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John Brown Russian Spec


jeff da goalie

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Ok, some background.  I have been playing about 7 years.  Low to moderate level beer league.  There are some guys who can crank it hard enough to bruise.

Chesty history:  Reebok of some sort.  Simmons 996. Passau Gen 1.  Assorted Vaughn Chestys.  Assorted used John Browns of different vintages.  Passau Gen 2, then a used Passau Pro Pack.

The last of these was my go to for several years.  Great protection, great mobility.  Only problem was it was an XL body and L arms and I lost enough weight that the XL body was too big.  I didn't like any of the others except perhaps the Simmons, for a variety of reasons.  And the Simmons is great for a senior level chesty but any decent shot was felt.

I bought a Vaughn pro return and right after I did so, a Brown Russian Spec (used) came on the market (the market being GGSU).  So I bought it.  I've now worn it about half a dozen times.

Pros:  Very, very protective.  If I'm square to the puck, I feel nothing.  I say that because I do have a bruise on the soft part of my mid-deltoid from shrugging off a puck that came from a weird angle.  But that happens.  It's a tank and I can see this lasting for many, many years.  

It's also fairly mobile.  The plastic reinforcing the arms makes it so I can't completely flex, but once I'm playing I don't notice it.  I can scratch my nose, put in contact lens drops and drink with it.  All pluses.  

Rebounds are pretty reasonable and controllable and it seals holes like the seven hole really well.

Cons: This puppy is heavy.  I don't notice it when it's on and I'm moving, but I suspect it will be very hot for spring and summer hockey.  But that's really the only con.

Is this a keeper?  For sure.  Would I like a properly sized Passau Pro Pack?  Yes please.  But with one kid in college and a second on her way (with two more in the wings) it's not a priority right now.  

Who is this for:  If you're playing benders, this is overkill. (So is a Pro Pack).  But if you're facing shooters with any skill, it's a great chesty.

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After 7 years am sending my 2300 back to John for a refurb and some minor repairs. The one thing am going to ask for is the shoulders floaters and arm floaters done the same as the Russian spec unit. There isn't anything wrong with stock specs but I really want to give this a go now. 

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