Question for instructors--armor during training

Do you wear armor when instructing new students on the range? The group I work with almost exclusively wears plate carriers.
I thought it looked like overkill, but upon further review–is there ever a place you’re more likely to get shot than at a range with a group of new shooters?
What do you think?
Armor? No Armor? Good idea? Craziness?

I don’t wear armor and I don’t get in front of a class who has firearms outside of their holsters. Guns are either in a case or in a holster if I’m anywhere near the front of class.

Also, keeping an eye on students as they’re handling a firearm is so important to know where their head is.

Is their gun coming out of the box it came in and still has the tags on (so to speak)? If so, I’m definitely watching that newbie. Also if people are overconfident, they’re actually higher on my watch list than the newbie.


If you are training folks that will be in or are in armor then yes it would be as an instructor prudent simply for the demonstration factor. To a group of first time civilians I think it may present the wrong image unless that is what they are training to. I do know some instructors that WILL wear body armor but under their clothes (ie: not plate carriers). I’ve done and do both depending on the circumstances and training requirements.



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The range I work at with the classes has a really solid SOP and very clearly goes over all range rules verbally with the students both in class and then at the range. The instructors are all veteran instructors–many are vets with combat experience (lots of it).
There is no unsupervised handling of firearms, no firearms allowed out of the case unless they are in the stall to shoot. We’re teaching beginners for the most part.
We have one instructor for every two lanes, so there is a LOT of instructors there. I’ve seen 12-15 in a day working together with students at the range. Plus a CRSO who patrols the line and helps out as needed.
Maybe it’s just a really high level of oversight and caution. Maybe the guys are all used to wearing it from their active duty days. The reason stated when I asked was it ‘why wouldn’t I takes steps to protect myself around a bunch of beginners?’
I struggle with investing in it–on one hand, they all have all their teaching stuff right there–a flashlight, laser, brass cleaning rod to clear a squib, first aid stuff for boo boos, pens, etc.–one guy has a SIRT in a chest rig that he can easily show grip, trigger control, etc., if he needs to, plus they all have a radio tuned into their hearing protection and can communicate easily during the training. All that gear in one place.
IDK. I don’t know that it’s right for me.

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Interesting point.

“I thought it looked like overkill, but upon further review–is there ever a place you’re more likely to get shot than at a range with a group of new shooters?”

Actually the statistics don’t show that. Is it possible to get shot by a new shooter? Yes. Is it likely? No. I personally have trained well over 40,000 people with firearms all over the world. Of those only one student was shot in class . The student shot himself in the leg when drawing the pistol. (As are most pistol related training accidents).

Another consideration is what message are you conveying to your new shooters by wearing plates? We don’t trust you? We don’t trust the other guys! Shooting is too dangerous to do without plates, etc… Not a confidence builder for new students.

However, is there a place for plates in training? yes… High speed rifle training / running and gunning in a team environment…then sure put on then plates.


Great perspective.
Our team has trained over half that with no incidents.

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