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mgford

+POS Cobra Review

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I bought a Cobra on the cheap this winter. After spending a lot of time to get this thing to fit, I took it out for a test drive last night. I had replaced the original harness with a Delta Flex and heated the shoulders for contour. Here's my review:

Positives
I like the look. It's slim and looked good under a long sleeve black shirt.
I felt very comfortable with the protection. I was only hit with a glancing blow on the shoulder, so no testimonials on hard shots, but I was confident in how it felt.

Negatives
The first couple of innings were good, but then a problem developed. This CP has a small neck opening, much like the All Star I've worn in the past. I'm a tall, skinny guy, so I'm good with that. Unfortunately, some of the inner padding began to stick through the outer layer. This is hard to explain, but there are some kind of plastic strands (visualize the makeup of fiberglass) inside the padding. A couple of these things penetrated the outer fabric along the neck line and rubbed me like sandpaper. I pulled and tugged at the CP all night, but the end result was a very sore neck!"
I would post pictures, but these things are so minute, you can barely see them.

The shoulder pads aren't attached by elastic or velcro. I didn't examine it thoroughly, but it appears that the strap holding the shoulder pad is more of a leather-type substance. There isn't enough flexibility, so every time I raised my arm or put on my mask, the CP would choke against my throat.

Grade
I'd give the Cobra a D. It would have been an F, but at the plate conference one of the coaches (who I've known for a long time) asked me if I've been working out, so it wasn't just me who liked the look! I really wanted it to be my go-to chest protector this year, but it will probably go to the closet. I've got a Champion I can wear until I decide the next way to spend some money on a CP.

Message me if you're interested. I'll get rid of it for a little more than the shipping, or I may try to cannibalize it. It's got some good parts, but overall isn't for me. This isn't the first piece of equipment I've taken a loss on. Something tells me it won't be the last!

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@mgford, I appreciate your review, despite the pall it casts over what a few of us gear-geeks think to be an intriguing CP.

Your review is so much better, and more productive, than the guys that just post, “It sucks, get a WestVest.”

Where are you located? As I read your remarks about it, and your dislike of the neck opening, I can’t help but start to ruminate on how to (try to) fix it.

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I'm in Arkansas. 
I've been brainstorming solutions to the neck opening issue myself. I'd take any ideas/suggestions.

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1 hour ago, MadMax said:

@mgford, I appreciate your review, despite the pall it casts over what a few of us gear-geeks think to be an intriguing CP.

Your review is so much better, and more productive, than the guys that just post, “It sucks, get a WestVest.”

Where are you located? As I read your remarks about it, and your dislike of the neck opening, I can’t help but start to ruminate on how to (try to) fix it.

As I was reading, I was wondering "could you @MadMax this thing to make it better?"

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I admit up front, I have been remiss in my duties as the gear geek many of you know me to be. Thus, I have not had a Cobra actually, physically in front of me so as to investigate it in detail. I've had (and modified) a +POS ZRO-G CP, so I'm basing my speculations on similar methodology between the ZRO-G and the Cobra, being that they're from the same source. This usually holds true, whether it be Wilson's CPs, Champions, Champros, Schutts, or Diamonds. By this logic, the DavisShield is an aberration.

It looks like the carapace (hard plastic plates) is not separable from the foam jacket. That's a problem. He (Parsons, of +POS) likely did this to cut down on weight and bulk, but I also suspect it was to eliminate a lot of material cost that would otherwise be devoted to means-of-attachment (velcro, velcro tabs, etc.) between the two. If this had been a Schutt, or a Wilson Platinum, I'm headed right for the rivets to kill them, alter the angles and positions of the carapace plates, and then replace the rivet with a Chicago Screw. If that rivet on the Cobra goes through the carapace plate and the foam jacket, that complicates it. Replacing the leathery (probably vinyl) material joining the shoulder pauldron group to the shoulder arch plates should be relatively easy – for that, I'd just use an elastic or a nylon webbing. If nylon webbing, I'd employ the type used for seatbelts, since it's "limper" but 4- to 10- times as strong as single-ply nylon webbing. @grayhawk used elastic on his All-Star System 7 CP to great success.

Arik, since you're reading this, I may have to finally bite the bullet and get a Dremel tool... this Cobra looks like it would need to have the shoulder arch plates shaved to create a larger, smoother neck opening.

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Hopefully these pictures load correctly. You can see the small neck opening.

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The plates aren't the problem. The padding that is nearest the neck is rough.

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In this closeup, the small, white things you see that have pierced the outer layer is what irritated me so badly. They protruded from inside the padding.

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Upon further review, the straps that secure the shoulder caps are made of a terrycloth-type material. This should be an easy fix.

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I've got a dremel tool and am not afraid to use it. I've "customized" pretty much every chest protector I've owned. 
If I can find a remedy to this padding issue, I'll give this thing another go.

I said in my original post I'd get rid of this thing for shipping cost. I've had a couple of offers and apologize for not taking you guys up on the offer. I now consider this thing a challenge! :) 

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The “leather” straps are not the problem on the shoulders. The goofy double gap protection is the problem. For my Frankenstein CP, I have All American plates, cobra shoulder caps, and champion padding. If I can ever find a WV gold to steal the gap protection off of, I will have my perfect CP. The cobra has lots of issues, two layers of padding,  cheap, flimsy aluminum rivets that catch on your shirt after one game.  Then you get into the under sized strap loops.

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