Pat’s Product Review: Warrior Trail Training Body Armor

Many firearms instructors, myself included, have a saying that goes something like this “train the way you fight.” Meaning that, if you’re training isn’t related to real-life scenarios, you’re
doing something wrong. Outside of my basic NRA handgun classes, my other (limited) firearms training classes are geared to real-life training. When on the range, we don’t train you to stand there, squared off to a target, at a pre-determined range, and just stand there and shoot. No! Instead, my training consists of on-the-move training, as well as firing at a 180-degree area. We shoot right to left, and front to back. We shoot on the move, too – as well as from behind cover, and in the prone and kneeling position. In a real-life active shooter situation, you can’t just stand there and square-off, and keep shooting – if you don’t move, you’ll die – simple as that.
After the first shots are exchanged, you should be seeking cover, or changing your plane, and reloading and looking for other threats. While there’s nothing wrong with learning basic Marksmanship skills; sight picture, trigger control and follow-through, in a real-life deadly shooting, you need to be on the move, and make good use of cover and concealment if possible. Look, this isn’t the Old West, where you and an opponent stand face-to-face, and see who can draw their weapon the fastest. That will get you killed. You have to train the way you’ll fight – be it in the military, law enforcement or as a civilian gun owner. This also means using the weapon and equipment that you’d be using on the streets or on the battlefield.
Uncle Sam issues hard body armor to our troops, and it’s really good armor – it’s made out of ceramic and compressed aluminum (I believe), and it is designed to trap the rounds fired into it – thus, breaking-up the ceramic/aluminum plates – they are meant to be some what fragile – it’s the way they absorb the rounds – by breaking apart. However, one serious drawback to this type of hard body is that, when worn in training, these plates take a beating, and they can break or fracture when you go prone, or for that matter, if you accidentally drop you body armor carrier on the ground. Some law enforcement agencies actually have their had body armor (ceramic-style) x-rayed yearly or an CT scan used – very expensive procedures for ensuring that you hard body armor plates haven’t been damaged.
Today we consider Warrior Trail, a company manufacturing a patented type of hard body armor training armor – please read that again, this isn’t hard body armor, instead it is TRAINING body armor. It is designed and manufactured to the same size, shape and weight as ceramic-type hard body armor plates. If you’re on a SWAT team, for instance, you will be training the way you’ll fight – and that means wearing your hard body armor – if your department issues it. Only problem is, if your training is real-life training, your very expensive hard body armor plates can and will get damaged. You may not see the damage visibly, but the damage might be there, and if you take a hit during a call-out, from a high-powered rifle, your plate might fail – causing serious injury or death.  Training can get very expensive, if your department has to keep inspecting your body armor plates, via x-rays, CT scans or ultrasounds, and in this day and age of budget shortfalls and restraints, it can cut down on your equipment budget rapidly.
I received several training plates from Warrior Trail – and once again, keep in mind, that these are not actual hard body armor plates, they afford you NO ballistic protection – they are designed to be inserted into your body armor carriers – after you’ve taken out your real body armor plates. Then you can proceed with real-life training scenarios, where you can go prone, and just totally train the way things would happen in real life – without the fear of damaging your real body armor. Warrior Trail training body armor plates, are the same size and approximately the same weight as ceramic type hard body armor plates are – I know, I have hard body armor plates, and I compared them to the Warrior Trail plates – they are almost identical. Keep in mind that, different companies who manufacture hard body armor plates will have slightly different variations from one company’s plates to another company’s plates. However, all things considered, the Warrior Trail plates will feel just like your real hard body armor plates when you insert them into your vest.
Now, just to remind the purchaser, the Warrior Trail training plates come with a warning on them, alerting you, that you have no ballistic protection, and there is a hole drilled in the plate – this should be enough to alert the wearer that this is not real body armor – even though it looks like and feels like the genuine article.
Warrior Trail training body armor plates are manufactured out of a proprietary polymer material, and it is tough stuff. I did place it in a carrier, after removing the real body armor plates, and I couldn’t tell or feel any difference between the real body armor and the training body armor plates – felt the same. I also totally abused the training plates, threw them on a concrete walk, threw them down my gravel driveway – and even skidded them down my driveway, as well as throwing them against trees. While the training plates took a beating, they didn’t fail. In a “train as you fight” training exercise, you’ll think you’re wearing your real body armor plates in your carrier. Now, as an aside, make sure you switch out the training body armor plates for your real plates when you are done training. Might be a good idea for your unit or buddies, to do it all at the same time, and inspect one another’s carriers – to make sure you have put the real body armor plates back inside your vest, instead of the training plates. You can also place a Velcro patch – supplied by Warrior Trail – on your carrier, right on the front of it – to alert you that, you still have their training plates inside your carrier. PLEASE! This is important, don’t forget to switch the training plates out for your real plates!
If you’re a Prepper, out training with some friends, it’s a great idea to have these training plates inside your vest, instead  of the real plates – you don’t want to have the added expense of having to have your real plates inspected yearly, to know they will still provide the ballistic protection you want. Also, these training plates are a good idea if you are in a ROTC college training program, basic military training, Military Academy, National Guard unit, police, sheriff, FedGov law enforcement agent, etc. Also, they are a good idea to have when making an airborne jump, practicing water survival with your gear on, land navigation – just about any place where you’d be training wearing your real hard body armor, is where you can wear the Warrior Trail training plates in your vest.
Warrior Wear has a motto of their own, and it is “train as your fight – at a fraction of the cost” – and that’s something to keep in mind. Hard body armor doesn’t come cheap, and you don’t want to damage your real body armor, while out training – and not even realize you’ve damaged it. Warrior Trail training plates start at $59 per plate, and goes up from there, depending on the size. Still, this is a worthwhile investment – save your real hard body armor, for a call out or military operation – and use the Warrior Trail training plates for all of your training purposes. Don’t take a chance, you have a lot of money invested in hard body armor ceramic plates, spend a little money now, for some training plates.