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#1
Old 10-22-2013, 02:17 AM
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Why is Dragon Skin body armor still popular if it failed the Army tests?

In reading the wiki about Dragon Skin it seems that it failed time after time in the Army testing, but Pinnacle armor is apparently still doing a good business selling Dragon Skin.

These Dragon Skin vests costs thousands of dollars each. If it failed why its it still popular?
#2
Old 10-22-2013, 02:44 AM
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Just looking at that Wikipedia article, it sounds like the problem (or a problem) is quality control. So someone might see a good vest in action and buy it on that basis, not realising that they might not get a good vest.
#3
Old 10-22-2013, 02:47 AM
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It's called "Dragon Skin".
#4
Old 10-22-2013, 02:47 AM
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Tests have shown that Budweiser doesn't really get you hot party babes but people still buy it. People buy the hype as much as the actual product.

Last edited by Little Nemo; 10-22-2013 at 02:48 AM.
#5
Old 10-22-2013, 02:50 AM
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Wait...Budweiser isn't going to get me hot party babes?? Dammit, why am I drinking this pissed down water
#6
Old 10-22-2013, 04:50 AM
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It will definitely get you the babes. Don't give up!
#7
Old 10-22-2013, 05:07 AM
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Was a big issue a few years back. What was the straight dope on it. Was it really better than the stuff the US army used?
#8
Old 10-22-2013, 05:38 AM
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Uh, if you even skim the article for 5 seconds, you find example after example of the armor working in tests perfectly. Apparently, there's is/was legal shitstorm about some technicalities or other, which doesn't make sense. There's no motive for the NIJ to hold back certification this long, especially when it's a simple question : does the armor work, or does it not work?

Apparently, when it works, it's high quality body armor that can take multiple hits, and is flexible to wear. The "level V" version sounds like it might be able to save you if you came under fire from a long burst or a russian machine gun (assuming, obviously, that the rounds are hitting the armor and not the unprotected part of you).

Seems pretty much a no-brainer to me. Look, body armor's a risk anyway. There's no guarantee you won't get shot in the face if you wear it. If the armor has a 90% chance of working perfectly, and it is more flexible than the other stuff that is available, I'd take it.
#9
Old 10-23-2013, 12:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK84 View Post
Was a big issue a few years back. What was the straight dope on it. Was it really better than the stuff the US army used?
I'm curious too.
#10
Old 10-23-2013, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habeed View Post
There's no guarantee you won't get shot in the face if you wear it.
Being shot in the face is a different deal than being shot in the head.
#11
Old 10-23-2013, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
Being shot in the face is a different deal than being shot in the head.
Is it? I don't know about you, but my face has always been a part of my head.
#12
Old 10-23-2013, 10:23 AM
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I'm not a conspiracy theorist in the least, but the Army's behavior about DragonSkin sure seems suspicious- almost like they had some dog in the fight with their own chosen body armor.
#13
Old 10-23-2013, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Habeed View Post
Uh, if you even skim the article for 5 seconds, you find example after example of the armor working in tests perfectly.
If you skim it for just a couple more seconds you can see that there are definite NPOV(neutral point of view) problems with that particular Wiki article.
#14
Old 10-23-2013, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Is it? I don't know about you, but my face has always been a part of my head.
People get shot in the face all the time and survive. In the head, not so often.
#15
Old 10-23-2013, 04:18 PM
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Cool name, bro.

No one is going to buy Kitten Fur™ body armor, no matter how good it is.
#16
Old 10-23-2013, 04:24 PM
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I am not up on the facts about DS, but the Army's disapproval does not meant the product was crap. They probably didn't want to pay the price because they didn't seem to think it was worth it (after wasting billions on trials, of course). Look at the tale of the XM8 and related firearms. Lots of politics behind the decisions (not least of all some probably didn't want a German weapon, and H&K is also not known for their low price point).
#17
Old 10-23-2013, 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Chimera View Post
Cool name, bro.

No one is going to buy Kitten Fur body armor, no matter how good it is.
Well, furries might buy it, but that's a whole different application.
#18
Old 10-23-2013, 04:46 PM
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It does sound kind of weird.

The only thing I could think of is that the Army tests are a lot more comprehensive than just shooting it. Maybe they found that the Dragon Skin armor breaks down in the desert heat or the disks fall off after repeated wear? Or the disks cause chaffing or something? Maybe it was just too expensive?


Then again, the Army bought a bunch of camouflage that didn't really work that well either.

Last edited by msmith537; 10-23-2013 at 04:46 PM.
#19
Old 10-23-2013, 04:47 PM
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Hey, if it is good enough for Phoenix Jones...
#20
Old 10-23-2013, 07:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
People get shot in the face all the time and survive. In the head, not so often.
How can you be shot in the face without being shot in the head?
#21
Old 10-23-2013, 08:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manduck View Post
How can you be shot in the face without being shot in the head?
Go back and read what I actually wrote.
#22
Old 10-23-2013, 08:29 PM
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They have a bizarre distribution arrangement that sounds very much like a multi-level marketing scheme. I know this because a file clerk in my law office signed up for it and asked me how he could get in touch with the North Korean military's procurement people (no, he wasn't very bright). Not sure if that's how they move a majority of their product, but it definitely exists.
#23
Old 10-23-2013, 08:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube View Post
Go back and read what I actually wrote.
...

