Hey all - Julian Schuetze here on behalf of The Collective. These are my initial impressions of the Gabriel Gloves 2.0. This involves trying them out for around a week - 4 sparring sessions, and just playing around with them at home. Obviously, I cannot comment on the durability, and longevity of these gloves. Therefore, do not consider this a comprehensive review as I feel that those are also very important factors for equipment. All I'm doing here is sharing my thoughts and opinions on these gloves in the short window of time I've used them.
Please note that these gloves are not mine; a friend of the manufacturer has lent them to me for the purpose of providing feedback and a review. I have given them my feedback prior to posting this publicly, but all the words here are my own. However, it is worth distinguishing that this pair of gloves is not a review unit or specially crafted for the purpose of a review; anyone could have purchased this set. I come from 3d printing, where a lot of reviewers are sent very specially curated machines, so this is an aspect of reviews I'm always very weary of when someone is given a product to review. So, I'm happy to report that there is no such case happening here.
A lot of the feedback I presented have been well received, which have incurred some actionable responses for a future iteration of the glove: the Gabriel 2.1. But, until I can get those updated gloves in my hands, I will be reviewing these 2.0 gloves that I have right here even if there are improvements planned - I will make sure to outline when those are happening, however.
Before I get started, I want to discuss 5-fingered gloves in general a bit here, and will probably continue to do so with every 5 finger glove I review because I think it's worth repeating. If you couldn't care less about this and want to get right to the gloves, feel free to skip this until you get to the Gloves Comparison Section.
5-finger gloves will never be as protective as a good set of clamshells. It is just not possible; there will always be some gaps here and there, and the overall level of padding to absorb the force will be less substantial. If you want a 0% chance of injuring your hand, might I recommend one of those steel “locking” gauntlets?
I would be impressed if you could manage to break your hands while wearing these babies. However, the issue here is that you will have zero dexterity and be unable to execute handwork utilizing your hand's articulation. Therefore, it’s a balance between dexterity and protection, and the more you go one way, the less you get in the other. So, what's your line? How much protection are you willing to sacrifice for dexterity, and vice versa? I cannot answer that for you, especially since this balance isn't proportional. This is very much a case of "You can't have your cake and eat it too," so consider it carefully. They will not magically make your distancing, reads, tactical awareness, tactical application, and general understanding of techniques better. They also don't magically make your dexterity better, they reduce hindrance. It's not like it's a stat-boost, more like reducing equipment encumbrance. So, I would only recommend 5 finger gloves if you are willing to accept a higher risk of pain and injury in exchange for a lowered hindrance of movement.
I personally do. I prefer it if I'm worried that strikes may be painful. I find it helps me prioritize fencing in a safe manner and makes my fencing more mindful. When I was fencing with the Thokks, I was very aware that my hand could be hurt if I was going to get hit - so as a result, I got hit in the hands way less than I did before. I found my fencing becoming more mindful, which improved my performance. However, those gloves veered too far into being not protective enough and my hands got injured several times under friendly sparring. My hope with the Gabriels is that I can get something similar, yet with a reduced risk of injury because I find the Thokks simply insufficient for hard sparring & tournaments.
Progauntlets are also the only 5-finger gloves I have ever used where I feel the level of protection is comparable to a clamshell gauntlet. You can get hit in the fingers with that glove, and straight up not feel it. However, they are significantly more expensive, still have some places that can hurt when struck, and have severe durability issues. I mention progauntlets now because these Gabriel Gloves 2.0 are not as protective, and it's important to set those expectations early. These are also fairly expensive (~$300usd) 5 fingered gloves, so I feel that it's the natural comparison that I will be making. The first question that came to my mind was "Are these a more affordable version of progauntlets?" and I can't imagine I'm the only one either. I'll aim to try and answer that, but really that all comes down to whether the level of protection provided by these gloves is "good enough."
The trouble with that, is "good enough" is a line that is wildly different for just about everyone. I will give you my line specifically for my hands: I'm fine with pain as long as there's no major injury - I could even accept some very minor bruising if I block a particularly hard strike with my hands at a tournament. I spar and compete at a high intensity and am okay with being struck quite hard because that's just how it goes sometimes. Therefore, that is the point of view I'm reviewing these gloves from, and you can then compare and determine if these gloves are suitable for you.
Here's a comparison of these gloves lining up with other "heavier" gloves I've used.
