These gloves have been around a while, but they are now becoming increasingly popular. There are two Alpha gloves, the regular Alpha and the Alpha Touch, with the only difference being the Touch’s feature a conductive thread in the index fingers to allow you to use touch screens properly. Oh and £5 extra on the price tag. I’ll come back to this later on.
The gloves are only available from two places: http://www.tactical-kit.co.uk (UK distributor) and http://www.skdtac.com (US) which is no bad thing, as they are still competitively priced and both retailers are excellent to buy from. You can get them in Coyote/Black/Ranger Green.
For a comparison, I’ll be using Oakley Factory Pilot and Mechanix M-Pact gloves and sizing the PIG gloves up against the two.
So what makes these gloves different to others? Mainly, they are designed to try and give you the same feel and dexterity as if you weren’t wearing gloves, whilst providing some protection. According to the tags, its made of Clarino leather, and so the palms and fingers are quite thin, which might make them liable to tearing under heavy use although time will tell on this one. However I would suggest that if you are running a rifle wear you’ll find yourself gripping rails, get some rail covers or ladders to protect your gloves from getting cut up.
Unlike the Oakley or Mechanix gloves, the PIG gloves protection on the knuckles is just an extra layer of padding, which should take the sting out of a BB hit to the knuckles, but don’t restrict the flexibility of the gloves by having sold knuckles (like the Oakley’s or moulded protection like the Mechanix).
The thumb of the gloves is made of suede which can be used to wipe sweat, clear condensation off glasses or soak up any other liquid you decide to spill. This is quite a handy feature as you can wipe down your glasses between games without needing to find your case to wipe them down. The gloves also some with a double tacked loop of paracord to allow you to hook the gloves onto a carabiner or similar if you decide to take them off and want to store them somewhere, which is definitely a handy feature rather than trying to stick them into a dump pouch or fuss with a leg pouch.
So how do the PIG’s stand up against the other two? They are definitely lighter than the other two and less bulky, and have better dexterity when compared to both. They do however afford you less protection from BB strikes and other things you might find you clashing your hand into, which is where the Oakley gloves shine with the kevlar hardened knuckles, although the Mechanix also give you good protection with the rubber overlay. The Veclro straps for all the gloves is pretty much the same in terms of quality. Something the PIGs also have that the other two don’t, is that when fastened correctly, they provide a much better ‘seal’ around your wrist, so it should be much more difficult for sand/foilage/other assorted skirmish site junk to find its way into your gloves.
As a note, if you are looking to buy a set of PIG gloves, they size a little smaller than the other two brands. For example, I am a large in both Mechanix and Oakley, however in PIG’s, an XL fits me perfectly so make sure you adjust your glove sizing accordingly. So far I am warming to the PIG gloves as being my preferred glove, just because it provides that bit extra in terms of feel but still provide enough protection to take the sting out of BB hits.
And quickly coming back to the extra you could pay for the FDT Alpha ‘Touch’. Having tried the regular ones out with my iPhone, I was able to use the gloves to use the phone without any difficulties because the leather is already thin enough to work. Therefore I wouldn’t recommend spending the extra £5 on the Touch version, as they provide nothing you can’t already do with the regular versions, and to be honest, how often do you find yourself using your phone mid skirmish….
So far, prior to heavy skirmishing I would give these gloves:
Assuming these stand up to skirmish use, this score would become a 9/10 or 10/10 however I’m not yet in a position to judge durability.
+ Very good dexterity and feel
+ When fastened, the gloves are much better at stopping crap getting into your gloves unlike the other two
+ Paracord loops make for easy temporary storage
+ or — These gloves at the moment have a certain hipster value to them, as they aren’t use by that many people as yet, so for all you hipsters, best get rocking some of these.
— A bit light on protection from BB strikes and other things when compared to Oakley and Mechanix
Something to watch: The leather used in the palms and fingers might be a bit on the lightweight side for standing up to heavy use, but time will tell on this.