Quote:
Originally Posted by IceQube
Being shot in the face is a different deal than being shot in the head.

People get shot in the face all the time and survive. In the head, not so often.
... and? Being shot in the face IS being shot in the head. When you say "in the head," are you meaning to say "in the brain"? If so, I'm right there with you, Gabby Giffords notwithstanding.

Last edited by Ethilrist; 10-23-2013 at 08:33 PM. Reason: I like string
#24
Old 10-23-2013, 08:51 PM
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You could have your face removed, a la Nick Cage.
#25
Old 03-16-2016, 04:14 PM
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The complaint about the issue armor at the time was that it worked great - ONCE. The ceramic plate that got hit shattered into powder and small pieces which fell to the bottom of the now-empty pocket and another hit there - unless you were carrying replacement plates (I never heard about it if anyone did) - had nothing to slow it down but a shirt and the soldier's anatomy.

Another complaint I remember was that the maker of the issue armor was a buddy of Dubya's, and he supposedly got the contract for that reason; a lot of rumor said he'd only just gotten into the industry knowing his old buddy would see to it that he got the contract regardless of the quality of the product. Also, a single hit supposedly utterly destroyed the ceramic plate in that pocket which fell to the bottom of the pocket, leaving that spot on the armor as vulnerable to penetration as any other cloth. One comment I recall was, "You might as well wear a T-shirt and call it armor after a couple of hits."

Dragon Skin (Pinnacle) complained they hadn't gotten a fair shake in the testing or the bids because of the other man's friendship with the Prez. Knowing Dubya, people assumed that he had helped an old (drinking?) buddy and just awarded the contract to his old friend not knowing which was the better product - and not caring. The general assumption, backed by lots and lots of rumor mongering, was that Dragon Skin (a great name; maybe not-so-great a product though) was the better product. Subsequent testing that I've been able to find out about said it wasn't. The tiles tended to delaminate and fall to the bottom of the pockets as little pieces at something like 165 degrees F, which the Middle East apparently heats up to. I don't understand how in Hell they stayed conscious in heat like that, never mind standing where they could get shot at!

One last thing I remember was a young soldier whose family spent the $6,000 if I recall the price correctly and gave it to their son. The soldier's commanding officer supposedly told him that if he was injured while wearing the non-issue armor, he wouldn't be covered medically (I don't think he could do that, but there were a lot of ways he COULD penalize the soldier). Well, the guy DID get hit, wearing the issue armor, and among other things he was forced to pay for all the damage his blood did (his CO felt that no one would want armor after someone bled all over it) and he had to pay to replace it (or maybe just to have it cleaned) after having been forced to wear it. It was a weird, mixed-up mess.

Pinnacle's armor supposedly came out second best some distance behind the issue stuff Dubya's buddy made. Neither sounds very good to me unless someone was designated "Official replacement ceramic plate carrier". Personally I've always wondered why no armor maker considered cross-linked and layered titanium chain-link over or inside the padding, maybe behind/underneath the plate pockets and/or inside the padding.

Just FYI, I joined up for an earlier war as USN Hospital Corps, but the closest I ever got to a war zone was when they stationed me in East Oakland. (NOTE: I DID get shot at - AFTER I got out of the Navy and worked ambulance there for about a year. Two weeks after that incident, having learned I'm allergic to fast-moving metal, I was driving ambulance out in the California Mojave Desert).
#26
Old 03-16-2016, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian MacLeod View Post
The complaint about the issue armor at the time was that it worked great - ONCE. The ceramic plate that got hit shattered into powder and small pieces which fell to the bottom of the now-empty pocket and another hit there - unless you were carrying replacement plates (I never heard about it if anyone did) - had nothing to slow it down but a shirt and the soldier's anatomy.
I don't think that's quite right. I'm not an expert on body armor, but it's my understanding that the ceramic plate is an optional attachment to increase protection against rifle rounds. The vest itself is still made of Kevlar or whatever and still affords some level of protection against small caliber rounds and shrapnel. Although against rifle rounds, it is about as effective as a T-shirt.

