC is unsafe to use without the paracord wrap due to the slickness of the grip.



General Impressions in Use
In its stock form, the VTAC comes with an edge thickness intended for heavy demo work, not field tasks. While this particular example was thinned dramatically by its previous owner, I found it to be markedly inferior to the Cold Steel Gurkha Kukri as a pure chopping tool, but still a nice complementary tool for harder work. For removal of buried roots, the edge durability of the VTAC make it nice for chopping dirty materials, while the spike allows for dirt and rocks to be removed with easy. As a general destructive device, the VTAC can punch through metal with ease, as well as light wood. I am hoping to find a broken hollow core door at some point to do further demonstrations. Where the VTAC has really found heavy use has been as a campfire tool, as the spike can be used to assist in the carrying of logs, as well as repositioning them in the fire. Furthermore, the durable handle and heavy edge allow for trivial breaking down of pallets and other materials for fuel as well. Additionally, the smoke from fireside use has the added benefit of making the VTAC smell like bacon; a highly desirable side effect.

Sheath Issues
The VTAC comes with a durable and rugged cordura and plastic sheath capable of belt or MOLLE carry. While quite secure, the sheath is by no means rapid deployment, something desirable on a weapon or combat tool. Furthermore, the handle is incapable of being inserted or drawn from the sheath if it has a paracord wrap. If the VTAC is actually intended for duty use, a kydex sheath would be strongly recommended.





Conclusions
While very much intended as a combat tool, the Lagana VTAC is none the less a nice piece of kit for hard work. With some modification, the VTAC can be thinned out into a reasonably useful camp tool while still retaining sufficient durability for wrecking things or cutting hard materials. That being said, the rather serious issues of the slick handle and generally bad sheath will require the end user to do some hard thinking about what they will need the tool to do. Still, I look forward to putting the VTAC to continued use, but I may need to make some modifications. Finally, thank you, Cliff for the opportunity to evaluate this tool.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 02:31PM




I know nothing about tomahawks, but I did watch this scene I'm Patriot. So basically I am an Internet expert on the subject. Nice review. For my uses, the Fiskar hatchet is probably more functional.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 02:37PM
Chad: Good video. A Fiskars hatchet would be far more useful for the wood tasks I would use this for, but the spike is a nice feature.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 02:51PM
Quote
Bugout Bill
Chad: Good video. A Fiskars hatchet would be far more useful for the wood tasks I would use this for, but the spike is a nice feature.

Spikes are great for a lot of things... digging, picking-up/pulling wood out of underbrush, splitting wood, breaking stuff apart, throwing.

Nice little hawk Bill.


Chumgeyser on Youtube
E-nep throwing Brotherhood. Charter Member
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 03:48PM
Bill,

USMC?
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
October 31, 2014 03:57PM
McCullen: No, it was a surplus plate carrier that I recently got. One my roommates is a Marine reservist and got it from a guy as pay for some work. I had been interested in getting a carrier, so I bought it off of him.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/31/2014 04:06PM by Bugout Bill.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
March 17, 2015 08:24PM
This thing is a hoss. I've celebrating saint paddys with my roomates, as my neighbors a
had destroyed their house, I had a nice access to firewood. The LaGana is a nice pry bar, but doesn't like nails.





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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
March 17, 2015 08:25PM
It is easily soft enough to file readily. Note the angle is significantly lower than it was as-boxed.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
March 17, 2015 08:28PM
Yeah, I am aware. Interestingly, it seemed to take less damage than the Estwing. The task should unmess it pretty quickly.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
June 15, 2015 05:25PM
Today was a fortuitous day at work, as some fairly heavy material was being thrown out. After consulting with the appropriate authorities, a length of hot water house and roughly 1.5 mm thick metal found its way home with me.



As a reference, all testing was also done with an old plumb carpenters axe.





This was being used as a general purpose hose at my employer, but developed a leak. This particular length was cut off to remove a fixture, the rest of the hose was placed in storage. This is fairly heavy stuff, two layers of rubber and metal mesh for support. As tomahawks are generally employed as a demo tool, this should serve as the high end of what could be expected if a tomahawk was going to be used to disable vehicles or heavy equipment.

Using an elbow swing, the Lagana was able to create a fairly serious cut, but not completely sever the hose. Furthermore, the cut had to be done at an angle to ensure optimal penetration. With a shoulder swing, the hose was easily severed in one go. It should be noted that the spike would be next to useless for this application, as it generally just glanced off the hose.

The carpenters hatchet, due to its heavier weight and more head heavy balance, easily severed the hose in one go with a shoulder swing. Neither tool suffered any significant blunting.

Now for the sheet metal:




The Lagana did well:



It was raining, so my apologies about the photo. With the spike, the lagana could readily penetrate the metal with an elbow swing, though it requires a full power swing for optimal penetration. To really cut through the metal, the beard of the axe must be employed with a full power swing. Still, it would take a while to cut a sizable hole in this sheet metal.



With the Plumb, there was significantly more striking power, though a sharpened beard would have allowed for much more penetration.

Edge Damage:



Blunting on the lagana was fairly minimal.



The Plumb suffered a bit more.


Unlike a D2 or 154CM Tomahawk, however, these two tools could readily be repaired with a brick.From an ergonomic standpoint, the LaGana is still plagued by a rather slippery handle.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/15/2015 05:59PM by Bugout Bill.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
June 15, 2015 06:39PM
Nice testing Bill. Now that looks like a good survival blade to me. Lots of durability and lots of versatility.


Chumgeyser on Youtube
E-nep throwing Brotherhood. Charter Member
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
June 15, 2015 06:41PM
Chum: It is a nice and durable tool, but I feel that the Estwing Tomahawk is probably a better value from an ergonomic standpoint. The Lagana is a bit more durable, though.

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Bill22252 on YouTube. "See you space cowboy"

Resident Emerson Fanboi

Folding knives are fun, fixed blades are important.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
June 19, 2015 05:50PM
Probably 20 years ago there was a story in tactical knives magazine about an austrailian forged spike hike, the author had used it on a walk about along with a ~7" fixed blade knife. I liked that article a lot, and Bill's review brought it out of the depths of my cob webbed mind.
Re: American Tomahawk Company Lagana VTAC
July 21, 2015 08:24AM
chad234-
I have cob-webs in my head also! Just comes with getting a little older, I guess! winking smiley
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