Reduced Armor Experiment


This experiment will be gathering data on the effects of reduced armor for rapier and C&T combat. Specifically, we will be looking at the impact on injuries, including heat injuries. There will be three areas of reduced armor: lowering back of the head to abrasion resistant, lowering the torso to abrasion resistant, and allowing the arms and legs to be exposed.

The coordinating marshal for this experiment is Donovan Shinnock – if anyone has any questions, feel free to email him at and ask away.


Primary Reduced Armor Rules

There are three areas of reduced armor that this experiment will be examining. When a participant signs up for the experiment, they will select at most two areas which if necessary, they could commit to using. However, at this time, all participants may decide each time they armor up which one or two areas they wish to use reduced armor on. These areas are:

  • Lowering the required back of head protection from penetration resistant to abrasion resistant. Essentially, the drape would not need to be drop tested, and a single layer of cloth would suffice as long as no skin shows.
  • Lowering the torso from penetration resistant to abrasion resistant. A single layer of cloth will be sufficient; it would not need to be drop tested, and no additional armpit layers will be necessary as long as there is no exposed skin.
  • Allowing arms and legs to have exposed skin. The arms from just above the elbows and down and the legs from just above the knees down may be exposed – essentially, the areas exposed by a t-shirt and shorts. Note that unless the option for reduced torso armor is chosen as well, the armor standard for the torso remains unchanged. Yes, this means that leather gloves for rapier would not be required, but note the Cut and Thrust comments below.

As a note, the requirement for an attempt at pre-1600’s era clothing is not impacted by this experiment.

Other rules and notes

  • The Cut and Thrust armoring requirements remain unchanged; rigid back of the head is required, and the elbow and hand requirements are in effect as well. For instance, someone could fight C&T with exposed arms, but they would still be wearing elbow protection on their otherwise bare arms.
  • This experiment does not allow foils, epees, and flexi-daggers to be used with it. (For those who don’t know, a “flexi-dagger” is one of those daggers that looks like a really short foil.)
  • Melees with a participant in reduced armor are restricted: no more than ten combatants total, and no more than five people on a single team. Essentially, 5v5 is good. 4v6 is not. 3v3v3 is good. We want to gather data on melees, but we need to limit the amount of confusion on the field.
  • Marshals in charge of events and practices may disallow this experiment on their field. I would encourage anyone who feels this way to contact the marshal running the experiment to discuss their concerns.
  • Before anyone asks, this experiment will not be permitted in King’s and Queen’s Rapier Champions. Let’s not confuse the already busy day with experiments.


To sign up for the experiment, go to this google form and fill it out. As soon as you receive a confirmation email, you are good to go. If you have any questions, let Donovan know.

If you are participating in the experiment, you are required to use this google form to submit a report after every practice or event you use reduced armor at. We need as much data as possible for this to be a successful experiment.

There is no defined end date of this experiment. It will run until Donovan is told to close it down.