Choosing The Best AR15 Handguards

| January 31, 2022
A Mix of AR15 Handguards
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

There are a lot of choices when it comes to handguards for your AR15 or AR10. Whether it is a first build and educational, or purpose-built for home defense, run-and-gun, or predator hunting, there is a good option for you. Your choices for an AR15 handguard distill down to use case, whether or not you want a drop-in vs free-float, a KeyMod vs M-LOK attachment system, weight, and some stylistic and ergonomic preferences.

We are biased in our opinions, as we use our modern sporting arms for sport. We primarily hunt with them, take them to the range, and they have a place in our homes for self-defense. So we aren’t as worried about weapon lights, canted or co-witnessed backup iron sights, and all the tactical weapon lasers, beams, light switches, and optic accessories as others might be.

We instead focus on an ergonomic and lightweight handguard, that allows for the attachment of a bipod, hand-stop, the bare minimum of iron sights or optics, and preferably something we can C-grip. A few other things we prefer that a handguard should have, that we’ll touch on later, are a good mounting system, and an anti-rotation system.

Lastly, we don’t think a handguard should leave you too broke to afford ammo, so we try to focus on value as we evaluate some good options. If your ultra-premium and ultra-expensive handguard doesn’t get a mention here, it’s because we just didn’t see it as a good value, it didn’t meet our needs, or it’s not on our radar. Let’s get started.

Barrel Free Floating in Handguard

A free floating barrel inside of an Atlas S-One handguard, with M-lok slots.

Free-Float vs Drop-In
Drop-in handguards fit under pressure between the A2 front sight and the delta ring assembly on a traditional AR-style rifle, whereas a free-float handguard mounts securely to the barrel nut, and applies no pressure to the barrel or gas block.

Traditional style drop-ins have little to no attachment points. Even the options that do, pale in comparison to what’s available on a free-float handguard. Some manufacturers, like Troy and Magpul are certainly challenging the idea, by providing quad rails or M-LOK systems to drop-ins, like the Magpul MOE M-LOK Polymer Handguard. However, they are limited by the length of the gas system. A free-float handguard also makes for an inherently more accurate rifle, as the barrel will not deflect while the handguard is under pressure, something that even premium drop-ins can’t eliminate.

In our opinion, drop-in handguards are antiquated, good for retro-style rifle builds, or those who are unwilling to change out an A2 style sight. A Free-float handguard is the better option, especially for the modern sportsman because they are more accurate, provide better protection in the field, and they also allow for a longer sight radius. As such, we’ll only focus on free-float options for the rest of the article.

KeyMod vs M-LOK
If you learn anything about the AR15 or AR10 rifle platform, it’ll probably be that the community is full of fanboyism and brand whores. The fanboys don’t stop at brand either. The loyalties, whether deserved or undeserved, extend to the accessory attachment systems of handguards.

While the M-Lok system proved to be superior to the KeyMod system, in USSOCOM tests, KeyMod still has an intense cult-like following. We personally don’t care what you prefer, if it works for you. Fortunately, many handguard manufacturers produce the same handguards in both M-Lok and KeyMod versions, so the attachment system isn’t necessarily a limiting consideration. However, if you aren’t using an M-Lok system, it may just be time.

Rail Design
The major differences in handguards are in rail design. The majority of handguards are produced from an octagonal aluminum extrusion, designed to clear the gas block and provide protection to your barrel from deflection caused by a firm grip, rest, or bipod. With a couple of unique exceptions to the rule, every handguard will utilize a mounting rail that runs the full length of the guard, is split so no rail runs the center portion, has rails on all four sides(quad), or is a hybrid incorporating a number of different combinations of rails, lengths, and locations.

Full Rail
Most standard free float handguards incorporate a full-length Picatinny top rail, and then the options diverge into two directions from there.

Aero Precision Atlas S One

The Aero Precision Atlas S-One uses a great locking system, and anti-rotation system.

Split Rail
One direction is the Split Rail, which lightens up the handguard by removing the majority of the Picatinny rail, only leaving a section of rail at the ends where sights and optics are most commonly mounted. The split rail design makes for an ergonomic, lightweight, and slim handguard. It also happens to be a favorite type of handguard at Sportsman’s Magazine, and we use them on many of our uppers. Some of our favorite split rail options that we can confidently recommend are the Aero Precision Atlas S-One and the STNGR USA VLCN.