Thokks/Red Dragons -> Standard SPES*/Gabriels 2.0** -> SPES with upgraded thumb*** -> Progauntlet -> HF Armory
*In a weird twist I actually ranked the SPES pretty low, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. On one hand, the clamshell portion is stellar. On the other, the thumb protection of the standard model is abysmal, there's a not insignificant gap in the wrist, and the plates don't go forward enough so your fingertips will be exposed pretty quickly once the fabric distends. I know people who have had thumb, wrist, and fingertip injuries while wearing the SPES so the more I think about it, the more I think overall these gloves have fallen pretty far behind.
** If the Gabriel 2.1's improvements are as good as I think they could be, then I would actually bump them up one spot entirely, or at least have it on par with the spot ahead. I tied the 2.0's with the standard SPES because I don't think you will receive thumb, wrist, or fingertip injuries at the same rate - those areas are better on the Gabriel 2.0's than the SPES. The only part that Gabriels might be weak to are just isolated finger hits (more on this later).
*** the upgraded thumb model is better, but still not great. Gap in the wrist & finger tip exposure is still a problem, but those are far less common of an issue than just terrible thumbs.
SPES -> HF Armory* -> Thokk -> Red Dragons -> Progauntlets -> Gabriels
*I put the HF armory ahead because the fact that they're physically smaller increased my range of motion and maneuverability as a whole. The raw, actual articulation of the gloves I find similar.
These gloves feel fantastic. I particularly appreciate how there is very little material between the fingers, making it comfortable to grip the sword without my fingers being pushed apart. It really feels like I can just...grip, the sword with my hand. I know that sounds stupid and obvious, but after having used other 5 finger gloves like the konig or the Infinities...those feel like you're holding a sword through the gloves. In those I felt like I can hold the sword but there always something that was getting in the way for me to feel comfortable. These Gabriel gloves are the most comfortable I have used, even a bit more so than the progauntlets. Holding the sword with these gloves feels like there's nothing in the way, and it's a great feeling.
The material choice & construction of the glove has a lot to do with this. The parts of the glove that need to stretch to facilitate movement, are made of elastic material - so there's no break-in, you don't have to stretch leather to move your fingers, everything is pretty efficient, and not once have I ever felt like I had to fight them to move my hands how I wanted to.
The knuckle plates being angled to facilitate a handshake grip is brilliant and by far one of my favourite things about this glove. Probably the biggest innovation in the entire thing tbh.
This makes the handshake grip feel extremely natural, as I am able to tuck in my pinkies, push my thumb forward, and extend my index and middle fingers without experiencing any resistance in the glove. It really feels like I can easily shift/adjust my hand itself into this forward position. In comparison, the progauntlet feels a touch more boxed in because the default shape is a hammer grip. Although those has full articulation of the joints, it doesn’t really feel like I can adjust my hand shape to fully maximize the handshake position. To be clear, the progauntlets are definitely still by far "good enough", and this isn't a huge difference that's world breaking, but I was definitely able to notice it. If you were to go from a hammergrip centric clamshell to this, then I do think it would make a pretty big difference.
Also, although the shape naturally wants to make you handshake, returning to a hammer grip doesn't provide noticeable resistance. So you can alternate very easily.
Furthermore, the thumb also feels very mobile in the Gabriel Gloves 2.0. I can push it forward, backwards, wipe side to side, bend the knuckle easily, and, an absolutely rarity, "twist" it inwards into my palm. In contrast, the prograuntlet felt like I couldn’t really "turn" or my thumb into my hand - I could only rotate at the condyloid joint and bend the knuckle, but I couldn’t really "twist" it. While it may not be a significant game changer, it is something I noticed. This thumb is by far one of the most mobile I've experienced.
I do think it's worth noting however, that out of the people who've tried this glove (~5 people), one did feel like there was some plastic being pushed into the base of the thumb and found it uncomfortable. This may be potentially because he needed the 2xl, but I'm not entirely sure. So I think if you're potentially between sizes, go for the larger size.
Two handed Swords
They move like a dream with my longsword. I have a Sigi gothic, so quite a long handle, and I really feel no hindrance to my movements. Even with some standard length feders, I feel like I have enough space between my hands to freely maneuver. I have larger hands, and when I used SPES heavies, I basically got locked up completely with shorter handled swords. No issue here at all.
I feel I can transition between positions freely, and because of how forward I can bring my handshake grip, I can really snap in some sneaky scheitels or thrusts without losing control of the sword. Because the gloves themselves are also pretty low profile & light, I found being able to go to crossed arm positions very easy and overall felt like nothing was binding up on itself. With these gloves I was actually able to pull off things such as crossed or rising zwerchs, schiels, and all kinds of stuff even the progauntlets I didn't particularly feel like I could pull off. Here's a sparring clip montage from one of our sparring nights so you can see the maneuverability these have.
