Testing Glove Cut Resistance

CE Marking, the abbreviation for European Conformity (Conformité Européenne), indicates…

CE Marking, the abbreviation for European Conformity (Conformité Européenne), indicates that a product it is affixed to meets the European safety standard set for a particular parameter, by rigorous testing. Although the CE Marking is obligatory for products used in Europe, there is currently no American equivalent for some products, such as cut resistance in gloves.

The CE testing process is what a guy would do if he had the time and tools to really wring out a product. The gloves are rubbed, pulled, poked and stabbed by an independent organization, to their failing point. The standard of torture that each glove endures is spelled out in the international CE standard EN388. The rigorous testing process produces a grade from 1 to 5 in the areas of resistance to abrasion, blade cut, tearing and puncture. To get just a CE level 1 rating, a glove would have to successfully withstand abrasion resistance of between 100 and 500 testing cycles while for a level 3 rating the glove would have to successfully pass 2,000 cycles!

The resistance by a glove to being cut, an important feature for operators that routinely handle sharp objects or might have to deal with a feisty perp with a blade, is judged by using a circular, free-rotating blade, under pressure from a standard weight, which is moved backward and forward over the surface of the test material, over a fixed stroke length. The number of cycles taken for the blade to cut through the glove compared to a reference material produces a ratio that determines the protection level. For Level 1, the ratio is 1.2, level 3 is 5.0, and level 5 it is 20.

What does that mean? Well, besides illustrating that some people have weird jobs that poke and rub gloves all day long, this gives the user (you) the confidence that if you grab a blade during a struggle, your CE Level 5 gloves afford you up to 20 times the protection compared to regular gloves, to counter the perp’s knife and reach for your .45. I like it.

Only a few companies like Hatch Corp. voluntarily subject their complete line of cut-resistant gloves to the rigorous CE certification process. That way, Hatch ensures that its cut-resistant gloves are among the safest and highest quality gloves in the world. Hatch’s Friskmaster, Armor Tip, Resister and Street Guard lines of cut-resistant gloves have a CE certification logo and EN 388 performance level rating on each pair, indicating the rigors for which each specific glove is best suited.

Stay safe and be smart; look for the label that tells you that your hands will be protected based on science, not luck.

TEST/PROPERTY                          PERFORMANCE LEVEL
1         2        3          4          5
Abrasion Resistance, cycles          100    500   2000      8000       –
Blade Cut Resistance, cut index    1.2     2.5     5.0          10.0    20.0
Tear Resistance, Newtons             10      25      50           70         –
Puncture Resistance, Newtons      20     60      100         150        –

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  • Buying the right kind of protective gloves could be very tricky and of course there are some other properties that most likely only experts are aware of.