Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
Tester Udo Weber with the Odin-fitted Walther Q5 and Holosun Red Dot. The provisional wing nut shows that this was still a pre-production piece. In series production, the solution is better and more stable.

The undeniable advantage of a pistol chassis with shoulder stock is a higher accuracy. In addition, recoil can be managed in a more controlled manner, various target optics can be used, spare magazines can be accommodated and tactical lights or similar accessories can be fitted. But the higher accuracy alone, especially at longer ranges, is the decisive factor. Increasingly, elite units, LEOs and the military are also using these generally available systems. At longer ranges, the accuracy of a proper rifle is far from being achieved, but in house-to-house combat and other confined spaces, for example, the chassis allows the handgun to be used like a pistol carbine, with the added advantage of often only having to carry cartridges in one caliber. For the sports shooter, the main attraction is the great fun factor, the unusual, often futuristic design, and the option to attach red dots and other target optics.

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
Replacement for the wing nut in the Odin chassis. At the same time, the aluminum screw was replaced by a steel locking screw to ensure safe handling even with calibers above .45 ACP.

For most of the models available on the market so far, the problem is that they are largely designed only for a specific model – or models – of a single manufacturer. Until now, anyone who owned pistols from different manufacturers or calibers had to purchase a chassis with the associated accessories specifically for each pistol. Since Donaustahl GmbH, founded in 2017, not only employs experts in various fields, but also enthusiastic sports shooters, they came up with the idea of developing their own professional tuning accessories for the respective sports guns.

Odin – Usable for a wide range of pistols

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
Donaustahl has once again ergonomically redesigned the primary clamping. A wide variety of pistols with Picatinny rails can be securely locked in the so-called "Thumann clamping".

The idea behind it was about a universal pistol chassis that was suitable for all semi-auto pistols featuring a Picatinny dust cover rail, even guns with barrel lengths of 6 inches and more. The focus was primarily on sports shooting. The Odin can also accommodate older guns with the help of adapters, or those guns that do not have a factory Picatinny rail, such as the CZ Orange, Colt 1911, SIG Sauer P226 or Beretta 92. Common polymer pistols often come factory with a Picatinny rail. Despite this, until now the market has not offered chassis for the CZ P10 or CZ Shadow 2 models, for example. This gap is now closed with this universal system. It is suitable not only for pistols in 9mm Luger, but also for those in more powerful calibers such as 10 mm Auto, .40 S&W and .45 ACP. In other words, a true all-rounder.

Design equipment of the Danube steel

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
On the pre-series Odin there was still a bridge with 2 bars for optics mounting. In series production (see picture), the chassis goes with a rail on a single-arm bridge made of solid aluminum. This should facilitate the installation of various guns.

The pre-production test model consists of a front fixed grip with an attachment for clamping the gun and a bridge. In the Odin standard production version, a built-in bridge with Picatinny rail is available. The chassis is made from one piece of steel, with two metal arms that secure the clamped weapon sideways and against shocks. The arms also form the connection to the shoulder stock. On the test model, this was a 6-position adjustable TS-2 stock from IMI Defence for the AR-15 platform. The arms also have 11-cm Picatinny rails on each side, which can be removed if necessary. Aiming with the gun's own rear and front sights is still possible. The weight of the Odin is just over 35 oz/1000 g, making it slightly heavier than the Micro Roni Carbine at 25 oz/710 g, for example. The new Odin pistol chassis does not completely enclose the gun, as is the case with many competitors. Instead – like the Terminator's endo-skeleton in the movies – it limits itself to the most necessary components to safely clamp and operate the gun. The pistol itself is clearly visible, and all controls remain freely accessible. For the practical test we used a Walther Q5 Match pistol.

Installing a gun into the Odin chassis

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
The Walther Q5 Match SF sits bombproof in the Odin.