Quad Rail
The opposite direction from the more minimalist split rail, is the Quad Rail, which adds 3 full-length rails, at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The quad rail gives the operator a lot of attachment points, without the need for M-Lok rail sections. Unfortunately, it also decreases the slim profile and ergonomics in hand, while increasing weight.

Ergonomic rail covers, or tactical gloves, can make gripping a quad rail less of a hand shredder, but also add a tiny bit more weight. Covering rail sections to dedicate to hand position, begs the question of why it needed a rail in those locations in the first place. Your mileage may vary, and perhaps you need those rails, so while we don’t care for a quad rail, it may be good for you. Just consider your application, the weight you’ll gain, and the ergonomics you’ll lose. Also, consider that you can always add rails to an M-Lok system, but you can’t remove rails from a quad rail.

Hybrid Rails
Hybrid designs typically include a small section of rail on the bottom of the handguard, that functions to add a bipod or other Picatinny accessory. Sometimes, manufacturers will add short side rail sections toward the front-end, in the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, for the convenient attachment of lights, lasers, or other accessories. The permutations are simply too vast to talk about, and many of the great options available, are essentially a hybrid of some sort.

Aero Precision Locking Lugs

Aero Precision uses what is probably the best handguard mounting system in the industry to date.

Other Considerations
There are a couple of other considerations to make when deciding on a handguard: the mounting or locking system, anti-rotation tabs, and quick detach locations. The typical mounting system essentially clamps the guard onto the barrel nut, causing an ever-so-slight deformation to the handguard. Better systems use a lug to secure the handguard and prevent any movement or loosening whatsoever.

A good handguard, shouldn’t ever rotate once secured, but the best guarantee is to choose a handguard with anti-rotation mounts. Lastly, while this isn’t a deal-breaker, integrated QD mounts are a great feature to have. You can certainly add QD mounts or other sling mounts to an M-Lok system or rail, but integrated QD mounts add a lot of convenience.

There are two reasonably affordable options that tick all or most of the boxes, that we can confidently recommend. They also happen to rank at the top of PEW PEW Tactical’s favorites, albeit flipped for first and second place.

First, is the Aero Precision Atlas S-One. It provides anti-rotation, the best locking mechanism in the industry, multiple Quick Detach points, plenty of M-Lok locations, it allows you to get an ergonomic C-grip, and it’s lightweight. The Atlas S-One is not as cheap as a generic handguard, but it’s worth every penny, especially when Aero Precision runs a sale. For those that prefer a full top rail, Aero also sells the Atlas R-One.

The runner-up option for us is the STNGR USA VLCN. It checks all the boxes, for us, minus the superior locking mechanism used by Aero Precision.

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Hot Shot Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove

| January 19, 2022
Hot Shot Stormproof Gloves
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Sizes | M/L/XL
Color | Camo RealTree Edge
Brand | Hot Shot
Materials Shell | 96% Polyester / 4% Spandex
Materials Liner | 100% Polyester w/ TPU Laminant
Features | PU reinforced grip
Waterproof | No
Breathable | Yes
Insulated | No
Country of Origin | China
Price | $24.99




We spent the last half of the 2020/21 waterfowl season, all of the 2021 deer, and bear seasons, and some of the 2021/22 waterfowl season using the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove by Hot Shot. While they have served us well for a couple of seasons, more cold weather hunting left us wondering if we could do better.

First Impressions

It’s been a while since the first day we tried on the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves, but it happened some time back in early 2019. The purchase came from a Cabelas, so we were able to test the fit, and not just order blindly. At the price point, they felt reasonably durable, comfortable, dextrous, and seemed to have a decent amount of protection from the elements, so we purchased a pair for the big game hunting season. We never had any intention of using them through the frigid waterfowl season in the Eastern Sierra.

The Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves are made from laminated TPU and breathable fleece materials, composed mostly of polyester and a little bit of spandex. Unlike other Hot Shot offerings, they are only water and wind-resistant, not water and windproof. The palm also has a PU treatment, which improves the grip and some abrasion resistance. They are well made and seem like a good value at about 25 dollars.

