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Departments : First Look

Modular Ballistics

Point Blank's new Dragon Fire Tactical Armor allows you to remove parts of your protective gear that don't fit your mission.

June 01, 2007  |  by - Also by this author


The name "Dragon Fire" implies ferocity and power during combat. Well, this ballistic vest is built to give as good as it gets.

Drawing on feedback from spec ops and tactical teams that had purchased custom vests from the company, Point Blank incorporated the best features from each into the Dragon Fire. Its custom heritage shows. Many parts of the vest can be further customized even while in the field to meet changing ballistic coverage needs.

To begin with, front and rear plate pockets accommodate 10x12- or 8x10-inch plates, depending on an officer's size and preference. But more impressive are the modular ballistic pieces that can be detached to enhance mobility, such as a two-piece collar and throat and bicep protectors.

Worrying about covering your biceps might seem like an odd concern, but protecting the shoulder area can prevent bullets from entering there and continuing through the body to cause more damage, and possibly death. The bicep protectors come with removable 5x8-inch plates.

Instead of the vest's groin protection being detachable, it's retractable. This way you don't have to decide whether to carry it with you or leave it behind. "If you're running to a situation, you have the groin protection retracted underneath the vest. But if under enemy fire, you can put it down so it sits on the thighs," says Tom Dragone, assistant director of engineering at Point Blank.

To increase side protection, the Dragon Fire features up to four inches of waist adjustability and ballistic coverage as well as side closure plate pockets.

In order to meet both protection and mobility concerns, the vest uses a plate retention system. "It keeps the load close to your center of gravity, which is very important for maintaining agility," says Dragone. "Sewn on inside the front and back plate pockets, a heavy-duty woven elastic retention strap holds the ballistic rifle plate close and tight to the body."

Underneath it all, the Dragon Fire's critical contour cut improves weight transfer and allows for greater range of motion. An ergonomically enhanced self-suspending ballistic suspension system keeps panels in place. Flexible retention straps reduce shoulder tension and multiple sizing points in the shoulders and waist allow you to fine-tune the vest's fit. In addition, the vest's Quick-Release Break Away Shoulder System uses Velcro and simple snaps to allow for rapid doffing when necessary.

If you're worried about being able to carry all your gear with this vest, don't be. Maximum MOLLE load-bearing webbing and a removable hydration pouch provide lots of room. And an adjustable cummerbund provides load-bearing stabilization.

In addition to standard tactical black, the Dragon Fire is available in OD green, ACU, or navy. Need FREEinfo? Use #16301.

Tags: Tactical Gear, Product Reviews

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