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Field Test: Patrol-Oriented Gloves, Part 1
Tactical Response recently conducted a Field Test of patrol-oriented gloves. The evaluation included gloves from eight manufacturers: 5.11 Tactical, Blackhawk, CamelBak, Damascus, Galls, Hatch, Quartermaster and Wiley X.
The gloves that were tested are the basic, general-issue patrol gloves. They are not necessarily cut-, needle- or flame-resistant, nor are they necessarily cold-weather or wet-weather oriented. The gloves provided for evaluation were chosen at the manufacturers’ discretion under the recommendation that they submit their “one suggested patrol glove,” although many of them likely have a wide selection of such gloves.
The patrol-oriented gloves were sent for evaluation to several testers across the United States. The participants were tactical and police officers from a variety of regions and agencies who used the gloves while on patrol, during tactical training and during operations.
The gloves were evaluated based on the following criteria: initial fit and comfort, dexterity, durability, comfort during extended wear, protection, and performance under various weather conditions and temperatures.
The gloves were given a score from 1 to 5 in each category, 1 being “poor” and 5 being “excellent.” Following is a review of how each patrol-oriented glove ranked among the evaluating officers, including which features were most praised and appreciated, what problems officers found, and a chart including the overall average score and MSRP of each glove.
CRG2 Cut-Resistant Patrol Glove
The CRG2 Cut-Resistant Patrol Gloves from Blackhawk are designed to be form-fitting, with an ergonomic cut and a flexible neoprene/spandex shell. Features include a durable synthetic leather palm, reinforced thumb cradle and Spectra-blend liner for cut resistance.
Though officers found these gloves to provide ample durability and protection, they also felt they were much too bulky for normal patrol use. This is likely due to the cut-resistant aspect of the gloves. They were reported to be one of the thickest pairs of gloves, so while they perhaps offered the most protection, they also severely limited dexterity.
Most of the testers said they could only load and fire their weapons with great difficulty, if at all. Writing movement was also restricted, and officers were unable to pick up small items or operate their cell phones with accuracy.
The majority also found the Blackhawk gloves to be much too tight, and some suggested ordering a size larger than normal. Officers complained about the multiple layers, which affected sizing, and one officer suggested the gloves would be better without the cut-resistant liner.
The multiple layers and thickness of the material also negatively affected temperature conditions. The reviewers’ hands were hot and sweaty after little wear, particularly in warm weather. Some said they would only consider these gloves for cold conditions.
Overall, officers would not consider these gloves for everyday patrol use, though one suggested they might be appropriate for breaking glass in SWAT scenarios.
Neoprene Gloves with Kevlar
The Galls Neoprene Gloves with Kevlar are designed to provide cut protection while keeping the wearers’ hands warm, dry and comfortable. Textured synthetic leather patches on the palm and three of the fingertips improve grip, while Velcro® closures offer better fit and comfort.
These gloves got mixed reviews in a variety of areas. Some found them to be very comfortable, while others reported extreme discomfort. There seemed to be issues with fit, as a couple of testers noted looseness in the wrist and palm. One officer suggested that they were designed more like a “work glove” and were not especially form-fitting.
In the areas of movement and dexterity, again there were contradictory reviews. Some reported the gloves to move well, while others said the multiple layers were bulky and seemed to work independently of each other at times. Some said they could pick up small items and reasonably operate their firearms, while others said they were unable to pick up small items, operate a cell phone, type, or operate or load their weapons.
There was relative consensus in the area of protection, which was most often described as “reasonable” or “adequate for patrol use.” The abrasive fabric on the palm and three fingertips assisted with grip.
Almost all of the testers reported that the gloves were too warm and caused their hands to sweat quickly. The water-resistant neoprene lining also seemed to make the gloves slippery when wet for some officers.
The DMZ-33: Nitro gloves from Damascus feature black CarbonTek knuckles for enhanced protection, as well as flame-retardant and cut-resistant Kevlar on the back of the hands. The rolled fingertip design offers trigger sensitivity.
The Damascus gloves provided sufficient dexterity for patrol use once reviewers got used to the CarbonTek knuckles. Most were able to write, type, pick up small objects and load magazines with relative ease, though some still had minor trouble. The knuckles did make it difficult for officers to extract items from their pockets.
Most found these gloves to be comfortable, though some noted a tight fit, particularly when making a fist, due to the CarbonTek knuckles. Tightness may have been a sizing issue, however, because others said the Nitro gloves fit well upon first wear, stretched appropriately, and allowed movement.
Almost all the reviewers said the gloves held up well and seemed durable. Between the Kevlar lining and CarbonTek knuckles, the Nitro gloves offered excellent protection. The durable knuckles guarded against scraping and absorbed impact with no transfer to the wearer’s hands.
One reviewer suggested the CarbonTek knuckles gave the gloves an “intimidating” look. He said many of his administrative officers felt the gloves were not necessarily “socially acceptable” for patrol use. Some thought they would be more appropriate for SWAT applications.
Multiple reviewers noted that the texture of the gloves provided good grip in wet weather use. These gloves appeared to breathe more than some of the other models and did not cause excessive sweating.
LawPro SlashGuard Duty Gloves
From Quartermaster’s house brand, the LawPro SlashGuard Duty Gloves are both cut- and flame-resistant. The design incorporates Kevlar into the palm material for cut protection, as well as non-slip material in the hand cradle for improved grip. The back of the glove utilizes neoprene and Spandex for a secure fit.
Reviewers said the initial fit of the LawPro gloves was great and that they were true to size. Dexterity was excellent, with little to no restriction of movement. Multiple officers reported they could wear these gloves for an entire shift with no problem. Operation and reloading of weapons was particularly feasible.
The Slashguard Duty Gloves were found to be durable, providing sufficient protection for normal patrol use. The reinforced layers around the hand cradle were ideal for shooting.
A couple of officers reported these were some of the thinnest of the gloves tested and were perhaps more suited to warm weather. Some also noted they tended to absorb water and took a long time to dry, though this did not affect grip.
Published in Tactical Response, Jan/Feb 2011
Rating : 10.0
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