So on the last day of the NRA Annual Meetings, we arrived in the Media Room and noticed that someone had left sheets on all the tables proclaiming, “Writers, we have a present for your wives! Stop by booth #XXXX to pick it up!”*
I will not lie, we did not really make any serious plans to actually do so, but by complete happenstance we stumbled across the booth, which happened to be owned – and manned – by none other than A. G. Russell himself. Let me get my fanboyism out of the way and just say that Mr. Russell is an outstanding individual, and it was a distinct pleasure to be able to chat with him about his business and what he does. I will not lie – I have lusted after a few of his knives for quite some time, but I have never really reminded myself of that when I happened to have the necessary money free.
Anywise, the gift Mr. Russell had for us was, predictably, a knife – specifically, one of his Odin’s Eyes:
As you can tell, this is meant to be a “punch” knife, with one of your fingers through the hole, which is just a hair over an inch in diameter. The knife comes with a ball chain for neck carry and a keychain ring for attaching it there, with both accessories fitting through a loop at the tip of the sheath. The blade is made of 8Cr13MoV steel, for those of you who know what that means, and is about 1.75” long overall and has about 1.5” of edge. It is important to note that this is a double-edged knife (and both are double-bevel edges, not chisel grinds), and thus may not be legal in all jurisdictions. Additionally, the knife is manufactured in China, but Mr. Russell has an honest explanation for that.
Anywise, the gift was only half the experience – the other half was Mr. Russell explaining exactly how he came up with the idea and who he intended it for. To put it very simply, Mr. Russell is very much on our side, in that he very much believes in and supports the right of self-defense, and by that I mean he wants people to be able to do whatever is necessary to stop a threat against their person.
His concept for the Odin’s Eye (and please bear in mind this is all hypothetical / fictional) was that a woman was walking back to her car after work one day, alone and in a darkened parking deck. An assailant approached her and she held out her full keychain in her off hand and shook it at him, indicating she would whack him with it if he came any closer, and screamed at him to go away. He continued to close the distance, making all outward indications of wanting to physically assault her; she put her off hand to her side as if she were prepping to do a swinging backfist at him… and then hacks and slashes at his face with her Odin’s Eye in her dominant hand once he was close enough. The knife was on her keychain, and she used the distraction of the keys itself to draw it. Mr. Russell was quite clear that he meant this knife to only be deployed as a surprise, and that he wanted folks to consider slashing their opponents diagonally across their face one way, and then diagonally across their face the other way, to get the full impact.
His demonstrations were quite energetic, involving demonstrating the slashes and targets he had in mind… on me. With a sheathed knife, and at a distance, of course.
Perhaps the best part was at the conclusion of his demonstration, where he indicated the victim should just go home and have a stiff drink to steady her nerves after successfully defending herself. I commented that calling the cops might be good as well, and his response was something along the lines of, “Oh, yes, that too, if you think of it.”
The man is not wrong, though; I would never suggest a push dagger as a primary defensive tool, but as a back-up or emergency tool, the simple truth is that punching is a natural movement, and if that punch happens to have something sharp-and-pointy included with it, all the better. Once you get your finger through the hole, you are not going to drop this knife, and even flailing becomes a potentially lethal threat to your assailant. I am sanguine with that, and apparently Mr. Russell is too.
(* – As I was talking with some of the folks behind the booth with Mr. Russell, one of the ladies there passed on a story that the sign they left in the media room was not a hit with everyone. Apparently a female media person – I do not know who so asking me will be of little use – came by the booth and vociferously expressed her displeasure at the gender-specific phrasing of the signs. I will not deny that “spouse” would have been a better term to use, but the truth is an older man from a past generation was trying to be nice and give a family member – or you, he did not actually require people to be married – a gift, regardless of how he phrased it. Sometimes we are embarrassed by what old folks do, but the polite thing to do is to smile, say “Thank you,” and move on with your life. Or maybe I was just raised right. (And, yes, I have run this line of reasoning past Better Half and she agrees.))