Some time ago, into our sticky hands (literally :D) quite by chance fell a package from GUNFIRE.pl with several models of tactical gloves, products of Aromred Claw: Shield, Smart Tac and Breacher. The thing that connects these gloves is the protection of ankles made of popular Kevlar plus soft material well known to the American nomex or classics of the Bundeswehr. At the first glance – the perfect combination.
There was nothing left to do but test them, which we did for a few months – and it was a real treat, because several pairs of gloves means few people to test them, several different approaches to the topic and different conclusions. For reasons beyond our control photos of Shields and the gloves themselves has been found a few hundred kilometers away (no, they were not stolen , nor were they destroyed – we just didn’t sync – but still we made up, and the whole Armored Claw family will be included.
I got Armored Claw Breacher model in olive which with it’s construction resembles NOMEX gloves used by German and American pilots, which are available in our Polish demob for years. Kevlar, Keprotec and natural leather are the materials from which the gloves had been made of. Non-combustible (Yeah, we tried to put them on fire with a lighter, so I do not advise you to check it), abrasion resistant, protective to some extent against cuts. They have a hard ankle cover and extended cuffs – hence the name. The gloves weigh only 129g. Sounds good.
The main material (olive color) is Kevlar and Nomex. The manufacturer ensures: “Its main advantage is, however, incredible abrasion and cutting resistance. Gloves increase the level of protection against cut wounds that may occur as a result of contact with the blade of the knife, glass or other sharp edges.” Hmmm. Have you guessed what will happen …?
We couldn’t resist the temptation to not check it. The test consisted of puncturing the glove cuff with a knife. Glove was laid on the ground, and I stabbed it quite strong – the blade didn’t pierce the material. For comparison, we used the old cloth, double folded which a knife pierces through without a blink of an eye. Obviously this is not needle proof equipment, same thing in case of any spikes – only the inner side of the hand is sensibly protected.
MORA knife vs Breacher – 0: 1
MORA Knife vs old cloth – 1: 0
Ankle protection is ensured to some extent by a hard (yet quite flexible) cap made by Swiss company Schoeller Keprotec technology – it is very resistant to abrasions and tearing. The fabric is made from aramid fibers (including Kevlar) that at its lower weight are five times stronger than steel. This extremely strong material was originally developed for motorcycle racing. Currently Keprotec has been applied not only in motorcycle clothing, but also workwear, outdoor clothing (usually as a strengthening of the critical components), it is also used for the production of extremely durable gloves (in that case Breachers), and shoes.
The inner part of the hands and the fingertips are trimmed with natural soft leather with the exception of the tips of the thumb and the index finger, which are covered with a “suede like” material. Firstly, it doesn’t slip through the trigger of the weapon (firmer contact), and the second thing is that its touch allows you to use touch screens of smartphones and tablets (tested on Samsung and Asus products).
Featured Breacher model is characterizing with a long cuff ended with elastic band (rubber). The sleeve protects the forearm on a length of approx. 15cm. from the wrist. Gloves while weared on the uniform are supposed protect against mechanical damage, fire and cuttings (plus glass and dirt)
USE (PERSONAL OPINION)
Personally, I don’t like too big gloves, I prefer them to be more fitting to the palm – these are perfect. My Breachers size is M – and this is actually a standard M, the 9th. Also Keprotec pads fit firmly against your ankles, nothing pinches, nothing squeezes, even on impact. It is not as stiff as described by the distributor – it is flexible thereby increasing the comfort during use. This is mainly due to the lack of an additional protective layer on kevlar, which occurs in the majority of this type of construction for eg. in Strike Systems or Oakleys.
I would also like to note that the gloves are breathable and I did not feel overly sweaty on my hands – remember, however, that it is winter and I had no chance to check them in hot summer days. So, anyway feel the breeze. The pads on the thumb and index finger are soft as a baby’s bottom ;3 They do not reduce the feeling and do not cause problems in sensing and grasping small objects. Therefore they are good for needlework, besides, like the classic BW – good feeling thanks to a thin and soft material. They will do when u want to adjust hop-up chamber.
The biggest downside of the gloves turned out to be the soft material – basically identical in all Armored Claw gloves. Do not lie to yourself – it’s pilling as hell and this is definitely the thing to improve plus putting more attention to stitches.
In Poland, there is a whole bunch of tactical gloves from a higher shelf to a lower one, but unfortunately not all players can afford the famous and expensive gloves manufacturers because they all can afford to buy “glove” rarities. Therefore, most airsoft players (especially beginners) are looking for a decent alternative that their wallet will not be too heavily burdened, and at the same time to look properly tacticool. Materials from which they are composed mostly are: kevlar, leather and neoprene foam. It looks very solid, the seams are decent, and even the thread isn’t coming out anywhere, and as you know in the tactical clothing and accessories, there often are poorly finished seams. The base of the gloves and composite panels selvages are made of Kevlar that protects metatarsophalangeal joints and skin from abrasion. The inside of the glove, fingertips and the closer interphalangeal joints has leather selvages, and index finger and thumb were further strengthened the second layer of the leather.
