I never appreciated the need for shooting gloves until I shot an AK-47 variant with wooden handguards. Part of the fun of an AK is putting rounds down range at a rapid pace, but wood doesn't insulate as well as polymer—holding the fore-end after firing several 30-round magazines can literally burn your hands. Shooting gloves come in handy around this point.
5.11 Tactical is well known for its clothing and accessories made for military and law enforcement applications. As with most gun-related items, that which works for the pros works for civilians, too, and 5.11 gear has become ubiquitous at shooting ranges. The company's Tac A2 gloves were clearly designed with cops in mind, as they are comfortable enough to wear for extended periods like an 8-hour shift. That's what initially drew me to them, as many shooting gloves aren't all that pleasant after just a short period. After further examination, I discovered why they are so cozy.
First, there's no seam in the fingertips. These joints found on many gloves can poke your sensitive fingertips and grow increasingly irritating over time. They are also the place where many gloves begin to fray and come apart after extended use. By designing a glove without these seams, 5.11 already had a leg up on other models on the market.
Stretchable nylon backing allows hands to flex naturally, another comfort-inducing feature. Leather pads on the palm and beneath the knuckles add durability and a measure of protection against things like the heat generated by 7.62x39 mm rounds going through an AK's barrel.
Speaking of heat, if you're like me, you sweat a lot on the range, especially in the summer months. Thankfully, the Tac A2s have a sweat wipe built into the thumbs, which allows you to wipe your brow and prevent the stinging sensation caused by sweat dripping into the eyes. The whole glove dries fast when it gets wet, but the sweat wipe seemed to do so at a quicker rate.
The Tac A2's overall light weight is barely noticeable when you close the Velcro strap, so they feel almost like a second skin. At $29.99, these gloves are relatively inexpensive, yet durable enough to stand with more costly offerings. And that's good, because I plan to wear them whenever I shoot.