We received a package in the mail from Mechanix Wear a few months ago and ualuid an extensive wear test and evaluation on the brand’s “Original 0.5mm Covert” glove. Like eye pro, quality boots and good kneepads, gloves are an important piece of safety gear. Besides having debris in your eyes, nothing is more distracting to the mission then filleting your hand open on some piece of rusty metal or other hazard and having to…continue to use that hand. With that being said, here is a quick run-down of the Coverts, the couple of things we would liked to see changed, as well as the numerous things we loved about the glove.
At .5 mm thick, the Covert is super thin and offers maximum sensation (that sounded a bit like a birth control latex advertisement – LOL) while still providing a good measure of safety. While these gloves are not full-fledged, flame and punture-resistant combat gloves they do offer a great level of basic protection from the small cuts and scrapes encountered everyday when working and crawling in the field and at home. Several of us wore them for testing and everyday tasks and I have to say I was shocked at just how “Thin” these gloves actually were, while still offering great basic wear and cut resistance. But on to the features…
(An excerpt taken from the Covert’s info page at Mechanix.com)
“The Original® 0.5mm Covert tactical glove utilizes a high dexterity 0.5mm palm and fingers for the perfect blend of precision and protection. The glove features a form-fitting finger design to reduce material bunching and improve feel for smooth weapon manipulation and overall control in the field or at the range. Breathable TrekDry® material form-fits the hand for a second-skin fit and a nylon cord loop beneath each wrist makes for convenient storage.”
The Covert also includeds a dual-purpose nylon cord loop at the base of each glove’s palm area. This loop can be used for both assisting the user while doning the glove as well as for attaching the gloves to one another during storage or while in a side pocket. This was a nice added feature, and I am happy to report that the nylon loops were large enough to get a good grip on while putting the gloves on, yet small enough to not have a practical hope of catching on gear, charging handles, etc.
We made an interesting discovery during the initial wear testing of the Coverts. “X-Large” measured too big for my hands and “Large” was 2% too small, but after roughly half an hour of use I noticed that they stretched that 2% to give a perfect, skin-tight fit. As testing progressed, they did not seem to shrink, even when we got them wet, and as stated above, the thin synthetic leather seems to allow us to do everything we do here at PracticalShootingTips.com with relative ease.
During the wear test, I wore the gloves as much as I could and used them for everything we did around the house and while out and about training…
- Function checks and dry fire drills on Handguns, Carbines, Bolt Guns, Shotguns While testing the Coverts, we ran drills extensively with the gloves on several different weapon systems here at PracticalShootingTips.com The gloves were even part of our “700 Draw Endurance Test” for Alien Gear’s new Cloak Tuck 2.0 holster. The gloves performed as expected and I loved the thin material and the amount of control it afforded me; the “closeness” I feel to my weapon when using it is very important to me, which is why I usually don’t wear gloves. The Coverts are now my favorite pair of “Thin” combat gloves and I will keep readers updated as I use them in the future. Physical Chamber Checks are hard, mostly because sensation at the tips of the fingers is lowered with gloves on because of the extra fabric over our skin (something that will plague pretty much every glove on the market). Regular readers will know how often we remind them to check the chamber of a weapon both visually and physically. Lowered tactile sensation at the end of the pinky finger is enough to not feel a round sitting in the chamber, so I would remind readers to make sure you have visually checked as well, which should not be hard as most readers visually inspect the chamber anyways, and physically checking the chamber is the half of chamber checking most often neglected in the first place.
- Writing Once you pick up the pen and start writing, you pretty much forget you are wearing gloves, as was true for most of the following activities. The gloves are thin and provide tactile control of the pen. So you “The Pen art mightier than the Sword!” types take note. ;D
- Loading magazines As long as we were careful to not get the thin material caught between a round and one of the feed lips this task was relatively easy. After practicing loading a few magazines with the gloves on, loading became less of a task, and more of the brainless activity it has become after the years and years we have been loading magazines. (With or without gloves it is quite boring, and I need to keep challenging myself with mental situational awareness drills so as not to waist my time falling into “Mindless Loading Magazine Land”)
- Trackpad/Phone/Tablet Usage As far as I know, there is no conductive silver stitching used in the construction of the Coverts, yet after the gloves have been worn for a while (wet/sweaty) the pads of the fingers were conductive enough to be used with the trackpad on my MacBook Pro, the screen on my phone, as well as the Google Nexus tablet I borrowed from a friend to test. Wetting the fingers a little with the tip of your tongue, as one would before turning a page in a book, is enough to get the gloves to begin turning virtual pages on these electronic devices. Again, not an advertised feature, and only works when wet, but still nice to have discovered during testing.
