by David Crane
On September 15 (2006), DefenseReview reported on Pinnacle Armor’s SOV-2000 Dragon Skin panels passing all NIJ Level III test protocols and requirements for flexible armor systems (anti-rifle body armor). Well, SOV-2000 Dragon Skin has just passed another fairly tough ballistic test, this one performed by Dr. Gary Roberts, who has been following the Dragon Skin vs. Interceptor Body Armor controversy with some interest. Dr. Roberts, a.k.a. "DocGKR" has published the results of his own ballistic testing of the Dragon Skin flexible hard armor (NIJ Level III anti-rifle body armor) tech and an Armored Mobility Incorporated (AMI) Level III SAPI-type armor plate (rigid armor) at Lightfighter Forums.
The NIJ Level III SOV-2000 Dragon Skin panels tested are…
comprised of imbricated and overlapping 0.25" x 2" silicon carbide ceramic discs encased in a ballistic fabric/fiber cover and further held in place via high-strength, high-temperature adhesive. Coverage provided by the encased Dragon Skin ceramic discs is 10" x 12", while the total external measurements of the Dragon Skin panel are 11.5" x 13.5". Dr. Roberts has reported the total weight of the SOV-2000 Dragon Skin panel as 6 lbs, while a Pinnacle Armor representative has stated that the weight of the SOV-2000 panel is actually 5.5 lbs. DefenseReview will attempt to ascertain the reason for the stated weight discrepancy between the two stated weights.
Dr. Roberts reports that the Level III AMI plates are fabricated by bonding a 3mm MARS steel layer to a compressed Dyneema backing with a linex anti-spall coating (spalling mitigation coating). Total pate thickness is 1 inch (1"). AMI Level III plate sizes are 12" x 14.5" (10 lbs) and 10 x 12" (9 lbs).
The SOV-2000 Dragon Skin panel and AMI armor plate, being Level III, are not rated to stop true AP rifle ammo. For that, you have to go to Level IV armor, which AMI does not currently offer. Pinnacle Armor does, however, and it’s called SOV-3000 Dragon Skin.
The following is an excerpt from Dr. Robert’s report on his ballistic test, which he conducted personally:
"Pinnacle Dragon Skin SOV-2000 level III armor was tested this week for an LE agency, along with stand-alone Armored Mobility Incorporated level III plate armor used as a control and for comparison. Both types of armor were conditioned for 12 hours at 170 degrees F, then moved to ambient air for approximately 90 min prior to being shot. The problems associated with the use of inelastic clay backing material have been well documented; as such, the armor was secured to a life-size curvilinear torso replica made of Perma-Gel. Each armor system was shot a minimum of 20 times with five shots of each ammunition type fired against each armor system–one 90 degree perpendicular shot, two shots at 60 degrees obliquity, and two shots at 30 degrees obliquity, using each of the following loads fired at a distance of 10 feet:
— 5.56 mm 40 gr LeMas Urban Warfare (using a moly coated Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet) with a 3718 f/s average velocity.
— 5.56 mm M855 62 gr FMJ with a 3054 f/s average velocity.
— 7.62×39 mm M43 123 gr steel-core FMJ with a 2307 f/s average velocity.
— .30-06 M2 150 gr FMJ with a 2736 f/s average velocity.
All of the above ammo was successfully stopped by both armor systems in this testing, with no armor failures or penetrations, even after receiving multiple hits."
Dr. Roberts sums up his report as follows:
"Both armor systems clearly met and exceeded the NIJ level III requirements and offered true multi-hit protection from the class of rifle projectiles they are rated to stop."
Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin/SOV Indoor Shooting Test (Uninterrupted Close-Up View) on 1/26/06 — 21 Rounds 7.62x39mm FMJ military ball ammo fired at 20 feet from AK-47/AKM-variant rifle, and 120 rounds 9mm FMJ military ball ammo fired at 10 feet from HK MP5 subgun.
Right-click on the links below and then click on "Save Target As" (if using Microsoft Internet Explorer browser) or "Save Link As" (if using Mozilla Firefox browser) to download and view the following Real Player and Windows Media format video clips of Pinnacle Armor SOV-1000 vs. multiple rounds of 7.62x51mm/.308 Win M80 ball FMJ ammo:
Windows Media Version (SOV-1000 Dragon Skin vs. multiple rounds of M80 ball 7.62x51mm/.308 Win. FMJ ammo)
The following are links to previous DefRev articles on Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin tech aspects, and the ongoing Dragon Skin-vs.-Interceptor Body Armor Program situation (in order from most recent to least recent):
PDF version of Murray Neal’s/Pinnacle Armor’s response to the SOUM and Major General Jeffrey Sorenson.
Transcript: Gen. Sorenson’s statements about Dragon Skin vs. Interceptor armor
Interceptor vs. Dragon Skin: Body Armor Fight Gets Ugly
Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin vs. Interceptor Body Armor Continued…
Is the U.S. Army Deliberately Endangering the Lives of Our Warfighters?
Breaking News: Pinnacle Armor Dragon Skin vs. Interceptor Body Armor–Fight’s On
Flexible Body Armor Saves PSD/Security Operator from 7.62x39mm API Round Hits