Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Recent Range Notes, Vol. II

Do you live someplace cold? Do you wear gloves in the winter? Have you shot your CCW pistol while wearing those gloves?

At the arctic outdoor range sessions of the last couple weekends, a variety of glove-related maladies were encountered. For instance, it only takes a bit of glove material between the floorplate of a Ruger 22/45 magazine and the butt of the gun to keep the mag from seating fully, resulting in failures to feed. While this isn't such a big deal on a target pistol, it could be unpleasant on a "for real" gun.

Is your gun double-action? If so, how far forward does the trigger have to go to fully reset? Are your gloves thin enough to allow that to happen reliably?

I was shooting my S&W 432PD the weekend before last, and even wearing my thin and ninja-esque supertactical ¡Blackhawk! elite anti-terrorist gloves, things were crowded enough in that J-frame's trigger guard to cause a small amount of glove fabric to bunch atop the trigger during fast double action work, preventing it from resetting. If you've never had this happen before, you'll wonder what's happening as the cylinder continues to rotate normally, only with depressing little *clicks* instead of *bangs*. Yes, Virginia, revolvers malfunction, too.

Gloves didn't make manipulating the dinky HKS J-frame speedloaders any easier, either, but I was a lot better after fifteen or twenty reps than I was at the start of the session, that's for sure.

Do you have CTC Lasergrips on your gun? Awesome, aren't they? Don't work too well with gloves all bunched up in front of the lens, though. Good thing you devote most of your practice to iron sight work!

Got gloves? Wear 'em to the range, even if it's an indoor range. You might learn a thing or two.


Homer said...

When I lived "up north" any change in wardrobe, from jackets to down vests to gloves, necessitated a trip to the range to sort out the procedural changes required. Here in the (sometimes) sunny south it's not so much an issue, but one must nonetheless pay attention.

Back then, someone once inquired as to why I was wearing two same-color-but-different gloves and "space inside the trigger guard" was the answer.

Anonymous said...

I live in northern WI, and it gets really cold up here. Gloves are a must if you want to keep your fingers, and they just don't make a lot of thin warm gloves. I ran into this same problem two weekends ago. While training with my colt detective I learned that the gloves that I wear bind up the whole works in double action fire. Isotoner mens spandex gloves work the best for me. They look really bad on the range, but they work. Dan Marino would be so happy!

John Peddie (Toronto) said...

I'm in Toronto, hunt north of here, often in cold weather. Can't safely or effectively handle a firearm with traditional gloves on.

Best solution I have found is a pair of golf gloves-light, thin and somewhat warming, down to, say, 20 Farenheit.

Below that, my shooting would all be indoors, close to a fireplace!

Jay G said...


This is kinda scary. I drafted a post last night, should go up in about an hour, about how I need to train in winter garb...

red said...

Go to Rusted Moon and look for gloves by "Serius", if you can't find 'em look for the short lady w/black hair, she'll help you out.

I have a pair and they kicked ass at the range last weekend. Thin but surprisingly warm.

Oldsmoblogger said...

Yep. I tried shooting the other week with gloves on (Army leather w/wool-polypropylene liners). I could shoot okay, sort of, once I got my finger into the trigger guard. Had to use my right hand to help guide my left index finger between the guard and trigger, which was not happy-making. I was shooting a steel Taurus 85-3, which will be my carry revolver.

I was thinking about the Isotoners w/Thinsulate, or maybe I'll try to hunt up those Serius gloves red mentioned above.

Tam said...

It totally made me rethink my regular winter gloves, which are big things by North Face with carbon fiber knuckle pucks. Great for assaulting the North Face of the Eiger, not so much for shooting.

angus lincoln said...

I shoot a lot in the cold and find suitable shooting gloves at my local army surplus store. I look for the bargain gloves that are made of leather,(lamb is nice and thin and strong),I find that anything with insulation just doesn't work out too well. I'm lucky that my hands don't get cold so long as I am well dressed.These types of gloves are likely made for driving not shooting, but being thin and close fitting, they are suitable for loading magazines and so far I've had no issues with trigger gaurd impedance.
Nothing will suck the heat out of your fingers quicker than direct contact between the cold steel of your gun or magazine. Also, those handy heat packs could be worn inside the palm area for some extra warmth if necessary.
I remember back in the good ol' days when we would warm up next to the 55 gallon oil drum burning scrap lumber. Maintaining core body warmth goes a long way to keeping extremities warm as well.Don't neglect a good hat either.

Oldsmoblogger said...

Great for assaulting the North Face of the Eiger, not so much for shooting.

I'm Jonathan Hemlock, and I approve these gloves.

Farmer Frank said...

In cold weather I just add another movement to the draw stroke: gun hand goes to mouth. Teeth bite down on fingertips of glove. Pull gun hand out of glove, commence to regular draw stroke movements.

complicated and cold as all get out? Sure is, but it beats missing the triggerguard with the folded over finger of a glove housing a short partially amputated trigger finger to begin with.

