Customguards Gladiator Review

Discussion in 'Gear & Equipment Discussion' started by fat_wilhelm, Dec 29, 2005.

  1. fat_wilhelm

    fat_wilhelm Black Belt

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    I mentioned that I got my mouthguard last week, so here's an "initial impressions" review.

    Model: Gladiator Elite
    Price: $75

    I ordered the Elite after talking with John Hackman, president of Customguards, for a bit. I wanted to make sure that I would have enough protection for MMA and he assured me that the Elite should work for anything I wanted to do. Furthermore, any mouthguards ordered in the future are half the price of the original since the mold is already made. That way, if I ever wanted something w/ full bottom coverage, for instance, or something much slimmer (for grappling only, perhaps), the financial burden is minimal.

    Customguards offers all the colors the other guys do, as well as two and three stripe designs, I believe. I went w/ solid silver and chose to forgo logos/name since I just wanted a simple look. I ordered via the website (www.customguards.com) and received an email w/in 30 minutes stating that my impressions kit had shipped.

    The impressions kit, which arrived two days later, included two sets of materials to make sure I came out w/ at least one good impression. It also included a sample of a "good" impression so I would know what mine should look like when it was done. This was helpful because my first impression really sucked and I could tell by looking at the sample what I should do differently. The second one came out great.

    I dropped my finished impressions in the included box and mailed them off the next day. John informed my via PM that one of the impressions was very good. My mouthguard arrived about one week from the day I mailed out the impressions.

    When I opened up the box, I was actually very surprised. I expected a quality product, but never would I have thought that the guard would be as thick and strong as it is. I suspect I could hold one end and chain a twenty pount dumbell to the other and there would be minimal deflection. It is solid! (Includes a case, too.)

    Fit is wonderful. It sticks to my teeth and really has to be pulled off by hand to break this thing loose. Breathing is very easy and talking isn't too bad either. Because it's an Elite, you can really feel the thickness, but it's still very comfortable. Before I ordered, John mentioned that if I wanted to incorporate a negative of my bottom teeth into the guard, there are ways to do this and he didn't want to "oversell" me on something I could easily do myself. I might do so since the guard is thick and I expect that a little space for my back bottoms would make it even more comfortable.

    Performance-wise, I haven't done any really heavy sparring yet, but I've taken a few shots and can honestly say that I am 100% confident that I'm getting maximum protection from the guard. I think the photos will explain better.

    A couple other side notes. As far as the debate of this guard vs. the other more talked about guards... Biteme uses a hard insert in between layers on their MMA guard. Customguards does not, but not because they have an inferior design. John truly believes that there is no added benefit to the hard insert and thus, they prefer to use another soft layer for what Customguards believes is the best method of protection. I'm sure both are great and there's probably no way of knowing which method is truly the best, but I figured I'd mention it to let you know that it's a difference in philosophies and not a short cut.

    Also, though John has posted on Sherdog a bit, he has not mentioned that there are, indeed, MMA fighters that wear Gladiator guards -- Joe "Diesel" Riggs, for one. I know a lot of people talk about buying products from companies that "support the sport", so I thought this, too, would be worth a mention.

    That's about all I can think to comment on for now.

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  2. JeremiahBailey

    JeremiahBailey Banned Banned

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    I'd buy one, but the pictures in grappling made the logos look like little pieces of paper glued on.
     
  3. perfy

    perfy Blue Belt

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    Nice review, very thorough. I like the fact they send you two kits and a sample impression so you get it right. Can you take a side pic and one of the back of the mouthpiece so we can get a better idea of how thick it is? I like the idea of an impression for the bottom teeth, and it sounds like you can do it yourself?
     
  4. Adino

    Adino Purple Belt

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    Thanks for the review fat_wilhelm, appreciate the pics too :D
     
  5. fat_wilhelm

    fat_wilhelm Black Belt

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    Side:

    [​IMG]

    Back:

    [​IMG]

    Jeremiah, as far as logos go, I didn't get any so I can't help you much w/ that. I noticed in another thread that KOU In3 said that his Biteme customization "Looks a bit like stickers were just placed on the guard and laminated in" so that may just be the standard method for doing this. I don't know -- this is the first custom mouthguard I've seen in person.
     
  6. Foxx_MMA

    Foxx_MMA Green Belt

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    Nice review yea for the stickers thing the opro i have has my name and phone number laminated in and it looks like a sticker also. The actual teeth (i got the fangs) are a different shade of material glad to see that there are 3 solid companies to order from. One quick question you said about negative for the bottom teeth if you get it from them i assume you use a bottom tray and take the other impression, but if can you just boil the bottom for a little tighter fit is that what you meant by do it yourself or wil boiling it like that ruin it?
     
  7. fat_wilhelm

    fat_wilhelm Black Belt

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    John mentioned that if you use one of those little kitchen torches that you carmelize creme brulee w/, you can lightly heat the bottom until it's just a little shiny, then put it in and bite. You just have to be careful not to overheat it. I'm not sure if boiling would work, too.
     
  8. Foppa21

    Foppa21 Black Belt

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    I'd say that question is best answered by icedog.
     
  9. scorcho

    scorcho Brown Belt

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    Nice, thanks for the review.
     
  10. icedog11

    icedog11 Banned Banned

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    First Fat W thanks for the nice words. Second I would like to be on record as saying that I support any company that is producing a type IV mouthguard consumer direct. The current market is dominated by boil and bite mouthguards. Custom mouthguards account for less than 2% of all mouthguards made in the USA with the dental profession charging up to $400.00 per guard. While athletes in MMA are more versed in their understanding of a good guard the general public is not. Education on the quality between boil and bites and type IV guards is our goal; there is more business out there than either Bite ME or Gladiator could possible handle. I have even recommended to members of this forum through PM's that Bite ME was in a better position to service their needs than I am due to my location and their need for faster turn-around.

    Now to the logo issue. Logos in mouthguards need to be independent from the material the guard is made from. EVA plastic changes every time it is placed in the warmth of the mouth and then removed. Printing directly on the guard material is impossible as the image would distort over time. So yes they are printed on another material then laminated into the guard this is after all a piece of protective equipment not mouth jewelry. We do make three dimensional effects for our guards that are made from Eva and are priced accordingly.

    Boiling your guard: this is a poor idea the guards is formed under extreme pressure and placing the whole guard into boiling water would reduce the quality of the fit. Dipping areas that are rubbing or too tight after multiple wearing is ok. As for the lower teeth, incorporating the negative into the guard is best done by us but the wearer can achieve adequate results at home using the method Fat_Wihem described. I will try dipping just the bottom of a guard in boiling water to achieve the same result then get back to you
     
  11. Adino

    Adino Purple Belt

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    Wow thanks icedog11 I appreciate the detailed info :wink:
     
  12. Foppa21

    Foppa21 Black Belt

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    hmmmmmm, taking a mini blowtorch to a mouthguard, interesting idea. I personally wouldn't do it myself. I wouldn't trust myself.
     

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