The only element that does not raise my trust is the cover of the wrist, which is good that it’s quite long but, unfortunately, made of foam, which in the face of fire or heat may cause a small fire that will burn our palms. I also noticed a very convenient loop for attaching gloves on piton, they are quite large and made of very wide tape. Velcros are normal, no great shakes but the quality is good.
USE (PERSONAL OPINION)
Smart Tacs fit very well and provide a good grip. Despite the reinforcements on the inside, it is easy to feel the trigger and they do not interfere with the handling.
The tactical gloves “use” as, for instance changing magazines, hooking them on the elements of the environment, as well as after wiping them on a concrete wall, have rather normal signs of use, and means that there is a gentle pilling of Kevlar on the ankles protectors.
Gloves have a moderate “breathability” and don’t get all wet and sweaty when we do a hard physical action and increased sweating body. Although the palm will get sweaty because unfortunately materials from which the gloves were made (not flammable things have that minus) but it won’t be a tragedy – it is not a tablecloth.
Over time, it turned out that sweat in conjunction with the leather on the inside of the glove resulted in black spots on hand, which I consider to be a weak side of the gloves 🙁 leather dyed paint (probably by the fact that it is new), of course, it is quite possible that after prolonged use the problem persists.
Gloves, while handling the gear, didn’t cause me any problems, although loading the bb’s to the magazines was problematic, but maybe it’s just my little fault with dexterity and tiny hands;)
Fastening of gloves is certain for now – you know how it is with Velcro in the gloves. One way or another – it ensures secure fastening of the gloves, which is stable and adheres well to the hand, there is no slack (of course when choosing the correct size).
And here comparing to other tested gloves we have a lot differences. While Breacher was roughly extended Smart Tacs is a common feature then here the one common thing is actually just knuckle protector made the same way as in the other (Kevlar insert with the amortization on the bottom, without additional top cover) and velcro with neoprene sleeve. First of all, a “soft” material is spandex, and the top layer of Shield is not additionally protected, although the material itself is a bit thicker – and this is due to the fact that the cover of the upper part of the toe is sewn from the bottom (so that the visible bugles are rigid shell) . From the bottom and sides the whole glove was secured with a synthetic skin, with reinforcement of the second layer plus, of course on the fingers used the material insert for using telephone and similar touch devices.
USE (PERSONAL OPINION)
While in the case when using Shields during skirmishes there was no significant difference compared to the previous two designs already during practice shooting with a sharp weapon did not fare so well. The fact is that they provided a pretty good grip but nevertheless the user totally did not liked them for ankle protectors, which really hurted and squized – whcich means , uncomfortable. As you can see, it is worth to try on the gloves with this type of pads before buying, because unfortunately we don’t all have the same hands.
Protectors are missing mentioned protective layer – this has already been mentioned. easily rubs off and can crack during use – contact with the post ended with rupture of the insert, but fortunately the hand survived. So the glove you have acted as we wanted a for which a huge plus, but if the insert was on top then probably the crack would not exist, and now it’s reducing protecting properties of the glove and accelerate its destruction.
Weapons grip, or gear is not an issue, but the phone was. You know, it’s completely different materials, but nevertheless the testers phone just slipped out of hand a couple times. You may say, “Who wears tactical gloves when using a phone”? Well, you don’t :D, even though a lot of people use them while skirmishes in their free time, and besides, two fingers with material to support touch screens commits. Yes, yes, tablets and other equipment with maps, etc. Yup! 😀
BREACHER: Breachers price on Gunfire.pl is about 36€. At first glance, this is much for a little-known brand product, but after deeper familiarization with quality of workmanship and materials technologies with a clear conscience I can say that the price is adequate to the obtained product. For me to sew the gloves with good quality thread, no sticking out threads or ripping is the most critical points for eg. on palm and fingertips. I’m happy with Breachers. I do recommend them!
SMART TAC: Quality for money indicator is at the average level, but in our opinion you can buy these gloves without regrets. For the amount of about 31€ we get good, comfortable, flame-resistant tactical gloves with good hand protection factor and not interfering in operating. Two downsides which drew attention were foam on the wrist, which begs to melt into the skin when exposed to fire and that they get your hands dirty when they have contact with moisture, but maybe only temporarily. Plus “hairiness” with time. Gloves suit us very much .
SHIELD: The cheapest and simplest gloves from the whole tested family, which ultimately is felt, however, it’s probably better to spend some money and buy any of the above. For about 19€ we get gloves that offers less protection, but are a lot cheaper and the with earlier protector defects. Nevertheless, they still provide a good grip and feeling when using reply manipulators.
Dev: As I said – many people, many opinions and as you see how different they are from each other. I will say briefly – gloves are cool and worth recommending, but definitely could use some improvement in material and less pilling and additional ankle cover.
We would like to thank the GUNFIRE.PL shop for giving us the gloves for the test.