SAN DIEGO - A man who served in the Marine Corps out of Camp Pendleton has invented a piece of equipment that could to save lives and prevent devastating injuries that are playing out more and more often on the battlefield.
Dubbed the Nutshellz, Jeremiah Raber said tests show the groin shield made of bulletproof material can repel direct bullet strikes from 9mm and .357 Magnum pistol rounds.
"It actually eats bullets," said Raber, who calls his invention the world's strongest cup.
With thousands of troops sustaining serious lower-extremity injuries in recent wars, the Pentagon has made groin protection a priority.
"I recently got an email. In August, they'd like to test the product," Raber said.
Raber, who was based at Camp Pendleton in the late 1990s, was medically discharged from the Marines.
His issue wasn't a groin injury, but his idea could end up preventing the devastating injury usually caused by IEDs. As many as 300 troops suffer from the debilitating injury every year.
Right now, some troops wear what resembles a camouflage diaper, which Raber said can be hot and cumbersome.
"It's like a huge heavy Kevlar diaper," said Raber.
Raber, who lives in Missouri, has spent seven years and $100,000 coming up with another option -- using a press in his basement.
The raw material is the bulletproof Dyneema, which is stronger and lighter than Kevlar. It can absorb the bullets, trapping it in a layer below -- a big advantage compared to materials that deflect bullets.
"It could deflect and hit your femoral artery and cause a bleed out," said Raber.
Video of a lab test shows a 9mm bullet hitting the groin armor, but it doesn't get through. In another test, a .357 Magnum round hits it dead on, but does little damage.
Each groin protector costs $125 dollars, and the Army plans tests this summer.
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