The Perfect Glove?

My Dad (Steve Viau) with his Big-Shot glove from American Leathers.

If there is one thing my ol’ man appreciates, it’s a quality American made product. After 30+ years of tailoring and retail he knows quality when he sees it and can spot the flaws in anything that doesn’t measure up – especially when it comes to fabrics and stitching. He uses every bit of this expertise when choosing his gear and immediately gravitated to the Big-Shot glove by American Leathers as a result.

Dad was shooting a lot at the time. Well, Dad shoots a lot PERIOD but at the time he was laid off. With us kids out of the house and my Mom working long hours, he immersed himself into his shooting. I don’t think he missed two consecutive days of shooting or hunting the entire year. I would have heard about it via cranky, early morning phone call otherwise. He experimented a lot. Wore out several of the cheaper gloves and stalls and decided he’d had enough and should invest in something he truly wanted.

I’ll admit I was floored when he told me he ordered one at $59.95 plus shipping. I’d never spent more than $14 on a glove and there are a variety available at that price. He tried to make me a believer several times;

Other than your bow and arrows, what piece of gear do you use the most when you shoot? Your GLOVE!

But I wasn’t drinking the Koolaid.

Dad fell in love with his Big Shot as soon as it arrived. He’s been a walking testimonial every since. In fact, I had to PRY him away from the American Leathers both at the Kalamazoo Expo this year. Had John Turner invited him to stay the weekend he probably would have sold every glove he had for the price of a backup. And the thing is…Dad could do it. With the exception of my younger brothers, people listen to him. But don’t take it from me…I’ll let Dad tell you in his own words:

One piece of gear that is very important when getting into Traditional Archery is the type of  glove to use when shooting a bow. This was a trial and error dilemma I suffered when getting into this marvelous sport. It seemed like it would be a very simple decision; just buy any type of leather shooting glove, how different could they be? Boy was I wrong! There are a multitude of differant brands and styles out there but it all boils down to how padded the finger tips are.

The thinner the glove, the more you feel the string. Some archers really love how the string feels when it leaves their fingers. I started out this way but quickly found that my fingers grew sore with heavy shooting. I could hardly feel them the next day, which is unacceptable for a guy that likes to shoot as much as I do. While it would make a good hunting glove, I wanted one glove I could shoot comfortably in all situations: range to woods.

I had a brief fling with a tab but discovered how impractical it was in the woods for an avid hunter. I didn’t like knowing I could drop it easily or chance fumbling with my string when confronted with game.

I tried a doe skin stall-style glove with leather finger overlays next. It stopped the finger soreness but I couldn’t get it to fit right. The stalls would become cockeyed far to easily.

I was starting to believe I’d never find a glove style that really fit me and my shooting style. And then I stumbled upon the  American Leathers “Big-Shot” glove online. I had seen fellow archers rave about it on several of the traditional bowhunting forums and decided to check it out.

The Bigshot is available in two differant leathers, Elk ($43.50) and Buffalo ($59.95), plus two different color combinations: light tan and a darker brown. I decided on the Elk in dark brown. Unfortunately, I didn’t know what size to get. Having large hands but eeking a snug fit, I went with the Large. I received my new glove two days later, and was immediately impressed.

First thing I noticed was the way the glove was designed, the leather is super soft with neoprene knuckles to give it a nice stretch and fit. The finger stalls are leather with nylon overlays that have small holes in the tips for ventilation (a feature I’m quite fond of in the summer). I immediately put the glove to the test and was speechless. The nylon overlays provided a super smooth release and absolutely no finger pain. I couldn’t quit shooting it. It was THAT comfortable. I had finally found my match!

American Leathers is a great American company providing a wonderful product to the traditional community. The Bigshot is the only glove this archer will ever use!

Dad’s glove is still going strong after almost two years of hardly ever leaving his hand. Just last week he purchased a Wet-Shot model strictly for hunting and stump shooting because he couldn’t bare the thought of losing his original Big-Shot. While I’ve yet take the plunge, I’ll admit that these things are the epitome of tough and age extremely well. My Dad’s has become beautifully broke-in – like an old baseball mitt. In fact, age seems to correlate with pride when it comes to an American Leathers product. While at the Expo in January, a gentleman approached John’s both to buy his second glove and was more than happy to produce his first when asked if he still had it. “Sure do,” he grinned. “Hasn’t left my side in five years! Shoots even better than the day I bought it!”

Nuff said.

If you are interested in ordering a Big-Shot, check out www.americanleathers.com. John is a great guy and will be happy to answer any questions or address any concerns.

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