Kit mod: heavy sparring glove 2

Updated for 2018.

So the below post is very old now and was written in 2014. This post still gets a lot of hits so I just thought I'd clarify that the below idea was put together before many (if not all) of the heavy gloves currently on the market really hit. Now in 2018 the below should be considered a curiosity that illustrates the time before dedicated HEMA suppliers came along rather than something to guide your thoughts. Personally, for the last few years or so I've been using SPES Heavies pretty much exclusively.

Though I still think the idea of a protective unit of hands, forearm and elbow all joined up would be a quite good idea.


This is a follow on to heavy sparring gloves and SPES arm protectors.

Finally: a pretty good HEMA glove.

Essentially I've created this final stage by removing the cuff from the gauntlet and attaching Velcro so the SPES arm & elbow protection attaches to the gauntlet. The Velcro attaches under the lip of the arm protection providing a solid join between the pieces.

My photography is lame but I hope you get the idea:

Good protection.

I would say that this setup has good protection from injury from sparring blows from fingers to elbow. Against full force blows it takes it down from injury to some mild discomfort and possibly light bruising, against moderate blows you feel some pressure with no discomfort. The fingers are where I've invested the heaviest protection but there is still some room for improvement.

Light weight

Because the weight is distributed along the length of the arm rather than at the wrist/hands end and because they can fit quite tightly to your body they seem lighter than most other gloves I've compared them to, even padded gloves such as hockey gloves. The only "heavy" aspect is the metal fingers, the rest being plastic and padding.


The Velcro attached segmentation gives this combo versatility, allowing it to be assembled for different uses. It has three really useful combinations:

1. Complete - perfect for sparring
2. Complete but with light gloves rather than steel fingers - even lighter and perfect for use with a basket hilted single handed weapon where finger protection is not necessary but you still want wrist and forearm protection.
3. Just the fingered glove and gauntlet - perfect for situations where the forearm isn't a target but where you still want finger and wrist protection.

Easy to use

There are no fiddly ties or buckles and with everything Velcroing together it's possible to quickly assemble and then slip on. It's simplicity itself to don these one handed. The result is that if I decide on a whim to take part in a free play session then the gloves go in seconds. If it's a hard out session I can be fully suited and booted in about a minute. It also means if I want to remove them between bouts to cool off or rest, this is not a problem.

Because it is adjustable it also works best without padding but works ok with a padded jacket. I'm thinking of sewing a velcro strip into the cuff of my Axel Petersen jacket so I can attach the glove and gauntlet to my fencing jacket with the arm/elbow protector sitting over the top.


 Just a quick update to show the gloves (without the armoured fingers) attached to the sleeve of my Axel Petersen jacket. This is a super convenient way to attach them quickly for training.

Updated 2:

For the first time ever I was getting hit on the ends of the fingers during the last round of Longsword classes, as a result I bought some fingertip protectors which I've put into the thumb and first finger of the gloves. Seems to have improved the problem.


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