Wiley X… they’ve been known as a premium eyewear brand for many many years, they’re even mentioned in David Bellavia’s account on the Second Battle Of Fallujah House To House as being very much a coveted item.
They could have been content with simply sticking to their eyewear products but like other eyewear manufacturers such as Oakley they’ve gone down the route of offering other PPE items, namely in this case gloves.
One of the key glove ranges currently offered by Wiley X is their DURTAC line, featuring injection moulded knuckle protection and touch screen connectivity they have seemingly melded the protection of heavy gloves such as the Mechanix M-Pact and Oakley assault gloves with the dexterity and feel of thinner gloves such as PIG’s Alpha and Delta lines. I was given the opportunity by Wiley X to review their Durtac gloves at no cost a few months ago, I’ll be perfectly honest I was much more interested in their eyewear as that’s where I see their core business and certainly when I’ve bought Wiley X products it’s been their eyewear alone that’s ended up in the basket. But never look a gift horse in the mouth, sometimes even a simple glove can throw up a few surprises.
The gloves construction is conspicuous in itself by the sheer amount of materials being used. Whereas some other rivals will have 2, 3 or rarely 5 different materials in their gloves, the Durtac gloves are comprised of seven individual materials. Seven! That’s like one material for each finger if you’re from Devon!
Each material however is chosen for its own particular characteristics and abilities… Neoprene and Spandex offer flexibility and comfort whereas the injection moulded Polyurethane and synthetic leather offers durability… Horses for courses and all that.
On the subject of comfort, it’s a mixed bag. Whilst I’m not much of a fan of the “round the nail” fingertip stitching used on these and many other tactical gloves (PIG are still the best in class for finger comfort) the cuff on the Wiley X Durtac glove is probably one of the best I’ve seen in a tactical glove.
The Neoprene low cut cuff offers a degree of flexibility and breathability whilst offering protection and a close fit. Over encumbered wrists are a pet hate of mine and all too often gloves use far too much material around this area making wearing a watch a pain in the arse, the Wiley’s have got it about right in my opinion.
Inside the cuff is a ribbon stitched in the aid in securing your gloves, although it’s low profile in nature this comes at the expense of being difficult to hook onto a carabiner or clip.
The palm and thumb are good allrounders with a bit too much material around the thumb for my liking but the range of movement does appear to justify the cut, the rear of the thumb is also made from a microfibre type material which is great for wiping down your eye pro.
The key area of any glove though is in its palm… In the Durtac glove it’s primarily made from a synthetic leather with is pretty much the norm, however the palm is reinforced with an additional layer of synthetic leather in a horseshoe shape adding that little extra durability.
The dexterity overall is surprisingly good, whilst not on the level of the PIGs it’s a sterling effort helped massively by their use of spandex on the inter-finger webbing.
The rear of the fingers are covered by a 2 way stretch tweave similar to that of the PIGs but when paired with the injection moulded knuckle protectors appear to lose a little flex and range in movement.
The trigger finger as seen above has been left thankfully without this protection to aid in trigger manipulation, I can only think that the gloves would be that little bit better without the protection on the fingers. That being said, I do like the large knuckle protection built into the back of the hand, it is incredibly effective at protecting your knuckles and certainly will save its wearer a few ouch moments if you should take a hit or smash your hand into a doorframe.
Overall, I like these gloves for how they’ve approached certain aspects of the design such as the cuff and the inter-finger webbing, I would love to see a lower profile version without any of the injection moulded protection and with a better tailored thumb to see how it compares to its better known competitors. Durability wise, theses have stood up well to moderate use… they’re worn in and I can see them lasting well for anything but the most intense of use. As it stands, a good effort from the Eyewear specialists with a few little niggles that for me make it a second (but admirable) choice to my PIGs.
As for a personal recommendation? Well compared to some of the options out there within the £25 bracket these are certainly a worthy contender, certainly way above the quality of similar gloves offered by 5.11 Tactical and the like… Overall, a good option for players wanting a blend of protection and dexterity, a good friend of mine who works in Law Enforcement has already bought a pair for himself to replace his old and worn M-Pacts as they fit his needs perfectly… But for me they fit in a niche I just don’t require.