Stormproof Eruption Glove Fabric

The fabrics used in the construction of the Stormproof Eruption Hybrid gloves are comfortable, breathable, water-resistant and wind-resistant.

Field Test

The Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves fit well and are true to the size, but the cuffs are a little short with a little more of a flare than we’d prefer. Nonetheless, they overlap sleeves well enough to remain comfortable and provide protection from a cold breeze. They also conform to fingers and movement quite well, but aren’t overly tight either, allowing you to comfortably use a thin glove liner with them. The Realtree EDGE camouflage pattern works well in many wooded environments and has provided us with adequate concealment on successful big game hunts.

The gloves are not insulated, but they are water-resistant and wind-resistant, so while they will protect you from the elements which help to keep hands warm, they really don’t lock in heat or keep cold temps from sapping heat from your hands.

With the combination of a glove liner, they are adequate down to near-freezing temperatures but are inadequate when temperatures plummet below that. The lack of insulation does mean the gloves have little to no bulk. The thinner profile of the gloves makes it is easy to operate firearms, electronics, lighters, and even smartphone screens. You also don’t lose much sensitivity on your trigger finger, although your trigger finger may be colder than you’d like.

We used the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves in weather they were never designed for, and they still performed fairly well, all things considered. However, they are not a great choice for cold weather waterfowl hunts if there is any chance you will get wet or the temperatures drop beneath bout 35F.

Stormproof Eruption Gloves Wear

The Stormproof Eruption Hybrid gloves by Hot Shot have seen some wear and tear, with a lot of the silicone texture material worn away, but no holes.


We used the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid Glove for more than one season for a reason. They work well for their intended use and temperature ranges. It was only the increased amount of extremely cold and wet weather that drove us to look for a warmer, waterproof, and windproof glove.

If you are looking for an affordable hunting glove, with a reasonable amount of protection for normal temperatures experienced during the big game season, want to maintain some dexterity, and are able to either sacrifice some warmth or use a glove liner, then the Eruption Stormproof Hybrid gloves are a good choice and a decent value.

If you are looking for a similarly affordable glove, that is both waterproof and windproof, then check out the Hot Shot Game Stalker Savage Gloves, full review here: Game Stalker Savage.

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FOXPRO Patriot Predator Call

| January 18, 2022
FOXPRO Patriot Predator Call
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Materials | Plastic
Size | 7.5" x 3.75" x 5"
Weight | 3.00 lbs
Batteries | Call 4x AA Batteries, 1x 9 Volt
Programmable | Yes
External Speaker Jack | 1x 3.5mm
Auxiliary Device Jack | 1x 3.5mm
Sound Capacity | 300 (35 preloaded, 100+ Free Downloadable)
Internal Memory | 4GB
File Compatability | 16B, FXP, MP3, WAV
Country of Origin | USA
Manufacturer | FOXPRO
Warranty | 3 Years
MSRP | $164.95
Purchase Price | $139.99

We purchased the FOXPRO Patriot because we were interested in trying an affordable and feature-rich electronic predator call with the ability to load additional sound files. The majority of electronic predator calls at the price point of the Patriot are not programmable and are also foreign-made.

Short of engineering your own call, assuming you have the programming and engineering background to do it, out of a BlueTooth capable microcontroller, there isn’t a more feature-rich e-caller on the market for the same price. Post a comment, if we’ve missed an option, but aside from some more obscure, or hardly reputable options, we think this is it.

First Impressions

Our first impression of the FOXPRO Patriot starts with the packaging. The box that the Patriot comes in has product diagrams that highlight the plethora of functions and features. The packaging proudly states that the Patriot is American-made, comes with 35 preloaded sounds, and can hold and access 300 sounds. Additionally, FOXPRO provides online access to 100+ free downloadable sounds.

The actual call is compact at 7.5″ x 3.75″ x 5″, and pretty light at 3 pounds. It is also well designed with a built-in carrying handle, is molded from durable plastic, and should hold up to some abuse from bouncing around in a backpack.

