Duty gloves can either help or hurt your performance if you don’t know what to look for. There are a set of requirements that you must establish based on what you need the gloves for. For instance, if you are going to be working in cold weather, you may want a duty glove that has layers to it that can insulate your hands from the cold. If you intend to shoot with gloves, you will want to get gloves that prioritize dexterity so you can manipulate your trigger properly and have maximum feeling and sensitivity. For many companies, they build their gloves in such a way that they are either overbuilt to the point of losing dexterity, or they are so thin that the gloves do not last very long under harsh conditions.
The one thing I have had the hardest time finding is a glove that I can use universally and get all of the qualities I need without sacrificing one aspect for another. I wanted a glove that is durable, functional, insulating to heat and cold, and doesn’t cost too much. I believe First Tactical may have made the duty gloves that will change our expectations for gloves in general. Today I am going to review the First Tactical medium duty glove. This glove is one of the more lightweight options that First Tactical offers.
These gloves took some time for First Tactical to develop. It took about a year to get all the research and testing complete before they were able to make their first glove available for commercial sales. Their goal was to make the most sensitive, durable, and most functional duty glove on the market. This brought them to consider a wide variety of materials that could achieve this goal while also keeping the gloves at a reasonable price that would be hard to resist.
First tactical has a specific way in which they develop their products and judge them to be suitable for commercial sales. Their process is to first engineer the product to answer the needs that they are trying to answer. The next step is to field the product and get feedback from the field and fix any design characteristics that may need alterations. Next it goes back out to verify that the alterations to the design meet the needs of the users. After all that is done, the product is ready for fielding. Personally, I am amazed and highly encouraged by this process. This gives me confidence that the product was tested and approved by people who use these products as part of their daily routine and work.
Let us talk about what these gloves are made of. First Tactical uses an interesting combination of materials in their duty gloves. The inside portion of the gloves use a thin goat skin leather with reinforcements in typical stress points. The back of these duty gloves use a flexible material that feels like a cross between spandex and very thin neoprene. The sides of the middle, ring, and pinky fingers have a thin stretching material that helps add flexibility and tension to the gloves for a better fit. Again, all the materials are very thin. The gloves have this feeling of being like thicker nitrile gloves. They look and feel flimsy, but have the elasticity that will remind you of nitrile gloves.
The design of the glove is very interesting. Instead of using big chunks of material to cover an entire area, they piece the gloves together to take stress off certain parts of the gloves. Then they add reinforcing layers into necessary regions such as the V of your hand.
Another interesting note is the fact that the trigger finger sports vent holes along the inside of the portion facing the other fingers. I believe this allows the material to be tighter around the trigger finger.
You will note that the goat skin stretches around the front sides of the other fingers to help reinforce these fingers.
Also, you may have seen that the goat skin of the palm area stretches to the trigger and pinky fingers. This is a very logical approach in my observation because these two fingers encounter most of the stress.
The back of the watch also has a cutout for a watch to sit comfortably without interfering with the function of the gloves and even causing discomfort through the day.
One of the amazing things about these gloves was the research that First Tactical put into finding out how to get gloves to fit the end-user. Usually what you find is that gloves are measured by the size of your palm. First Tactical, through an extensive research project, found a consistent correlation between a person’s height and their hand size. This makes it incredibly easy for the prospective end-user of these gloves to find out what size they would need to look for. First Tactical also found that there is a difference between men and women when it comes to certain finger lengths. Because of this, they were able to design gloves specifically designed for both men and women relative to their specific height. That practically makes these gloves seem like custom fitted gloves.
You will see that you are provided a size chart just below the area where you select the size of your glove. As long as you have a driver’s license, you should be able to easily find out what glove size you fit into. Just keep in mind that the size chart is unique to First Tactical gloves.
When we look at a glove that will be used by a first responder, we must realize that these gloves are going to be required to perform a multitude of tasks that are going to range from using a cell phone or touch screen, using a firearm that barely fits the hand to grabbing hold of objects that you can’t afford to lose a grip of. Also, all these tasks can be expected to be performed in any condition from scorching heat, wet and rainy days to snowy and freezing conditions.