I was under the impression that modern body armor is meant to be a last resort in the event you happen to get hit by something moving at high speed. It's not designed for you to wade into combat like Iron Man shrugging off machinegun rounds.
#27
Old 03-17-2016, 11:14 AM
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I've also heard that the Dragon Skin failed to hold up under heat. In addition, as others have pointed out, military procurement can be a highly political process. Whether a piece of equipment is objectively "best" is not the only consideration. For example, for many years the Army has acknowledged the M4 is not the best weapon but it is "good enough" and the marginal improvements offered by other weapons do not justify spending billions to replace every single weapon. The same logic might be at work with the Dragon Skin... Especially if the Army has already signed a contract with a manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian MacLeod View Post
One last thing I remember was a young soldier whose family spent the $6,000 if I recall the price correctly and gave it to their son. The soldier's commanding officer supposedly told him that if he was injured while wearing the non-issue armor, he wouldn't be covered medically (I don't think he could do that, but there were a lot of ways he COULD penalize the soldier). Well, the guy DID get hit, wearing the issue armor, and among other things he was forced to pay for all the damage his blood did (his CO felt that no one would want armor after someone bled all over it) and he had to pay to replace it (or maybe just to have it cleaned) after having been forced to wear it. It was a weird, mixed-up mess.
The first part of this story is logical. The Army will treat his injury. However, they might still hold him financially liable for the treatment or refuse to pay his death benefits. They are allowed to do this under the idea that the soldier was negligent or failed to follow regulations. I most often hear about this in the context of a vehicle accident. For example, a soldier who drove a motorcycle without proper protective equipment and then got into a crash could be found negligent.

The second half of your story is just bizarre. Armor is always destroyed if it is struck or if the soldier bleeds on it. That is completely normal. But if the soldier was wearing the issued armor, there is no reason he would have to pay for it. (His own, privately purchased armor, yes. Issued armor, no.) The only way I can conceive of him having to pay for it is if he was somehow negligent (for example, if he shot himself by accident or something stupid like that). I cannot conceive of a scenario in which the soldier would be injured by enemy fire, be wearing the required equipment, and then have to pay for the replacement of that equipment.
#28
Old 01-09-2017, 07:09 PM
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ceramic is ballistic

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
I don't think that's quite right. I'm not an expert on body armor, but it's my understanding that the ceramic plate is an optional attachment to increase protection against rifle rounds. The vest itself is still made of Kevlar or whatever and still affords some level of protection against small caliber rounds and shrapnel. Although against rifle rounds, it is about as effective as a T-shirt.

I was under the impression that modern body armor is meant to be a last resort in the event you happen to get hit by something moving at high speed. It's not designed for you to wade into combat like Iron Man shrugging off machinegun rounds.

Ceramic plates are ballistic on their own. Boron carbide ceramics can stop very high caliber rounds. I'm not sure what DS is actually made of, so I can't speak for their vests.

Kevlar is one of the lowest grade ballistic materials, and I would agree it should be treated as a last resort.
#29
Old 01-13-2017, 05:02 PM
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Wasn't weight also supposed to be an issue. I'm sure I remember claims Dragon Skin was significantly heavier than it's rival?
#30
Old 01-18-2017, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by knel3030 View Post
Wait...Budweiser isn't going to get me hot party babes?? Dammit, why am I drinking this pissed down water
I would guess because Coors is the same price (?)
--G!
#31
Old 01-18-2017, 10:15 PM
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Ian Macleod's comment is total bullshit. The contract for body armor was awarded to Point Blank which was ptetty much the premier vest maker in the world at the time.
Dragon skin was crap that's why nobody wanted it. It was a binch of small armor discs suspended in a flexible mayrix that resembled drago scales. In high heat the discs would come out of suspension. That isnt a quality one accepts of body armor being ised in the desert. Second, it could not handle multiple strikes. A single strike would knock the disc out of position if not destroy it completely, leaving a gap and no further protection. And not just that disc. It would distort the entire disc matrix of the vest, creating gaps in coverage all over the entire vest.
Point Blank's SAPI playes can take multiple rounds and still offer protection. And they are not compromised by heat.
#32
Old 01-18-2017, 10:16 PM
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Sorry for shitty typing. Fat fingers on a phone. .
#33
Old 01-18-2017, 11:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bear_Nenno View Post
A single strike would knock the disc out of position if not destroy it completely, leaving a gap and no further protection.
Which would be just the break those Laketown insurgents have been waiting for.
#34
Old 01-19-2017, 07:08 AM
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That is, if you can see your target through all the smaug.
#35
Old 10-08-2017, 05:34 PM
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Exactly

Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537 View Post
It does sound kind of weird.

The only thing I could think of is that the Army tests are a lot more comprehensive than just shooting it. Maybe they found that the Dragon Skin armor breaks down in the desert heat or the disks fall off after repeated wear? Or the disks cause chaffing or something? Maybe it was just too expensive?


Then again, the Army bought a bunch of camouflage that didn't really work that well either.
That's why they put a cubosh on dragon skin, it was not made to stand up the extremes of desert use.
The adhesive would breakdown in the heat, causing the multiple ceramic disks to come detached and fall to the bottom of the vest leaving the wearer completely exposed, repeted use under normal circumstances also caused this problem.
All in all the concept was great but the Construction fell short, leading the military to look elsewhere for there standard issue body armor.
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