The TX433 remote is also built of the same durable plastic and looks like the hybrid of a tool from Star Trek: The Next Generation and a late eighties or early nineties cell phone. Upon turning on, an electronic notice asks you to extend an almost comical antenna which adds to the goofy retro sci-fi feel of the remote.

The remote control has all the button features you would expect, such as power on/off, volume on/off, mute, scroll up/down, play/select, and 2 programmable favorite buttons. The remote also allows you to program a lot of features and preferences, like volume increments, default volume of a call, backlighting brightness, timers, and auto-off.

FOXPRO Patriot Horn

The FOXPRO Patriot’s horn speaker produces high fidelity sound and surprising volume for the size.

In The Field

The buttons on the remote are glow in the dark and are easy to see in the dark, early in the morning or late at night. The backlight and LCD contrast are plenty bright, even on a fairly low setting.

We turned on the Patriot and set it 100 yards in front of our camouflaged location. We then turned on the TX433 remote and started to test its range. While we didn’t figure out its true max range, we were able to operate the call without issues from 100 yards away. The ‘433’ designation suggests it is a 433mhz radio, which is well known for range, and implementations include long-range radio and long-range drone communications. So unobstructed, you could expect the remote to work at much farther distances.

With the volume maxed out, the Patriot isn’t the loudest e-caller on the market. It peaks at about 110 decibels, which is a little shy of less featured calls from ICOtec at the same price point but is still impressive considering its compact size.

The Patriot is not capable of playing two sounds simultaneously, like more expensive models, but every sound the call does play is high quality, and the horn speaker plays them with good fidelity. The e-caller also includes a 5.5mm audio jack, so while volume isn’t everything, it is possible to use louder speakers, or just get coverage in multiple directions.

FOXPRO Patriot Remote

The FOXPRO Patriot remote is feature rich and easy to use in the field.

We found the 35 preloaded sounds were more than sufficient for our predator hunts. We specifically targeted coyotes, and primarily played jackrabbit distress calls, including the well-known and very effective ‘lightning jack’. As such, we didn’t have a need to utilize the USB port to reprogram sounds, but may in the future for use on coon hunts.

We also found the Patriot was easy to use and operate while wearing thick gloves and is easy to essentially set it and forget it. The timer on the remote records how long you’ve been calling, which is a great reminder to be patient or possibly change up the sound being used.

The only issue we ran into with the Patriot, besides wishing it was a tiny bit louder, was the performance of the remote in single-digit temperatures. We left the remote outside in 6F weather, which caused the remote LCD screen to glitch and button performance to lag. The issue is easily avoided by leaving the remote in a coat pocket, or easily accessible brain or pouch on your hunting pack during a hunt.


The FOXPRO Patriot is probably the best value in electronic predator calls at the price point. It is feature-rich and works well unless you let the remote temperature drop down to some pretty miserable cold temps. While it could be a tiny bit louder, it’s still very effective. At the price point, no one else has a programmable predator call that is even close to being as feature-rich. It is also American made which we prefer whenever possible.

All in all, our experiences with the FOXPRO Patriot were great, and believe it’s a great value for nearly any predator hunter, save for the most dedicated predator hunters, who would be looking for a few more features or greater volume.

We highly recommend the FOXPRO Patriot as a great first foray in electronic predator calls. It would be an excellent value for someone venturing into predator hunting, or simply looking to free up hands by ditching the mouth calls.

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Predator Hunting 101

| January 14, 2022
Coyote on an Icy Lake
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.

Whether you are trying to acquire some furs for personal use or the trade, want something to do in the offseason, or feel the need to control the predator population, these predator hunting basics will help you be successful.


The best way to fail at predator hunting is to hunt where there are no predators. Scouting for a trail and recent sign is the bare minimum. Ideally, you find an area you frequently hear or see predators. If you gamble on a new location, and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with trying something new, just remember it’s a gamble if you haven’t scouted, and don’t be too disappointed if you come away empty-handed.

Approach Cautiously

The reason you hunt a specific spot is to find the predators that you either suspect from evidence or absolutely know, are there. So don’t blow your opportunities by ripping down roads in the truck, slamming doors, talking loudly, and walking to your spot carelessly. Approach quietly, drive cautiously, park a distance away, don’t slam car doors, whisper if you need to talk at all, and approach your spot slowly and stealthily like you are trying to creep on an animal during a spot and stalk.

