Best shooting gloves and AR-15 Pistol

Best Shooting Gloves [Hands-On Tested, 2021 Update]

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When we were discussing what gloves to review for this article, we realized how many “non-shooting” specific gloves we’d come to enjoy shooting with.

As a result, we decided to look at it in a different way: Rather than finding what shooting gloves are best, we wanted to determine what gloves are best for shooting.

So, we bought a mix of popular work gloves, duty gloves, motorsports gloves, and shooting gloves to put to the test. We also wanted the test to be realistic for the average shooter, so we grabbed our Ruger MPR test gun, my Colt Combat Commander, and spent a few days shooting at some steel.

Criteria we considered included dexterity, heat resistance, wear resistance, and of course, comfort.

If you normally shoot without gloves, here’s a few reasons on why you should give them a try.

Shooting with gloves may seem unnecessary, or overkill for the type of shooting you do, but a good pair will enhance your shooting experience. They can protect your hands from hot barrels, sharp magazine lips and when shooting outside, the whims of mother nature. Gloves can also help prevent blisters during extended shooting and reduced felt recoil. They keep your hands a bit cleaner too. For the sweaty palmed/hot weather shooters, they can improve your grip, and prevent any damage to your gun’s finish from acidic sweat.

Here are our top picks:

Mechanix TAA “The Original” Tactical – Best inexpensive shooting glove
Mechanix M-Pact 3 Tactical – Best full-finger duty glove
Titan Ops Half-Finger Glove – Best half-finger duty glove
Magpul Core Technical Glove – Best slip-on shooting glove
PIG Tactical Echo Women’s Glove – Best women’s specific shooting glove
Pig Tactical Alpha Glove – Best hot weather shooting glove

These gloves stood out above the rest, and for more on why they’ve risen to the top, you can read our detailed test results for each one below.

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Our Findings

Telling you that a glove fits snuggly or loosely is useless unless you know how that translates to your hand, so here’s a photo of my ungloved hand as a baseline.

Bare hand

My hand measures 8.5” around, and 7.5” from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my palm.

Mechanix TAA “The Original” Tactical Gloves

Mechanix Original Pistol Shooting

After seeing how popular their “Original” glove had become with soldiers and LEO, Mechanix created a modified tactical version of it. The only real difference is the coloring, on this glove the writing is the same color as the glove’s color. TAA means it’s Trade Agreements Act compliant, which is an Act that restricts what products and services US Government can make use of. Boiled down, a TAA approved product is one that was made in the USA, or a country on the approved countries list.

Features & Fitment

Mechanix Original Hand Fitment

  • .08mm Synthetic Leather palm and fingers
  • Breathable TekDry mesh keeps your hands cool
  • Touch screen friendly
  • Reinforced thumb and index fingers
  • Machine washable

Going off of Mechanix website, I’m right at a medium and hand width measurement is true to size. I wouldn’t call them a tight fit, but it isn’t as baggy as the photo above makes it appear. The wrist strap lets you Velcro it down as snuggly as you prefer, and even when pulled fairly tight, it doesn’t pinch your wrist. The finger fit is good for averaged width fingers like mine, but the thumb is a bit long for me. If you have thin fingers this glove may feel too loose for you, but average to meaty fingers should feel fine.

Mechanix Original Back of Hand

Shooting Performance

The palm material is textured enough to prevent any slippage when pistol shooting, and I didn’t need to alter my hand position from where I normally would when shooting sans gloves. All of the controls were easy to feel through the glove, and I didn’t notice any loss in dexterity during pistol and rifle mag changes. The tip of the glove on my index finger did end up catching on the trigger guard slightly when moving it onto the trigger. I found that a bit annoying, my index finger may just be on the short side, but a little less overall index finger length would’ve been okay with me. The breathable mesh did a good job of keeping my hands cool.

Mechanix Original AR Shooting

Where they really shine is rifle shooting. Since the trigger well is a bit bigger, I didn’t have the issue of my finger occasionally getting caught on the trigger guard like I did with my pistol. I was also able to feel the trigger and pressure I was applying without the cushioned feeling some gloves have. My support hand was able to keep the gun where I wanted it, though with the minimal recoil the MPR has, that isn’t overly difficult.

