Tactical World - - Contents - TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOSHUA SWANAGON

Do you want tough? Then you’ll want the lat­est tom­a­hawk from Fla­grant Beard, the Tem­plar. By Joshua Swanagon

Tough men use tough tools. I am a fan of tom­a­hawks and any time that I get to play with one I am in a happy place. So, when I got the op­por­tu­nity to get my hands on the Fla­grant Beard Tem­plar, I was pretty ex­cited. I had been speak­ing with Dave Rho­den, of Fla­grant Beard, for some time about this de­sign, and it was ob­vi­ous that a lot of thought was go­ing into it. Work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Exit Edge­works, Rho­den spent a year of re­search and de­vel­op­ment to pro­duce a tom­a­hawk de­signed for hard use in hard ter­ri­tory.

The Knights Tem­plar were not to be tri­fled with, and the Fla­grant Beard Tem­plar pays solid homage to those me­dieval war­riors with a tool they would have been proud to carry.

And now I get to go all me­dieval with one to see how it holds up to its name­sake.


Us­ing de­sign cues that harken back to the Knights Tem­plar—with a fuller run­ning along the top of the head and an inset Tem­plar Cross em­blem em­bossed at the mid-point— the aes­thet­ics of the Tem­plar stand out in a crowd.

The Tem­plar mea­sures in at an over­all length of 12.75 inches of de­struc­tive power. The head is 6.5 inches wide with a 2.5-inch spike poll and 2.63inch edge. The beard comes to an ag­gres­sive tip and fea­tures a swedge for dam­ag­ing hook­ing or pen­e­tra­tion. At the top of the head is a line of jimp­ing, de­signed to act as trac­tion dur­ing pry­ing tasks. At the neck are notches rounded out and filled with jimp­ing for a com­fort­able grip while chok­ing up on the head for finer work.

The 11-inch haft has more of a straight de­sign and fea­tures can­vas Mi­carta han­dle scales and fin­ishes at an over­sized ring. The han­dle scales are lean, up around the shoul­der, en­abling the user to choke up on the head for de­tailed work, but they swell about half­way down for a hand­fill­ing in­ter­face while swing­ing hard. Re­mov­ing the han­dle scales re­veals three over­sized pin/screw holes and three weight-re­duc­tion holes down the

haft, plac­ing the weight at the head, with a bal­ance point right at the swell of the han­dle scales.

The sheath is con­structed of heavy­duty Ky­dex, and the Tem­plar drops into the top of the sheath and snaps firmly into place. There are two beta loops with “pull the dot,” direc­tional, snaps for hang­ing the sheath off a belt or ruck. For added re­ten­tion, there is a beta loop, with Pull-the-dot snap en­clo­sure, that loops over the top of the sheath and holds the Tem­plar snug­gly in place dur­ing heavy ac­tiv­ity.


Get­ting the op­por­tu­nity to test a tom­a­hawk like this is def­i­nitely one of the perks of my job, and I tend to look at the world a lit­tle dif­fer­ently dur­ing the time I have it in my pos­ses­sion— ev­ery­thing starts to look like a po­ten­tial tar­get for test­ing.

Al­though I am not a big fan of throw­ing my weapon, be­cause it just never made much sense to me, I felt that a true test of a tom­a­hawk should in­clude some throw­ing. So, I took it over to a friend’s house, and we played for a while, throw­ing it into the end of a large tree he had cut down at the be­gin­ning of the year. It took just a lit­tle bit to find the sweet spot; once we did, we were able to get it to stick fairly con­sis­tently from about 12 feet away. Dur­ing the be­gin­ning of this test­ing, the han­dle took quite a beat­ing un­til we were able to find the con­sis­tency we were look­ing for; it held up nicely and ev­ery­thing stayed tight.

Af­ter the throw­ing test, I went to an­other log—an oak tree that had been cut down at the be­gin­ning of the year as well—and be­gan stick­ing the spike poll in and twist­ing and pry­ing the wood with it. I then did the same with the bit and both held up beau­ti­fully. This is a great pry­ing tool.

