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View Poll Results: When do you wear body armor?
While training, to include tactics, PT, etc. 4 10.53%
On duty or in theatre. 5 13.16%
Rarely. Usually stashed in the bug out bag. 2 5.26%
Both 1 & 2. 9 23.68%
Never! I'm the Highlander... 18 47.37%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old June 7, 2012, 01:22 PM   #1
Doc Maker
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Body armor for instructors

I've just been sized for body armor and one of the vests I'm being issued is a Red Firearms Instructor vest like the one below. So here's the dilemma, when to wear the red ballistic vest without looking like a douche. In addition to the obligation to train in your duty gear, there are other times I believe wearing is mandatory; 360° shoot houses, low/no light training, and large exercises (for visibility.) Then there are the times that I find myself on the line with a naturally unsafe shooter, wishing I had a level II on. I get swept a lot by new shooters, especially when they have a malfunction. Then again, we don't want to intimidate them into thinking that no one can be around them without wearing body armor. What are your thoughts on wearing ballistics in training? When is it appropriate or not?


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Old June 7, 2012, 01:42 PM   #2
TheGoldenState
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Are you training the classes?

If so, then wear it.
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Old June 7, 2012, 02:02 PM   #3
icedog88
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Hmmmm...Look like a d***** and be safe or look cool and not have protection from an accident? I pick look like a d***** every time! I think it's appropriate at all times. In training classes, it sends the message to students, that they need to be aware of what they are covering with their weapons always IMO.
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Old June 7, 2012, 02:05 PM   #4
Dragline45
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The range I go to has no range officers. I get swept by firearms far too often by new shooters to feel completely safe. If I was around new shooters as often as you are, then wearing the vest isn't a bad idea.
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Old June 7, 2012, 02:18 PM   #5
Glenn E. Meyer
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Wear it. Anybody who thinks it is silly is a blankity, blank.

I've seen instructors get 'shot' in FOF. In fact, I 'shot' one. He stuck out his leg from behind cover in a rampage shooting incident. I was a good guy. Couldn't see his yellow vest and I hit his inner thigh. He was ok with it and said it was his fault for not clearly identifying himself. Obviously not real rounds. I saw one who got a nasty hit with a sims right near his eye - somehow the full mask didn't do the trick. He wasn't all in bright colors.
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Old June 7, 2012, 02:40 PM   #6
G1R2
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Why didn't I think of that?

Dear Doc,

What a great contribution to this forum!

I would wear one in a flash - where can I buy one?

Respectively yours

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Old June 7, 2012, 04:21 PM   #7
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The military has made a huge change in the last ten years. Nearly all practical training and ranges are done in Level IV armor. I can't agree enough that this change was necessary.

When training scouts or other kids I do not wear it. I tried it once and it seemed to make the kids more nervous for some reason.
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Old June 7, 2012, 04:47 PM   #8
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Then wear it under a shirt. Makes you look fat, but that's a small price to pay not only to keep yourself safe, but to keep a kid from having to grow up burdened with guilt over having accidentally killed someone; or still worse, trying to compensate by joining the Brady Campaign.
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Old June 7, 2012, 07:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGoldenState View Post
Are you training the classes?

If so, then wear it.
This. If your job puts in the position of being a firearms instructor/ range officer/ safety officer, then wear the vest. I'm an LE firearms instructor, and all of us who are instructors wear those same red vests when we are on the range. Not only does it keep you free of bullet holes, it also conveys that you are in charge.
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Old June 7, 2012, 08:08 PM   #10
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I would wear it anytime you are acting as RSO or an instructor, for sure.
Depending on the people at the range, layout, and scenarios being shot, I would seriously consider armor even when not instructing. If it would be distracting or you are not acting in the capacity labeled on the vest, I would suggest wearing a cover garment.

I've seen lots of safety violations from newer shooters, and a few from very experienced ones (including an ND during a "dry fire only" drill ). I've had an AD myself (internal parts out of spec. caused the hammer to follow the slide during loading). Fortunately, all the cases I've personally observed had the bullet launched at the intended backstop, but I know people who have seen different outcomes...
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Old June 8, 2012, 01:13 AM   #11
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I never wear body armor when teaching. For civilians, it goes against everything I'm teaching.
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Old June 8, 2012, 03:09 AM   #12
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If you choose to wear it while instructing, I would explain to the shooters why you wear it; guns are dangerous when handled improperly and it is another safety precaution as you will be in contact with the inexperienced shooters more than they will be in contact with each other. of course, if it says "Firearms Instructor" like the picture a simple "You can identify an instructor by his vest" is a bit more subtle while keeping you safe and visible.
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Old June 8, 2012, 03:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
For civilians, it goes against everything I'm teaching.
So you are teaching that body armor doesn't work or are you teaching that you should give the opposition a chance to shoot you with rounds that penetrate well?

-----

I don't particularly care for the red instructor's vest...maybe if FIREARMS INSTRUCTOR wasn't on it then it would seem less goofy.

As far as it being necessary or not, as far as I know, the only places where I know loaded guns have been point at me are at gun ranges and a few times in classes.

