Despite its size and shabby appearance, the Nova's Shank deals out damage and knockdown on par with most other knives. The weapon swings absurdly fast, with the relatively low damage being a minor problem due to being able to strike several times where a knife would only manage a single swing. A downside is that the Nova's range is somewhat lower than most knives.
Cavity Hurt an enemy with the Nova's Shank melee weapon.
He's Got Experience Complete the Prison Nightmare job on the Hard difficulty or above by having 1 player playing as Hoxton, all having Nova's Shank melee weapon equipped, and are only allowed to kill enemies using Nova's Shank. You have to have played the heist from start to end. Unlocks the "Risen Houston" mask.
Prison Rules, Bitch! In the Hell's Island Job, kill 13 enemies with the Nova's Shank Melee on the OVERKILL difficulty or above.
A shank or shiv is a makeshift blade commonly crafted and used by prisoners, which fits Hoxton's Fugitive role. The Nova is the second makeshift weapon in the series, next to the Machete Knife.
As such, there are two achievements requiring the usage of this melee weapon in prison-orientated heists.
The Nova's Shank is a reference to the Creatures former member, Nova, when he and the Creatures were playing an early PAYDAY: The Heist, he noticed in the mission Panic Room, that there was a giant toothbrush in one of the apartments. Overkill saw this video and in a further update, made the toothbrush even bigger.
The Nova's Shank is used by Wolf to stab a prison guard in the Breakout trailer.