Heat Resistance: Our test gun (Ruger MPR) has a slim handguard that gets a little toasty after firing a few mags back to back. “The Original” did a sufficient job at keeping my hand from burning, but I could still feel the heat through the glove. It’s thin, so I would have been more surprised if I didn’t feel any heat at all. The barrel still felt too hot for prolonged contact, but I was able to perform an “emergency” field strip without burning my hand on anything.

Mag Loading: Loading a magazine with these gloves is doable, but the material bunched up in the palm and fingers which made it a little more difficult to feel what I was doing. The slight excess length on the thumb and index finger that occurred when they were bent got caught under the feed lip of my AR mag. I ended up just taking the glove off my hand, which was easy to do since it’s Velcro. If I needed to wear them while loading a magazine, I would probably try to shrink them slightly in the wash for a tighter fit.

Verdict: Best inexpensive shooting gloves.

Mechanix M-Pact 3 Tactical Gloves

Mechanix M-Pact Pistol Shooting

The M-Pact line has seen a few revisions since its original introduction, with the current model being a blend of the first two. It has, and increases, the knuckle reinforcing of the original model, with the accordion style padding of the M-Pact 2 moved to the fingers instead. I wore the original M-Pact when I worked at repair shop, so I was curious to see how the M-Pact 3 would fare as a shooting glove. Like the “Original Tactical”, the M-Pact 3 Tactical uses the same color for the writing and the glove itself. This one has an ID tag on it where you can write your name, which is a nice touch.

Features & Fitment

Mechanix M-Pact Hand fitment

  • Synthetic leather palm
  • Molded thermoplastic rubber knuckle protection
  • Accordion style padding on the backs of the fingers
  • Palm reinforcement
  • Touchscreen friendly
  • Machine washable

Based on the Mechanix chart, I’m a medium. The hand width is true to size, and it has a snugger fit than the TAA Tactical glove. It’s preferable, especially since this glove has more padding and reinforcement. Like Mechanix’s “The Original”, it’s slightly too long in the thumb, but the overall fit feels like there’s less excess material. The real polarizing difference these gloves have would be the rubber knuckle protection. It’s substantial, and it does have a cavity for your knuckles to settle into. For me, it falls in the right place when I make a fist, but I would highly recommend trying them on in person to make sure they do for you too.

Mechanix M-Pact Back of Hand

Shooting Performance

When shooting, these gloves felt noticeably thicker than the other gloves on the list, but since they fit fairly snug, I didn’t notice any reduced control or slippage. The reinforced knuckle didn’t interfere with my grip on the pistol or rifle at all, which was an initial concern I had. The material on the index finger is thicker, or at least not as soft as the other gloves, so there isn’t as much tactile feedback when operating the gun. It does have striations on the tips of the thumb, index, middle and ring finger which add a little extra grip. They made a more noticeable difference on my support hand, and would help maintain rearward pressure on guns with more significant recoil.

Mechanix M-Pact AR-15 Shooting

Heat Resistance: There was very little handguard heat transfer when shooting a few magazines back to back. Holding the barrel briefly was possible too, so I would consider these gloves the best at resisting heat on the list.

Mag Loading: Despite being the thickest gloves we tested, they did a decent job at tasks requiring some dexterity like loading a magazine. The texturing helped prevent things from slipping out of the palm, and the finger striations made picking up rounds easier.

Verdict: It’s clear these gloves were designed for much more than just shooting, and would work well as an all-day duty glove. Best full-finger duty glove.

Titan Ops Half-Finger Gloves

Titan Ops Pistol Half Finger Gloves shooting

Titan Ops markets their gloves as being cross-discipline, and they’re popular with motorcycle and motocross riders due to their proven durability. Ride in on the bike, shoot, and ride home.

Features & Fitment

Titan Ops Hand Fitment

  • Hard plastic knuckle and finger reinforcement
  • Separate hand fit strap and retention strap
  • Light palm padding
  • Machine washable

Despite normally wearing a medium, by their sizing chart, I’m right in the middle of the large range. I’m glad I looked at the chart too, because even being a large, it’s a snug fit in the palm. The finger fit is perfect in my opinion and terminates just below the first joint. That keeps it from bunching up when bending your fingers. My thumb has a little extra room around it, but not enough to be annoying. The knuckle reinforcement is nowhere near as substantial as the Mechanix M Pact 3, so it should fit a wider variation of hand shapes. It’s also a much harder plastic too. It has two separate straps, one for fitment and one for retention, so you don’t need to make the fitment strap overly tight to ensure they stay on. They’re comfortable enough for extended shooting sessions, and the exposed fingers make tasks aside from shooting easy too.

