Operator Axe User Manual


The 5.11 Tactical® Operator Axe is a multifunctional tool that enables the Operator to address many repair and construction challenges in the field or on a work site. The sheet metal cutter is intended to provide a viable secondary tool for cutting through sheet metals such as automobile or light aircraft body panels. It is the responsibility of the Operator to assess appropriate usage occasions and to ensure that the tool is used only in situations consistent with its capabilities. In addition, the Operator is responsible for their safety as well as the safety of those around them while the tool is being used.

1. When the material to be cut already has an accessible edge:

  • a. Always use appropriate hand and eye protection.
  • b. Check the material and the area to be cut to be certain that there are no electrical or other hazards that could pose a safety threat to the Operator or others in the area. The tool should not be deployed if there is insufficient light or visibility of the material and area to be cut.
  • c. Ensure that the Axe Head Sheath ("AHS") is properly seated and attached to the axe head with the retention strap secured. The AHS must remain securely attached to the axe head whenever the sheet metal cutter is in use.
  • d. Remove the Sheet Metal Cutter Sheath ("SMCS") from the sheet metal cutter and attach it to the Axe Head Sheath by sliding the open end of the SMCS over the hole at either of the top corners of the AHS until the SMCS engages with the holes in the AHS. Do not attach the SMCS to the AHS if this will prevent safe operation of the sheet metal cutter.
  • e. Position the lower jaw (with triangular end) under/into the sheet metal to be cut. The tips of the jaw should be aimed in the direction you will be cutting.
    • Operator Hint: The tool will work most efficiently when the material being cut is positioned as deep in the jaw as possible before each cut stroke.
  • f. Ensure that the upper jaw (with rectangular end) stays in contact with the material being cut in the intended direction of the cut. While applying forward pressure on the tool to ensure the jaw remains in contact with the material being cut, lift the head end of the Operator Axe to cut the subject material.
  • g. After each cut stroke, and being careful to keep body parts away from cut edges of the sheet metal, advance the jaws further in the intended direction of the cut.
    • Operator Hint: Check the condition of the tool and the material being cut throughout the cutting process. If there is any degradation of the tool or the environment becomes unsafe for any reason, immediately discontinue the cutting operation.
  • h. Continue to perform cut strokes until the completion of the cut.
  • i. When the cut has been completed, inspect the jaw for debris. Use a disposable rag or similar material to remove foreign matter from the tool prior to replacing the SMCS. Ensure that the SMCS is securely attached over the sheet metal cutter.

2. When the material to be cut does not have an accessible edge or the cut needs to be started in the body of the material:

  • a. Always use appropriate hand and eye protection and check the material and the area to be cut to be certain that there are no electrical or other hazards.
  • b. Remove the AHS and keep handy.
  • c. Locate the desired area to be cut and ensure that there is no safety risk associated with using the axe head to create a starter hole in the material.
  • d. Using the axe head, create a starter hole in the material that will allow the sheet metal cutter to be inserted and deployed.
  • e. Replace the AHS on the axe head and ensure it is secure.
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