I found that the cuff flared out enough so that I didn't feel it interfered with my forearm protection at all, and since they are light & flexible enough, the cuffs don't bind on each other at all or felt like they got in the way. As a side note, these are so much better than the progauntlets. I find my progauntlets' cuffs are too narrow and interfere with my jacket and forearm guards and would cause things to push up and bunch up. No issues here with these. Even the Thokks I found could get a bit jammed up at times because of how thick the cuffs are, especially in comparison with these.
Single Handed Swords
Because the grip is very handshake focused, and I don't feel like the glove's materials interfere with my grip in any way, I feel like these are some of the only heavy gloves I've used where I can really use my fingers to facilitate blade motion. I can really relax my grip to roll the blade back, and squeeze with the pinky & ring finger to snap the blade forward for a cut. Since I don't feel my fingers being pushed apart at all, these are crazy comfortable for single handed swords, and is an area where I'm distinctly willing to say that these are objectively superior to progauntlets for. Progauntlets I never really felt like I could get a good "grip" on the sword due to the slippery underglove and enclosed fingertips, and as such had to compensate by grasping harder, almost completely negating the ability to utilize fingers for blade manipulation.
Does it fit sideswords? Depends how big the hilt is. These are roughly the same size as red dragons/lacrosse, so if you feel you can grab a sidesword without squishing in those gloves in the guard to fit, then these will do the same. If you have to squish a red dragon glove in a guard, since these are hard plastic they don't compress. I tried to fit my hand in a Pike Armory sidesword and that guard is quite small so I couldn't quite get it in there. If I had smaller hands/gloves then I think it would have been fine. I am testing to see if I can fit my hand in a BlackFencer Synthetic Sidesword this Sunday and will update then.
Does it fit a complex hilted rapier? Well...mine don't, but juuuust barely. The fingers all fit fine, but the knuckles are just a tiny bit too big and interfere with the guard. But, again, I'm using the XL size. I think if you had smaller hands & gloves, I feel like it should fit. But, don't quote me on that. I tried a couple cuphilts and could fit them in those.
Now for probably the most important part with the most amount of questions about these gloves. Are they "good enough"? Well...sorta (This section is essentially some mixed feelings for the 2.0's, and a positive forecast for the 2.1's).
The fingers are protected by plates of hard plastic on top, and the underglove has this...rubbery, squishy material underneath to absorb the impact. From what I understand this is actually some kind of new material that the manufacturer is patenting. So, I have no idea what it is. It seems to work pretty decently though, as the plastic plates aren't particularly thick.
After having people whack my fingers, depending on what got hit, I have mixed opinions. Most strikes felt fine, but there were a couple spots that do concern me, and I'm not entirely sure if I would want to use them for a high level, intense tournament match.
Getting hit in just 1 finger was pretty painful (I remain uninjured however). I'm pretty sure that's because the tabs on the side aren't long enough so it doesn't ground itself to the handle well. If you're unfamiliar with grounding, a mechanical technique to reduce the impact in your hands is to have plates that go down the sides of the fingers and make contact with the sword handle. So, the shock of a strike means that it transfers from the glove, into the handle.
Right now, when you get hit, part of the shock goes into the underglove padding, that compresses until the tabs reach the handle, which then goes into the handle. Therefore, the finger absorbs some of the impact. Since most fingers also only have 1 tab on the side to improve dexterity, not 100% of the strike will be grounded into the handle. I found if I spent the time to kinda fiddle & secure my grip, so that the plates were properly grounded to begin with, strikes didn't hurt nearly as much and I would say were quite tolerable. But, as it stands, those tabs won't stay grounded through moving the sword around & shifting your grip because they're just a bit too short.
That being said, if I got hit on 2 or more fingers, enough force was dispersed across the two that I felt some discomfort, but no real sharp pain. So the issue is primarily if just 1 finger takes the punishment of a strike. I've been told they're planning on updating the tabs to make them longer for better grounding, and if they're too long you can trim them down to a size that's comfortable for you. Which to me, is a great solution. I'm a big fan of customizable functions like that, because everyone's anatomy is different, and this is a great way to work around varying finger thicknesses. They're currently unsure if this is something that will be implemented for the 2.1's, but if it's not, then they will be for a future 2.2.
