Product Review: Hatch SOG-L100 Operator Tactical Gloves
By Randy Watt, Asst. Chief, Ogden City Police Dept.
Major, U.S. Army Special Forces
As I travel around various countries, conducting military and police special operations training, I am often asked what make, model, style or type of various tactical weapons or gear is “the best”. Very rarely do I have a definitive answer, as, more often than not, it really comes down to personal preferences. We special operators have a tendency to be very opinionated about our equipment and, oftentimes, we will expend a great deal of energy giving our opinions to whoever will listen, but there is usually no real or definitive substance to our preference.
Occasionally, however, there comes along a piece of gear that I truly consider to be “the best”. Such is the case with the SOG-L100 “Operator Glove” by Hatch Corporation of Oxnard California. The Operator glove was designed with a great deal of input from S.W.A.T. team members in various locations. When Mike McCarey, of Hatch, contacted me, he asked me to test the glove, under whatever conditions and events I saw fit, and then to write up the results, regardless of the outcome. I will detail the events and the specific results, below, but suffice to say that this glove will become the standard issue glove for the Ogden/Metro S.W.A.T. Team, when it becomes available on the market.
First, a little about the design. The glove is made of Kevlar and anyone who operates in the tactical arena knows the value of Kevlar as a fabric. Just a reminder, however, Kevlar is “cut resistant” not “cut proof”. Substantially more cut resistant than the very popular Nomex flight gloves. This precludes the use of Kevlar sleeves or glove liners while doing “break-and-rakes” or working in environments where the threat of cutting objects is high. The other value of Kevlar is that it is equal to Nomex in flash protection. Both Kevlar and Nomex have the same decomposition temperature of 800-900 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t know about you but I don’t have any plans to stay in that kind of heat for very long, however, to have the flash protection with the cut resistance makes the glove quite favorable.
Other features that add to the operability of this glove are the dual-ring elastics at wrist and forearm, the Dragon-Print surfaced goat skin palm and finger coverings, the Posi-Grip non-skid material located in the cradle of the hand between thumb and forefinger and the padded knuckle protection. These features create a great fitting glove that is snug, offering great dexterity, and that doesn’t slip on weapons or other surfaces when gripped by the hand. The length of the gauntlet also offers excellent protection to the forearms, as well as covering bulky sleeves or cold weather clothing. The way the fingers are stitched keeps them from coming apart at the fingertips, a problem common with the Nomex flight glove. Also, there is a stitched cut-ring for those who just have to cut the index finger off at the knuckle. This keeps the material below the cut from becoming unraveled.
In order to test the gloves, we created a series of events designed to weigh the glove against our current standard, the Hatch Nomex flight glove. These events included loading magazines for our Glock pistols and M4 tactical carbines, feeding shotgun rounds into the chamber and tubular magazines on our Remington entry shotguns, firing of all weapons qualifications while wearing the gloves, tying expedient rappel seats, rappelling, fast-roping, deploying NFDD’s, manipulating various pieces of equipment such as “bang-sticks”, pole mirrors, rams and hooligan tools, and extended long-term wear. Another key factor to note is that we performed the various tasks with the gloves both wet and dry to see if there was a significant change in performance.
In all but one test, the SOG-L100 Operator Glove was clearly superior to the Nomex flight glove, or any other glove that we had previously used. The SOG-L100 snugly fit a broader group of hand sizes, maintained its fit whether wet or dry, was more resistant to heating during rope operations, did not allow the material to “bunch-up” at any time and allowed for greater manual dexterity during the “fine-motor” events, such as loading magazines and performing reloading and malfunction drills. The only event at which the Nomex flight glove was superior was in getting the glove off quickly. Where you can often shed the Nomex glove by flinging it off, that is virtually impossible with the SOG-L100 because of its fit. Also, it is important to note that when doing the rope work, we wore the gloves under our leather/asbestos rope gloves. Rappelling or fast-roping with just the SOG-L100 might be too “hot” an experience to really enjoy.
In conclusion, the Hatch SOG-L100 “Operator Glove” is the best glove designed for special operators that I have seen. (I can see why they have applied for Patents on the glove). It allows the tactical operator to efficiently perform a greater variety of tasks, while gloved, than has previously been possible. It also offers the best injury protection available in a glove that allows excellent manual dexterity. I would be comfortable recommending the SOG-L100 as the “best” glove currently available.
Visit the Hatch Web site for more information on the SOG-L100 “Operator Glove”