DARKMATTER Ground Truth Series • Part II: Leaning Forward to Protect Those Who Protect and Serve


Clancy J. McMahon • Director of Government Engagements at MONARC

Leaning Forward is a leadership style that places a strong emphasis on articulating a vision, being proactive, and taking decisive action.

This is a well-established philosophy of all military and law enforcement branches I have been a part of during my career. These types of leaders are always looking for the next way to stay ahead of the curve and advance their organizations. They place a high value on data-driven decisions, creativity, adaptability, and a readiness to take chances. Leaning Forward is essential to innovation, growth, and success. It was this leadership style that helped form Monarc and develop DARKMATTER Energy Dispersal technology.

A strong vision and data-informed decision making led to the founding and growth of Monarc and DARKMATTER, and how we develop our products today. Our founders’ mission is to better protect the law enforcement, first responder, and warfighter communities through innovative, science-backed products. They identified and set out to solve an issue in the ballistic armor industry, specifically concerning trauma pads—products used (and often sold) with body-worn armor to mitigate kinetic energy transfer and Behind Armor Blunt Trauma (BABT), a category of injuries that includes organ damage, broken bones, severe bruising, and other complex issues. The problem they identified was that traditional trauma pads had never been adequately tested to measure their effectiveness at dispersing kinetic energy or reducing the back face deformation of ballistic armor.

As a former police officer, I had always taken it on faith that trauma pads performed as advertised. I believed they were a necessary layer of protection, and I always wore them as part of my kit. Only when I was introduced to DARKMATTER did I learn that traditional trauma pads provided negligible protection against the threats faced by law enforcement and were primarily an upsell item bundled with armor purchases. These products are all constructed from common foams—sometimes simple packing foam, or the same material as yoga mats! I was disappointed to say the least.

So, what makes DARKMATTER Energy Dispersal Pads different and how do we measure the effectiveness of our solutions? As a data-driven organization we knew that third party, independently-verified results were needed to truly validate that DARKMATTER better protects those who protect us. We initially commissioned energy transfer tests, which measured how effectively DARKMATTER reduces the force of ballistic impacts. These results demonstrated DARKMATTER’s dramatic improvement in ballistic protection, including dispersing 94% of the energy of a handgun round when compared to standalone armor!

As impressive as these results were, we knew that further testing was required to truly show the effectiveness and benefit of our Energy Dispersal Pads. We commissioned NIJ 0101.06-compliant Back Face Deformation (BFD) testing to better compare our results against those of traditional trauma pads. From that testing we learned that DARKMATTER reduces BFD better than any trauma pad on the market. For example, a standalone UHMWPE armor plate will generally exhibit BFD of 39mm when impacted with a .44 magnum projectile—over 1.5 inches of deformation headed directly towards your body. EPE foam and XRD foam, the most common materials used in traditional trauma pads, showed a negligible reduction in BFD at 0.21mm and 1.73mm respectively. With DARKMATTER in your hard armor kit, BFD is reduced by 10.72mm—a 27% reduction.

Let’s be honest, hard armor plates are uncomfortable and most police officers only wear soft armor on a day-day basis. So, how does DARKMATTER work when you place it underneath your soft armor? The results are even better with soft armor! That same .44 magnum impact into soft armor showed BFD (in the testing media) of 38.01mm. DARKMATTER reduced that BFD by 11.92mm—a 31% reduction.

Towards the end of my time as a Federal Agent with DHS, I was looking forward to what I could do next and how I could continue to lean forward in the next phase of my career. What better way than joining an organization that was committed to protecting the people and organizations I had spent decades working with? I was fortunate to be approached by Monarc, the parent company of DARKMATTER. I quickly saw their mission to protect our protectors and a philosophy to Lean Forward with a data-informed business model and executive leadership. After a few conversations it was an easy decision to retire from DHS and begin my new career—this time it is out of uniform, and for the protection of my brothers and sisters that serve.




Clancy J. McMahon retired from active service in 2022 after a decorated 30-year career in both the United States Marine Corps and law enforcement, including 20 years with the Department of Homeland Security. As a founding member of the Federal Air Marshal Service under DHS, Clancy helped build FAMS into the program it is today—serving both as a Federal Air Marshal in the Boston, MA and Queens, NY field offices, as well as a Firearms & Tactics Training Coordinator for the Northeastern United States. In addition to his role at MONARC, Clancy also serves as the Vice President of the Penfield, NY Emergency Ambulance, a New York State Certified Emergency Medical Technician, and an Associate Professor for the Homeland Security Degree Program at the State University of New York.






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