The Polish market of tactical gloves has been dominated by Mechanix for years. Despite the fact that there always were many other manufacturers, the somewhat affordable price, considering the Polish reality, and more than 27-year of traditions of the company still attracted more and more new users. Launching new products that could compete with it seemed impossible. There is hope, however, because finally a remarkable alternative appeared. Ironclad Performance Wear (IPW), using its 20 years of experience in automotive and construction industry, has expanded its large collection of EXO GLOVES with tactical variants called Tactical Operations. The whole project was developed by IPW engineers in cooperation with special forces units of the Army and the Police. As a result, 4 sets of tactical gloves were created: Pro, Grip, Impact and Public Safety Utility. Check how the variant Tactical Pro fared in our review.
When we put on the gloves for the first time, they make a sensational impression. Seemingly, they do not differ from the gloves we already know, but they have a special feature, that is a thumb sewn from a terrycloth. In addition, the gloves look great on one's hands: they have a very simple yet modern design. It should be noted that the model we are testing is a basic one, while the IRONCLAD TACTICAL's offer is also includes the Grip version with an anti-slip surface on the palm area and the Impact version, which has rubber protectors sewn into them, similar to the models made by the competition. Interestingly, IPW also offers gloves in women's versions and it's not only about difference in size, but also about a different cut. These models will be available from the Polish distributor, SpecBrands.pl, later this year.
One of the most interesting features of gloves, thanks to which it attracts the attention of more and more new users, is the use of the above-mentioned terrycloth thumb finish, which is supposed to act as a sweat absorber or an easily accessible cloth for wiping glasses. As a sweat absorbing it works great, unfortunately the same can't be said when it comes to wiping glasses, especially if we previously used it to wipe sweat. The idea of cleaning glasses with gloved glasses seems to be abstract at best, especially if we use gloves when working on a shooting range or playing airsoft games, where its not difficult to get them dirty with grease or mud, not to mention masking paint... However, if you would like to use gloves for this purpose, it's best to do it simply after taking them off. If they gets dirty, we can turn them over. If dirt hasn't got here, you can easily use the gloves as a cleaner.
The gloves have been fitted with an loop that helps in putting them on or attaching them around on the waist or other gear. Unfortunately, this part is quite small. It has a small hole, reminiscent of a shoelace hole, through which, optionally, we can thread a paracord or a piece of string, which will facilitate attaching it to one's gear. Without doing this, the attempts to attach the gloves somewhere become cumbersome and difficult. Unfortunately, the knot of a paracord or string, with which we might attach to the gloves, will protrude and snag on things, which can be really tedious. It is a pity that the manufacturer has not installed a larger hole here or a piece of paracord sewn into the material. The solution looks good and stylish, and probably this is what the manufacturer wanted, but when it comes to its functionality, it unfortunately needs to be refined.
A rubber and plastic Velcro grip was mounted on the outer side of the hand. This idea seems to be justified, especially that the Velcro would be snagged in the terrycloth material of the thumb. I recommend that you do not forget about fastening the Velcro, when we do not use gloves anymore, so that it will not damage the terrycloth. When it comes to the sensitive point of the product, it is definitely the tape on which the Velcro grip has been mounted: after prolonged use, the tape may get ripped off. Admittedly, sewing it back on is not a complicated task, but I think that this problem could have been removed already in the design stage.
Synthetic leather, used in the palm area of the glove, makes a very good impression. It is pleasant to the touch, and therefore comfortable for the hand, while maintaining great grip. It is not only soft, but also durable and allows for a fairly precise work. From the gripping side, it has anti-slip grooves, which are not only practical, but also look good. In the Grip version, these grooves were replaced with anti-slip silicone inserts, whereas in the Impact version, double stitching pf the leather was used.
Thanks to the EXO technology used in gloves, we are dealing with high comfort of use. Inserts between the fingers and a neoprene knuckle protectors improve flexibility, and the material used in gloves from the external part of the hand greatly improves ventilation. The neoprene insert, protecting the metacarpal bones from the outside, fulfill their task well. Thanks to their flexibility and softness, they increases the comfort of use, while ensuring the protection of the part of the hand, that is the most exposed one to scratches and impacts. In addition, this insert gives the gloves a modern look. However, you can have some reservations about its placement: it would probably be better for it to be a little closer to the fingers, because in the current design, the seam goes over ankles when you clench your fists.
According to the Polish distributor of IRONCLAD TACTICAL gloves, the gloves' index finger has been designed to better work with a trigger. However, I have the impression that apart from the elastic insert from side of the middle finger, nothing new has been introduced here. I know that many people praise this solution, because it seems to be better than what the competition has to offer, but it does not quite convince me. I have the impression that the gloves flatten the index finger, making it look like a small shovel. This disrupts the overall feeling of comfortable use of the gloves, which, thanks to their elastic inserts, fit my hands perfectly, but case of this finger, they do not fulfill their task. This problem is nothing new, we also encounter a similar inconvenience in models offered by the competition, but I was hoping that the "special design of the index finger" would solve it.
When it comes to materials used for the production of gloves, it must be admitted that they look robust, but their real durability can be assessed after a certain amount of time. For nearly half a year I used the gloves practically everywhere: on airsoft games, on a film set, as hand protection when carrying heavy equipment, while traveling or for everyday cycling. Speaking of wear and tear, one should mention about the napping of the terrycloth caused by the Velcro tape hooks. Fortunately, it can be prevented by storing gloves with the Velcro tape attached. In addition, the anti-slip grooves on inside part of the glove have worn off do some degree. The gloves, however, still fulfill their task properly, they did not lose their comfort of use, moreover, they fit better on my hand, which makes them even more comfortable to wear.
The Tactical Pro gloves from Ironclad Tactical are above all very comfortable. The perfectly fit one's hands (not counting the seam on the index finger, which I wrote about above), which allows you to perform various activities normally during which usually we would have to take the gloves off. When it comes to using a phone wearing them, it is feasible, but only partly: the touch screen responds to our finger, so we can receive an incoming call, but writing a text message will be problematic. The gloves also have great ventilation, which reduces the problem of sweaty hands. However, their biggest advantage seems to be the fact that (in the end!) they are not made by Mechanix. IRONCLAD Tactical PRO are great quality gloves with a modern and original design, which will satisfy demanding users, without draining their pockets and, at the same time, being an attractive alternative to desolate wasteland that is "tactical fashion".
The Specbrands.pl store has granted a 10% discount on Ironclad gloves to all WMASG users. When ordering, just enter the code: WMASG
The gloves were tested thanks to the courtesy of Specbrands.pl store, the exclusive distributor of Ironclad in Poland