I was searching for gloves that offered padding to the hands, while still offering flexibility for the index and middle fingers, and was affordable. I do not get hung-up on brand, so long as they meet criteria, and many of the other similar high-end fingerless gloves were $15 more expensive. I simply chalked that up to the brand name. I digress.
These gloves met my criteria and more. The first thing one notices, upon putting them on is the attention to the features on these gloves. Empire was very creative on these gloves. The space for the index and middle fingers is made of Lycra on the inside and padded with gel on the knuckle-side. This allows for fantastic finger movement and control when one is walking the trigger. The all the exposed Lycra has the edges seamed, so they won't fray as easily as some gloves do when one simply cuts the index and middle fingers off.
The palm is made with Clarino. That is a synthetic leather that is designed to be breathable. Empire advertises that this prevents color bleeding, which is something most of us have expereinced at some point, especially with cheap armored gloves. I haven't really experienced this yet, but most of the higher-end gloves I have used have taken two paintball sessions to start bleeding. I may add more on this later. Some parts of the palms are reinforced with Kevlar.
The thumbs are one of the biggest strengths. Not only are the flexible, with the knuckle hinged with Lycra, but a substantial portion of the back of the thumbs are made of terrycloth. This was genius. This allows players to use their gloves to wipe splatter off their lenses without scratching the sensitive lens coatings. This was one of the most convincing selling points and something that set them apart from other fingerless gloves.
The one weakness to these gloves is a minor one. The fantastic gel knuckle padding only extends to the second knuckle on the ring and little finger. This is not a huge issue, but I would have liked to have full finger padding on the non-trigger fingers. The good news is that the padding does extend far enough to cover the front-facing parts of one's non-trigger fingers when one is holding a regulator.
An added, but unexpected, feature is the loop connected to the end of the ring and little finger. This really does make removing the gloves easier. I have noticed that it is occasionally a little tricky to remove fingerless gloves when one's hands are sweaty. These loops aid in pulling the gloves off. This is a helpful thought by the designers.
I would most definitely recommend these gloves. If one wants finger control, while still having some padding on the knuckles and back of the hand, then these gloves are for you. You may even enjoy the terrycloth thumbs for wiping splatter. They are also cheaper than many of the other high-end fingerless gloves on the market.
Final rating: WIth 5 being the average and 10 doing everything advertised with no suggestions for improvement . . . 9. The only thing it loses a point for is the lack of full-finger padding on the non-trigger fingers.