There are some things in life there is no easy or good way around.

All The Best,
Frank W. James

Tony said...

Say, Tam, how are those Blackhawk gloves fairing? Living a tad south of the Arctic Circle, gloves that help retain some dexterity but yet are warm enough to help me not lose my fingers are always a matter of interest to me. However, having to order most of the good stuff from half-way across the world limits my abilities of testing different gloves. If you are able to, a nice review would be much appreciated.

In the past, I've used Hatch NS430L gloves. They are tolerably warm but rather clumsy. These days I am usually using Bundeswehr surplus combat gloves until it gets really cold, but their warmth/dexterity ratio does leave something to be desired, too. Main reason for using them is the fact I can get them locally and cheap.

One thing you might want to look at is OR glove liners. Warm and thin! My only gripe is that they are a bit slippery to be used by themselves, but on the other hand, when the other option is barely feeling the handgun in your hand... Well, there might be worse options? And the whole idea is to combine them with another set of gloves which will hopefully help with the grippyness issue. I'm actually looking forward to testing how well they'll help my hands keep warm in colder temperatures.

"Nothing will suck the heat out of your fingers quicker than direct contact between the cold steel of your gun or magazine."

There indeed is something worse: night vision gear used by the Finnish Army. Those bastards don't just suck every joule of warmth from your body, they will drain your very soul through your hands. Brr. Cold little buggers.

Tony said...

Wait a minute. Did I say OR? Why did I say OR? These glove liners I have are made by Arc'teryx. I must be nearly as think as you tired I am... :P

(There was a bunch of stuff on discount at a local hiking store, but the selection of sizes remaining was very poor. I just picked the ones that fit. That must have been the day I was looking at OR gloves online...)

Sevesteen said...

Gloves are one reason my J frame is not a winter gun--With my fingers, I've yet to find gloves that don't prevent the trigger from resetting. The first shot is fine, but then I need to pull my finger in and out of the trigger guard to fire again.

aczarnowski said...

Thanks for the reminder. I just checked the lightly fleece lined goatskin work gloves I picked up for 5 bucks the other day. Draw stroke works fine with plenty of room in the trigger guard.

Still have to get out and practice live though. So many things to practice...

When the temps really go down here in MN, I've already decided to follow Frank's method since chopper mittens are the only thing that work for me at about 0 and below. As he says, some problems have no good solutions.

SAWBONES said...

I always wear "fingerless" gloves for the sake of the very issues mentioned in the complaint.
Having the distal portions of my fingers exposed addresses every single problem mentioned, in my case, yet still provides for adequate hand insulation even in the coldest, snowiest weather. (Admittedly, I spend relatively little time outside, though, so YMMV.)

excitedVulcan said...

I found out about gloves before the cold weather. I was about to dispatch a woodchuck w/ my SP101, when no clicky. *what the??* squeeze again. nothing. drat! now I gotta shoot him on the run... Squeeze... nothing! I thought for sure I had a malf... couldn't reproduce it, naturally. So I tried the gloves on, and sure enough, a tiny bit of fabric wadded up behind the trigger, preventing enough travel. My Kahr has a big enough hole that it doesn't matter, but I subscribe to Farmer Frank's methodology (My Dad's method for operating a 30-30 with mittens while in the Adirondacks) of pulling the glove off w/ your teeth.

Anonymous said...

What, you don't have the MittenGlove?

The mitten folds back to velcro and exposes all your digits 'cept the thumb. Makes shooting in cold weather a non-factor. We hunters on the Iron Range have been using them for years.

Plus, my hands or body for that matter doesn't feel the cold until it hits zero. I shoveled the snow off the driveway this morning and it was a lovely 18 degrees and I wasn't wearing gloves.

Nothing to see here, move along.


Anonymous said...

The best setup I've ever found I used shooting a trap league in <10 degree F actual temperature at night. A pair of Spokeswear neoprene back/split suede palm winter cycling gloves with hand warmer packs tucked into the cuffs at the pulse points under the wrist. This is a neat trick I learned from a friend who has Reynaud's syndrome. The warmer pack on the wrist fools your circulatory system into increasing blood flow to your hands to radiate the perceived excess heat.

This kept my hands toasty and I shot 49/50 that particular night.

Bruce B., Springfield IL

tom said...

You're better off with your hands in your pockets with one of them on a pistol and the other on a speedloader or mag than you are wearing gloves.

"Mall Ninja"

Tam said...

Jesus Christ, Tom, are you still going on about that?

Anyhow, it's kind of hard to, say, rake your lawn or carry the groceries home from the store with "your hands in your pockets with one of them on a pistol and the other on a speedloader or mag".

Agripa said...

I have to agree with Sawbones above about fingerless gloves. I have some wool ones from REI for working in the cold when dexterity is required and the worst I can say about them is that it takes a while to get used to the change in grip shear. I have not had an occasion to try them out when shooting however.