Training Plates – An Investment

Hopefully some of you who read my recent article on a High Value Armor Setup that consisted of TAP Gamma plates and the excellent Shellback Tactical Banshee PC were inspired to purchase armor. Even armor as inexpensive as the set up in that article is still a significant investment which is why you might want to consider expanding that investment with a set of training plates.

Training plates are the same approximate shape and weight as your ballistic plates but they lack any ballistic protection. Their purpose is to provide a realistic training experience without jeopardizing the integrity of your expensive ballistic plates. These should be especially attractive to shooters who spend their own money on their armor and will have to replace them out of their own pocket in the event of breakage.

You might think that because a ballistic plate is bullet resistant that is extremely durable. This is not necessarily the case. Ceramic plates can be subject to cracking and chipping that can reduce their effectiveness. You might not even be able to visually detect these flaws. It can pay to use training plates as a stand in for your ballistic plates when the ballistic plates are unnecessary.

I currently have 2 sets of Training Plates from Patriots-Choice. These are made from thick PVC plastic that is extremely rugged and provide a very realistic stand in for my more expensive plates. I picked up both sets on Ebay for a song.

There are plenty of other companies that manufacture training plates and Soldier Systems often has the skinny as new ones come to market. Here are some options that Soldier Systems has uncovered:

You have dropped a sizable amount of money on your plates. Consider protecting them from as much wear and tear as you can with a set of training plates.


11 Responses to Training Plates – An Investment

  1. Jason October 22, 2011 at 18:52 #

    Part of the value of wearing plates during training is that they’re heavy and you get used to working with the extra weight (not just the bulk). Are the PVC ones worth anything for this?

    • Matt October 23, 2011 at 00:21 #

      They are not as heavy as my ceramic plates. They weigh about 3.5# versus just under 5#.

  2. Doc Bratton October 23, 2011 at 16:47 #

    Warrior Trail makes great SAPI Training Plates. They are weight the same as X-Small and Medium SAPI.

    They are now making ESAPI training plates in Small and Medium. These plates actually weigh the same as the Ballistic E-SAPI. Same size, shape, weight, rigidity, and form with the bi-curve. They are the real deal.

    The Team Wendy plates bounce like a rubber ball. Seem to be made of some flubber-like substance. I can’t imagine getting much training value from spongy rubber plates.

    • Matt October 23, 2011 at 16:48 #

      Thanks Doc. The plates from Warrior Trail look identical to the ones from Patriot-Choice. Even the label is the same. In fact, they have gone out of their way to obscure the part of the label that has the manufacturer name in the pics.

      They also claim that their plates (which appear to be PVC) weigh 4 pounds which is at least 1 pound short of a ballistic plate. I wonder how theirs weigh 4 pounds but mine only weigh 3.6 pounds.

      I’ll see if I can contact them to get some solid info.

  3. Doc Bratton October 23, 2011 at 16:55 #

    Oh BTW, Warrior Trail also makes ESAPI side torso plates. Same size, shape, weight as the real deal. You can reach them from their web site ….. they’ll send them out to you.

    • Matt October 23, 2011 at 17:03 #

      I contacted Warrior Trail with some questions. Are you affiliated with them Doc?

    • Matt October 23, 2011 at 17:28 #

      Doc, I sent you an email with some questions regarding your affiliations with Warrior Trail. I have to check. Surely you understand that I can’t have manufacturers coming onto this sight to speak poorly of another manufacturers product while pretending to be just a normal reader (and not a manufacturer). I can see that you are posting from the same town in which Warrior Trail is located. Hopefully this isn’t what it appears because right now, it isn’t passing the smell test.

  4. Dan October 23, 2011 at 23:47 #

    Matt this is interesting although I can’t help but feel like if you are training with live rounds (and other people around) you might as well have the full benefit of the armor. Even if they are expensive it’s not worth dying over! Just my opinion of course, I’m sure these trainers have their place.

    • Matt October 24, 2011 at 08:10 #

      It all depends on what I am doing. I would rather use the training plates during dry fire training or in instances when I am the only one on the range.

  5. Dan October 24, 2011 at 13:09 #

    Makes perfect sense.

  6. Steve January 1, 2013 at 06:44 #

    I just bought some of the patriots choice PVC plates on eBay as well and can’t wait to try them out. My agency SRT team utilizes simunition training alot to help with getting our operators accustomed to force on force situations and instead of risking my personally owned stand alone sapi plates I decided to opt for these. I am planning on putting my soft 10×12 ballistic inserts in to add a little more weight and a little protection as well… thanks for all the info… helped me decide what to get…

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