The Hartsook ODA Patrol: My new custom knife...

Discussion in 'Knife Arts' started by Cruentus, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    My custom knife has just come in, and I did field test it a little as well. I hope the pics properly upload. Once I am sure that you can view the knife, I'll tell you all about it! :)
     

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  2. tellner

    tellner Senior Master

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    Very nice.
    Are you going to knock that last sharp corner off it?
     
  3. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Nice Paul! What is the price point!
     
  4. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Awesome.. the pics uploaded! :)

    I am going to give you a review of probably the best knife I have ever put my hands on; and I've been to the shows and seen the customs, and have put my hands on a lot of knives.

    Of course, "best" is subjective. But the reason why I think the Hartsook ODA Patrol is the best knife can be summed up in 2 words: Quality and Practicality.

    Besides being a beautiful piece of craftsmanship, this is the most practical and useful field knife I have put my hands on, with the high quality of a custom, tailored piece of equipment to match.

    For Operators, by an Operator, but also for you!:

    This is a military knife, hard tested by Special Forces and Special Ops soldiers around the world. The ODA (Standing for Operational Detachment Alpha) is a soldiers best kept secret, as it isn't a Stryder or RAT that is cleverly and widely marketed to be a military tool. However, Doug himself is a retired "Green Beret." He designed the optimal knife that he and his teammates could use in the field. The knife really covers all bases and needs that a field knife could cover, and that a soldier could ever ask for.

    But what is nice is that you don't have to be military to appreciate this tough tested knife. It is also an optimal, all-around tool for wilderness survival and camping, self-defense carry/training (depending on your state laws), house and construction projects, yard work even, and for anything you could think of that would require a handy and durable blade.

    Design traits that make a Hartsook ODA better:

    Handle: The handle is a full-tang, hand crafted no-slip micarta that can be made to spec to fit your specific hand shape and size. There are "no slip" groves built into the spine of the handle as well. The handle is optimal for any grip choice (forward grip, reverse, etc.).

    Rear Bolster: The pummel, or real bolster is designed as an impact tool, ideal for breaking glass for example. There is a hole as you can see in the photo so that thick para-cord can go through it for better handling and retention and safety.

    Front bolster: There is a thumb rise on the spine with no slip groves for control and handling. There is also a front quillon to protect the hand, prevent slippage, and the quillon can be used as a diverse tool for many different utilities, such as notch-work, cord stake or holding for wilderness survival, a glass-break, and so on. The Ricasso also displays a beautiful logo, as you can see from the photo.

    Blade body: The blade flat is a thick, strong, 3/16" hunk of steel; optimal for durability and bracing for hard work, making this a rigorous tool. Doug uses a special grinding technique on the cutting edge, however. So even though the steel is thick, the edge is razor sharp. The steel quality coupled with this design characteristic offers a razors edge that will maintain an edge for a long time and through a lot of use. It is also worth saying that the steel quality and treatment is much higher then any production knife; a quality that can only be found in the custom marketplace. You can also get the knife blued, or with a low gloss stainless (as mine is in the pics). Either way, there is low reflectivity for light discipline in the field.

    Blade tip: The tip design gives the best of all worlds as far as knife tips go. These charactaristics are so sutile that it is difficult to see them in the photo's, but it is these fine details that seperates this tip from the competition. Mine is a spear point, but the triangular variation and slight angle from the spine of the knife to the tip allows this knife tip to back-cut effectively, and to maintain a needle sharp point that rivals any clip-point you could find (as seen on "bowie" knives). But, the front swoop from the sharp of the blade to the tip retains the "American tanto" quality in that it is almost like an American tanto from the front, just with a softer curve rather then a sharp angle. This allows for an optimal slicing edge, but it also gives the tip the durability of a tanto tipped knife.

    In short, you have a needle like point on the tip that is so durable that you could slam it through a car hood and still retain the integrity of the blade (no breaks or bends). However, if you are partial to a tanto tip, this blade can be fitted with that as well.

    Size: This is important for operators, because many knives touted for military or field use are actually too big and cumbersome to carry with all the rest of the gear and body armor that a soldier must carry. Also, they tend to be too large for comfortable civilian use or carry. This blade is 5 1/2" long (10 1/4" total). This is optimal for all around use, great for self-defense, and very carry-able for the field. However, because it is a custom blade, you could get yours with any size specifications that you would like.