Know the Terrain

Developing a strategy based on the terrain and known predator patterns will improve your success. While you are out scouting for predators, you should be mindful of the terrain, and make mental notes about elevations, vegetation, and game trails. This will enable you to choose the best approach to a location, and a location that provides clear shooting, the ability to be concealed, and offers favorable sun and wind conditions.

A coyote, coon, or bobcat, will eventually surprise you on your approach, or from an unanticipated direction, while you are hunting, but it’s less likely to happen the better you know the terrain.

Get a Good Vantage

Choose a position with a good vantage and clean shooting lanes. Setting up too deep into a tree line can create obstructions that could allow a predator to sneak in and out before you are able to take a shot. High spots on a hillside or the top of a knoll are ideal.

Stay Hidden

Staying hidden can be achieved with quality camouflage, a blind, natural vegetation, or a combination of three. Our favorite and the most convenient way to stay out of sight is to wear camouflage jackets, ponchos, gloves, and balaclavas in cold weather, and lightweight long sleeve shirts, gloves, and hats, in warmer weather.

Cold Weather Camouflage

The author wearing cold weather gear and appropriate snow camouflage while predator hunting.

Stay Still

Even the best camouflage doesn’t fool a predator if you are moving around. Besides bad concealment, movement is the best way to get busted by any animal. Mallards flare off of decoy spreads, big game animals bolt, and predators will vacate an area and disappear into the brush faster than you can blink if they see you moving. Movement of any kind is very visible at a distance, so it’s important to be still, not just when you see an animal, but also during the full duration of your hunt.

Consider the Wind

Predators often follow the odor of a kill or the scent of an animal. They are adept at sensing animals, including humans, not just with their eyes and ears, but with their sense of smell as well. So stay downside of the wind from the direction you expect to hunt predators.

Call, then Keep Calling

It’s easy to call a few times, not hear or see anything after a couple of minutes, then get bored, become impatient, and bail. Don’t do that! It’s not uncommon for successful predator hunters to run a predator call for 30 minutes straight, with 15 minutes being the minimum amount of time to call before considering moving on. Getting up and leaving a stand too early is a very common mistake that is easily avoided. Whether you use hand calls or an electronic call, is your preference, but electronic calls give you the advantage of two free hands, as well as the ability to place the call further away from your stand. Our recommendation for getting started cheaply is to get a Flambeau Outdoors Circe medium distress call, which emulates a cottontail or rabbit distress sound. If you want to step up to an electronic call, then the FOXPRO Patriot is the best value on the market, for the features, it is also American made. Another decent and more affordable but less featured option is the ICOtec GEN2 GC300.

Use the Weather

A cold snap can push animals to more actively seek out food. After fresh snow, coyotes stand out more on the landscape, and will more eagerly respond to calls.

Make the Shot

Treat your shot like you would if you were trying to drop a deer or elk for the freezer. Predators are small targets, so relaxed and precise shooting is key. If you usually shoot off of a bench and aren’t good at unrested shots, invest in a bipod, or plan to shoot off of a pack, downed tree, or branch. Treat every shot like you would any other hunt, don’t shoot at animals on a ridge or skyline, always know what is behind your target, and practice all the typical safe firearm handling and shooting precautions you would any other time you pick up a firearm.

Predator Hunt Coyote Success

Coyote harvested on a frozen lake, called in with a ten-dollar hand call.


It isn’t hard to get started predator hunting or improve your predator hunting skills, and it doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor requiring tons of specialized gear either. The coyote in the photos above was called from across the narrow section of a frozen lake with a cheap Flambeau Outdoors Circe mouth call, while the shooter remained concealed in the snow with a snow camo softshell jacket.

The coyote was harvested with a single shot from a modern sporting rifle at just under 100 yards. No special techniques, equipment, baits, scents, or lures were used. Ben(@ben_ya_mean) did it with a mouth call and some predator hunting basics, and you can too.