I'm still currently undecided how much of this pain in the 2.0's is acceptable for me, but right now I'm leaning towards it's a bit too painful. Some of those shots to the single digit did hurt a fair bit, and if I got hit like that super hard, I do think I would have to take a minute. It reminds me a lot of the styrogum of the Sparring Gloves. For most hits, they're fine. But a particularly hard hit that lands on a single finger in those gloves would lead to injury, so this reminded me a bit of that. That being said, I don't actually know if injury *would* occur here. Since there's a bit of compression on the finger first, but THEN the plate gets grounded into the handle, would that be enough force to break something since the force is eventually transferred? Or would the maximum just be very painful? I'm...not sure. I'm not really willing to gamble on that to be honest for, obvious reasons. During my time sparring with these, I have only been hit in a single finger once, and while it did sting a fair bit, it wasn't bad - I could easily shake it off and keep going. Most of my testing trying to figure out what was going on, was when I stood still and asked someone to hit just 1 finger at a time. When I sparred with the progauntlets and thokks, I've gotten hit in just 1 finger only a very small handful of times. So this may not be a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, but it is a possibility.
The fingertip caps do a good job of curving over the ends of the fingers, so nothing is exposed there. Strikes that come down on your fingernail was pretty unpleasant but I didn't feel it was unreasonable. This goes back to if just 1 fingertip is hit, then it did hurt. But if 2+ are hit, then it was fine. FWIW, I don't think I've ever been hit on just 1 fingertip before, but, I do suppose it could happen.
Unlike the progauntlets, the rest of the fingertips here aren't "enclosed" so to speak. So 100% of your fingertips are in contact with your sword. This is double edged - less protection since the fingertips aren't grounded, but it gives you a better feel for your handle. I know a complaint about the progauntlet some people had is they felt like they had thimbles on their fingers, I don't feel that here at all except maybe for the thumb a little bit.
The biggest issue I have with my gloves is the finger protection on top of the index - I will cover this issue in the next section.
Between the Fingers
5-fingered gloves have a natural weak point of thrusts landing between the fingers. I've been told that all current productions of the glove (including the current one being sent to SoCal) have plates between the fingers to help alleviate this issue. Unfortunately, my pair here is the generation just prior, so I do not have this update and thus cannot comment on it. If I do get to see a pair with them, I will make sure to update this section in the future.
The thumb is very well built. Every point of articulation has good overlap, and the whole thing is well encased. The thumb cap goes around the thumb, but opens up at the pad to make sure it feels like your thumb itself has contact with the blade. I’d say maybe 80% of my thumb pad is making contact with the blade if I’m in my thumb grip. It’s mostly just the very tip, and very sides that are enclosed in the plastic. I personally think this feels just right to me. Gives me enough to feel the blade, but is still well protected from hits to the side, and on top because the cap is grounded to the blade.
I took some hard hits on the thumb from various angles along the entire thing, and again, I felt impacts, but no pain. The thumb is extremely well constructed and is very dexterous. Probably my favourite thumb on a glove so far. A+
Knuckles & Back of Hand
No issues here, not much to say. Well protected, I felt impacts but no pain. Not much to say here other than it's good - which is good, because generally I find this is where most hits to the hands tend to happen.
Wrist & Cuff:
There are no gaps or major weaknesses anywhere on the wrist, which is great. Every location has some kind of hard plate, often with another plate on top. This means that unless you get an unlucky hit, most strikes to the wrist will hit 2+ plates which disperses the impact well enough. The cuff plates eventually open up, and are linked by elastics so you still have full wrist articulation.
The outside of the cuff has some rounded hard plates, and the inside is padded with a very light foam. If you got hit there hard & don't have any forearm protection and have a light jacket, I'd be a little weary, but I think it would be fine. Just something to keep in mind, but generally, I feel like forearm protection should be mandatory for heavy sparring & competition anyway so it may be a non-issue. I'm happier with these being light, because if they were stiffer from having more padding, they may start binding up in crossed arm positions and I like how light they are.
My main issue: Top of the Index
I've been told that this current piece of feedback is received, accepted, and is planned on being addressed with the 2.1's. What they said they're planning on doing is drill holes in the plate and strap it to the inner glove, so it is mechanically attached. They're planning on implementing this change on future batches with the 2.1 update. But until that's been confirmed to be in production, I will keep this section up as a way to help people who already have this 2.0 glove and will want to keep an eye on this issue.
