Whether you're prepping for combat, making a day of the shooting range, or heading out on patrol, tactical gloves are the one piece of gear you can't afford to leave home without. While they are designed to prevent your hands from succumbing to a wide range of potential threats, they also optimize your grip and increase your performance potential without ever infringing upon your natural dexterity. An informed purchase can land you with an impressive pair of gloves, while an inferior design can be a catastrophic mistake. Thus, we have created this detail-oriented buying guide to help you make the most informed decision.
What are Tactical Gloves?
Tactical gloves are hand coverings designed with police, military, and firearm operatives in mind. While materials and design vary greatly, most tactical glove sets serve to protect your digits, enhance your natural grip, help you fair harsh weather environments, and withstand harsh impacts. All the while, these gloves should help your hands to retain their natural range of motion.
Before selecting a pair of tactical gloves, narrow down your intended purpose for them. For example, if you plan to primarily wear the gloves while handling firearms, a fingerless model will supply you with the most dexterity. Nevertheless, weather plays a part in your decision-making process too. Case in point, a fingerless model won't be sufficient in harsh winter climates. Scroll down to find the section that best describes the situation in which you plan to use your tactical gloves and discover the ideal design for you.
From military handbooks to police uniform requirements, it comes as no question that tactical gloves are an innovative addition to any tactical operative's uniform. From handling automatic weapons to battling wildfires, tactical gloves help the bravest of individuals put their fists into action. However, their guarantee comes at the hands of specialized fabric engineers and designers who compile the innovative materials into a lucrative pattern.
As the tools and technologies we utilize progress, so do the requirements of our uniforms. One of the most obvious glove innovations is the commonplace addition of iodized fingertips. Up until a decade ago, this technology would be futile, but now that touch screens are employed by soldiers, civilians, and everyone in between, gloves without them seem primitive. On the note, when shopping for gloves you should always consider the novelty of new technologies and how their addition may refine or hamper your desired results.
Fingertips for touch screen usage
Tactical Combat Gloves
If you're looking to purchase a pair of tactical combat gloves, it is imperative you select something that is going to prevent superficial injuries to your most precious extremities while giving you enough flexibility to accurately employ and command your weapons. What's more, it's not too much to ask that your gloves provide sufficient protection from any potential environmental concerns, e.i. harsh temperatures, rain, or snow, and allow for ample breathability.
If you're still not sure if tactical combat gloves are for you, look to a recent initiative by the U.S. Army. A study by the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research revealed alarming numbers of hand burns and injuries during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom (United States Army Institute of Surgical Research). As a result, the army has issued widespread messages requesting that all army personnel use hand protection such as tactical gloves.
What to look for and why?
When it comes to being combat ready, there is absolutely no room for error. While shoppers rightly ogle over expertly manufactured fabrics and ergonomic finger construction, all this is vain if, pun-intended, the glove doesn't fit. Simple size guidelines such as small, medium, and large don't cut it either. Instead, we must rely on finger and wrist adjustments to eliminate any wiggle room. Basic hook and loop closures will suffice, but always test glove closures before you purchase to ensure they tighten well and stay firmly in place.
Make sure to measure both hand and fingers for exact fit.
Don't underestimate the sheer number of handheld tools required of combatants. While we often think of battles in terms of rugged fist power and bullet volume, soldiers are not strangers to utility knives, GPS units, cell phones, climbing and repelling gear, medical equipment, and so much more. The list is long but we can cover all our bases by recommending you purchase a glove with conductive thumb and trigger finger padding. Conductive finger pads benefit the wearer in two ways. First, iodized rubber ensure that an individual can manipulate a touchscreen without issue. Secondly, it establishes a near-naked finger feel. Essentially, this gives the user a better grip and more control over any instrument they choose to use.
While the importance of a fine-tuned grips is factored into the purchase of any tactical gloves, combat-ready grips are a whole different beast. To give you an example, we're not talking about a rubber barrier that will prevent the slip and fall of your iPhone, we're talking about something worthy of repeatedly seizing the trigger on your firearm, clenching the handle of a bayonet, or steadying the string of your crossbow. Life or death operations such as these warrant the use of refined materials such as engineered nylon, leather, and Kevlar along with ridged rubber or dual-material outer pads. These pads need to be far thinner than your standard garden glove grips only significantly stronger too.
All-weather gloves extend over the fingers and possess thumb, index, and palm grips to ensure optimal combat performance. However, many operatives prefer fingerless models because of their enhanced dexterity. Most manufacturers use a variety of pads to independently optimize the efficiency of the palm and finger covers.