The nice thing about vests is that they still provide protection without active participation needed on your part. There is a lot to be said for that.
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Old June 8, 2012, 06:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Quote:
For civilians, it goes against everything I'm teaching.
I would also like to know what is meant by this.
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Old June 8, 2012, 11:48 AM   #15
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Some good input here. I hadn't thought of wearing the armor without the red carrier. (For G1: It's a Point Blank VISION with the R20-D FI carrier.) I'm with Spy, the "FI" on it looks goofy but luckily it's a velcro panel. So I could get another panel, like "Range Officer" or "Poser," made for it over at Tactical Tailor.
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Old June 8, 2012, 12:20 PM   #16
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I'm guessing he is saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of protection. If you're teaching safety you want the students to rely on themselves being safe not the instructors body armor. I would personally wear it murphys law and all.
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Old June 8, 2012, 01:17 PM   #17
Jammer Six
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Jason is very close.

One of the most powerful teaching tools is example. If you check the NRA teaching manuals, and attend NRA instructor development courses, (the NRA calls them something else) you will see and hear example stressed again and again. Students, particularly new students, watch you and what you do at least as much as they listen to you. I wish schools that teach the Cooper methods stressed instructor example more, at least in their formal curriculums.

I teach civilians, and I teach them safe procedures for the range. I don't teach them to wear body armor, and I teach them not to be anywhere that body armor is needed. I have, in fact, never seen anyone but Corrections Officers wearing body armor at my range.

One of the messages I teach is that recreational shooting is a safe sport, given proper discipline, procedures and knowledge.

My final comment for this post is this: I don't know about police or military instruction or requirements, but if you feel you need body armor to teach civilians, I would suggest reviewing your curriculum and firing line procedures with a stronger eye towards safety.
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Old June 8, 2012, 01:23 PM   #18
Glenn E. Meyer
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Nice thought, but one forgets the incompetence of folks to listen to instruction. Being a teacher I know that well.

I've seen after intense safety lectures - a guy point his gun at a row of students.

Given an instructor has an increased exposure to incompetents (to be diagnosed on the range), I don't find it insulting at all.

It also teaches that guns are dangerous. Yes, shooting sports are safe but that's a lesson to be learned. Precautions are reasonable.

If a student doesn't understand that - too bad.
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Old June 8, 2012, 02:16 PM   #19
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I've worn armor for years, let me remind everyone here of something - the panels are 95% likely to be removable, and if you don't like the DayGlo carrier you are issued, (assuming you have that option), use a concealable one. I wore armor every time I went to Dept range, as there were some very incompetent shooters there - must be the same guys Jammer saw.
I don't wear armor to the civilian range - it's a little hot for a vest and it makes using a front rest off the bench difficult. I could, but I make the deliberate choice not to.
If you've never worn body armor before, here's lesson number one - IT'S HOT!!! Get used to pulling the top out and back over your chest to get some airflow. Look into the ribbed t-shirts to help stand it off your skin to get air movement. I wore vests for 8.5 years of armored trucking, too.
Quote:
I teach them not to be anywhere that body armor is needed.
I'd prefer to not be anywhere I'll ever need my sidearm, either, but since Trouble doesn't phone ahead, I won't know before it arrives. Heck, Safariland makes vests for EMT and firefighters now, too. I have armor if I want to wear it, but I make the conscious decision not to for comforts sake, not that I don't think it might save my life. Not just from bullets, either - look at the Book of Saves to see how many LE were saved in vehicle accidents by their body armor. I make the compromises for my life with safety and comfort, (carry sidearm, don't wear armor on a regular basis), but if someone wants to wear armor, I certainly won't give them grief about it.
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Old June 8, 2012, 05:31 PM   #20
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Good idea, but should have a compartment for spare underwear.
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Old June 8, 2012, 06:42 PM   #21
raimius
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Quote:
recreational shooting is a safe sport, given proper discipline, procedures and knowledge
Even so, as an instructor, you are dealing with people trying to gain proper discipline, procedures, and knowledge...they might not "get it" yet!

Many Driver's Ed cars have brakes for the instructor. Students make mistakes.
(Everyone does, but those just learning tend to make them more frequently.)

I don't understand how using protective equipment goes against teaching discipline, procedures, or knowledge for recreational shooting.
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Old June 8, 2012, 06:56 PM   #22
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I've seen a student point a gun down the line of about 15 students. Looked like the Rockettes stepping backwards.

Saw a student draw his gun and throw it down range about 10 feet.

One of my beginning instructors wore armor. I wasn't insulted.
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Old June 8, 2012, 07:41 PM   #23
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If you are that concerned about fashion try this...

http://www.smartmoney.com/spend/dumb...1337188343468/

Quote:
Saw a student draw his gun and throw it down range about 10 feet.
Saw a 44 AutoMag fly downrange at a handgun silhouette match. The owner was removed and kicked out of the gun club.

I'd wear a vest on the training range. I've been exposed to a lot of "professionals" that do unsafe things all the time. Familiarity breeds contempt and complacency.
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Old June 8, 2012, 07:45 PM   #24
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Seems to me that if the instructor needs to wear body armor, then the students should too. After all, if a student makes a mistake and is apt to shoot the instructor, he is just as apt to shoot the other students.
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Old June 8, 2012, 08:31 PM   #25
Jammer Six
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I've never once, in my years of teaching, even come close to feeling like I needed any kind of armor. I don't have the answer for the rest of you.

Tell me this, though: when one of your students does one of these things, what does that imply to you?

What does it imply to you the second time?

The third time?
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