Submitted by Eric Daniel
The nomex CVC (or aviator if you prefer) gloves are something of a polarizing piece of clothing. They can be expensive (if you're buying your own), and flimsy (they were built for aviators, not coal miners) and for those reasons folk don't care for them very much, but hands down (pun not intended) for me, these are the best gloves I've ever had.
What I like best about them is that they are warmer than the issue wool inserts by themselves, they are far more dexterous than the stand alone inserts (not to mention the insert and shell combination with the black leather gloves) even to the point that I can accomplish most things with them on (I don't have to take them off to dig in my pockets, for example.) Moreover, they dry rapidly and don't loose their shape and still provide some degree of insulation when wet (what is it with wool gloves that turn into stretchy blobs when wet?) Oh, and as an added bonus, they're also fire retardant.
Yes, I agree, they can be a little sensitive to abuse. But, as with most things, you can find a work around for this. In my case I carry a sewing kit (just like you did when you had all those buttons on those BDUs...) and a spool of nomex thread, and as soon as I split a seam, time allowing, I stitch it up. In addition, when I pick up a new pair, I always try and give the fingertips another pass with the needle, just to reinforce those edges. Also, I always carry a pair of black leather shells with me so that when I do engage in heavy labor, I can slip the shells over the nomex gloves to further protect them from abuse. One thing folk also seem to forget with these gloves is that the palm is made of leather, and that leather must be treated. Along these lines, what's good for me is good for the glove - a little bit of Bag Balm rubbed into both the palm of my hand and the palm of the glove treats the leather inside and out.
As for keeping the cost down, your best bet is to look for "seconds" sales. Just before deploying in 04 I found a site selling "seconds" (gloves that had a cosmetic defect or blemish.) I was able to pick up five pair at $9 a pair (retail is between $20-30.)
Yes, I know there are more durable variants of this style of glove out there, but for the price I paid, I don't think you can beat the issue ones.