Titan Ops back of hand

Shooting Performance

The most noticeable benefit these gloves provide is the increased level of feedback. They’re ideal for guns with lighter triggers, or those with small trigger guards. The drawback is less finger protection. There’s no extra insulating layer when shooting in cold weather, or from anything else that they could be exposed to. The palm is fairly thick though, and has an additional padded layer on the upper palm. The padded helped dampen recoil a bit, so these gloves could be a good pick for shooters who suffer from joint pain.

Titan Ops AR-15 Shooting

I found these gloves to be less ideal for extended bouts of rifle shooting, because the thicker wrist straps limit your range of motion slightly. Loosening them helps, but they still dig into your wrists after a while. Using them with a non-pistol gripped rifle is more comfortable, since the wrist bend is less severe. On the plus side, the cushioned palm helps reduce felt recoil on more powerful pistol gripped rifles. The palm reinforcement should also prevent guns with lower picatinny rails from digging into your hands.

Heat Resistance: Since this glove is half-finger, it won’t help all that much when dealing with heat. The palm is thick enough to insulate it from a hot metal handguard, but your fingers will still be exposed to it. In a pinch you could try to keep your fingers and thumb off the guard, it’s not very comfortable for extended shooting though.

Mag Loading: The exposed fingers make mag loading a breeze, since there’s no loss in dexterity.

Verdict: Best half-finger gloves.

Magpul Core Technical Gloves

Magpul Core Pistol Shooting

Magpul is a big name in firearm accessories and is probably best known as the manufacturer of PMAGS. They’ve expanded their offerings to include shooting gear and apparel, one of which being their Core Technical gloves.

Features & Fitment

Magpul Core Hand fitment

  • Synthetic suede palm and finger
  • Terrycloth thumb back
  • Elastic wrist closure
  • Touchscreen friendly
  • Mild knuckle reinforcement

By Magpul’s chart, I’m a medium, and they feel true to size. They’re very form fitting, which is likely due to the soft and slightly elastic material used for the hand. That makes them snug, but not restrictive. Especially since they don’t use any kind of closure, just an elastic wrist. That makes getting them on and off more effortful than typical shooting gloves, but it also means they won’t slide off accidently. It also has a small loop in the glove that helps you pull them on quickly. I didn’t notice any rubbing or chafing by tucking it up into the glove. If gloves are shoes for your hands, these feel more like socks.

Magpul Core back of hand

Shooting Performance

These gloves feel the most like wearing non-shooting gloves. They don’t have any noticeable reinforcement layers or bulkiness and don’t bunch up in the palm at all. All of the controls were easy to operate, with only a minor loss in feedback. The first two fingers and thumb have a touchscreen friendly tip, and I was worried the stitch would sit right between my trigger and finger, but it didn’t end up being a problem. The palms feel more durable than they appear and are probably about as abrasion resistant as the Mechanix Original Tactical.

Magpul Core AR Shooting

The lack of wrist closure makes rifle shooting very comfortable. There’s nothing to dig into your wrist when bent at various angles. The level of grip they have is perfect for typical rifle shooting, and they’re thick enough to protect you from sharper edges. Something I didn’t expect is how great they were at job at blocking wind chill, to the point that they’re the ones I wore when we were packing up after shooting.

Heat Resistance: Heat resistance was average. The handguard never felt too hot to hold, and brief contact with the barrel was fine. It took longer for these gloves to dissipate the heat than the other gloves, but that’s probably why they seemed better during colder weather.

Mag Loading: These gloves did quite well at more dexterous tasks like magazine loading. It didn’t bunch up around my fingers or interfere with their movement. It also didn’t get caught under the feed lips at all. I never felt like I wanted or needed to remove them to load various magazines.

Verdict: Magpul’s Core Technical gloves are the most comfortable gloves for extended and semi-cold weather wear, if extra reinforcement isn’t needed.

PIG Tactical ECHO Women’s Gloves

PIG Women's Pistol Shooting

Women’s gloves don’t always get the attention they deserve, so we wanted to highlight one of the best. SKD Tactical’s PIG (Patrol Incident Gear) line of gloves are a relatively recent entry into the glove market, but they’ve done an excellent job so far.

