Gripswell Ergonomic “London Pattern” Shooting Gloves
It can be hard to find shooting gloves that offer fit, protection and control to the same high degree, especially if, like me, you are left-handed. Yet few can come closer to that ideal than the Gripswell “London Pattern” gloves I’ve had the pleasure to test recently. Exclusively distributed in the UK by Anglo-Spanish Imports (ASI), they are the perfect complement to their fine range of Aguirre y Aranzabal (AyA) shotguns.
Choice of three
ASI have selected three Gripswell models for the UK market: the afore-mentioned “London Pattern”, the “Brown Standard”, and the “Brown Winter”. All are made from dark brown leather and suede, and protected with ScotchGuard to repel water, resist stains, facilitate cleaning and conserve the softness and breathability of the leather. They also come in a choice of four sizes (S, M, L & XL) and in both left and right-handed formats so you can be sure to find a pair that really “fits you like a glove”!
The unique feature that gives the range its name is a patented PFM memory-foam “palm swell” on the trigger hand, which serves to absorb recoil, and helps you to achieve a consistent mount and improved control. Thus, rather than having your grip determined by the “one-size-fits-no-one” dimensions of a factory pistol grip, you can obtain an individually-sized-and-contoured grip simply by wearing the right gloves.
In addition, the Winter model features a 3M Thinsulate lining and an extended gauntlet cuff and understandably does without the rows of small ventilation holes along the fingers that help to maintain a constantly-comfortable temperature in the non-insulated versions.
Swell? Well no actually…
I say non-insulated, but insulation of a different sort is the key feature of the “London Pattern” gloves I had on test. Indeed, these lack the definitive palm-swell of the other models because they’re specifically designed for use with the straight-hand grips found on traditional side-by-side game guns; though they’d also suit shooters whose over-and-under guns already incorporate a palm-swell. On the other hand – literally- they feature a combination of reversed-suede layers and a patented high-tech thermal barrier that completely shields the shooter’s hand from hot barrels.
This is obviously a boon for owners of English-style guns with “splinter” fore-ends, and overcomes the drawbacks of traditional clip-on hand-guards, which add weight, mark the blacking, and only shield a short length of the barrels, as well as being something of an eyesore. But it’s not just good news for side-by-side aficionados, as many users of over-and-under guns will open them by pressing down on the top of the barrels, especially when they’re in a hurry – which is precisely when the barrels are likely to be hot! Agreed, it takes a very hot gun to give you a lasting burn, but even momentary contact with a hot barrel results in an instant of pain, surprise and distraction that is unlikely to improve your hit ratio.
The first time I tried the new gloves was on a grouse day in Yorkshire. Despite being November, the weather was gloriously sunny and I quickly peeled off a couple of layers to shoot in just a shirt and light jumper. The gloves stayed on though, because the vents kept them cool and I liked the grip they provided. I also liked the short cuffs with their quick but secure Velcro closure, the flexibility provided by the elasticated panel across the front of the knuckles, and (on the trigger hand) the extra layer of leather reinforcing the thumb and the inside of the middle finger: this latter to protect against the trigger guard under recoil.
Then the birds came, and came, and came. I don’t know whether I was just having a good day but, looking back, the gloves seemed to cut out the negative aspects of recoil and temperature (cold or hot) whilst maintaining feel and enhancing control. As my host - who had been standing on the next-door peg on the last drive - said when it was all over, “That’s as well as I’ve ever seen you shoot!” I think he was right, and I suspect the Gripswell gloves had more than a little to do with it.
All models are available left-hand biased
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