The best wording I ever heard, was someone who said: "A living Troll-Slayer, is a failed Troll-Slayer".
But at the same time, being a slayer is a very thin line to walk. It's about not fearing death, but at the same time not commiting suicide, and how to interprit that is very very hard.
Is it suicide to charge 10 orcs solo? Is it fearing death not to try'n see if you can actually kill most or all of them?
Is it fearing death to use cover in a fight (or wear armor), or is it suicide to stand in the open and fight?
That said, I think slayer career puts a HUGE demand on both the player (to make it appear as if he tries to die with honor) and the GM to not put the slayer in hopeless situations where he (the player) must chose between getting his character killed for sure, or be a coward.
I read somewhere on these, or the old boards, that a group with a slayer all had tons of fun to make sure the slayer didn't die. So they'd knock him KO'd and drag him away from a fight, after which the slayer would be even more ashamed and try to drown his shame in strong beer.
I was once against ever letting a slayer in to my group, but I really think it's more based on my fears of failing as a GM, than the slayer ruining things.
To make a long story short… No armor/shields for a slayer in my group, but on the other hand, as GM, to model the campaign/scenes so the player wouldn't lose his character any faster than the other players characters.