Armor for Beginners


Selecting the Right Armor

Armor Glossary
Armor Types
Selecting the Right Armor / Armor Resources

As one can see, there is a great variety in the types of armor available, the pieces one can use, and the time periods and geographical locations to which that certain bit of armor belongs. With all these variables, selection of armor can be daunting to even the most avid practitioner of medieval combat re-creation.

To help you decide which armor is right for you, consider the following questions:

What is my role as a fighter? If you tend to do a lot of scouting and dashing ahead to cut off enemy movements, then you may want to think twice about equipping yourself in a heavy, loud, hot harness of full plate armor like Herr Lantze on the right. Likewise, if you tend to stand at the front line, and take and give hits quite a bit, then you may suddenly appreciate the protection of at least a brigandine. Think first and foremost about the role you tend to play (or would like to play) as a fighter when considering armor options.

How concerned am I with authenticity? If this is a big issue for you, then you will want to think hard about the region and time period upon which you focus, and decide accordingly. However, while authenticity is important, it needn’t be the end-all be-all of your decision-making process. Few people will look askance at you if you do some modest mixing and matching.

Where do I usually get hit? Everybody has spots that habitually get left open. While this can be remedied to a point with good training and technique, there is also a reason that medieval warriors wore armor: nobody is perfect. Everybody gets hit. If you have armor on the place in which you get hit, then your day will be considerably better. Do you get hit in the arms a lot? Perhaps you should look at getting a pair of bracers. Do you keep getting legged to death? Invest in some greaves. Armor the parts that need it first, before you start adding pieces for extra insurance.

What is my budget? Here’s the kicker. Armor is expensive. Even the cheap stuff is expensive. It can be made, but it requires some trial and error, as well as specialized tools in some cases. If you have a low budget, get together with some of your fighting friends and experiment with a few leather pieces. If you have wads of money to burn, feel free to get a custom-made harness of 16th century Gothic plate armor. Fit your armor to your budget as well as the rest of your criteria.


There are hundreds of books and thousands of websites devoted to armor. Whether your interest is in studying to make your own armor or simply buying it piece at a time from armorers here and there, there is a wide variety of resources available to you. Below are a few places to start looking:

Research & Construction Techniques:

Armour Research Society: Far and away one of the best sources of information and research in the area of armor.

Higgins Armory: Home of Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng, this museum is a fantastic place to go in order to see some top-notch pieces. Also the home of the Higgins Armory Sword Guild.

The Arador Armor Library: This place has a wonderful array of articles to browse and some good, solid no-nonsense history behind its statements. While not everything you read on the internet is true, this page can probably be trusted.

Bladeturner Armory: Full of great patterns and articles. Be selective in which patterns/articles to pay heed to. The good ones will generally stand out.


Therion Arms: Not only does this site have a decent selection of its own product, but its resources section (the “Links List”) is extensive and covers armor, weapons and much more.

Mercenary’s Tailor: Decent, affordable, mostly authentic armor. Good choice of name, as well.




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