Tactical Shooting Gloves
While tactical combat gloves share many of the same qualities as tactical shooting gloves, a more focused attention is given to firearm handling in the latter. In most firearm patents, we see engineers pay careful attention to the potential obstructions caused by winter or tactical gloves (Wilhelm Bubits). As pointed out, the materials can prevent the release of the safety and, therefore, hinder the effective use of the gun.
Such an occurrence would be extremely frustrating to a hunter or shoot range attendant but, more importantly, life-threatening to a police officer or military operative in the line of duty. All this comes into play when building the ideal shooting tactical glove. From selecting the thinnest, most flexible materials for the foundation to ensuring that the grips are slip-free and secure, it is important to carefully consider the construction of your glove from the wrist to the tip of the finger.
Meanwhile, if you can afford to utilize fingerless gloves, these provide you with more flexibility and less hinderance when gripping the trigger. Still, when weather, the risk of injury, or unpredictable conditions call for full-hand protection, there are several varieties of tactical gloves that fit the bill of an expert marksman.
Please see this artcile for detailed review of shooting gloves.
Some great shooting gloves
Condor HK 228
PIG Full Dexterity Tactical
Hatch NS 430
Tactical gloves serve many different purposes including providing adequate protection for your hands during the use of a firearm. With that being said, if shooting is the only activity you intend to use your gloves for you may want to consider a fingerless design. Fingerless gloves allow you to easily release the safety, pull the trigger, and reload your gun. They prevent potential fabric snags while still providing enough palm and knuckle protection to withstand the bounce of a pistol. If the weather is good or you're employing your gloves in an indoor shooting range, fingerless is the way to go.
We like these fingerless tactical gloves
Seiberton Special ops
Freetoo Tactical Gloves
Never underestimate the value of comfort when it comes to handling a firearm. Tactical gloves should serve as a second, more hardwearing layer of skin while being minimally invasive. Materials such as leather and bonded nylon are extremely pliable, thin, and form-fitting. Moreover, they are breathable, warm, and water resistant.
Great material for tactical gloves
Another important feature with respect to your comfort is breathability. Many manufacturers utilize breathable rubber or mesh to account for sweaty palms. Whether you intend to wear these gloves for a short period of time or an entire day, an engineered rubber such as Neoprene provides an optical protection barrier and redirections fluid so prevent high-risk slips and blunders. Most police uniform guidelines even indicate minimum material requirements. For example. the Albuquerque, New Mexico, Police uniform order form specify that tactical gloves should be made from "black leather, neoprene, Nomex or Nomex/Kevlar weave" (Albuquerque Police).
Tactical Gloves for Extreme Weather Conditions
What to look for and why?
In this section, we'll take a closer look at what features are required to beat the elements. From moisture to heat, no two pairs of gloves are designed exactly the same. To help ease your shopping experience, we'll let you know what design features work best in different climates.
What to Wear in Winter, Snow, and/or Cold
Cold weather tactical gloves have a few obvious features, such as covered fingers, dense foam padding, and insulating materials. Some manufacturers make it easy to identify cold weather gear by including "all-weather" in its name. However, your protection and warm are guaranteed when you confirm the gloves are made from materials such as leather, high-quality synthetic leather, or neoprene. Another essential element to look for is a moisture-wicking barrier. If the thought of wet hands, sub-zero temperatures, and pistols puts you on edge, you'll realize that a tested and proven moisture barrier isn't negotiable.
Important features in Tactical Gloves for cold
Insulation is imperative in cold weather. Not only does it extend a person's ability to withstand harsh weather, it helps them avoid subsequent injuries and illnesses. However, standard insulation will not suffice. Instead, dense foam padding or natural fibres such as leather are employed. These materials ensure the gloves are thin enough to achieve maximum mobility and don't infringe on the wearer's ability to utilize their tools.
We like these tactical gloves for cold weather
MECHANIX WEAR THE ORIGINAL INSULATED GLOVES
BLACKHAWK EXTREME COLD WEATHER OPERATIONS GLOVES
WILEY X ORION FLIGHT GLOVES
What to Wear in Summer and/or Heat
When it comes to dealing with heat, sweat can be a major issue. Neoprene or mesh backing or panels can help redirect moisture and prevent slippery palms from thwarting your plan of action. Alternatively, intense sun-exposure can warrant the use of full-finger tactical gloves too. For such conditions, light-coloured, heat-resistant materials or UV barriers will prevent your extremities from superficial burns.
Important features in Tactical Gloves for heat
We like these tactical gloves for hot weather
CC-JJ - Tactical Fingerless Gloves
Under Armour Tactical Summer Blackout Gloves
Mechanix speciality vent coyote
What to Wear in Wet Conditions
Again, if you're thinking of wearing your gloves in wet conditions, neoprene or other moisture-wicking materials are an absolute necessity. That being said, you can get a thinner, more dexterous glove if you don't need thermal protection too.
