During the duel, Archer and Shran wear gauntlets on their left hand that are bound by a metal cable. Is it ever explained what that gauntlet is? Was it some sort of ice mining safety device so if one miner slipped the other could catch him?
Just 'Plate Armor Gauntlet'. When the actual set props were auctioned off, it was described just as that.
None of the major knowledge-bases have any other indication.
And the transcript for the episode refers them them as 'metal shields' (granted, no indication this was from an actual script).