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Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet

| January 6, 2022
Modified Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet Modified
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Color | Grey
Material | Plastic
Type | Motion Decoy
Size | 3.5" Diameter
Batteries | 2 AA (not included)
Battery Life | Unlisted
Manufacturer | Lucky Duck
Country of Origin | China
Warranty | 1 year against MFG defects
Price | 19.99






Per the Lucky Duck marketing, the Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet is a simple and easy way to add motion to your decoy spread, by creating ripples, and moving decoys. We wanted to find out if it gets the job done, or falls short of delivering on some real motion, so we grabbed one for a review, and here is how things went.

First Impressions

There isn’t anything too astounding about the Quiver Magnet. It’s literally a 3.5″ waterproof puck, with an oversized vibrator in it, a water-activated switch, and space for two AA batteries. An eyelet on the outside allows you to hook a weight to it, and the housing opens and closes with a twist.

As far as the materials and build quality is concerned, it doesn’t seem to be tough enough to survive a stray shot from the 12 gauge, but it might survive a 3-foot drop from a blind bag onto dirt or snow. While durability and quality matter and contribute to scores when we test and rate gear, what matters most is effectiveness.

In The Field

To test the effectiveness of the Quiver Magnet, we dropped it in the water at one of our regular duck hunting spots on cold 0F morning. The results were underwhelming. All we can say is that it is waterproof, and it wobbles a little. The Quiver Magnet is a useless tool on anything but an absolutely dead calm day. The rippling action it creates is weak and imperceivable in water that isn’t completely still.

The battery life lasted 4 hours of hunting before we picked up our decoy spread, so if you have a dead calm day you’ll get at least 4 hours out of it. Annoyingly, at the end of the day, the water-sensitive on/off switch had iced over, and would not turn off. In cold snowing conditions, we could not dry off the switch and ultimately had to remove the batteries before tossing the Quiver Magnet into our blind bag for the haul out. It’s our opinion that Lucky Duck made a poor design choice using a water-sensitive on/off switch, instead of a waterproof rocker switch.

Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet Internals

The simple internals of the lackluster Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet.


The Lucky Duck Quiver Magnet will not help add motion to a spread unless you are hunting on a dead calm day on very still water. If you hunt those conditions frequently and generally don’t deal with sub-freezing conditions, then at $19.99, the Quiver Magnet is an okay option. However, for about twenty dollars, you could put together a much more effective DIY jerk rig. So if you are crafty, we’d suggest doing that instead.

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Showa Temres 282-02 Glove

| January 6, 2022
Showa Temres 282 02 Gloves
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Sizes | M/ L/XL/2XL
Color | Black
Brand | Showa
Model | 282-02 Temres
Materials Shell | Polyurethane
Materials Liner | Acrylic Fleece
Features | Extended cuff with drawcord
Waterproof | Yes
Breathable | Yes
Insulated | Yes
Country of Origin | Unknown
Price | $22.62 (L)




We first heard about the Showa 282-02 Temres Gloves from a blog about alpine and ice climbing. These Japanese fisherman’s gloves have a cult following among hardcore alpinists. We figured if they were warm enough and durable enough for people fiddling around in the mountains with ice tools, they might just work in the duck blind. Unfortunately, the only place you can purchase them in single pairs is at

First Impressions

At first glance, the Temres look like a pair of funny dish gloves. After sliding them on, you quickly discover they have much better dexterity than your average dish glove and are lined with soft fleece. The gloves come about halfway up your forearm and have oversized cinchable cuffs that make it very easy to pull them over the sleeves of your jacket. The palms and fingers are texturized to give you a better grip.

We were a little skeptical of how well these would perform in truly cold weather based simply on how thin they are. These gloves run on the small side and even after sizing up, we were unable to fit a glove liner inside. We’d recommend sizing up one if not two sizes from your standard glove size.

Field Test

Seeing these as a hybrid between a pair of deek gloves and shooting gloves, we were excited to get the Temres out into the field. We had some cold mornings at the start of the 2021/22 season and were able to test these gloves on multiple days of single-digit temperatures. When temps dropped below ten degrees our fingers started to get cold and really wanted to be in something warmer. That being said, they proved to be entirely waterproof, windproof and didn’t make our hands too clammy like some fully waterproof gloves do. While not too bulky to get past inside the trigger guard on a shotgun, they don’t leave you with the most sensitive trigger finger but we didn’t have any trouble shooting in them. They are passable for operating a duck or goose call, but not ideal.