    Sheath: The sheath itself is worth at least $75-100 bucks. It is a molded kydex, custom to your blade, so it slides in and does not come out unless you want it too. Maximum retention is crucial for the field. There are rivets so that it can comfortably be placed on the soldiers web-gear. It's also armed with a blade-tech "tech-lock" that makes it easily attachable or detachable to almost any belt, and can be modified for an inside the waistband carry as well.

    Why Custom:

    To put it simply, rather then spend your money on something stamped out from the factory, it is far better to spend a little more on 1 knife that is designed to fit you personally, and that has such a high quality that it will remain with you for the rest of your life and can actually be passed down to the next generation. With a good custom, buying another fixed blade is only a choice, not a necessity because a good custom will fit all your needs.

    To put it simply, it comes down to value, and cost vs. price. Price is what you pay up front, while cost is what is spent down the line as a consequence of buying the product. Many people look at the price tag of knives, and go with the one that they think that they like that has the cheapest price. This is a natural thing, because no one wants to spend more money then they have too. But, almost always with any production knife, because the knife is not designed to fit you personally, it will not fulfill all of your needs. The sheath most often won't be as carry friendly. It won't hold an edge after only so much work. And after a while, the piece of equipment will break down, and will need to be worked on or replaced. I always used to buy production knives (still do sometimes). But I ALWAYS find that I have to buy 2 and 3 knives to fit my needs, or I need to get a different sheath then what came with the knife, and so on. After a couple knives and modifications, I end up actually spending close to what I would have spent on 1 custom down the line for SOMETHING OF LESSER QUALITY. Sometimes going with the cheaper price tag will actually cost you more then you bargained for.

    So, sure, the upfront price is maybe a little bit cheaper for production knives, but because it is a cheaper product that is not customized, it will cost you because you will always find yourself spending the same or more in time. But worse, not only does it end up costing you at least the same amount of money in time, it costs you the same for products of much lesser value. At the end of the day, if the price is reasonable for a custom, then get a custom. I can appreciate just wanting to grab a cheap Kabar or CRKT to beat up and lose (I have a few myself). But do yourself a favor, and don't even spend over $100 on a production knife; because at that point, it will pay in the end to simply get something that is especially made to fit YOU.

    Lastly, a custom knife has a soul or character. It wasn't stamped out in some factory. A designer put out his heart, soul, craftsmanship, and hours of work to personalize your blade. Really, nothing out there in the production market could replace that. You want something with character and soul to follow you on your adventures, whether it be the battlefield, your outdoor sportsman getaways, or your daily exploits. Life is an adventure; don't sell yourself short on your equipment!

    But money is an issue, so how much does it actually cost to get a Hartsook ODA Patrol?

    This is the best news of this entire review. Owning your own personalized Hartsook ODA is extremely affordable!

    There are custom knives out there that offer you less then what this knife offers that are within the $1,000 dollar range. Usually, you are paying for a name rather then quality at that point.

    Although Doug Hartsook has a great reputation (with production knives offered through Buck knives to boot), from my experience, he is humble and doesn't sell his products based on that. With that in mind, an ODA Patrol could be picked up at a price under the 500 dollar range.

    But I have even better news for you. If you mention that I referred you (just say that "Cruentus" [or my real name if you have it] sent you), he said he'd be willing to cut a good deal. So, with my referral, we are probably within the $325 dollar range for your knife, depending on the details.

    That is a really affordable price for a custom knife that you'll be able to carry with you for the rest of your life.

    I have no financial incentive for putting this out to you, by the way. I just think that Doug Hartsook is a good guy who offers a great product. So I am happy to help him out, and to help any of my friends out to enjoy a great product that I am currently having a blast with.

    If you are in the market for a knife, check out Doug's site at www.hartsookknivesinc.com, and tell him Cruentus sent you. He makes a lot more items then the ODA Patrol, as you will see from the site. So, go ahead and pick your's up. You will be happy that you didn't cheat yourself, and that you went with the high quality product that you deserve to own.

    :)

    Yours,

    Cruentus
     
  5. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Hey Paul thanks for the response. It is a nice looking functional knife and for a custom knife that is a really good price point. I like the design as well and it does look optimum for military use.

    Did you ever talk to him about rust issues? I like the full tang as that is really useful and believe it of not I have a similar full tang style custom knife that is no longer available due to the creator having died. Rust issues even from hand oils have always been an issue with this particular blade as it also has a full tang that is partially exposed. I have to be absolutely meticulous in care and clean the handle every time in order to keep it in pristine condition and even then a little rust has occured. Mind you if I was not meticulous I imagine the exposed metal would be well pitted by now. Just and FYI because I would hate for you to be upset down the line.

