You know that scene in “Uncle Buck” where the titular character played by the inimitable John Candy confronts his niece’s boyfriend, a sleazy beret-wearing bro appropriately nicknamed “Bug,” at a teen kegger out in the sticks?
It’s the one where Buck pulls a hatchet from the trunk of his clapped-out Mercury Marquis to forewarn the lecherous young lad that those who endanger or disrespect Buck Russell’s loved ones will pay a price. It’s a classic!
When talking about his prowess with the ole wood-splitter, Buck remarks, “Why I’ve been known to circumcise a gnat. You’re not a gnat are you, Bug? Wait a minute, bug, gnat. Is there a little similarity? Whoa, I think there is.”
But amid the comedy, there is a message: Carry an edged weapon in your vehicle at all times! (Provided you’re not breaking the law). You’ll never know when you’ll need to put a sexual deviant in his place.
For a long time, my preferred choice wasn’t an axe but a blade. Specifically, a Ka-Bar. A tried-and-true classic, you can’t go wrong with a Ka-Bar. But a few years ago I transitioned to the “Rune” from Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT).
In pop culture terms, the Rune is the weaponized lovechild of Ragnar Lothbrok and John Rambo. It’s got nordic roots yet it is imbued with a modern tactical flair.
Designed by Ryan Johnson of RMJ Tactical out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, the Rune was created with versatility in mind. It’s at home as much in the back of my SUV as it is on the vest of a SWAT operator. It’s light for an axe, weighing only 1 pound 8 ounces, and relatively compact with an overall length of 12 inches, ergo it’s easy to carry be it on one’s person, fixed to a backpack, or concealed in a trunk compartment.
Made of SK5 Carbon Steel with glass-reinforced, injection-molded nylon handles the Rune is backed by CRKT’s limited lifetime warranty. It isn’t going to fail on you. It also comes with Kydex scabbard that is MOLLE compatible, belt-loop compatible and weapon-sling compatible. Existing Kydex retention is reinforced with the help of a strap. It isn’t going to fall out on you, neither.
The front of the head has a curved beard and a convenient choil that really allows the user to choke up for fine cutting or slicing. Opposite the edge is an intimidating spike that… well, let’s just say no one would want to be on the business end of.
- Blade Length: 6.688″ (169.88 mm)
- Blade EdgeL Axe Edge w/Beard
- Blade Steel: SK5 Carbon Steel, HRC 53-55
- Blade Finish: Black
- Blade Thickness: 0.243″ (6.17 mm)
- Weight: 1 lb 8 oz
- Handle: Glass Reinforced Nylon
- Style: Compact Tactical Axe
- Sheath Material: Glass Reinforced Nylon; Black
- Overall Length: 12.0″ (304.8 mm)
Pros & Cons
Let me start with the bad news. It’s not a Bushcraft axe nor hatchet. If you’re a dedicated woodsman, this isn’t the tool for you.
Can it perform some of those tasks. Sure. For example, have I split would with it at hunting camp? Yes. Have I made feather sticks with it when trying to light a barrel fire at a Bills tailgate party in mid-November? Yes. Have I chopped some small saplings down with it at my girlfriend’s house? Yes.
It’ll get those jobs done, and more. It’s just definitely not the ideal implement for commonplace, every-day axe applications. That should all be obvious, though by looking at the Rune. When you see it, and especially when you hold it, you don’t think of felling dead trees for firewood or building a primitive shelter in the pines. You think, great, I got something for when the zombies come.
The upside is simple and straightforward, for around $150 (MSRP), you get a mean-looking axe that will last you the rest of your life — one that in a pinch can be used for a multitude of tasks, including keeping horned-up predators away from those under your mantle of protection.
For more information about the Rune visit CRKT.com.