Mechanix Wear “Original” gloves
Mechanix Wear, a company based out of in Valencia, California, that specializes in high performance work gloves, specialized footwear, and related items. The Mechanix Original Glove can trace its roots back to 1991 where they made their mark at NASCAR eventually becoming an official product supplier, and sponsor. Over the years Mechanix Wear has transcended its racing heritage and secured its place as the innovative leader in high performance hand protection. Their commitment to hand protection has earned the trust of millions of professionals from auto drivers, mechanics, and warfighters around the world.
- Form-fitting TrekDry® material – TrekDry is a moisture-wicking, quick-dry, fabric made up of a 95.5% /4.5% Polyester/Spandex blend that helps keep hands cool and comfortable.
- Synthetic Leather – Synthetic fibers tend to be stronger than natural fibers and more resistant to solvents which helps to extend the life of the glove.
- Low Profile Thermo-Plastic Rubber (TPR) hook and loop closure – The wrist adjustment tab has a low profile and which contributes to reducing snagging and abrasion.
- ArmorTex Grip single layer palm – Designed specifically to provide maximum dexterity.
- Short Cuffs
- Machine washable.
- 550 cord hang loop
- 100% polyester Tricot lining
- Effective operational temperature range: 30F-130F
- Available in over 8 tactical colors – Woodland, Covert Black, Wolf Grey, Foliage Green, and Coyote Brown – in 2014 Mechanix collaboratred with Crye Precision to add the MultiCam pattern to their color lineup.
- Available sizes small to XXL
Conclusion and Insights –
We have come a long way from the days when viable options for tactical hand protection were limited to only a handful of manufacturers and designs. Today the market is flooded by a slew of products across a myriad of manufacturers and it can often be hard to figure out which glove is right for you.
The first thing you have to determine when selecting a glove is what you need it to protect you from. Tactical gloves generally tend to favor enhanced protection at the expense of some feel and dexterity. If you are in the military, or work in hazardous environments where flash protection is a big concern, you will want to look for gloves that that are made using FR materials such as Nomex or Kevlar which have been shown to provide thermal protection and is able to withstand intense heat without melting. If you are a breacher, you might consider designs that have hard, molded knuckles like the Oakley SI Glove, which are designed to protect your hands against impacts while conducting dynamic breaches during entry drills or while shooting over barricades.
That said, if you are a recreational or sport shooter you may not necessarily need gloves, but there are certain considerations where the benefits of wearing gloves far outweigh the detriment to some tactility such as, to provide a protective barrier during chilly temperatures or to protect your hands from the heat flash the barrel from your rifle. In fact, during a recent course, I was running the Vtac 9-Hole Board with my 10.3″ SBR and shortly after completing the drill, while re-loading my mags, I noticed a distinct flash burn on the second knuckle of my index finger (see photo below).
Once you have determined the level of protection you need, you can then explore the options available to you given your particular requirements. When looking for a shooting glove, the first thing I look for is a snug and comfortable fit that allows me the most tactile perception and grip support. Protection then becomes my secondary criteria, as I only need shielding from minor abrasions, heat and to provide a barrier from wind chill when temperatures drop. My two favorite shooting gloves have been the Outdoor Research, Overlord Short glove (which is more fitted compared to the standard Overlords) and my Mechanix Original glove. I have small hands, and wear a size small glove. I prefer my gloves to fit slightly on the tighter side rather than loose with a bunch of extra material at the finger tips that would get in the way of smooth weapon manipulations. The Overlords are a bit more comfortable than the Original Glove but between the two I found the Original Glove to be a bit more fitted and the synthetic leather palms and fingertip design that is void of any seams, is slightly thinner than the FR material used in the Overlords. The Mechanix Original glove is engineered to enhance grip, provide hand protection without sacrificing too much finger dexterity to accomplish this, all padding on the palm and fingertips and extraneous layers have been eliminated. And while the palms are certainly not the thinnest out there, given that the Original Glove was designed primarily as a general purpose glove rather than shooters or tactical glove, they do a great job in my opinion of providing the perfect balance of protection and tactility.
The Original Glove is designed with short cuffs ending just behind the wrist which keeps my watch face accessible and does not obstruct wrist movement. I am not a fan of gloves with elastic cuffs , mainly because I find that the elastic bands tend to lose elasticity over time. This low profile velcro used on the TPR closure tabs, don’t trap lint as much as regular Velcro hooks and are also much quieter than regular velcro. The 550 cord pull tabs can be tucked in or cut off but since I like to hang my gloves off a carbineer clipped to my rigger’s belt I tend to keep them on there. The reinforced joint on the back of the index finger allows the fingers to bend without overly stressing the material. The sides of the fingers use a thin mesh material which helps to reduce bulk and increases ventilation. New gloves require a bit of ‘break-in’ time to work the synthetic leather and make it more pliable as they can be a bit stiff initially. I find that soaking the gloves in a bit of warm water and then working them by opening and closing your hands with them on speeds up this process significantly. The synthetic leather palms can feel a bit slimy when wet but this does not significantly negate their gripping properties and they dry fairly quickly.
To give you an idea of the dexterity that the Original Glove allows; I am able index mags, perform reloads, and execute smooth trigger pulls and other weapons manipulations with ease. I am able to operate the buttons on my radio as well as the comm headsets controls with no issues. I am even able to use some the touch screen functions of my iPhone and tablet, however using the qwerty keyboard is a no go.
Another great thing about Mechanix Original Gloves is that they are easily acquired from a variety of commonly found retailers such as Lordco, Walmart and other similar stores and at a price of about a third of what Overlord Gloves sell for, when they do eventually wear out, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to replace. Whether I’m doing yard work, hitting the cross-fit gym, cross country backpacking, running drills at the range or anything else where grip, and moderate protection are a must, the Mechanix Original Glove has been my go-to glove for at least the past 5 years.
Finally as with any of your gear, no matter what it is, unless you train with it, there is no point in having it. Gloves are no exception If you train without gloves 90 percent of the time you will likely find degraded performance when you try and execute the same task with gloves on.