Showa Temres 282 Gloves Closure

The Temres 282-02 gloves don’t have the best fit, but they do have insulation, a long cuff, and a bungee closure to improve fit around the wrists.


Having a glove you can wear in sub-freezing temps, fully submerge while setting up decoys or retrieving birds, and still have enough dexterity to shoot in, all for under 25 dollars ain’t half bad. If you are out in single-digit temperatures, you’ll likely want something warmer and if having a smartphone-compatible glove is important to you, you’ll find these lacking. At the end of the day, these might be some of the most versatile gloves we’ve brought out to the duck blind. If nothing else, they are a huge improvement over the average hunting glove.

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Carhartt Storm Defender Glove

| January 4, 2022
Carhartt Storm Defender Gloves
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Sizes | S/M/L/XL
Color | Brown/Black
Brand | Carhartt
Model | GLO506
Materials Shell | 100% Polyester
Materials Trim | 91% Polyester / 9% Spandex
Materials Face | 100% Polyester
Materials Back | 91% Polyester / 9% Spandex
Materials Shell | 100% Polyester
Materials Liner | 100% Polyester
Materials Insulation | 100% Polyester
Features | Nose Wipe, Hook & Loop Cuffs, Wicking
Waterproof | Yes
Breathable | Yes
Insulated | Yes
Country of Origin | China
Price | $36.39




Carhartt is one of the best workwear and apparel companies there is, and so it made sense to try Carhartt Storm Defender gloves in our quest to find a high-performance, affordable glove for cold weather big game, predator, backcountry, and waterfowl hunts.

First Impressions

The Carhartt Storm Defender gloves are well made, which is no surprise from a Carhartt product. All the stitching is straight and tight, and the materials used all around in the construction of the gloves are durable and of high quality. The texturing on the reinforced PU palm is grippy and looks like it will last longer than the common surface treatment of PU or silicone used by many other glove manufacturers to improve grip.

The gloves have a nice contour to the fingers, and dimensionally they are constructed to fit a hand very well. The model of Storm Defenders we purchased is an Amazon exclusive, which adds a hook and loop closure in addition to ladder lock buckles, the combination is not available on standard models that use either or, but not both. They are everything you’d expect from Carhartt, and even before using them, there is little doubt that they won’t be one of the best performing gloves we’ve tried for under forty bucks.

Carhartt Storm Defender Straps

A hook and loop closure, combined with a ladder lock strap ensure a great fit at the wrist, and protection from the elements.

Field Test

The Storm Defenders fit very well and are true to the sizing dimensions Carhartt provides on their website. So if you check your measurements, and choose the appropriate size, you’ll get a glove with a great fit. The extra-long cuff is a great feature on a pair of work and cold weather gloves. The combination of a hook and loop closure plus a ladder lock buckle, lets you conform the cuffs for a snug, but not over-tight, fit on the wrists to create a barrier against the cold.

Like all of the other gloves we have tested, we try to operate firearms and perform common tasks for the sportsman and outdoorsman. The insulation that does such a great job keeping your hands warm while, hunting, shoveling snow, or splitting wood adds a little bulk. The bulkiness of the gloves makes it more difficult to operate the charging handles and safety selector on modern sporting rifles, as well as a waterfowling shotgun. It also makes it difficult to manipulate the small zippers on a pack, or buttons on a camera, which can be a little bit annoying in the field.

Carhartt Storm Defender Insulation

Carhartt Storm Defender insulation adds a little bulk for the warmth it provides.

However, operating the trigger on a firearm is still very manageable, and the warmth is a reasonable trade-off for the loss of some trigger finger sensitivity. There is enough room to wear a thin glove liner, so you should have the opportunity to remove a glove during a hunt, just before taking your shot, and still have some protection against the elements, while pulling the trigger. We used the gloves to set decoys at the start of an icy waterfowl hunt, and again to pick up decoys at the end of the hunt. The gloves work as advertised and do a great job keeping hands dry.


All around, minus a small loss of dexterity, the Storm Defenders gloves performed exceptionally well meeting all of our demands in the field. They are the best gloves we’ve used for winter hunting in wet and cold temperatures to date. They have a good amount of insulation, long cuffs, a good fit, cuff straps for an adjustable and comfortable fit on the wrist, and great protection from both wind and water. They are also under forty dollars, which in our opinion, makes them an incredible value over other glove options.

