Protecting Hands & Eyes


I enjoy maintaining a level of fitness, and my workout is often on the range. That’s right: I like to do the kind of training with a gun that makes me sweat. For some running-and-gunning drills, I wear gloves and kneepads, which keep me out of trouble. I wear Bolle Sentinel Platinum eye protection and Ironclad EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves.

Although I wear eye protection at every range outing, I don’t always wear gloves. I do tend to err on the side of caution after being surprised a few times. For example, I have been lead splashed while shooting steel at closer distances. It’s a no-brainer for eye protection, but in many scenarios I wear a good pair of gloves.

Ironclad EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves

Ironclad EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves have TPU (Thermo Plastic Rubber) reinforcement on the back of the hand. TPU is flexible and can be placed strategically on fabric for impact protection. Ironclad Gloves are different because they exceed industry standards and have their own standards for impact protection based on bioengineering research and industry experience.

If you know anyone who has a physically demanding and hazardous occupation, they likely are familiar with Ironclad’s Kong Gloves, which are work gloves with TPU reinforcement on the back of the hand. Prior to Ironclad’s exploration into glove design, there were standards for common hazards like cut and abrasion resistance, but not impact injuries. This is a complete revolution in the industry and those of us on the tactical side benefit from this research.

For tactical shooting applications, EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves can be used to breach obstacles like wall climbs, and provide back-of-hand protection for precision shooting positions. Anyone who shoots prone unsupported knows the advantage here. These are also the gloves I use to handle the glass plates when ballistic testing.

The TPU EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves don’t bunch up when the hand is flat and don’t offer resistance when the user makes a fist. The TPU stops at the first knuckle of the trigger finger to give maximum feel for the shot. The synthetic suede palms are covered with a cross hatch of silicone, giving them an incredible grip. It goes right up to the edge of the web of the hand, allowing a consistent master grip. The glove stays positioned, and therefore the shooting hand stays locked in. They do not bunch up when the hand is flat, which prevents shifting over the hand’s range of motion.

The back of the hand has breathable polyester with a terry-cloth sweat wipe on the radial side of the thumb. Above this, the thumb saddle is reinforced. In the carpal area, there is a TPU patch, which is a cuff puller. The glove uses a hook-and-loop top-of-wrist closure. This is my only complaint about this glove. The closure keeps turning the workout button of my watch on. Time for a new watch, I guess.

I put some rounds downrange with the EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves. They run true to size and breathed well during use. They worked the same, wet or dry, and gave outstanding knuckle protection.

Ironclad makes the EXO type of gloves in several styles, and several similar tactical gloves that will suit any scenario. I would like to convince them to make gloves for mountain biking with TPU fingers, speaking from experience.

Ironclad EXO Operator Grip Impact Gloves have an MSRP of $29.99.

For more info visit Ironclad.

Bolle Sentinel Platinum Safety Glasses

I tested two different versions of the Bolle Sentinel Safety Glasses with Platinum technology: a 13% smoke-lens version and a copper-lens version. The copper-lens version has a ballistic lens allowing 65% visible light transmission and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. Since they do a great job reducing fatigue outdoors, I recommend copper for all-around use. It also did well when a person went from a dark room to bright sun.

Before I tested the smoke Platinum glasses I dropped them, then proceeded to step on them. I’m sure you think I was just going through testing procedures. Nope, I’m a klutz. Through my negligence, I demonstrated the anti-scratch capabilities of the Platinum coating. If you need your shooting glasses tested, just give me a call. I’m here seven days a week.

The Sentinel is a half-frame design, which many shooters like me prefer because of the unobstructed view. The lenses are polycarbonate with a STANAG 2920/MIL-PRF-31013 ballistic level. One of the things I found was the lens had a consistent lack of visual distortion, even on the edges. Many shooting glasses are wraparound style, but Bolle has taken this to a higher level. Eyewear products only require optical accuracy in the center of vision. The Sentinel lens extends beyond the shooter’s periphery, allowing motion detection out to the edges and complete protection of the side of the eye.

The coating on the Platinum is on both sides of the lens. Most coatings are hydrophobic, meaning they resist water, causing it to bead up like a freshly waxed sports car. Bolle found that this type of coating distorted vision. That is, when a lens fogs, the droplets formed have to be wiped constantly, and dust and wiping can compound problems. The Platinum coating on Bolle lenses allows the water to create a uniform microscopic coating. Subsequent droplets are repelled. This is easily demonstrated with a light mist. This strategy reduces the chance someone is going to wipe something abrasive across the lens.

I have to admit, there is a weird side to the Platinum coating. They rinse off and shake dry nicely. They really do what they say they do in the fog. However, if you try to wipe them off with just a microfiber cloth, the cloth sort of sticks to the lens. It is kind of hard to describe, but it feels like the difference between a Parkerized and a blued gun. Whatever it is, it works.

Bolle Sentinel Platinum Glasses weigh 0.99 oz, less than half the weight of common eyeglasses. They have soft nose bridges and non-slip temples that fit under hearing protection. They fit a variety of wearers and the MSRP is $59. I recommend the copper-lens version for all-around use.

Visit Bolle for more information.

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