MarAdmin 262/07 was published by the Marine Corps on the 17th. It prohibits Marines from using commercially purchased body armor in lieu of the issued gear. In their typically sensationalist style, Marine Corps Times has published an article touting the virtues of Pinnacle Armor’s Dragon Skin. They even quote a Marine staff sergeant from Quantico who shot himself while wearing Dragon Skin.
Now that the Corps has banned off-the-shelf gear as well, Staff Sgt. Taylor Cobb, the Corporals Course curriculum coordinator at Training and Education Command in Quantico, Va., said he’ll buy “a triple large set of cammies” and wear his Dragon Skin armor underneath if he deploys to a combat zone.
“I have the utmost confidence in that piece of gear,” he said.
After spending $2,000 on his Dragon Skin armor, Cobb placed it on a dummy and shot it with a .45-caliber pistol. The armor worked as advertised, so he said he put it on and — get this — shot himself in the stomach on purpose.
“It left a pretty nice bruise, but it didn’t even break the skin,” he said. “It works. But I wouldn’t try that with the [Modular Tactical Vest] the Corps gives. I’m not that trusting.”
It’s great that guys put so much faith in a piece of body armor based on a History Channel special that was basically a piece of paid advertisement for Pinnacle Armor, then perform non-scientific tests using a weapon caliber that has absolutely no bearing on the armor’s usefulness in Iraq or its approval by the DOD. After all, the Interceptor Body Armor with E-SAPI plates is rated to stop 7.62X54R API rounds. Let’s see if SSgt Cobb has the stones to shoot himself with that caliber.
Nevermind the fact that I truly hope SSgt Cobb’s command gives him an adverse fitness report and reduction in grade for being a moron. He’s the curriculum coordinator for the Corporals Course? No wonder all of our ANGLICO Marines that attend the course come back completely unimpressed.
The debate surrounding Dragon Skin and body armor has become so full of conjecture, hyperbole, and ad hominem attacks as to make the truth impossible to distinguish. Hell, even Daily Kos jumped on the “Army bad, Dragon Skin good” bandwagon last July. What I want to see is scientific proof that Dragon Skin will stop 7.62X54R B32 API in the same tests used for the E-SAPIs. Until then, I refuse to buy the hype. Pinnacle has had ample time to roll out incontrovertible proof that their armor will perform up to E-SAPI standards, and all that I have heard from them are screams of “corruption” and a propaganda campaign attacking the reputation and integrity of the Army’s chief testers.
I highly encourage our readers to do more research on their own. Professional Soldiers.com, a website run by and for the “Quiet Professionals” of Special Forces, gained quite a bit of fame when Karl Masters published his unvarnished opinion of Dragon Skin. Infamy aside, this thread remains the best source of information I have seen to date on the body armor question. The fact remains that it has not met the Army’s standards, and as such, will not be adopted or approved for use until it does.