The Carhartt Storm Defender gloves have proven they can perform at temperatures as cold as -5 Fahrenheit during predator hunts, waterfowl hunts, shoveling snow, and even ski trips. They are our go-to glove for hunting and homestead work in cold temperatures, and we highly recommend them to anyone looking for great performance and value.

Carhartt Storm Defender Fist

Carhartt Storm Defender gloves still have plenty of dexterity to make a fist, and operate most modern sporting arms.

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Nekteck 21W Solar Charger

| January 4, 2022
Nekteck 21w Solar Charger Folded
Photo Credit: Keith Knoxsville
A Hen and a Drake Green Teal on the truck bed. Not a limit on anything, but a fun morning out.
Brand | Nekteck
Watts | 21
Color | Black
Outputs | 2x 5V Standard USB
Output Current | 3A Max, 2A Max per USB
Over Current Protection | Yes
Over Voltage Protection | Yes
Short Circuit Protection | Yes
Overcharge Protection | Yes
Weight | 18 ounces
Size Folded | 6.3

It’s difficult to keep multiple camera batteries, cellphones, and light batteries charged on backcountry adventures, so after a bunch of research, we purchased a Nekteck 21W solar charger and put it to the test in the field.

First Impressions

On the face of it all, a 21-watt solar charger with two 5v outputs that is able to produce up to 3 amps, all in a compact and backpacker-friendly package, seemed like a great value for 42 bucks. The Nekteck 21W solar charger is not just a single large panel, but instead is a 3 solar panel system, with a 4th identical sized panel that has a pouch housing the charge controller and protects the two USB outputs.

Nekteck 21w Solar Charger Unfolded

The Nekteck incorporates durable materials with good construction quality and practical design.

The materials all seem to be either heavy denier nylon or a PU-treated canvas. Either way, it’s a durable material, and stitching all around looks solid. There is also no frizz near the edge of the grommets, meaning they were installed properly, and with a good amount of attention to quality. The 4th panel houses the wire junction and USB output ports. It is also a nice place to keep the included 32″ micro USB charging cable, and two small carabiners for hanging the system off of a pack, tent, or tree.

Field Test

The Nekteck 21W solar charger checked off all of the boxes on a spec sheet, but we obviously had to see if it can achieve anything near its claimed output performance ratings.

To test the actual output, we put the panels in direct sunlight and measure the voltage and current of a single output. We found the real amperage output to fluctuate from as low as 150 milliamps when snowing and cloudy, or placed at a bad angle to the sunlight, and peak at about 2.4 amps while the voltage of the USB output read just shy of 5 volts. We also got readings over 6 volts, at about 900 milliamps. All measured outputs and fluctuations considered, the solar charger, meets the demand of most devices and performs better than we actually expected.

Nekteck 21w Solar Charger Tests

Our field tests and measured tests verified performance close to the manufacturer specifications.

At 18 ounces, the Nekteck may not be the right pick for the modern ultralight backpacker, but it is great for a backpacker trying to do multiple days of photography, or the backcountry hunter trying to film a multi-day hunt. We paired the Nekteck with a 20,000mah power bank so we can use cameras during hunts, while the power bank charges all day. We are then able to charge cameras off of the battery bank at night.

The 2 outputs mean the solar charger is able to charge multiple electronic devices simultaneously, albeit at a reduced amperage. The reduced current when two items are being charged simultaneously is still good, not the max number specified by the manufacturer, but still respectable at just over 1 amp, and more than sufficient to charge many common devices in a few hours.


We really like the Nekteck 21W solar charger. It is a great backcountry companion, and perfect for our team to keep cameras, smartphones, smartwatches, GPS devices, and headlamps fully charged while in the field.

If you are trying to keep weight down, but want to have the option to charge your devices, then something like an all-in-one solar battery bank might be a better option. However, for anything that demands more than the occasional headlamp or cellphone recharge, the Nekteck 21W solar charger is a good balance of performance, weight, and size, without stepping up to larger, less portable solar charging systems.

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