My Tactical Truck Axe: The ‘Rune’ from CRKT

The Rune from CRKT. MSRP around $150.

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.  

I used to carry a Ka-Bar in my Ford Escape. But I’ve upgraded to the Rune.

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).  

This is where it rides. With the tinted back windows, no one knows it’s there but me. And, now, you. But don’t tell anyone.

The Rune

The Rune in the garage.

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.  

I’ve abused the Rune over the years. While not designed to be a throwing axe, needless to say, it’s done its share of pin-wheeling through the air.

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.

Extra retention if you need it with the help of a strap.

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.  

This spike can do some damage. Trust me.


The coating on the Rune protects the steel from rust.
  • 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 

The Rune is not a woodsman’s axe. But in fairness, it wasn’t designed to be.

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.

You can see the edge is slightly chipped at the top. A casualty of hard use over the years.

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.  

Sharpening anything by hand sucks. Get a Work Sharp. It makes sharpening a breeze. You’ll thank me later.

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

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About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Ej harbet July 25, 2021, 8:24 pm

    I have a step daughter who is a 11 on the 10 the only dad she ever knew and id sell my life dearly for her and her mom.i like the rune and if I encountered one for sale I’d buy it.but when some young fellow comes nosing around my daughter I
    Take my cold steel 1917 off the hook and wipe down the gun blued blade with a oil rag and explain the merits of a 25inch blade for cqb.and the picture of one in a marines ruck during ww2.nothing beat a good meat chopping story for keeping young Harold’s hormones in check

  • pete July 19, 2021, 9:35 am

    This will go well with my tactical toilet paper, tactical sun glasses, and tactical cigarette lighter.

  • Mike in a Truck July 19, 2021, 9:06 am

    I love CRKT products and have several. My M16 folder rode 48 states and most of Canada in a big truck. In the service I carried a combat tomahawk on my LBE( load bearing equipment). Some scoffed until they seen me in action with it. Its also great for prisoner control- one rap on the noggin with the handle and they comply right now.Note: the same footwork and and technique’s used in kenjutsu can be used with the tomahawk with a little modification. I practise every morning. Im gonna have to score a Rune to keep in the pickup and get one for the trunk of my trike.

  • Chimelak July 19, 2021, 7:41 am

    Won one in an auction for $20. My sheaths not as nice, it’s just nylon but it’s definitely a very hearty area. I’d sure hate to be on the receiving end of the pick.

  • Greg w July 19, 2021, 5:18 am

    Seems this product has been discontinued.

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