By Pat McGonigle
HIGH RIDGE, Mo. (KSDK) - Jeremiah Raber, of High Ridge, never imagined he would invent a product that could protect military men overseas, the original idea was just to help mixed martial arts fighters.
Seven years ago, Raber came up with the notion to build a stronger men's protective cup for mixed martial artists and ultimate fighters. After spending years experimenting, and about $100,000 of his own money, Raber's concocted something so durable the Pentagon has taken notice.
"It is a bullet resistant groin protection device," Raber says.
"It is the world's strongest cup," Raber reassures NewsChannel 5's Pat McGonigle with a smile.
We had to see for ourselves, so we challenged Raber to demonstrate his creation in a makeshift shooting range. You can see the video by clicking on the player window on this page.
Sure enough, Raber's product, called Armored Nutshellz, can withstand multiple shots from a 9 millimeter handgun and and a .22 caliber pistol.
Raber makes Armored Nutshellz in his basement by combining several layers of Kevlar and another fabric called Dyneema. Through trial and error, he found the perfect recipe.
"It's an uneven stew and that's exactly what it is," Raber explains. "I've experimented with different recipes, 'ok, I'm going to use this, and I'm going to use a piece of this' and I finally got to where I am at and it's working well, so I'm sticking with it."
Recent government reports indicate that as many as 1,000 servicemen a year return home from war with devastating injuries to the groin. Either bullet wounds or injuries from shrapnel.
Nutshellz sell for $125, right now Raber sells mostly to police, athletes, and private military contractors.
Raber believes his product can help and it looks like the U.S. Army might agree.
"I got the email today, from (a division of the Army), saying that, that in August they would like to test my product," Raber says. "I reached out to them and go the response today, and so in August I'm going to send them some samples and then get a response and see what's going on with it."
NewsChannel 5 will be sure to keep you posted on Raber's progress.