Fingers. They are great things.
Humans advanced ability to manipulate tools, be that in the form of a knife, trigger, rope, pen, computer, whatever, separates us from the animal kingdom1. Losing the use of the hands and fingers severely happens our ability to interact with the world. Why then, do many guys have this masochistic tendency to not protect them?
More than once I have had someone sneer as I put my gloves on, only to wish they had an hour later when their palms were latticed with cutty grass slashes. Because hands are used so much, they take a long time to heal, so it makes sense to look after them.
Maybe I am a bit biased. I think it could be because I credit my gloves, in part, for saving the tip of my finger during an unfortunate (that means stupid in this case) incident with a Golok.
So many options.
So, lets just take it you have decided that protecting one of your most important assets might be a good idea. There are so many choices out there, where do you start? Well. I would suggest you start by defining their main use. What I am talking about here are general use, protective gloves – lets ignore cold weather for a moment. Gloves to put on when you are going bush bashing and want some protection for when you want to reach out and grab things – either to pull yourself up, to stabilise yourself or just to get things out of the way.
I have several pairs these days – depending what I am up too.
My tried and tested2 are my Ironclad Ranchworx. To me, nothing protects my skin, like skin. In this case, Kevlar reinforced Leather. I brought them a little tight, and after a couple of wears in the wet, they mold to the hands perfectly. Touch, but still enough tactile feel to not feel like you are wearing oven mitts.
I got some Luminator Gloves as part of my LandSar Training. The obvious benefit to these being the visibility. But I haven’t found them quite as tactile as the Ironclads – so will likely retire them – maybe replacing them with some of Ironclad’s Hi-Vis Options. It’s not that they are bad, just not as good as the others.
Another, more functional option is the Ninja X4. I issue these at work as well. Synthetic – but highly cut resistant. They certainly take a beating from the lads. While maybe not the ‘coolest’ looking of the options – they (when fitted right) are very tactile and offer good protection for a modest price.
Talking of fitment. Most guys wear their gloves too big. While they might be tight when you first put them on, gloves, leather or synthetic will stretch a bit – so fit them snug and appreciate the fact they will break in a bit.
The other reason to consider some gloves, particularly for the hunters, is for concealment. Guys will cover themselves from head to toe with camo, then leave their hands (and often face) uncovered. There is something about skin that seems to stand out to animals. This is of course a totally unscientific statement – but it just seems to be the case.
It makes sense then, to cover those hands up as well – after all – there is a good chance that they are what’s going to be moving the most when you are out – handing bino’s, firearms, whatever the case may be.
In my case – I have a pair of the Hunters Element Soft Touch Gloves. While I do like the fact that they are fingerless – I do wonder if my fingertips are sticking out like little white beacons all the time.
Leather or Synthetic?
This also ties into scope of use – the one time I have regretted wearing my Ranchworx was during the MSC ‘Above the Bushline’ Course – essentially walking around in the wet and the snow with leather gloves. They got wet, they got cold and they stayed that way. I would have been better with a synthetic, or more correctly – and wet weather glove. But. They were still better than nothing.
Protect those digits.
Really, no matter what you chose, some form of protection is going to be better than nothing. I would strongly suggest investing in a good pair of gloves. If you are shooter, make sure you go to the range in them to get used to handling your firearm while wearing them.
They might just stop you losing a finger one day!