By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos contained in this article were taken by DefenseReview.com, and are copyrighted. DefenseReview.com owns the copyright on these photos. The photos were shot with a Canon PowerShot S90 10-megapixel digital camera (still camera with video capability). All TEGS graphics (GIF-format images) contained herein are courtesy of Line Of Fire (LOF), LLC.
May 13, 2010
Last updated on 8/14/13.
A company called Line Of Fire (LOF) out of Alamo, California displayed a very interesting and revolutionary line of tactical gloves/tactical shooting gloves, or what the company calls “grip systems”, at SHOT Show 2010 (Las Vegas, NV). The “grip system” aspect is provided by LOF’s patented TEGS (Technology Enhanced Grip System) material (developed by 3M) that covers the gloves’ gripping surface (palm and fingers).
DefenseReview’s first encounter with the revolutionary TEGS grip-enhancing system/applied material was actually a year earlier, during SHOT Show 2009 in Orlando, FL. While we were zipping around one of the Mil/LE section rooms, we ran into our friend and professional contact Ken Murray (Kenneth R. Murray), who showed us a pair of early prototype Line Of Fire tactical gloves with the TEGS material applied to them. We were immediately intrigued with the technology and concept, despite the fact that Ken’s a Canadian.
Little joke, there. We actually like Ken. He's a nice guy, highly intelligent, and knowledgeable in his field: tactical training, gear, and equipment. As the co-founder of Simunition and co-developer of the FX marking cartridge and original Simunition training program, Ken's an innovator in the force-on-force tactical training sector, as well as an authority on force-on-force and reality-based training, in general. He’s also the author of the book Training at the Speed of Life (Volume One): The Definitive Textbook for Military and Law Enforcement Reality Based Training, which is an excellent book that’s worth reading. Defense Review highly recommends it. It should be noted that Mr. Murray now lives and works here in the U.S. (and has for years), so we'll cut him some slack on the Canadian thing (kidding, again).
But back to tactical gloves…oh, I'm sorry, tactical grip systems. Billed by the company as a "revolutionary grip system" that utilizes patented micro-replication technology, the TEGS grip system is essentially a surface matrix of microscopic nodes (or nodules) that, once applied to the leather gripping surface of combat gloves, will then interact, and, more specifically, interlock, with a corresponding TEGS tape or TEGS sheet that's been applied to other objects like firearms (grips), tools, handles, ladders, and "all other surfaces where a dependable grip is critical".
The TEGS gripping/interlocking mechanism is similar to how a Gecko grips onto a wall. The Gecko's feet contain millions of microscopic bristles arranged in a complex ridge pattern, and each bristle has hundreds of thousands of tiny hook-like projections measuring 10 millionths of an inch across. These bristles and projections can grip onto the micro-projections and micro-crevices on/in the wall. While the man-made TEGS micronode/nodule matrix system might not be quite as sophisticated as the Gecko's natural bristle/projection matrix (just like most man-made artificial systems that try to mimic nature), it's certainly sophisticated enough to get the job done, i.e. accomplish its intended purpose.
The interlocking TEGS microteeth between LOF TEGS tactical gloves and TEGS tape or sheet provides a 270% increase in gripping ability. Against a bare, non-TEGS surface, LOF TEGS tactical gloves provide a 143% gripping advantage.
For the record, DefenseReview is well aware that just about everybody and their mother in the tactical industry is making and marketing tactical assault gloves, right now. However, at present, LOF tactical/combat assault gloves/grip systems are the only ones with the TEGS gripping capability advantage, and just that one thing, by itself, makes them unique and special, before you even get to their overall intelligent design and comfort. When we tried them on at the booth, Brian Miller, VP Sales at LOF, demonstrated the power of TEGS to us by wetting the palms of our gloves and a TEGS-applied pipe, having us grip the pipe, and then trying to wrestle it out of our hands. He couldn’t. Once you grip a TEGS surface with LOF TEGS gloves, it ain’t slippin’…but, again, you don’t need a TEGS-applied surface to gain a significant gripping advantage with LOF TEGS tactical gloves. It’s just that TEGS-on-TEGS provides for optimal gripping capability. If you think about it, TEGS should be billed as a "grip enhancement system", rather than just a "grip system", since enhancing one's gripping ability is really what it does. It should therefore also aid weapon retention.
