I have had the opportunity to look at and test the gorget by Superior Fencing. In short, I think it is a pretty good piece of equipment, and worth the investment.
The Superior Fencing gorget is broadly similar to the PBT gorget in design, shape, and style. However, one thing that I noticed is that the Superior Fencing gorget seems to have slightly thicker padding around the neck, although perhaps slightly less padding for the shoulders and collar bone. I think this is quite a reasonable trade, since the purpose of the gorget is to protect the throat.
The gorget has a well-padded collar going around the throat. The collar is reasonably high and gives significant protection to the front and sides of the throat. It has a flap coming down from the throat piece, covering the collar bones (the clavicle). This makes it less uncomfortable to receive thrusts to the bib of the mask or top of the jacket.
It also has flaps to the sides, covering the shoulders. I rarely get hit on the shoulders; it is my impression that these flaps are generally unnecessary and add bulk without being particularly useful. However, I know that some people do appreciate this extra protection for the shoulders.
In terms of protecting against a strong thrust to the throat, this is meets the minimum protection that I consider adequate. I believe it is stupid to train with the longsword without a gorget that offers at least this much protection, if there is any risk of a thrust to the throat – masks bibs and jacket collars are just not protective enough. I would be perfectly happy to see people wearing the Superior Fencing gorget in my training sessions and competitive events, and I consider them to have sufficient protection for the throat to be safe.
Sizing, bulk, and mobility
The Superior Fencing gorget comes in just one size, to fit all necks.
In terms of bulk, it is a little bulky around the neck, so it fits inside the collars of most HEMA jackets, although you may struggle if your jacket collar is quite tight to your throat. However, due to the protective flaps, the gorget can create some bulk in the shoulders, and some people find that this makes it more difficult to raise the arms above the shoulders for overhead positions with the sword.
It’s always a trade-off between bulk and protection; the Superior Fencing gorget offers some good protection, but smaller people may find the flaps somewhat bulky.
Ease of fastening
There is a decent quality Velcro strap to secure the gorget around the neck, long enough to secure the gorget around a neck of almost any size.
It is quick and easy to put on and to take off again, which is always an important characteristic for equipment.
Price and availability
Superior Fencing sells the gorget for $30 USD.
If I see people wearing a Superior Fencing gorget, I will be satisfied that they are wearing an acceptable amount of protection for the neck. It is good quality throat protection and I would trust my own neck to it in sparring.
Keith Farrell teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events (why not hire me to teach at your event?), and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. I teach regularly at Liverpool HEMA, and help behind the scenes with running HEMA in Glasgow at the Vanguard Centre.