In the Haley Strategic D5 Handgun class, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) were optional but recommended. The list of PPE were as follow: “Gloves, knee pads, elbow pads, helmet, body armor optional but recommended“. So since it was optional, I wasn’t entirely sure what I should bring from that list, if any at all.
It is a common mistake among novices of any kind to over invest into too many gears they don’t really need at their level. We read a blog about the top 10 essentials for activity X, or a review of best-whatever for activity Y. This is why I appreciate posts that target beginners and let them know what they could take a pass on until things get more serious.
Being a researcher, it is my inclination to read every blog and watch every videos about what I’m currently interested in. And suffice to say, I –almost– fell into the trap of buying a lot of things I don’t need. I stopped myself. There is no way I need body armor or helmet for a basic handgun course…scratched those two. (I understand active military/LE might chose to train in all their gear. That makes sense to me. But for a civilian, especially a beginner, simple is probably best.)
The question was, do I need gloves and knee/elbow pads?
I ended up getting a pair of SKD PIG gloves (black) and using a pair of old boxing gloves as my makeshift knee pads.
I got the PIG gloves anticipating that we might have to go into prone on the rough ground during the class. We ended up not covering going prone or side-prone, but the gloves was helpful since the weather got pretty cold. These gloves are made to not hinder your movement, which it does a superb job at. Additionally, it actually does give some warmth (although not at all preparing you for hardcore snowstorm).
The gloves got very handy when I went to the vehicle & force-on-force class. The windshield and all the windows of the car were shattered during the live-fire portion of the class. We continued to use the car during the force-on-force scenarios. And even with the efforts to clear out most of the glass pieces, a lot of glass dusts are left behind. The gloves saved my ass (or more so, my hand) by prevent small glass dusts from cutting my fingers & palm (which happened to another student in the class. Thankfully, easily bandaged up). These gloves also live up to its name by not decreasing my dexterity while using it during the whole day of class.
Knee pads (even makeshift ones) were actually very nice to have when you have to constantly kneel down to pickup brass. When I practiced going into prone (not during class), the knee pads were definitely nice to have. When I have some change to spend, I’ll look into getting a pair of ALTA knee pads.
How about elbow pads? I seem to be able to successfully avoid hitting my elbow when trying to go into various positions. So unless I’m going into some simulations where I might get attacked with more forces (in which case helmet and body armor might be necessary as well), I think I could skip it (until experience tells me otherwise).
How about other gears?
Since I’m currently focusing on handguns only, I don’t need fancy vests/chest-rigs, body armor or helmet. Now, I’m not saying I won’t WANT to get all geared up and train that way too. However, given a finite amount of time and money, I’d rather spend both on improving skills that are more likely to be of used (translate that into training cost in more advance handgun training, which includes ammo cost and class fees).