The first thing that stands out is the good workmanship. The entire chassis makes a very stable and rugged impression. The components appear high-quality, are blued or anodized, and have no burrs or sharp edges. A lesser number of individual components would not be possible here. The installation of the gun, which has been checked several times for unloaded condition, is easy without any tools. For fitting, the manufacturer Donaustahl relies on a patented proprietary design, the "double indirect clamping", also called "Thumann clamping" after its developer Stefan Thumann: above the front grip, remove the right-hand knurled screw; on the left, loosen a knurled screw (still a wing nut on the test model) until the pistol dust cover with Picatinny rail can be pushed into the chassis rail from behind. Now slide the removed screw into the slots of the gun's Picatinny rail using one of the 3 holes and screw it tight. This extra locking bolt provides additional hold and prevents the gun from slipping out of the chassis due to recoil kick. On the right side, tighten and clamp the loosened bolt to secure the gun. Now the chassis and the gun form a firmly connected assembly. To prevent damage to the gun caused by clamping in the area of the Piccatiny rail, the chassis is virtually bedded with protecting inserts. This means that there is no direct contact between the metal or the polymer of the gun and the Odin chassis.

What else? Of course, every shooter has to adjust the stock to his or her arm length – that's child's play. Then you can take aim with the now gun-fitted Odin for the first time: all of the Walther Q5 Match SF's controls are still easy to reach, and the distance between the side arms is not lavish for cocking the slide and operating the safety, but it is adequate. In addition, you can still aim using the rear and front sights of the Walther Q5.

Practical test: at the shooting range

Now it's time for a few well-aimed shots towards the target, carried out over the common handgun distance of 25 meters. The Odin stock was comfortable for the male testers, and just as well for the female tester. The weight with the gun/chassis system now reaches the pleasant value of about 70 oz/2 kg. The operation of the pistol, such as cocking the slide, proved to take some getting used to, but everything could be handled safely – after a few magazine changes, this was no longer an issue. Recoil remained mild and was not a major problem. Compared to the standard grip of the Walther Q5, the accuracy achieved was pleasantly increased of course. Although the testers only aimed using the Walther's rear and front sights, all hits in the bullseye were close to each other. The Walther Q5 could be held stably and securely at all times.

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
all4shooters.com tested the new Odin chassis with a Walther Q5 Match SF, both using open sights and, as in the picture, Holosun optics.

Now the testers fitted a Holosun Red Dot on the Odin chassis, on the top Picatinny rail, which is not lushly long at about 5 cm, but sufficient for a common red dot sight. After a few adjustments on the red dot and a few test shots, most of the hits landed in or around 10. 

When tested with a GLOCK 17 Gen5, there were a few very slight variations in the hit elevation. The small flyers are probably due to the slightly vertical mobility due to the polymer frame of the GLOCK 17 as opposed to the steel frame of the Walther Q5 when used with the Odin stock.

Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
The pre-production version of the Odin chassis: empty...
Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
...with a Walther Q5 inserted... 
Test: Odin universal pistol chassis from Donaustahl
...and ready to fire. Side screws fix the gun tightly, controls are still easy to reach..

Donaustahl Odin price

The manufacturer Donaustahl is asking for a price of 499 euros for the full version of the Odin (including foregrip and shoulder stock). An individually configurable basic version will also be available, where you can get accessories tailored to your needs, such as different stocks, straps, a folding stock and other grips.

Our test conclusion on the Odin pistol chassis from Donaustahl

Actually, the German manufacturer Donaustahl GmbH from Hutthurm (Bavaria), wanted to present the Odin at the IWA 2020. Unfortunately, the trade show was cancelled due to the Corona virus. So the market launch will take place without a trade show appearance. Donaustahl has not completely reinvented the wheel with the Odin, but has brought a practical, universal pistol chassis to the market with this system, which will certainly find its fans not only among sport shooters, but probably also among owners of airsoft and paintball guns. We liked it very much and everything worked best – as it should be. Therefore, a clear buy tip for all who want to jump on the handgun + chassis trend. This way you have more fun with your pistol – even at somewhat longer ranges.

The manufacturer Donaustahl hopes, among other things, for demand from the military and LE. The puristic appearance, good workmanship, the possibility of individual tuning and universal use are the strengths of the new Odin universal pistol chassis.

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