Features & Fitment

Pig Women's gloved and ungloved hand

  • Elastic wrist
  • Bar-tacked pull loop
  • Touchscreen friendly
  • Fold-over finger design
  • Silicon palm for extra grip

PIG Women's glove palm

I don’t get to shoot with family as often as I’d like, so we invited my mom along to see how she liked them. According to her, the fit is true to size for women’s sizes, so no need to size down to make them fit. They were snug, but not restrictive, and were comfortable enough to leave on all day. She didn’t feel like they were pulling against her finger nails, like other gloves can, and the elastic wrist was good at keeping them on without being overly tight.

PIG Women's Glove back of hand

Shooting Performance

Normally she doesn’t like shooting with gloves since they tend to feel too padded, but these made the cut. There was an increased amount of grip when racking the slide, and while shooting. The elastic wrist didn’t interfere with her holster draw like some larger Velcro closures can and reloads were still quick.

PIG Women's AR Shooting

Heat Resistance: They did a good job at resisting heat from the handguard, and brief barrel contact.

Mag Loading: There was no loss in dexterity when wearing them, so loading her P238 magazine and the MPR was unhindered.

Verdict: Best women’s gloves.

PIG Tactical Alpha Gloves

PIG tactical Alpha pistol shooting

The Alpha glove is SDK’s most popular shooting glove, and their stellar reputation is well deserved.

Features & Fitment

PIG Alpha hand Fitment

  • Ballistic nylon 1000D padded knuckles
  • Low profile hook closure
  • Flex joints
  • Bar-tacked pull loop
  • Wrap-Over Finger Tips
  • Touch screen friendly

These put the ‘fit’ in fitment. By their chart I’m a medium, and they feel perfect to me. The width is true to size, as is finger length. They’re very snug and don’t have any extra material that bunches up when you close your hand or bend your fingers. I also didn’t feel the need to cinch gloves down much with the Velcro strap like I do some other gloves. Despite the snug fit, there aren’t any spot that feels overly tight, and there’s no restriction in your range of motion. The back of each finger has relief cuts (flex joints as they call them) that allow full finger articulation. These are probably the best fitting glove I’ve ever owned. But, there is a caveat. At PIG’s own admission, they sacrifice some durability for a superior feel and fit. I’ll only be using them as a range glove, and the build quality itself is great, so I’m okay with them having a slightly reduced lifespan.

PIG Alpha Back of hand

Shooting Performance

These are great for shooting pistols and rifles, but pistol shooting is really where these gloves shine. The material on the fingers is thin enough to feel the individual checkering on your grips or pistol frame. These feel the most like shooting without any gloves on at all, as far as the palm and fingers are concerned. Due to the relief cuts in back of the finger, it didn’t feel like the glove was pulling back against me when bending my trigger finger, despite the snug fit. For range plinking I don’t think it would make that much of a difference, but for competition shooters who want the upmost accuracy, it’s a nice feature. When shooting the MPR, they don’t have much of a cuff, so range of motion isn’t hindered, and they’re thin enough to fish out stuck casings should the need arise. These have become my favorite shooting glove and will have a permanent spot in my range bag.

PIG tactical Alpha AR Shooting

Heat Resistance: Due to how thin the gloves are, they’re not as good at resisting heat. The handguard didn’t become uncomfortably hot, but it did feel the hottest out of all the gloves, aside from the half-finger. They’ll save your hand from getting burnt if you brush against a hot barrel, but they’re just not thick enough for anything more than brief contact.

Mag Loading: Dexterous tasks like magazine loading were no issue with these gloves, whether they be pistol or rifle mags.

Verdict: Best thin and hot weather shooting glove.

We hope you enjoyed our best shooting gloves review, and we’d love to hear what gloves you shoot with in the comments below!

  1. Good article, but not very timely. It’s DECEMBER. How about an article on WINTER GLOVES. Save this one for March or April.

  2. I’ve had the Titan Op’s gloves for over a year, they hold up well even run through the washer. They do run small though in size so get next bigger size up you think you need.

  3. Just the article I was looking for. Apparently our hands are the same size. I bought a pair of the Mechanix TAA on Amazon and they were delivered in 6 hours. I was impressed with that. I hope the glove impress me as much. Can’t find anywhere on the glove that says “Trade Agreement Act” compliant, and mine were made in Cambodia.

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