When it comes to tactical operations, your hands are one of your greatest assets. Yet when we think of tactical gear, we often don’t even think about gloves. Sure, vests, armor, and firearms accessories are all necessary to a successful operation, but how well are you likely to handle that equipment with some sort of hand or finger injury? The best tactical gloves will protect your hands and keep you in the fight or in the field. In this post, we discuss what to look for in tactical gloves and share some of our favorites that are currently on the market.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Cold Weather: Mountain Made Outdoor Gloves
- Full Fingered Shooting Gloves: 5.11 Tac A.2 Glove
- Full Fingered Shooting Gloves on a Budget: Mechanix Wear Tactical Original Covert
- Fingerless Gloves for Shooting: Seibertron S.o.l.a.g. Special Ops 1/2 Finger Light Assault Gloves
- Tactical Combat Gloves: Mechanix Wear Tactical M-Pact
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
How to Choose the Right Tactical Glove
There are three main things to consider when choosing tactical gloves: Fit, function, and dexterity.
Fit refers to the way the gloves conform to the shape of your hand. It also refers to how comfortable the gloves are to wear. A good pair of gloves will fit tight enough to not have extra material getting in the way of things, but they are not so tight as to impede circulation or cause irritation. Some gloves are designed so the fit is adjustable. This is often accomplished through hook and loop or Velcro strapping, usually around the wrist or across the back of the hand. Some gloves use zippers or stretchable fabric to allow for the fit to be adjusted to different hand sizes.
Function refers to what is actually accomplished by wearing the gloves. The most common function of gloves is warmth. As your hands get colder, you lose both tactile sensitivity, the ability to feel the details in the objects you touch, and fine motor function, the ability to make precise movements. These effects worsen the colder your hands get. Moisture compounds the situation, even the kind produced from the sweat when your hands get “clammy”. Cold, dysfunctional hands are no sort of tactical asset.
The second most common function of gloves is protection. Good tactical gloves offer varying degrees and types of protections:
- Puncture, cut, and abrasion protection: Suede, leather, or some durable synthetic material is often used across the palms, on the fingertips, or over the knuckles to protect against punctures and abrasions.
- Impact protection: The most heavy-duty tactical gloves feature hard molded plastic or rubber covers over the first knuckles to protect against impacts. These are the gloves of choice for combat situations and are popular among motorcycle riders and cyclists for fall protection.
- Flash/Fire protection: Some gloves, especially those used in military and firefighting applications are made from fire-resistant materials such as Nomex to protect hands from heat and flame.
Additional functions of tactical gloves include:
- Fatigue reduction: Padding in the palms and across the front of the fingers can help absorb recoil or repetitive impacts that put stress on your hands leading to fatigue.
- Improved grip: Coatings on the palms and fingers can help improve your ability to grip objects.
- Camouflage/Concealment: Using colors and patterns as camouflage, gloves can help with concealment when you don’t want to be seen.
Dexterity refers to you ability to hold, manipulate, or otherwise handle objects using your hands and fingers. Good tactical gloves offer sufficient range of movement and are thin enough and offer enough grip to allow you to manipulate all of your equipment and shooting components from ammo to magazines to safeties. This component goes hand-in-hand with a glove’s fit. You want a glove that fits tight enough to optimize tactile feedback – the ability to feel details of objects you touch through the glove.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to dexterity – full fingered or fingerless gloves. Obviously, fingerless gloves do not impede fingertip sensitivity, but they also do not provide finger protection nor are they as warm. The best tactical gloves optimize the balance between fit, function, and dexterity to the situation in which you use them. Choosing the right glove is simply a matter of assessing the conditions in which you’ll use them and determining where in the fit, function, and dexterity spectrum you want to be.
Best Tactical Gloves on the Market
Best Tactical Gloves for Cold Weather:
These Mountain Made gloves are designed for athletic applications, so they run a bit smaller than the average glove. As such, they fit very snug but maintain comfort. Stretch fabric is drawn tight over the hands with a quality YKK zipper. These gloves are warm, yet breathable enough to wick away moisture. They’re not the kind you’d want on a trip to the Arctic, but they’re warm enough for most cool to cold weather shooting or sporting applications.