By the way, Mr. Miller's got an interesting professional story, himself. He brings a lot of knowledge and many years of experience as a successful OEM manufacturer and materials-sourcing specialist for a number of major companies in the tactical field/industry, so his knowledge and expertise, combined with that of Mr. Murray's, makes for quite a formidable combination in all aspects of LOF product development. There’s also a third individual at LOF with many years of experience as a tactical products designer for a major company, but he will go unnamed at present. We’re providing this information to the reader just in case you’re wondering how a small upstart company like LOF can come right out of the gate with such unique, well-designed and high-quality tactical gloves. It’s because the principles (principle personnel) inside it are all highly-experienced and successful tactical industry veterans that have decided to design, manufacture, and market their own products, in addition to doing it for other, larger companies. Basically, they got tired of just making great stuff for other people/companies. So, they're now making some (new) great stuff under their own banner, to their own specifications.
DR plans to review several LOF gloves soon. Ideally, we’d like to go through at least one or two intense tactical shooting classes with them to see how they perform in a high round count tactical training environment, and how easy it is to shoot while wearing them (rifle and pistol). Of course, we can always cut part of the index finger(s) off them to leave our trigger fingers (specifically the pads) bare, but we always like to first test a tactical shooting glove with the index finger portion fully intact. We'll probably apply TEGS grip tape to our carbine's pistol grip and Grip Pod System vertical foregrip/bipod/weapon stabilization system, to see how much it enhances grip and aids weapon retention. We might even apply it to a Glock 19 (G19) pistol grip, as well, for good measure.
In the meantime, however, we’ll leave you with a quick rundown of all the LOF tactical glove/grip system models and a (short) written interview that we conducted with the aforementioned Mr. Miller. We hope you find the interview, below, informative:
LOF TEGS tactical gloves are currently available in four models: Stryker Extraction Gloves, Flashover Combat Gloves, Pointman Gloves, and Pointman LE Gloves.
The Stryker glove is a heavy-duty, water-repellant/resistant glove that features a dual elastic debris cuff, and is comprised mostly of breathable Schoeller Keprotec 4-way stretch Kevlar blend with high-grade digital goatskin leather on palm and fingers, which is then overlayed with TEGS. On the back of the glove are Polyurethane™ knuckle and finger guards. The Stryker is also anti-UV (Ultra Violet light). Click here for specs and pricing.
The Pointman glove, also made from 100% Nomex, is basically just the short version of the Flashover with a velcro wrist strap. It’s essentially a Nomex and leather/TEGS tactical shooting glove. Click here for specs and pricing.
36” TEGS tape is provided with all models. TEGS tape can be applied to pistol, rifle/carbine/SBR, and shotgun grips, tactical ladders (or regular ladders), knife handles, you name it.
DefenseReview Interviews Brian Miller of Line Of Fire (LOF):
Brian Miller: Quite honestly, Line Of Fire as a brand originated from the frustration of doing OEM manufacturing for other companies in the Military/LE market. We’d develop and proto great tactical products for major brands, and for some reason or another, a majority of these products would be shelved before making it into the market place. We figured since we’re designing and manufacturing products anyway, why not design and manufacture for ourselves. We saw this as an opportunity to streamline great products into the market to the end user and that end-user would now become the customer.
Crane: What's your overriding philosophy and mission?
Miller: To make existing products better by applying available technology from other markets and resources. In other words, we want to reinvent the wheel if the wheel can be made better through design and material applications.
Crane: Do you have any specific goals over the next few years? If so, what are they?
Miller: Our specific goal is to build consumer awareness about our products. We have a huge mountain to climb in doing this, because our products are more than “What you see is what you get,” we need to educate the end-user on the technical side of our gear. We feel the best way to do this is by turning our customers into our evangelists. We want them to spread the word about our products. To take this approach, we need to continue to put forth innovative, high quality gear, with a bit of edge.
We’re also are interested in strategic partnerships with other brands when it make sense to incorporate our TEGS technology into their products as well. We feel this is a great way to expand the benefits of this great Grip System into the market place in a timely manner.
Crane: What separates LOF tactical gloves, specifically, and products, in general, from the rest of the pack/competition? Why go with LOF gloves instead of any/all of the other brands out there?
Miller: The most definitive answer I can give is that we’re a GRIP SYSTEM and NOT a glove. We have PART A (TEGS GLOVES) and we have PART B (All other items that have the TEGS surface imbedded into them). Part B of the system can be anything from our TEGS sheeting, TEGS “Quick Wrap Tape”, and any molded shape we think can benefit from a positive grip surface; gun grips, fore-grips, rail guards, tools handles, grab bars, batons grips, breaching tool grips, and on and on..
