The first thing to remember about pocket sharpening systems is what task is to be performed. That task is to put a good usable edge back onto a blade to keep the tool serviceable in the field. Lansky's Retractable Diamond Rod Sharpener certainly is up to the challenge.
The holder or case of the sharpener has knurling, which is much needed as the brass would not provide much grip otherwise. The retractable rod is diamond grit coated, measuring about 3 1/2".
We hear from some folks that sharpening knives is difficult, mostly when finding the proper angle. Without the need for a protractor, there is a feel and a sound that goes with sharpening blades as well. Keep trying, it will not be long until you get satisfactory edges.
Do not forget, a Lansky diamond rod is not a coarse to ultra fine sharpening system. Also, the coarseness of the grit on pocket rods such as this tend to get more even and seem even better for knives over time. So, do not be disappointed if you are not getting the "sharpest edge you've ever seen."
This Lansky rod may not be the preferred choice for backpackers counting ounces. As pocket sharpeners go, this one has some heft.
We have the Lansky Diamond Rod Sharpener out in the field, and give it a workolut on a variety of knives.