Web Blast Extra: Good To Go Gear
ND 100L Cold-Weather Duty Gloves
By John Connor
Insulated Neoprene Gloves by Uncle Mike’s Law Enforcement
Good gloves for cool, wet weather. Topside is a soft, brushed neoprene; underside is very flexible smooth-surface synthetic. They’re Thinsulate lined and have a waterproof, breathable Hipora liner. Textured grip-enhancing material on the underside of fingertips except for index fingers works well and helps resist abrasion. The wrists are cinched with hook-and-loop straps.
I tested these down into the low 20’s and found they’re best suited for mid-to-high 30’s and 40-50 degrees. Waterproofing worked really well, and they dried out pretty quickly; toss `em up on dashboard heat vents and they warm up fast. Fit and flex were very good, with good clearance in trigger guards. The big surprise with these gloves is how well they clean up after being thoroughly soiled. For $30, they’re a smart choice. www.unclemikesle.com
EWS530 Elite Winter Specialist Gloves by Hatch Corporation
Hatch’s EWS530’s can pass for dress gloves, but are plenty tough and utilitarian for patrol work. Topside is 100-percent nylon, bottomside is high-quality supple goatskin, and very wear-resistant. Textured reinforcements in the web of the hand and inside surface of the thumb are called “Extreme Grip” for improved weapon control, and they do just that. Insulation is provided by a Thermolite lining and they were warm and comfy in the mid-to-high 30’s. Perspiration dampness is efficiently wicked outward and away from your skin.
This is a “glove within a glove” design, and at first I thought there might be some “slippage factor” between the two. Once you have them on, however, there’s no noticeable slippage at all. Trigger guard clearance is good. The Spandex wrist cuff works well at sealing off drafts and snow. The reinforced, slightly stiffened hook-and-loop closure tabs are handy, and placed right so you don’t have to struggle to release them — something that will save you a lot of cursing and grabbing when you’re having to take them on and off repeatedly for some tasks.
These are excellent gloves and mold themselves to your hands really well in use. Shop around and you can find them for $26-$30. www.hatch-corp.com
ECW Pro Winter Operations Gloves by BLACKHAWK!
ECW Pro’s are some serious hand protection, and loaded with great features. A water-resistant, breathable Eclipse EP nylon shell covers 200-gram insulation plus a full Hipora waterproof, breathable liner, which is then interior-layered with a fleece-and-brush tricot lining. The combined effect is to keep your hands really dry and toasty in very severe conditions.
Texturing on the bottom surfaces worked well even with slippery objects, which offsets the relative bulk of all that insulation. Small loops on the middle fingers of both hands help get them off easily and quickly. The index fingers are slimmed and well tapered for excellent trigger guard clearance and surprisingly good trigger feel and control. There’s even a semi-rigid goggle squeegee built into the left thumb — I tried it, and it works!
This is a gauntlet-length glove, with a cinch-strap at the wrist, an easily-adjusted cinch at the top of the gauntlet, and in addition, an elasticized snow-and-debris cuff. Inboard on the wrists are mating quick-release tabs for snapping your gloves together when not in use.
I tested these down into the low 20’s and they kept my hands comfortably warm. Adding thin NASA liners took that range down to about zero F. I can’t think of a better glove, for example, for manning a SWAT sniper position for prolonged periods in bitter cold — and you wouldn’t have to tear `em off for urgent trigger-pullin’ when a high-priority target suddenly appears. They’ll certainly work well too on patrol, though the gauntlet length could create a bunching effect with some reefer jacket sleeves. MSRP is $69.99, and they’re worth it. www.blackhawk.com
TECU-250 Typhoon Gloves by Manzella
If you’re wondering why the Typhoons in the photo look like they’ve been dragged through a junkyard, here’s why: After formal testing was over, they quickly became my daily snow-shoveling, kindling-splittin’, Jeep-drivin’-through-snowstorms general “beater-gloves.” Yeah, I like `em.
Manzella has been making reasonably priced quality cold-climate gloves for many years and their experience shows, particularly in their ergonomic pre-formed cut. The outer shell is sturdy rip-stop nylon, with a “Rubber-tex” durable grip palm. Straps across the wrist close with hook-and-loop, and the high cuff has a quick-adjust toggled cord. A full Gore-Tex liner backs up 40g Thinsulate insulation very effectively, and the interior is soft, brushed fleece.
Forty grams of Thinsulate won’t take you down to zero temps, but Typhoons were comfy in the 30’s. Adding Manzella polypropylene liners took `em into the 20’s. The insulation is also very compressible, so you get both the benefit of a little loft when they’re not compressed, and better tactility — grasping and pinching — when you put the squeeze on. This also helps get your index finger squeezed into smaller trigger guards.
The best feature I found with the Typhoons is they’re the fastest to warm up and fastest to dry out if they get frozen and/or wet. Several times out in the Deep Freeze — that’s anywhere outside during winter where I live — they got cold, so I’d just pop `em inside my coat for a few minutes and warm them right up. They were by far the fastest to warm and dry by tossing them on dashboard heat vents.
In some ways, Typhoons are not the best task-specific gloves, but among the best of cold-weather general-duty gloves. The simplest test might be, when this pair is destroyed, I’ll replace them with another pair. Shop around and you can find them for $50-$60. www.manzella.com
Note: Another Manzella product you might look at is their MZ-174 Tundra Mitts. Combined with a pair of thin, flexible flight gloves, they make a great combo for really nasty deep cold, where mittens are your best bet, but taking them off to grab a gun may leave a patch of bare skin stuck to the steel. Connor OUT.