Wednesday, April 9, 2008


For years now people have been asking why the troops are not protected. The Military blames Congress, who blames the President who says he is approving what the military asks for. Somewhere in there, someone claims costs are a factor, someone else says we have the best there is, and someone does a show on something better. Round and round we go, and the people in Iraq keep dieing.

Yesterday Bush posthumously presented a Navy SEAL, Michael Monsoor the Metal of Honor. A great American who also earned a Silver Star. And one of the reasons it was posthumously, was because the military still does not have adequate body armor for the troops.

Oh, there is blame to go around, but lets begin with what the military has now as a standard body armor. Interceptor body armor is a single sheet of carbon-carbon ceramic that is very strong, but not strong enough. It does not pass Level IIIA testing by the military, which other armors have. It will stop a 7.62x51 NATO at range, but close up is another question. In 2005 the whole line of them in use by the Marines were pulled and sent back to the manufacturer when it was found they could not stop a standard 9mm pistol round, in fact the manufacturer found some of their units to not be able to stop any round.

A company called Pinnacle Armor has gone to great lengths to market their armor to the military as being greater. In fact it has passed every III test, except it failed two shots of 7.62x63mm 166gr APM2, which is part of the Level IV test and not level III. Even then, the military testers had fits arguing where to test the armor since it is flexible, unlike anything else they had tested, and one tester said they shot it in a non-protection area. However the armor did fail after being subjected to heat for several hours, the separate disks slide around and the adhesive holding them in place melts. This leaves large areas without protection, and the prime reason for failures. Frankly I find this an easy fix, with a phone call to 3M who has more than enough experience with adhesives, both military and otherwise. Still the protection from Dragon skin is unlike anything else on the market, but so is the price. Interceptor is $1585 per unit, and Dragon skin is almost $4000. Still in an area where we pay $250,000 or more for training a soldier, is $4,000 really a lot?

Dragon Skin on the Discovery Channel show Future Weapons took a full clip of 9mm fired from an MP5, and AK-47 and LAYING ON A GRENADE. The soldier would have trauma to be sure, and be injured from shrapnel, but the armor took the force and the soldier would likely have lived.

California SWAT demonstrated a vest taking .308 sniper rounds, and still taking 30 rounds of MP5 point blank. Also on a separate armor shoed it stopping 200 rounds from MP5s and 40 rounds from an AK-47 without failure. There is no other armor that can do this, and Dragon Skin is flexable, which means you can move in it freely.

Why is Dragon Skin not used by the military? Politics. If you think the United States Congress is political, visit the pentagon. If the Army likes it, the Marines hate it. If the Airforce wants it, the Navy rejects it. Not matter what it is. Lives saved is the bottom line, but it is the group who wanted holes on the side of the Bradley so you could shoot out it. We are talking about the same group who wanted bright colored clothing for soldiers as an attempt to cut down on friendly fire. Just because we have the best and brightest military doesn’t mean everyone is a genius.

Special forces who can choose anything equipment wise, choose Dragon Skin. Afghanistan’s president and generals choose Dragon Skin. Dozens of SWAT and special forces groups around the world choose Dragon Skin. U.S. Secret Service chooses Dragon Skin. The military needs to get off it’s tail, and recognize the future is here before more Americans like Mr. Monsoor lose their lives.

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