After talking with 2 other people who have this glove, it seems like this may not be the case with every glove. My friend Will from Crossroad Swords in Florida with 2xl's didn't have this issue, and Robert from Ironwood Historical Swordsmanship in Tucson does as well with his 2xl's, though not as bad as mine.
If you have the 2.0's, I'd double check what yours looks like. You may or may not have the same issue I did. I'm not sure what mechanically makes it so mine behaves differently from theirs.
My main issue currently with the 2.0's is this area here. As you hold a sword, the plates shift too far away from the finger, leaving a gap. If your opponent's sword comes down alongside your blade, that's going to go right into exposed finger. I would certainly see this leading to injury as currently the finger is exposed and unprotected.
I've been able to fix this problem with a bit of electrical tape. I taped around the finger to keep it snugger to the hand, and then I also taped the main plate, across my palm, to the other side of the glove, and this did a really good job at keeping it in place.
Now...this does look uh, a bit trashy, and is not a permanent solution (although, I've put this tape on and then had a couple sparring sessions with it still kinda holding up. So...maybe does last longer than anticipated?) Nor is it a solution I would be particularly happy with if I paid $300usd for these gloves. But, I think you could do something like drill a hole on both sides of the plate, and apply a strap across yourself. That's obviously way more effort, but would look better than just tape though. Although, to be fair, is it really a true HEMA glove it it's not covered in tape?
Another solution is to drill holes and have a strap that attaches the glove to the plate, like it does on the back of the hand to mechanically secure the plate to the glove. So, to drill holes in the plate, and mechanically anchor the glove to it. Which, is basically the planned solution for the 2.1's.
But, I think you could pretty reasonably do this yourself by drilling 2 holes in the plate and sewing the glove to them with a hook sewing needle. Maybe carve in a small bevel between the two holes so the material you use will sit in a recess, and as such won't be as exposed to being hit. Again, that's more effort but looks better than the tape. If these were my gloves and I were to keep using them, this is what I would do.
Swordandbeard on TikTok also had a decent solution, where he trimmed down an old thumb plate from a SPES Heavy and just attached it right on there. That does seem to work pretty well and doesn't look like it's too much effort either: - https://www.tiktok.com/@swordandbeard/video/7224222339477556523?lang=en
Either way, this is a fixable issue that I don't think is outrageously difficult to mod yourself. Right now I just taped mine and that seems to be holding up for 1-2 sparring sessions. This is obviously not ideal, but it is what it is, and it's good to know that it will be fixed for the 2.1's.
My second critical point with this area in the 2.0's (that will be fixed in the 2.1's) is that even when the plates do align with your finger these plastic tabs covering the index are very thin and could be a bit thicker, and/or the padding that's on the top of the fingers should also be present on the sides. Mild hits to the top of the finger hurt a lot. The good news is, the kit comes with little thin foam pads for you to put under there, so I glued them on myself with some gel crazy glue. I was shocked to see how much those helped - I had someone throw some pretty hard shots to the top of my finger and while I felt the impact, I felt only some minor discomfort. I didn't expect them to make much of a difference at all, so I was pleasantly surprised. I'm a little unsure about how well they would handle a full power tournament level strike though, so I would personally like to see them be a bit beefier. The good news, is that this piece of feedback is also being addressed and planned on being fixed for future batches by applying additional, more substantial padding on the sides of the index & pinky on the underglove for the 2.1's.
Misc Small Details & Other Thoughts:
Inside the thumb tips
When the hands are in the gloves, I find the tip of the thumb to be a bit uncomfortable. I do feel different kinds of materials with my thumbtip which isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world. I personally wouldn’t say it’s a problem, and once you start sparring you don't really notice it, but if that is something that could be optimized then I think that would be great.
The “pull” tabs
The idea of having tabs to help “pull” the gloves are great. I would maybe recommend making these a bit bigger for the bigger sized gloves. I have the XL gloves with big hands and I find the tag just a little too small to easily just grab and pull - I always kinda "fish" at it for a second before I can get a good grasp. I would imagine that someone with even bigger hands than mine with the XXL gloves would have a harder time than I would. The material used for this tab is also pretty slick and soft which makes it harder to get a good grasp of, so most of the time now I mostly just pull on the cuff itself instead of the tab. This is very minor, but it does occur to me every time while putting on the gloves that I wish they were just a touch bigger.
The "grippy" material on the palm of the undergloves.
There's a grippy portion of material on the palms, and I honestly want more of it. I wouldn't call the other glove material particularly "slick", but one thing I really liked about the Thokks was that most of the palm was covered in grippy material and I loved how secure it made the sword feel in my hands. I would like these to feel a bit more like that, but they're fine as is.