- Engaging/Disengaging Safetys and other Weapon controls Taken the thinness of the material between the controls and our skin, operation of these releases and safety controls were easy compared to motions done when wearing thicker gloves. The .5mm thick material is a real blessing; one I never knew I was lacking until now.
- Driving Depending on the “stickiness” of the particular steering wheel of the car I was driving everything went well; again, eventually I forgot I was wearing the Coverts. (MORE DRIVING – SEE BELOW)
- Motorcycle Yes, yes… We are action heros here at PracticalShootingTips.com and we can drive motorbikes too. 😉 Upshifting, downshifting, coasting and breaking all went well. Upwards of 50 MPH the wind tends to cut though the gloves a bit, though this is to be expected as they are designed to be breathable, light weight and fast drying.
- Tying Shoes and Boots Tying bows and knot, etc. can be a chore with any glove on, but this task was accomplished relatively easily with the Coverts.
- Typing The little keys on our Apple MacBook Pro 13″ were a nice test for the dexterity of my fingers with the gloves on. Turns out that typing speed suffered a little (because of the added mental effort it takes to type with the gloves) but I am happy to say that accuracy remained high as I typed a paragraph with the Covert gloves.
During the Covert’s wear testing we found the gloves to be tough and relatively abrasion resistant. We even used them for the first 700 draws on our Alien Gear Cloak Tuck 2.0 test. The stock Glock we were using for the test has had the sides of its grip covered in skateboard tape for added rough-texture, and yet, even after 700+ draws, the Covert did not show much additional wear. I say this because at most I, personally, only detected some of the palm’s material “smoothing” out a little; no gashes or noticeable wear marks. The thin synthetic leather palm and fingers feel like a second skin and are just about the thinnest you can go without sacrificing durability. What I also liked about these gloves are that they are lightweight, quick drying, and machine washable.
The “Thermal Plastic Rubber (TPR) closure” is used with a small strip of velcro to keep the glove on the user’s hand while in use. The single problem/complaint I had about the glove had to do with this feature:
- 1) I do not like velcro; it is too noisy and is hard to keep clean in a field environment. For this particular use (gloves) some makers utilize medium loose elastic, though this is a catch-22 deal as elastic will not keep the glove on as well as Mechanix’s rubber/velcro closure system, and at the other end of the spectrum, elastic that is too tight will cut off blood and oxygen circulation to the hand… 0-o All in all, I feel Mechanix’s use of velcro provides a secure fit, even if it is noisy, so I will forgive the glove this small fault.
- 2) From a anal-tactical perspective the velcro strap is facing the wrong way: When pulling back the slide on our stock Glock utilizing an overhanded/”Power-Stroke” grip, we noticed that the strap on the support-hand glove nearly always becomes loosened by the weapon hand thumb/side of weapon hand. Since both gloves feature velcro on the insides of the wrist, and aiming toward the thumb instead of away from it, this was true while using the weapon left or right handed. Again, kind of getting silly, but it is our job to critically analyze the gear we review and communicate possible design flaws to our readers as well as the manufacturers.
UPDATE: Speaking with Mechanix brass, we have learned that their new “Tactical Line” will feature it’s velcro enclosure on the top of the wrist instead of the inside, thus essentially fixing any problem with the velcro coming loose due to “Power-Stroking” the slide of a handgun. 😀
These small problems aside, we did really like the glove and feel it would be a worthwhile addition to one’s rangebag or Go-Bag. The Coverts are currently the thinnest tactical gloves I have ever used, and I love them. We found that the gloves could do nearly everything we do on a day to day basis, while adding a “Second Skin” and protective barrier to our valuable, and sometimes vulnerable, hands. At an MSRP of $27.95, we feel the Coverts are a dexterous glove and a good value.
Stay Safe and Train Hard,