Oh Mechanix, Mechanix… what shall we do with you?
I’m not sure whether I’m perhaps just cursed to be let down by certain brands that are hugely loved the world over, but I don’t think I’ll be buying many (if any) more of the gloves from the tactical line by Mechanix in future. I know I’m going to have a very significant majority percentage of the people reading this thinking “I’ve had many pairs for years and they’re all great!” and believe me I’m not here to bash the brand in any way, that’s not the way I work. The only time I’ll give a company anything even vaguely resembling that treatment is if their product costs a bomb, turns out to be terrible and the customer service response is severely lacking.
Now at this juncture I own at least 7 pairs of tactical gloves from Mechanix (most are back home but 1 pair travels with me just about everywhere), as well as 1 pair that’s not from their tactical line. Spoiler alert: it’s the odd-one-out that’s really done me proud. To cut right to the case on my experiences with their tactical offerings, my main issues have been with sizing. I picked up a set of M-PACTs about 18 months ago in a medium which has always been my size in Mechanix gloves, but those were simply too large in every respect. Then more recently a set of the Originals in Medium which fitted in most areas, but the fingers are too long. This being in spite of the fact I have another 5 pairs of Originals in Medium which all fit just fine. Change in spec perhaps? I don’t know, perhaps my hands are just weirdly freaskish and out of proportion, but other brands all fit me just perfectly. On top of said dimensional issues, another pair of my Originals in one of the non-tactical colourways has torn on the side of the right-hand 3rd finger, despite being used only for filming YouTube content with zero abrasive or strenuous usage. It’s only a small tear admittedly, but when an item fails under such incredibly light strain that’s a particularly bad sign in my books.
Now while Mechanix may not be a high end brand, I’d certainly say the materials used, options available and general design are all overall really pretty good for the comparatively low entry price that you’re paying in a shooting type glove; they wouldn’t be as prevalent and visible as they are if they hadn’t built up such a following over the years. Unfortunately, QC seems to be their issue and when you’re manufacturing in the far east to extremely large volumes at a relatively low retail price point, it’s not too surprising. The thing I find even more frustrating is that my non-tactical Mechanix held up to an incredible amount of usage like absolute bloody champions. They no longer produce the exact model I have, but the revised equivalent can be seen here:
For 3 winters (roughly 16 months or so of daily us) at my previous unit I wore these gloves all day during the working week. Constantly lifting and carrying extremely large quantities of ammunition contained in steel and wooden boxes wearing said gloves, they never displayed any signs of failure. The wooden ammo boxes in particular were incredibly good at abrading fabrics, since they were entirely unfinished externally and overall just designed to store and transport bulk quantities of 5.56mm blank cartridges as cheaply as possible. It was those boxes we moved the most of by far on account of the continuing insistence by military commanders that the most effective way to train troops is clearly to have them get wet and cold in the woods for weeks on end and put wear on their weapons (as well as making them filthy dirty) by shooting endless quantities of nothing but hot gases at essentially imaginary enemies. The below image is the closest I could find online.
But I digress. After all that heavy use, the Winter Impact Pros’ only issue was one of the loop cuff closure pieces starting to come away and I was taking those gloves on and off at least 10 times per day minimum, sometimes 20 or more. They did a frankly amazing job of keeping my poorly-circulated hands from getting cold while still maintaining enough dexterity to write on paperwork with a Bic, something the issued leather cold weather gloves do not do. Yet on ‘the other hand’, some of the tactical line ‘Originals’ can’t hack being worn to merely point at things?
It’s a shame in a way, but given my vastly superior experiences with the PIG FDT-Alpha gloves from SKD Tactical, the Mechanix just don’t tick my boxes unfortunately. I appreciate they’re keeping up with trends with their recent releases of wolf grey and US Woodland hot on the heels of Multicam, but I can’t help get the impression they’ve done that largely to cater to the airsoft crowd and not the military one. While I can’t prove that and it’s certainly still a positive for people who like those colours/camos and all matching gear, that policy overall to me does rather taste of caring more about aesthetics than for quality and function in design. Again if aesthetics are what you want then that’s great, but I’d personally far rather buy a glove I know will fit the way it should and won’t fail me until I really put it through the wringer.