NOTE: This review was formatted for Everyday-Carry.com. It was written when I worked for them and they decided not to run it. However, Mr. Russell was kind enough to send me this product for review and when someone as illustrious as AG Russell sends you a knife to review, you are pretty much compelled to do it, even if, like here, its not in your knowledge base wheelhouse. I gave him my word that the review would be published, so despite the delay here it is.
AG Russell is one of the finest knife designers in the business. He also happens to be one of the best businessmen in the business, going from being a traveling salesman to using social media to promote his business. His catalog is like a little knife magazine every two months and it is less of a shill piece than the other REAL knife magazines out there (the fact that is true shows the sad state of print right now). Even though he has been in the business for 60 years, and the company is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2014 he is still pumping out new designs. One of those new designs this year was the Odin's Eye Neck Knife.
I wish I had more tactical experience to make this review better, but I did what I could. AG chose this item for me and I appreciate that, but in the end I had to rely on someone with more tactical knowledge than I have to give you good and useful information about this product. I am telling you this up front as a disclaimer of sorts.
Before I get to the blade itself, you need to be aware of a bit of history. This design is a push dagger. Push daggers were originally designed to be an easily concealable fighting weapon, not utility tools. As such, there are widespread legal restrictions on carrying daggers, especially push daggers. Check your local laws as push daggers, and daggers in general, are heavily regulated.
The Odin's Eye is a small push dagger style knife. It comes with a hard plastic sheath, a ball chain necklace, and the knife itself.
It is small and light. There is a finger hole for added control and to prevent the push dagger from being lost or dislodged from your hand. The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV. It is designed to be a neck knife for use in defensive situations. The hope is that by being light and flat, Odin's Eye will always be with you and always be ready to defend you.
I have ZERO tactical experience. My knowledge of tactics came from 8 years of taekwondo where people quickly realized that I was both uncoordinated and had an uncanny ability to absorb lots and lots of beatings. In other words I have no relevant experience. I was the guy that the referee had to stop the fight for at tournaments, out of fear that I was too dazed to realize I was bludgeoned. Suffice to say, I am not your tactical guy. If you have any questions about how to be a punching bag, well...I am your man, but other than that...So I decided to ask a person that knew something about tactical and defensive use of weapons. One of my good friends has been an martial arts instructor for over 25 years and black belt even longer. But he is not just a strip mall black belt. He also worked as a police officer for 20 years and led a significant amount of their training in fighting techniques. He has extensive experience with bladed weapons having used them, taught others to use them defensively, and having made them by hand himself. Given all of this history, he seemed like a good source.
I showed him the Odin's Eye, which I was carrying for testing purposes (by the way, I hate carrying a knife around my neck--the ball chains are necessary to prevent you from being choked by your own tool, but they irritate my skin; this guy rode in my top pocket). He instantly recognized the design as a modified push dagger and he had a few comments. First, he liked the finger hole. It was clear to him that it both added a degree of control and prevented loss during a scuffle.
Both good things. Traditional push daggers have a T-shaped handle that allowed for use with a closed fist, but it was not as secure as the Odin's Eye finger loop. He also noticed that the blade was very keen and well ground, coming to a very nice point. But he had serious reservations about its length. In order to keep the knife small enough to work as a neck knife, the Odin's Eye has a very short blade, shorter than a traditional push dagger does. Here is the Eye next to a Zippo:
The end result is a blade under 2" and something that may not, according to my friend, offer enough penetration, especially in cold winter environments where it may not make it through thick or layered clothing.
Its hard to evaluate the performance of a fighting tool outside of a real fight, so I am not going to even pretend. Having been beat up in tournaments many times (note I did not say: fighting in many tournaments) I can attested to the wisdom of that sage quote from Mike Tyson--everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Even those beatings are many steps removed from a true self-defense scenario so I can't imagine the nerves involved there. I am, I hope it has been made clear, a huge wuss. I avoid fights and I have, thus far, been lucky in doing so. To that end, I am not going to offer any feedback on how this knife would perform in a real fight. I just don't know.
But I can tell you that it is one hell of a stabber. The 8Cr13MoV is super thin and super sharp. I have never had a problem with 8Cr getting sharp and this was a perfect example of its optimum edge. I was able to easily plunge it through about 100 pages in a phone book (it was a bear to find a phone book, let me tell you) with a punch of small force. It was nothing at all really. The blade is also good at slicing, which I would take to be a rough equivalent to slashing in a fight. Aside from the penetration ease afforded by a dagger blade shape, it allows for pretty mindless slashing as either side is sharp. I also liked the finger loop in both situations, thought it seems clear that the slashing scenario is the one where a push knife is most likely to be dislodged. Here it seems almost impossible for that to happen. This thing isn't going anywhere.
The Odin's Eye is both a clever design and an indication of just how fertile AG Russell's mind is when it comes to new products. I wish I had more relevant experience to do justice to the product he sent me, but I can tell you that this little blade does stab and slash well. It is not as useful as a utility cutting tool as the angle your hand is at when gripping the knife does not afford any precision at all. Additionally, I was very impressed by the sheath.
Sheathes are one of the great mysteries of production fixed blades and this one was nothing short of excellent. The big question I have is how effective this would be as a defensive tool, given its short blade length. Living in New England, I see people bundled like Ernest Shackleton 6 months out of the year. A sub-2" blade just doesn't seem like its enough. But maybe in the heat of battle with adrenaline pumping you could push it through all that mess. I just don't know and frankly I'd prefer to not find out. I am not going to score the Odin's Eye given my lack of experience, but I can tell you that it is well-made, well-designed, very sharp, and much harder to dislodge than the typical push dagger. Its thin and light, and thus easy to have on you. The sheath is quite excellent.