A few months back I received a new product for testing and evaluation. When my publisher told me about it, I was a little surprised to say the least. When I picked it up, I was downright puzzled. I know you're all on the edge of your seats right now wondering what this could possibly be so here it is: a NIJ Level II armored groin protector from a company called Nutshellz. You read it correctly—an armored nut-cup!
OK, all jokes aside. The Nutshellz groin protector is a serious piece of gear. Marketed to everyone from military and law enforcement to full contact athletes, the Nutshellz is a groin protector on steroids. It's made with several layers of ballistic material to obtain the NIJ Level II rating encased in a durable rubber material with a carbon fiber outer skin. The benefit over a traditional groin protector would obviously be the ballistic protection. Most groin protectors protect against blunt trauma but this one adds protection from most pistol rounds and shrapnel. Although this isn't what most people picture when they think of body armor, it's a very logical place for it!
I wore the Nutshellz around for a few hours and found it to be comfortable with good ergonomics. It is heavier than a traditional plastic or metal groin protector, but that's to be expected considering the incorporated ballistic protection.
I put it to the real test and introduced it to an 180-grain Winchester Ranger .40-caliber duty round. With a center hit from about 15 feet away (mounted to a target), the Nutshellz did exactly what it advertised and stopped the round. The carbon fiber and rubber skin kept the Nutshellz intact and contained the round while the interior layers of Kevlar stopped it dead in its tracks with about 1.5 inches of back deformation. Had it been worn at the time, I suppose the wearer would be a little sore but all the important parts would be intact!
With a price of $250 the Nutshellz isn't cheap, but if you're ever unlucky enough for it to serve its true purpose you likely won't mind the extra cost.