I have tested these gloves in a multitude of these situations. I intentionally used them while washing dishes, shooting with snow-covered hands, and playing with fire. As you can see from the pictures above, the gloves look like they are in almost new condition.
The amazing thing that I found while using these gloves was the fact that the goat skin, under all the conditions, kept giving me a positive and tacky grip of EVERYTHING I touched. Not matter how wet I got the gloves, they did not lose grip of what I grabbed, nor threaten to slip off of my hands.The materials used seemed to allow my hands to remain cool and did not allow my hands to collect and pool up sweat. The goat skin on the palms and around the fingers seemed to only contour to my finger shape after extended usage, but with no sign of excessive stressing or tearing being imminent.
During the time of my testing, I only had two threads expose on the left hand middle finger. But when I pulled on the exposed thread, it did not budge. Surprisingly the materials used for the back of the gloves held up very well under water and dried out quickly. It seemed to resist holding onto water and the water was easily evacuated by simply rubbing the material with light pressure. In the cold, my hands stayed relatively warm, even when wet from melted snow. Also, because of how thin the material is, I was able to rewarm my hands while still wearing the gloves by placing them in hot spots on my body such as between my legs or under my arms. Though the seams would allow some moisture to penetrate the palm, the seams did not suffer from fraying and loosening under continued usage.
All products from First Tactical are covered under a warranty that covers any workmanship defects and premature failures of the gear. You can return the items in question and either request a refund or an exchange. They even include a shipping return label and a guide on how to go about making the return or exchange.
As you can see, you will have to pay for the return shipping but will be credited back what you paid once they receive the return. I am not sure what their definition of appropriate wear life is though.
First Tactical offers four types of gloves for men and three types for women. All three variations of women gloves are only $30. All but one of the glove types for men are also $30. For the men, you have a hard knuckle glove that costs $10 more. I can tell you now that this is an incredible value when you take everything into account. This is a deal that I have not seen anywhere else. I believe that the costs are able to be kept low because First Tactical does not have any store fronts and sells direct to the consumer. This has proven to be a terrific cost saving measure for many companies.
Now let’s look at my overall rating for this product. Now due to the complex nature of gloves in general, I am using a rating scale that goes from 0-5 with a total of 35 points possible:
The materials used in these gloves are not the hardest that you can find, but they do the job incredibly well.
HAND FIT: 5/5
This glove holds onto my hands and fits perfectly. It truly fits like a glove unlike many other so-called duty gloves thanks to the unique sizing method they use, which is based simply off of height.
You can see how all the research First Tactical did came to life when you look at the way that the materials are joined and individually reinforced in specific stress points commonly encountered in duty gloves.
The dexterity and sure grip these duty gloves provide is exactly what I was looking for but could never find. I honestly thought that this type of glove was a unicorn for people of my hand size.
These duty gloves maintained their form and function perfectly throughout testing in everyday usage. There were no signs of degradation, which few of the competitors can claim. But they do not have much flame resistance or protection against cuts and blunt force trauma.
Most of the competitors charge way more for duty gloves that fail to perform as well as these.
I find the warranty terms to be reasonable, but since mistakes can happen that fall outside the category of workmanship defects, I think a one time free replacement program would be a great selling point for serious users like myself.
OVERALL RATING: 31/35
I just want to say that I am really impressed with these gloves as you can probably tell. You must understand that I have been very picky and skeptical of DUTY gloves because I never could find a design that gave me everything I truly needed without sacrificing an important quality here and there. It still lacks some in durability and protection, but that is not necessarily what this glove was designed for, which is the uniformed officer and first responder who needs a duty glove they don’t need to take off in order to do small day in and day out tasks. These gloves can be used all day and without much effort to get used to them.
MATERIAL DISCLOSURE USAGE DISCLAIMER:
I purchased these gloves with my own funds for personal usage. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. My review is solely based off of my individual impressions and opinion of this product from my experiences throughout my testing. The manufacturer was contacted only for further information on the development of the product and to answer questions I needed in order to complete my review.