    Still all in all it looks absolutely great and I am happy that you are having a good time with it! [​IMG] Nice picture's too! [​IMG]
     
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  6. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Thanks man.

    Yup, we talked about rust issues. In my profession, I am used to having to do some gear maintence. A little oil every now and then is no big deal. The material is pretty resistant to rust anyway.

    But, you can get it blued (with that teflon like coating for those of you who don't know) if maintance is an issue.. :) The pro's for having a full tang far outweighs any con's, in my opinion.
     
  7. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes I am a big fan of full tang's as well. [​IMG]
     
  8. SFC JeffJ

    SFC JeffJ Grandmaster

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    That is one good looking knife. I really like the look and sound of the point.
     
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  9. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Hey Tellner;

    I am not sure what you mean, but if you mean the thumb rise, then no way. The thumb rise is a great feature as I explained above.

    But what's nice about a custom is if you didn't want a thumb rise for some reason, I am sure you could have it made without it on your knife. :)
     
  10. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Beautiful knife, sweet deal, C. Why wait half a lifetime for a Randall? This sounds just as good, and unlike the Randalls, you could maybe actually get your hands on this knife. Some of us are at an age where that matters... :uhohh:

    I also appreciate your intercession on behalf of the rest of us so far as price goes. Now all I have to do is figure out a way to, um, conceal a diversion of something between three and four hundred dollars from general revenues, and we're home free...
     
  11. Rich Parsons

    Rich Parsons A Student of Martial Arts

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    Paul was kind and allowed me to handle his new tool. It felt real nice in my hand. I have problems with many feeling too small in the handle. Given the rise and fall on the first and last fingers, I am able to actually keep my hand on this blade. If I had not just spent lots of money elsewhere I would be seriously thinking of one. Now I am just hoping for one.
     
  12. shesulsa

    shesulsa Columbia Martial Arts Academy

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    :jaw-dropping: :fanboy:

    That looks sweet. Nice knife!

    Cru, do you conduct your own simulated field tests (backyard stuff) or do you test these live time?
     
  13. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Thanks! :)

    Not sure what you mean about tests, but I don't try to run my knife through the rigger or anything (like see how many times I can punch it through a car door, lol). Doug and some of his other clients have already done enough of that sort of stuff. But, by the nature of my other training and activities, it gets tested better then most people who might just keep it someplace safe. For example, I have already hiked with it and cut branches and para-cord with it. I did do some knife training however and hit some targets with it as well (paper, cardboard, water jugs, wood, and cord).

    It handles and holds up better then anything I have ever owned so far. You know how you can just tell when you use something that it is far more efficient then anything you've had yet? It's hard to explain, but I compare it to using a push mower for years, then all of a sudden trying out a John Deer 130 riding mower. Even if you haven't used it a lot, you simply KNOW that your yard-work just got extremely more efficient. That is about the comparative difference between the production knives I have had over the years (which have been good for production knives), and now getting this custom.

    So, I imagine I will bet a lot of use out of my new battle buddy... :)
     
  14. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    What's nice too, Rich, is that if you or anyone needs the handle bigger (or smaller), that can always be arranged with a custom. :)
     
  15. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Paul, what's your take on this knife compared with the Recon Tanto? That's another one I've been seriously thinking about trying to acquire....
     
  16. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    I have the Recon Tanto myself. It is a great production knife.

    However, it is not even in the same ballpark as an ODA Patrol custom fitted to your specs. The difference is like driving an old Ford Taurus that will break down at 100,000 miles vs. a Mercedes Benz or a fully loaded Lincoln that will last 350,000 miles. There is nothing wrong with a Ford Taurus; it'll get the job done. But you can't even compare a Taurus with a Benz.

    But unlike cars, luckily the difference between the knives isn't thousands of dollars. I am of the opinion that if you are willing to spend the retail on a Recon Tanto ($115), then you should really wait if you have too, get your perfect knife and spend $325 or so for an ODA patrol, which is easily a 500 dollar knife. The quality and design is so much different and better that it can only be adaquetly explained if you have one and use one.

    You'll never need another fixed blade field knife.

    :)
     
  17. Doc_Jude

    Doc_Jude 3rd Black Belt

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    Yeah, me too.:p
     
  18. Cruentus

    Cruentus Grandmaster

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    Huh? lol... I feel like I am missing something?

    A full tang is generally stronger then a hidden tang, and actually feel better in my hand, which is why I'll take a full tang over a hidden one.
     
  19. exile

    exile To him unconquered.

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    Great advice, C. Much appreciated!
     
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  20. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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    That's certainly the safest way to go!123
     

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