Armor for Beginners


the Vitruvian Knight

Armor for Beginners
or, "Which Suit Suits Me Best?"

by Ben Roberts

Armor Glossary
Armor Types
Selecting the Right Armor / Armor Resources

Armor has played an important role in combat throughout all recorded history - from the basket-woven shields and toughened animal hides ubiquitous in early civilizations to the synthetic-fiber high-impact body armor worn by riot police today. It is one of the most visually captivating aspects of medieval combat re-creation, and often a major element in separating the living from the dead at battle’s end.

Armorers throughout history have been saddled with the impossible; create tough, comprehensive protection for the wearer without sacrificing mobility and speed during combat. Thus, all armor is a balance between defense and dexterity for the wearer.

When involved in medieval combat re-creation, armor presents one of the biggest problems. Besides the obvious questions of whether the rules for combat accurately approximate the effect of armor against a striking weapon, questions of use and authenticity can become concerns, as well as cost.

In the Mercenaries Medieval Combat Guild, armor is separated into two categories based upon its reaction to a normal strike. Any material that flexes under pressure is defined as “light” armor (regardless of actual weight). Any material that remains rigid under pressure is defined as “heavy” armor. Obviously, “heavy” armor is more effective in protecting against strikes than “light” armor.

This article will attempt to describe and analyze the different major types of armor found in Europe between 800 and 1500 A.D. (the historical scope of the MMCG), as well as offering tips on how to choose which armor is best for you and providing further resources for both making and purchasing armor.

Continue to Armor Glossary




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