Last night, I had a conversation with a long-time corrections officer and he mentioned training to shoot in Nitrile or Latex gloves, due to the current pandemic and other scenarios. Anyone who has ever tried to accomplish anything in nitrile/latex gloves instantly knows what the issues will be.
For context, the source I spoke to used to transport sick or injured inmates from the State Prison of Southern Michigan (coincidentally the largest walled prison in the world) to a local hospital. During the entire transport they wore nitrile gloves, which made every task a degree of difficulty harder. This included not just firearms, but car keys, driving, handcuff manipulation, radio use, everything.
Training in leather gloves isn’t the same…latex and nitrile gloves aren’t as smooth as leather and will try to grab everything.
Why should we train in nitrile/latex gloves? The answer is in the Ultimate Tactical Handbook:
Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know the day or the hour.
That’s right, we don’t know when a situation is going to occur.
For our purposes, imagine we are shopping, and an active shooter occurs. As you spring into action to treat a casualty, with your gloves on, the shooter re-appears. Securing a proper grip and drawing the gun is already going to a problem. The gloves, unlike leather gloves, are going to try and grip everything, maybe entangling with clothing. The grip will feel different, and it’s important that we train on this.
These kinds of gloves will cause an inability to properly feel and manipulate both the pistol grip and your holster for a clean draw. Conducting dry fire drills wearing nitrile/latex gloves on the draw and safety manipulation can help.
There is chance that the shot will break early, because you won’t feel the movement like you normally would, and, on the back end, you may not normally feel the trigger reset, leading to excessive trigger movement. Again, some dry fire and live fire training can help.
Another big issue is the potential for the gloves to be caught in the slide or slide release mechanism, or caught while changing magazines. Training at the range will help reduce this, but the chance exists. Imagine trying to clear a malfunction that involves a small piece of latex trapped somewhere in the slide.
That brings us to another point, the gloves getting caught and jammed in the mechanism while clearing a malfunction. Of particular concern is when trying to clear a stovepipe by sweeping the hand down the slide. Dry training is again the answer, but it can still happen.
You also will need to train on manipulating magazines from the pouch or pocket while wearing gloves. If you don’t think this is an issue, put on a nitrile glove and try to put your hand fully in your pocket. It’s HARD because the glove grips on both sides.
For that matter, you need to practice opening zippers, snaps, and pouches on all your gear, particularly your first aid gear, while wearing latex/nitrile gloves, because it’s entirely different. A good training idea is to spend half a day wearing the gloves while doing daily tasks. It will be very enlightening.
As I always point out, buying the gloves (gear) isn’t enough. You need to develop skill in using that gear. I assure you that when facing the active shooter closing on you while you are in gloves treating a casualty is NOT the time to “figure it out”.
The US Military makes trainees shoot while wearing full NBC gear (gloves and mask) for this very reason. You should, too.
Volume 2 of the Tactical Wisdom Series is coming along nicely, and should be available soon. The book will cover Fieldcraft, or the skills needed to move in the field safely and to live in the field. It is NOT the same as Bushcraft, because Fieldcraft views it from a tactical standpoint. The skill sets are complementary to each other.
If you’d to help us produce the book, please consider donating below.
Donation – June 2021
Contribution to book project.