According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hand injuries are the second most cause of work-related injury. However, they are the easiest to prevent. We all perform various tasks throughout the day and most of which we should be wearing a specific glove for the task. I say should because most of us don’t. We either don’t have gloves at all, have gloves that just don’t fit the specific task causing it to be even more cumbersome to complete, or just don’t want to take the time to put them on.
SKD Tactical recently provided me with what they consider to be a groundbreaking glove, one that offers much-needed protection and is geared towards the tactical environment. They are the PIG FDT Alpha Touch gloves. PIG stands for “Patrol Incident Gear” and FDT stands for “Full Dexterity Tactical”. The FDT Alpha Gloves were developed with abundant forethought in both the construction and the design. The design team partnered with a leading company in the sports glove industry to design a glove that has function as its main priority. The differing materials used, various thicknesses in certain parts of the glove, and the unique design aspects bring about key features never been seen in a tactical glove before.
When I first received the gloves, even before trying them on, I noticed the soft and lightweight feel of the materials. The main material, Clarino (40%), is a lightweight, durable, soft and flexible fabric that advertises its ease of cleaning, comfort, and breathability. I received my gloves in size Large, which is what I normally wear. When I tried them on, I noticed that while noticeably tighter than what I’m used to, the gloves fit well and felt quite comfortable. One of my biggest issues with gloves is the finger length. They’re usually too long. Surprisingly, the FDT Alpha Touch gloves were the perfect finger length.
The first aspect I wanted to test was the sensitivity and usability of the touchscreen “silver conductive thread” feature. I’m happy to report that while even though you iPhone 5s, 6 and 6+ users won’t be able to use the fingerprint identification, the touch features, swipe, and pinch motions all worked flawlessly on the phone.
The next feature I noticed almost immediately was the extremely soft upper thumb area. We’ve all been on the range on one of those cold mornings where your nose just runs constantly and is raw by the end of the day due to excessive wiping, usually with our gloved hands. PIG calls this their “Micro Suede Nose Wipe” and it’s an awesome feature. Trust me, it works!
Getting back to the fit of the glove, I noticed the short cuff of the gloves after a couple of days to be quite nice, especially while donning and doffing jackets throughout the day. The low profile hook and loop closure was very resistant to snags on other clothing, but still secure enough to stay closed. I didn’t get to shoot with the gloves until after a week of testing, but I must say that the more you wear these gloves the quicker they start to become like a second skin. The venting located in the palm and underside of each finger works really well. It minimizes sweat and allows your hands to breathe, yet still manages to keep a minimal amount of heat in and provide excellent wind blocking ability.
The material thinness chosen specifically for both of the index fingers is a very nice touch. It provided me with plenty of sensitivity in my trigger finger. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a few pairs of cut off trigger finger gloves lying around. The “Dual flex joints”, along with the material thinness, will definitely eliminate any issues traditionally associated with trigger fingers.
I can’t speak much on the long-term durability of the gloves as I’ve only tested them for a couple of weeks, however I was sufficiently pleased with how well they held up during my testing. The only minor issue I did encounter was with the stitching/material of the touch thread. I work around a great deal of hook and loop throughout the day and at the range. I noticed some minor fraying on the touch finger after it had come into contact a few times with hook material, mainly when I was getting in and out of my gear pouches. This isn’t a flaw per se, but more an observation and something to watch out for while using.
Being able to machine-wash them (cold water), I noticed no shrinking (air-dry) and they cleaned up very nice with minimal signs of wear. I also noticed that after a few days of continuous use, the material in the gloves loosened and conformed to my hands quite nicely. I’m very glad I didn’t go up a size when ordering them. All in all, I’m thoroughly pleased with the gloves and I would highly recommend them to any active sports shooter or anyone in the tactical field community for day-to-day use. The SKD Tactical PIG FDT Alpha Touch gloves are available in Black, Coyote, Ranger Green, or Carbon Grey color options and are available in sizes S through XXL. The retail for $42.95. For more information about the PIG FDT Alpha Touch Gloves, or to order yourself a set, please visit the SKD Tactical website.