It’s hard to find a pair of shooting gloves that you like. If you’re hunting in cold or wet weather, finding gloves that will keep you warm and still allow you enough dexterity to operate a firearm without ripping it off your hand with your teeth, is really tough.
Finding simple range gloves that are good during a fairly wide range of temperatures, not too warm, not too thin, and don’t add a lot of bulk can be just as difficult for some.
If you absolutely have to have full-finger gloves, there are a lot of good options out there, but you’ll be sacrificing a bit of dexterity.
You can buy fingerless gloves, but they lack protection, warmth and they usually leave my knuckles exposed to all kinds of damage—and for some reason, fingerless gloves usually have too much padding on the palm.
So, I make my own. I like to use a couple different styles of Mechanix Wear gloves to start with. Yeah, it’s a cliche, but it’s a cliche for a reason—they work.
The company started by producing gloves for racing techs.
The original Mechanix Wear gloves were first used in NASCAR during the 1991 Daytona 500 by the Richard Childress Racing Number 3 GM Goodwrench team. The gloves were such a hit that the company later became a team product supplier, contingency sponsor NASCAR official product supplier, NASCAR aftermarket license and yer-end Most Valuable Pit Crew award sponsor.
When the war on terror got rolling after 9/11, our troops in the sandbox needed gloves that could protect their hands, have enough ventilation to be bearable in the desert heat, and have enough dexterity to allow them to manipulate their weapons and gear. Some troops started wearing black Mechanix gloves and it took off from there, as they were a huge improvement over military-issue leather gloves. The company responded by developing several lines of tactical gloves in various colors and camouflage prints, which are available today.
The old school Mechanix Original gloves work great if you’re going to do some cutting. These hand covers are thin and have next to no bulk, but the finger tips are a bit thick for my taste, especially the index finger.
I take a pair of sharp scissors and cut the tip of the index finger off just above the line of curved stitching on the back of the glove. Avoid this double stitch and it won’t unravel with wear, but more importantly, cut them so the edge of the glove’s index finger will fall in the middle of the first joint on your index finger with your hand open.
This will ensure that when you curl your finger around the trigger, your whole pad of your finger is exposed and you can get good contact. If this is uncomfortable for you, cut a bit more off, but try not to go through those stitches.
With the glove on, mark where you want the cut to be, remove the glove, and make a straight, even, and deliberate cut.
If you want to keep most of your hand protected, stop here, but if you can afford to expose a little more, you can cut the thumb off as well in the same way, which will allow you to operate controls like safeties and slide catches more easily. Plus, a bare thumb lets you operate touch screen devices (Mechanix makes gloves for this too) and you’d be surprised how many small tasks become infinitely easier when you have your thumb and index finger in full use.
If I want something more suited to handgun shooting with even less bulk, I go with the Mechanix FastFit Coyote gloves a size smaller than normal. For me, these are tightest at the index finger and thumb, which is fine, because they’re getting chopped anyway. Once these are removed, the gloves fit like a second skin without being too tight.
For both, once you’re finished making your cuts, get a Bic lighter and go over the edges with the flame, pressing them together when they’re hot and pliable (like you would the end of a piece of paracord). Don’t get the material too hot and you won’t burn yourself. Alternately, you can use a pair of forceps or pliers to do the squeezing too.
Doing this will make sure the foam on the back of the glove doesn’t start coming apart at the edge and it keeps the seams from coming apart after some wear. If you want to, and have the nimble fingers and needle skills to do so, you can run a quick stitch around the mouth of the finger, which will make sure everything stays put.
Now, the color you choose might not sound important, but it can make a difference. For instance, the Fast Fit Coyote gloves have smooth leather-like caps on all the fingers, while the Multicam FastFit gloves do not. The gloves also have different ventilation patterns on the back and they fit a little differently.
If I’m going with a full, uncut shooting glove, I stick with the Multicam FastFit gloves.
To make sure they’re all a perfect fit, I like to put the gloves on and get them soaking wet. If you can let them dry on your hands most of the way, that works best. If you can perform some kind of task, like cutting the grass or something that won’t let the glove spick up too much dirt, that helps a lot too.
This stretches the gloves a little bit in all the right places and puts creases on the inside of the gloves where your fingers bend, which will make them a lot more comfortable when you have to wear them for a few hours at a time.
This is just my method. Everyone has to find a brand and glove style that suits them best, and suits the kind of shooting they do. I know a couple shooters who like MacWet gloves. I have a pair and I like them just fine. I usually use them for the clays course, but I find the bodies of the gloves to be too thin and unpadded and the insides a bit too smooth for other kinds of shooting. They have one model of Tactical gloves, but they’re for sale on a contract basis only.
Mechanix is a great brand to start with if you’ve never used gloves for shooting before. They’re fairly inexpensive, available from numerous retailers, and they have dozens of styles including the M-pact line with serious knuckle protection and the 0.5mm high dexterity gloves that I haven’t even given a try yet.
MSRP: About $15 a pair