When using the 2 PART grip system, PART A (TEGS GLOVEs) & PART B (TEGS Accessories), you get a 270% grip increase over all other gloves and grips in the market. The amazing thing is that wet, muddy, bloody, dirty, oily, sweaty – our grip never changes. You can fully submerse PART A and PART B of our TEGS Grip System underwater and you still have the 270% grip increase in our products.
Even just using PART B of our TEGS Grip System with anyone else’s leather palmed glove, you get a 40% better increase in that glove. This means that you can use that molded TEGS gun grip with another brands glove and still increase your grip by 40% without using the 2 PART TEGS Grip system.
Crane: What's the origin of TEGS (development history and your discovery of it)?
Miller: TEGS was developed by our partner in the Grip System, 3M Corporation. The TEGS technology is called “Micro-replication” which utilize around 3,000 micro dots per square inch. When the micro-dots join with the same like surface, the dots mesh together creating a non-slip surface. These dot pattern, however, does not lock like traditional hook & loop which allows for the two TEGS surfaces to have a non-resistant release.
I stumbled upon this technology years ago when I was researching a better grip material for the palms of gloves for one of my OEM customers. Unfortunately for my customer at the time, 3M had not made this material available for use outside of their own brand.
After 3 years of pestering 3M, we hammered out a deal that gives Line Of Fire exclusivity in the Military, Law Enforcement & Fire Fighting markets for the micro-replication technology.
Crane: How durable is TEGS and the gloves, themselves? How well do they (TEGS material and gloves) handle adverse combat environments (hot jungle and desert, cold arctic, water, snow, ice, sand, mud, blood, oil/petroleum, etc.)?
Miller: When we started designing the TEGS Grip System glove line, we made sure our designer focused on the gloves themselves and not on the TEGS technology. We wanted him to build kick-ass gloves that could compete in the glove market without the Grip System applied to them. He focused on the fit, materials and overall functionality, such as a pre-curved design in all our gloves. We feel he achieved all that we asked while throwing in a bit of edge into the appearance of the gloves. Finally by adding the TEGS technology to the gloves, we transformed from gloves to a stand alone, TEGS Grip System.
We use all top quality materials in our gloves such as NOMEX, 4 way stretch Kevlar, FR coated goatskin, etc. We want these gloves to last in harsh environments.
The biggest advantage our Grip System has over standard leather palmed gloves, is that the grip surface never breaks down due to adverse combat environments. Traditional leather palm gloves become moist in the palms which then turns dust and dirt into a slick palm surface, especially in digital pattern palms as the mud is trapped into the indentation in the leather. Our TEGS palm surface is a closed membrane surface which will keep moisture and dirt from mixing together and impeding your grip surface. If debris does settle on the TEGS surface it won’t hinder your grip as you have some many micro dots to interact with each other. To clean our surface you can simply pat your hands together or simply pour water over the TEGS surface to wash the debris away. Your hydration system will do the cleansing job just fine.
Crane: Which gloves/models are best for shooting, and are those gloves specifically designed for tactical shooting/shooters?
Miller: We have 3 Models of Grip System Gloves: “Flashover” which is our Gauntlet style FR glove, “Pointman” which is our short cuff CQB glove also FR Nomex based and our Heavy Duty glove, “Stryker” which is our Extraction/Breacher glove made from 4 Stretch Kevlar used for smashing through things, such as doors.
We will be releasing future Grip System glove designs that will meet specific job requirements such as snipping.
Crane: Are they easy to clean? How do you clean them, and how many times can they be washed?
Miller: The washing instructions in our TEGS gloves are the same as traditional gloves; hand wash with mild detergent and hang dry.
Crane: How are your product supply and customer service situations, at present?
Miller: We try to always keep inventory on hand and for larger bulk orders we have about 90 day turnaround time. Our products are guaranteed for manufacturing defects and we’ll replace the products if they breakdown under normal usage.
Crane: What do you want communicated about LOF and its products that I might not think to ask?
Miller: We always want to hear from our end–user, whether its about our products and how we can make them better or even new product ideas that can aid the end-user in his job. We want to keep ourselves very accessible to our customers.
Company Contact Info:
Line Of Fire, LLC
5482 Oceanus Drive, Suite E
Huntington Beach, CA 92649