Important features in Tactical Gloves for wet conditions
We like these tactical gloves for hot wet conditions
Rapdom Tactical Neoprene Waterproof Gloves
Blackhawk NEOPRENE PATROL GLOVES
Tactical Gloves for Specific Professions
Many gloves are designed with an exact profession in mind. Below you will find a brief description of what profession-specific features to expect from your tactical gloves. In many cases, your employer will provide you with specific guidelines for purchasing uniform basics.
When you consider the wide range of duties fulfilled by cops, you'll understand the laundry list of desired features they've come to expect from tactical gloves. We're talking built-proof Kevlar backing, flame-resistant Nomex, and superior finger and palm grips. Let's not forget that traffic cops and patrolmen will also want an all-weather beast that will withstand snow, sleet, and sun. Moreover, the gloves need proper ventilation to free an officer from ill consequences of sweaty hands encapsulated in gloves for hours or even days at a time. Finally, they need to be comfortable enough to wear during long shifts. At last, bonus points apply if they employ fingertip technology that allows you to handle touch screens and punch in phone numbers.
Nowadays, many cops also look for hypodermic needle protection in their tactical gloves. With growing rates of needle-based drugs and the impending risk of sharp objects being used as weapons, many beat cops prefer a fabric that is puncture resistant. Smallscale threats such as syringes may seem trivial alongside guns and knives, but they pose as both physical and biomedical hazards.
We like these tactical gloves for police officers
Turtleskin Alpha Gloves
Hatch Dura Thin
5.11 Tac A2
From snipers to yeomen, the military doesn't cut corners when it comes to protecting an operatives most vital extremity. Military grade gloves employ Kevlar, heat-resistant materials, tactile fingertip technology, and metal knuckle guards. Today's technologies make military tactical gloves best fit for the hands of fictional superheroes such as Ironman. Nevertheless, standard green and tan camo facades assure of us their crusading nature.
Most military-grade tactical gloves don't employ the use of padding. This means less shock-absorption. On the other hand, this helps users to assure a firmer fit. Nevertheless, if you're switching from a civilian tactical glove, the padless versions may take some getting used to.
We like these tactical gloves for military
5.11 Tactical Hard Time
Mechanix Tactical M-pact Coyote
Airsoft & Paintball
When looking for a good pair of tactical gloves for paintball and airsoft a lot of the features that are relevant for the military is also relevant for these types of activities.
We want a pair of gloves that are good for shooting, meaning a good grip and good contact for your trigger finger and at the same time have sufficient of protection like padding and hard-moulded plastic protection on the top of your hand.
If you have to choose between comfort and protection you might want to go lower on the protection part and select a pair of gloves that are lighter and thereby most often also more comfortable to wear.
We like these tactical gloves for Airsoft & Paintball
V-Tac Zulu Tactical Gloves
Condor Outdoor NOMEX Tactical Glove
VALKEN IMPACT FULL FINGER GLOVES
Security guards need an ergonomic, pliable pair of gloves that allow them to quickly and efficiently respond to a threat with their hands, knife, or firearm. It is equally important that the gloves are fabricated from a super durable, puncture-resistant material such as leather or nylon. It's safe to say that abrasions and punctures should not be enough to break through a guard's perimeter. Finally, armour-like finger and knuckle guards are standard features of a guard's uniform.
We like these tactical gloves for Guards
Seibertron S.O.L.A.G. Special Ops
Mechanix pursuit CR5
Like anyone who handles a firearm, Hunters look for tactical gloves that are ergonomic, thin, weather-resistant, and breathable. Moreover, standard hunting gloves incorporate woodland camos or, alternatively, blazing orange colourways. Apart from being able to handle extended wear and holding up to the elements, a hunter's gloves need to have expertly constructed fingertips that won't hinder trigger pulls. No matter what profession you're shopping for, tactical gear should improve your performance not handicap you.
We like these tactical gloves for hunting
Sitka Coldfront Gtx Glove
Glacier Glove Alaska Pro Camo Glove
Under Armour 2.0 Primer Gloves
If you're a first responder, military operative, active hunter, or marksman, tactical gloves should be your go-to accessory. Not only do they protect your most valuable asset, they can serve to improve your overall performance and keep all-weather operations free from hiccups. If you're just finishing reading this article, you'll find there is no shortage of diverse tactical gloves on the market. Nevertheless, as the consumer, it is important that you pay close attention to the materials used, glove design, and extra features before selecting a pair.
Important factors to consider include what you will be using the gloves for, what elements you might need to battle up against, and how regularly and for how long you intend to use your mitts. From there, you can consider the benefits of things like fingerless vs. fingered gloves. When all is said and done, you want your tactical gloves to provide you with satisfactory protection without hindering your mobility.