The leather finger bands
There are leather bands that connect the plastic overlay to the underglove on the fingers to help keep the two together. They are however, pretty loose and I definitely think should be tighter, and on both segments of the finger (not just the 1). I haven't had the issue yet, but Will from Crossroad Swords had it so the loops would fall off the gloves entirely because of how loose they are. Mine haven't done that, but I don't particularly feel like they're tight enough to really do their job of snugging the gloves together like they should. I do like that they're leather so they won't break off like the elastic ones from the Progauntlets.
If they can pull this off, this is a big deal. They are currently beginning to offer custom sizing for an additional cost of around $50usd. I think this is a fair price considering the level of customization it seems they’re looking to provide.
This is what I was sent in regard to what they will be looking to measure. I think checking for the circumference of the fingers here is phenomenal. Many just look for finger length and palm width, but if they can properly adjust for finger size, then I know many people with very large hands who will be thrilled at this prospect.
Similarly, very small handed folk often get gloves that are the right length, but are still way too wide and bulky for their fingers/hand. (Shout outs to Saint Leafy and Janna, I can't relate but I know the struggle is real).
I do want to point out that I’m currently unaware at how successful custom sizing will be. I’ve seen companies offer custom sizing for products, only for that to turn into disaster. So I’m hoping that this will be as positive as it sounds but since I haven't seen or heard about it yet, I am unable to comment on it. If I ever do, or I hear of people who do get custom, I will update this portion of the review. I am very optimistic for it though!
I’ve been told that colour options is something they are planning on implementing sometime in the future - the black/red will be the default colours, anything else is considered a customization option. I was told this is estimated to be somewhere in the ballpark of around $5. I think that’s a very reasonable price, and depending on the breadth of colours could be a great way to nicely improve kit aesthetic. I’d personally like to see plain black be the default as I feel that would go well with any club colours. Most of my kit is black/blue, so I feel like red being the default means that I’m forced to pay extra to go with a custom colour because red doesn't fit the current aesthetic. But $5 is such a non-issue that I don’t feel like it’s particularly fair to complain about it. I'm sure clubs with black/red themes are thrilled :P
These gloves are a couple steps away from being the gloves I want and being exactly what I'm looking for. For the most part, when you get hit you feel the strike which naturally makes me want to be more mindful when fencing to defend my hands, while generally being fairly safe...for the most part. The maneuverability is amazing, and I just love the handshake focused construction. The thumb, knuckles & back of hand is A+, overall, these are my favourite gloves to just put on and use if I'm going to do some friendly sparring or some higher intensity drilling. They fit almost every sword I have and are...mostly...safe enough to use with every single one of them. These are so close to being the "one stop shop" for gloves that I desperately want to be able to recommend them with no hesitation. But there are some very big asterisks.
The pain you get from single finger strikes, the gap on the top of the index finger (Which you may or may not get, if you do it's fixable, yet jank), and weaker padding in that same area are problematic enough for me to be a bit cautious about recommending these 2.0's at this very moment. The gap (if you have it) can be fixed with some modifications. The overall level of protection is fine outside of some edge cases, where those edge cases are primarily only a concern if you do particularly intense sparring & competition. So really, these gloves being...say, 90% of the way there for me, may very well be beyond 100% for others. Again, I'm concerned about 1 digit hits. 2+ digits are fine. The thumb is fine. The knuckles are fine. The back of hand is fine. The wrist is fine. The cuff is fine. So, yeah, these are most of the way there. So If you don't plan on competing and want some super dexterous gloves for friendly sparring & drilling at your club, then yes, I would highly recommend these. I mean hell, some people compete in tournaments with Thokks and these are significantly more protective. It's really up to you as to what is "good enough". Since I want gloves like these to compete in, these just aren't *quite* there for me, especially since I know the improvements coming with the 2.1's.
I've been told that they're planning on fixing pretty much most, if not all of these issues with the 2.1's, which is great to hear. It's excellent to see a manufacturer taking feedback seriously, and hopefully have a relatively quick turnaround when issues are identified. If the 2.1's fix the issues I have, to the efficacy I am hoping for, then I will order the second they are available. And I will of course write a new post about them when I receive them.
Where to Order
You have a few options. Currently, SoCal Swords have a batch of 2.0's (with updated plates between fingers to stop thrusts) coming in at the time of this review. You can also contact the manufacturer directly at email@example.com, or, you can contact Sihong Fu if you're local.
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