Q: I’m struggling to find a pair of gloves that are suitable for airgun shooting. Like many airgun shooters, I like to set my trigger fairly light and that can make for tricky shooting with gloved hands. Is there anything that combines warmth with good trigger feel? Camouflage and comfort…
Some Guns wear shooting gloves and others don’t bother. But they’re certainly useful for stopping your fingers freezing in bitterly cold weather and for protecting your hands against hot barrels. In addition, if you’re clayshooting you’ll probably be looking for something different from your gloves than if you’re deer stalking.
There are several brands to choose from, with the most popular seeming to be Sealskinz and MacWets, although well-known sporting names such as Orvis, Farlows, Barbour, Purdey and Laksen all make gloves suitable for the field.
Here’s what you need to look out for:
- Good grip and gun handling
- Warmth without being bulky
- Quick drying
- Trigger feel
- Adjustable cuffs
- A degree of water resistance
We asked around some shooters to find out which shooting gloves they rated. Here’s what they said.
Seeland Winster Softshell Gloves
Matt Clark, Editor of Sporting Gun commented: “My favourite gloves at the moment are the Seeland Winster Softshell gloves.
“They are warm but not too thick, so you don’t lose sensitivity in your fingers. A stretchy adjustable cuff fits snugly around the wrist ensuring your hands are insulated against the cold and wet. Being made from a stretchy material they are very comfortable and the material on the palm provide amazing grip making gun handling in the cold safe. I use mine for walked up shooting as well as clayshooting.”
Features of Seeland Winster Softshell gloves
- Waterproof and breathable SEETEX� membrane
- Fold-back trigger finger with magnetic closure
- Safe-grip palm
MacWets a favourite
Matt Manning, airgunner and writer for Shooting Times says: “I prefer a light trigger and that can make gloves feel like an encumbrance. Shooting without gloves is probably the best option, but that is not always desirable in cold conditions or when you need to hide your skin from sharp-eyed quarry.
“In really cold conditions when insulation is paramount, I’ll go for a neoprene glove or woollen mitten with foldback fingers so I have sufficient feel and dexterity When it is not so cold but I want to keep my hands concealed, I’ll wear a thinner glove such as MacWet. These gloves offer impressive trigger feel and excellent grip, even when wet, and the Climatec version also provides some insulation against the cold.
Mark Heath, Instructor Manager at West London Shooting School: “We don’t wear gloves, the reason for this would be because it’s harder to feel the trigger. In the colder winter months we would opt for a thin running glove. If we were to wear gloves, MacWets would probably be our go-to brand.
Lady Melissa Percy, founder of ladies outdoor clothing brand Mistamina is also a MacWet fan, saying: “I use MacWet gloves …. the style I get is the Climatec long cuff sport glove… I use them for pheasant and grouse shooting… (any shot gun shooting really).
“I find the gloves last a couple of years … purely because I wear them whenever I am holding my gun. They have great grip and great stretch. The elasticated Velcro strap for the wrists ensures they stay in place and keep your hands warm and dry. They’re great in any weather.
“MacWet and Sealskinz are my favourite brand of gloves. Sealskinz are brilliant for more extreme weather or quadding. If shooting in a hot country MacWet do a great pair of lightweight gloves… called the Micromesh gloves. Some people find wearing gloves irritating to shoot in but this style you hardly notice are on.”
Features of MacWet gloves
- Excellent grip in all weather conditions
- Short or long cuff ranges in their Micromesh or warming Climatec glove.
- Aquatec fabric responds to moisture and climate charge, giving grip, sensitivity, feel and comfort at all times
- Any moisture on the skin is wicked to the outside of the material as a result of the breathable palm fabric.
- Dry naturally within 5-10 minutes
Simms fishing gloves
Ed Wills, Deputy Editor of Shooting Times says: “The only gloves I really use when shooting or fishing are Simms fishing gloves. These are by no means a fancy glove but keep my hands warm to an extent and leave my fingers free to extract cartridges or tie flies. I don’t use any neoprene or “fancy” gloves as this flares up my eczema from not enough air getting to the hands.”
Richard Banbury, of Orvis said:
“I only use gloves if there is a biting cold easterly wind or if it is a high volume shoot and I’m using a side-by-side. If it is going to be raining all day, I recommend taking two pairs and swapping at lunch time. Shooting in slippery, slimy gloves isn’t great.”
Fieldsports expert Ed Solomon comments:
“I’ve never been a big fan of wearing gloves to shoot, as it has always felt a bit alien to me. I will however always have a pair with me to keep my hands warm between drives, layouts if shooting clays, or constantly on me if I am instructing.
“I’m a big fan of the Sealskinz brand as they seem to keep my hands the warmest, plus so far seem very hard wearing. The thinner types may give more feel but don’t do much for me to help keep the hands from going numb. I think it’s something of a personal preference as I have many customers who can shoot in thin golf style gloves no problems, so experiment to see what works for you.
Ed continues: “A good halfway house seem to be the leather Laksen gloves which are thin enough to give a degree of feel for the trigger but thick enough to keep the chill off, plus they look great!”
Features of Laksen Handmade London Shooting Gloves
- Super soft, single layer glove with maximum feel
- Flexible with an excellent fit
- Water resistant
- Made from nubuck calfskin and hydrophobic treated
- Elastic cuff with adjustable strap
- Sizes Available: 7 – 11
John Sugden, keen stalker and manager of Campbell’s of Beauly states: “On cold December and January days I swear by a very fine leather glove. They’re not always the warmest, but they ensure the grip on your gun feels the same. At Campbell’s we still source all our shooting gloves from the UK, as there is still a good nucleus of British glove makers remaining, particularly in the South West.”
A post shared by Campbell’s of Beauly (@campbellsofbeauly) on Feb 24, 2018 at 1:04am PST
How not to lose gloves
Jonathan Irby, head of gun sales at Purdey gave his thoughts on shooting gloves: “On cold days when shooting with an over-and-under or hot days when shooting with my side-by-side….as thin as possible to ensure loading is still easy and you have a sense of feel and touch and thus can easily operate the safety catch, triggers and top lever.
“My gloves last for as long as I manage to keep them! I need to have them attached to strings and down my jacket sleeves….like a child! I am hopeless with gloves and losing them.
What to look out for when choosing gloves
Richard Banbury: “Gloves must fit with no loose material that could get caught in the breech. They need to dry quickly, have good feel and absolutely give you a safe grip on a polished gun stock. For me, a fold back trigger finger is not essential, but you must have excellent feel through the trigger finger.”
Jonathan Irby: “Gloves that are thin, warm and well-fitted.”
Kristian Ferner Robson: “I mainly look for warmth, movability and how supple and flexible they are while shooting.”
Lady Melissa Percy: “I look out for stretch, warmth, a subtle colour… black, olive green or brown and waterproof / windproof are handy too.”