Though they’re insulated, they’re not bulky. The fabric stretches well enough not to limit the range of motion and the non-skid coating on the palms and fingers makes gripping objects easy, even if they are cold and a little wet. With their touch screen technology, you don’t have to take these gloves off to operate your phone or tablet.
Best Full Fingered Shooting Gloves:
These 5.11 Tac gloves are stretchable and breathable nylon back makes these gloves snug and comfortable without limiting motion. The neoprene and hook and loop wrist closure allow for some adjustability. The synthetic leather grip pads and reinforced finger joints protect against cuts and abrasions. Shooters will appreciate the reinforced thumb saddle, which offers protection against the ubiquitous slide bite.
These gloves use a patented TacticalTouch fingertip designed especially for shooters to be able to feel the trigger. They’re thin, lightweight, and designed to be worn consistently on and off the range. The TacticalTouch fingertip also works with touch screens.
Best Full Fingered Shooting Gloves on a Budget:
These Mechanix gloves use a TrekDry material that allows the breathable back of the glove to form to the back of your hand, keeping it cool and dry. The Velcro cuff offers some adjustment to the fit and the seamless, one-piece palm eliminates extra material and stitching. They don’t have much for the back of the hand protection but the one piece palm and microfiber material makes them relatively abrasion and snag resistant.
The seamless palm improves these gloves’ tactile feedback and the lack of extra layers on the back allows for great range of motion and reduces bulk. If you’re subject to dirty environments, you’ll like that these gloves are machine washable. They come at a good price and these, or close versions of them, are widely available at department and hardware stores nationwide.
Best Fingerless Tactical Gloves for Shooting:
With two Velcro straps to adjust the fit, these Seibertron gloves can be adjusted to fit just about any hand, male or female. The finger holes are designed for a tight fit that is comfortable but makes them a bit harder to take off. Frequent shooters seem to like these gloves because the fingerless design allows for consistent, accurate trigger control while the padding in the glove absorbs recoil and vibration. They’re also quite durable with extra padding across the knuckles and finger backs, they work well for field use.
For fingertip tactility, it’s hard to beat fingerless gloves. The padding in the palm and across the knuckles is relatively heavy and tends to impede dexterity some. This bothers some avid shooters because they lose some responsiveness in the grip of their firearms. Even though these are fingerless gloves, shooters in cooler climates have noticed the additional padding makes them pretty warm.
Best Tactical Combat Gloves:
Similar to other Mechanix Wear versions, though bulkier. Yet, the rubber padding over the knuckles and the backs of the three outside fingers is flexible enough to allow the glove to fit snugly. Though the knuckle guard isn’t as bulky and means looking as some of its competitors, these gloves still provide the necessary protection where it’s needed. Impact resistant TPR coverings are sonically welded to the backs of the gloves and extra layers of leather padding are sewn on the palm. The forefinger and thumb are also reinforced with extra layers and the glove has additional padding inside to absorb impacts and vibration.
An embossed fingertip pattern on the forefinger and thumb increase dexterity and sensitivity and the forefinger is designed for easy entry into trigger guards. But these are heavy duty gloves and therefore sacrifice some dexterity for the level of protection they provide. They come in the standard tactical colors – black, tan, and olive green. The nylon web loops under the wrists allow you to hang them from your vest or range bag and if you get them grimy, they’re machine washable.
Best Tactical Gloves Final Thoughts
When you get right down to it, your tactical glove selection has to be based on your unique individual situation. Do you need impact protection more than warmth? Do you need abrasion protection more than impact protection? Everyone’s situation is different, which is why there are so many versions of tactical gloves on the market. Gloves that offer the most protection or warmth will sacrifice dexterity and possibly fit in doing so. The snuggest fitting tactile gloves will offer little in the way of impact and vibration protection and likely won’t offer much insulation.
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