Next, I de­cided to cut a knot off the side of the oak log. The edge bit deep into the knot with each swing and made short work of the wood. At this stage, I did be­gin to no­tice that my hand was want­ing to slip all the way down to the ring, and there was a lot of en­ergy com­ing down into the ring and trans­fer­ring right into my pinky— painfully so. So, I had one of my friends chop at the log, with­out telling him what I was notic­ing, and he had the same ex­pe­ri­ence in the same spot on his pinky. I think I would have liked to have seen some kind of dove tail or some­thing to stop the hand from go­ing all the way down to the ring. As is, gloves may help to mit­i­gate some of the en­ergy trans­fer.

I then wanted to test the notch on the spike poll—de­signed for break­ing locks free. Un­for­tu­nately, I was un­able to get the lock to pop, be­cause the latch just kept pulling right out of the wood. I couldn’t get it to stay se­curely in even very sea­soned hard wood. In a way, that is still a tes­ta­ment to the


pry­ing power of the Tem­plar, be­cause ei­ther the lock is go­ing to break, or the whole latch is go­ing to give way. Ei­ther way, some­thing is go­ing to give.

Not will­ing to give up yet how­ever, I de­cided to still try to open the Mas­ter Lock with the Tem­plar—from the side. I was ac­tu­ally im­pressed with the level of dam­age it did to the lock. I was un­able to get it to pop, but that was only be­cause I didn’t want to com­pletely de­stroy the spike poll at this point. Once the tip broke off be­tween lay­ers of the lock I de­cided to call it. Al­though the lock didn’t pop, it did get a lit­tle mal­formed and was not far from open­ing. I feel that I could have got it to do it if I had kept go­ing.

I then chopped up an old pal­let with no is­sues what­so­ever. Each swing cut deep into the wood and ev­ery part of the pal­let was chopped up within min­utes.

Fi­nally, I took the Tem­plar to a car to give it a steel-ver­sus-steel test. I started by us­ing the spike poll like a can opener and stuck it into the car and pried up­ward, caus­ing a cut about 2 inches long. I re­peated this process un­til I had opened up a nice hole. I then did the same with the bit and chopped, mul­ti­ple times, straight into the car hood for a very clean en­try. I fin­ished by bury­ing both the poll and the bit into the wind­shield mul­ti­ple times to see how the fin­ish would hold up.

Af­ter all of my test­ing was com­plete, the edge on the bit is a lit­tle worse for wear, but not as much as could be ex­pected for this level of abuse. It held up quite well. As men­tioned, the tip of the spike poll broke off, but again, not sur­pris­ing con­sid­er­ing the level of tor­ture I put it through. The tung­sten Cer­akote showed an ex­pected amount of scratch­ing, but noth­ing down to the steel—it will still keep the Tem­plar well pro­tected.


Named for some of the most skilled fight­ers of the cru­sades, the Tem­plar lives up to its name­sake as a solid fight­ing tool. The Tem­plar stepped up to each test as if it were con­fronting and en­emy com­bat­ant and knocked it down with fury. The tests I put it through were clearly out­side of any kind of nor­mal use, but for a tool like this—in­tended for hard use peo­ple—i felt it was only ap­pro­pri­ate and was quite sur­prised at how well it held up to such abuse.

If you are look­ing for a tool to get your me­dieval on—whether on the bat­tle­field or as a first re­spon­der—the Tem­plar would make a great ad­di­tion to your kit and will per­form when and how you need it to. TW

top: Each strike to this pal­let pro­duced a very clean, very deep cut. I had the pal­let apart in min­­tom: The head is 6.5 inches wide with a 2.63inch cut­ting edge and fea­tures a spike poll.

top: In my at­tempt to open a Mas­ter Lock from the side, the tip of the spike got embed­ded be­tween lay­ers and broke off. I think I could have popped this lock if I had kept go­ing. I am im­pressed that this is the only dam­age to the­tom: Us­ing the spike like a can opener, I was able to open a size­able hole in the hood of this car quickly and ef­fi­ciently.

The coat­ing held up pretty well to a lot of abuse. There are no­tice­able scratches to the fin­ish, but noth­ing deep enough to compromise the steel.

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