If you are an tactical operator, shooting enthusiast, or even an outdoorsman, you no doubt appreciate a well-made pair of gloves. Furthermore, if you fall into one of those categories, you’ll understand how critical it is to protect your hands. It’s crucial to virtually anything we can think of to keep your hands in good shape, especially when the stakes are high. Therefore, it is important to put it thought and consideration when buying tactical gloves.
How to Choose Tactical Gloves
Factors to consider when looking for the best tactical gloves for your needs:
- Price – This may seem obvious, but consider your budget and your needs before you start narrowing down your choices. You may not need all the bells and whistles that come from higher priced options, so make sure the value equation is optimized for your needs and how you are going to be using the gloves.
- Durability – Make sure the materials are suited to your needs and the build quality is good for the price. Pay special attention to the sticking and the seams of the
- Comfort – Have a good idea of what size your hand is. There are variances between brands, but make sure to order the correct size. Also, make sure the materials are appropriate for the conditions you will be operating in (You would choose much different materials for the Yukon in winter than in Florida in the summer).
- Dexterity – Fit is absolutely the most important aspect of a glove. To maximize your dexterity, make sure you avoid excess fabric. Also, think about where you will need additional padding and protection, but realize additional padding can complicate the fit. In the end, choose the gloves with the features that fit your needs best, but we highly recommend considering dexterity when evaluating your options.
- Coloration – Think about where you are going to be using the gloves and make sure they are appropriate to the environment. Luckily, tactical gloves are widely available in many different color options and When in doubt, black is probably the most versatile color, but choose whichever glove color will suit your needs.
- Weatherproofing – If you’re going to be using these gloves in harsh environments (and why wouldn’t you?), you’ll want something that is up to the task. Waterproof, warm enough to handle snow, or whatever mother nature throws at you. Whatever you need them for, make sure they can handle it when you are buying them.
- Cut Resistant – If you need your gloves to go beyond general purpose use, and you anticipate having to protect your hands from blades or cutting, make sure to seek out gloves made from fabrics that are specifically made to be cut resistant.
- Flame Resistant – If you need something that will be sensitive to heat and flame, look for Nomex or Kevlar.
Top 5 Tactical Gloves
Mechanix Wear M-Pact Tactical Gloves
These tactical gloves are outstanding. These gloves are inexpensive and offer unparalleled features for the price. First and foremost, the gloves are comfortable and have enough to have very high dexterity. Finding magazine releases, gripping a knife, or getting things out of your pocket won’t be a problem if you have a proper fit on your gloves. The top is made from spandex, which really hugs the back of the hand. Overall, the fit is very good.
The palm padding on the gloves, which Mechanix calls XRD open-cell foam, absorbs some impacts, shocks, and vibration. The thumb and index finger have a rubberized feature to improve grip. The padding will add some weight, but might be worth it for you.
The closure is secure and easy enough to use. We like the loop that helps easily pull the gloves on to ensure they are fastened correctly.
In short, if you’re needing a general purpose tactical glove that can handle most tasks, including a moderate level of protection, this is for you.
Hatch Specialist All-Weather Tactical Glove
This glove is a subtler than some of the others on this list, but don’t let that fool you. It’s tough as nails and can handle almost anything you throw at it. We love that this glove isn’t tactical to the max and can double as a general outdoor glove, or even a driving or racing glove if you have the need. That means the gloves fit snugly, and offer incredible dexterity. The Hatch Specialist gives you enough feel to load a magazine or deploy a folding blade with ease. The tradeoff there is there is not backside hand protection. However, for most uses, we will take that in favor of a lighter weight glove for most use cases.
Mechanix Wear Tactical Original Covert
Mechanix is a company that has become a household name the world over due to their commitment to producing gloves that are a valuable addition to anyone’s arsenal of protective and/or tactical wear. Mechanix has gained the reputation they have for a very good reason. They never fail to bring a reliable and durable product to market, and if you’re in the market for a tactical glove the products produced by the company are a great place to start your search.
And at the price point these are at, it makes sense to buy a few pair for your car, range bag, and wherever else you might need them. Also, if you want a variation that is even lighter for warmer weather, check out the Vent Covert, which is a mesh version of this glove to reduce heat buildup in hot environments.
All things considered, we can’t recommend this glove enough. If you want a general all purpose glove that has proven itself time and time again, the Mechanix Originals are for you.
5.11 Tactical Station Grip Glove
Founded by Royal Robins, 5.11 Tactical is a clothing brand which focuses on producing uniforms, tactical equipment, and accessories for military and law enforcement. The brand also markets a variety of goods to civilian consumers, both those that are sold to law enforcement and those tailored to meet the needs of the average consumer.
5.11 Tactical started at the end of climb in Yosemite, California. Robins noticed that the pants he was wearing really were not up to the task of mountain climbing, so he realized that the lack of suitable clothing for sports enthusiasts created a niche in the market which he could potentially fill.
A fun fact about the company that many people may not know is that it actually comes from rock climbing. “5.11” is the highest level of rock climbing difficulty, and is jokingly referred to as “a move which is technically impossible that someone occasionally pulls off.”
Looking at the gloves, you see that the design is scaled. The good part about this is that while the padding used in these gloves will limit dexterity, by using a scaled design as opposed to other paddings you’re still going to be protected and be able to a good range of motion. The fingers and palms of these gloves are reinforced, while the outer knuckles are more heavily padded. The gloves are also entirely synthetic, which while not as durable as leather may appeal to those of you who are morally opposed to the use of animals in clothing.
The gloves also feature elastic wrist closures. The main benefit to having elastic wrist closures is that you can get a much tighter fit than you would otherwise, but it will wear out and stretch over time. With that being said, this issue isn’t too impactful provided that you wear gloves of an appropriate size. Do keep in mind that due to the padding of these gloves you’re not going to get a ton of tactile feedback. This is more of a subjective issue, but if you’re looking to feel a lot of detail through your gloves you may be better off going with something that isn’t padded to this extent.
The 5.11 Tactical Grip Station Gloves are a good option for people who don’t need a lot of tactile feedback. However, for a general all-purpose glove the 5.11 Tactical Grip Station Gloves are very highly received.
PIG Full Dexterity Tactical Alpha Gloves
We’re not sure if it’s possible to improve too much on the Mechanix Originals, but if it is, PIG is giving it a valiant effort. They are everything you need in a general purpose glove, and nothing you don’t. They can be seen in action on soldiers deployed all over the world.
The most interesting feature of these gloves, which the vast majority of their competitors lack, is that both the thumb and trigger finger are made from a conductive material. This allows you to operate touch screens without losing any tactile dexterity.
The gloves are also heavily vented, which helps to reduce sweat. This alone is a pretty important feature to be on the lookout for, because if you’re going to be wearing gloves for a long period of time the presence of moisture can actually increase friction and cause irritation.
These grips also do a good job of giving you a decent level of tactile feedback. The utilization of their single layer multi-piece palm design allows you to pick out more “detail” in regard to your firearm. They also work towards this purpose with what they call a “sensitized and isolated trigger finger”, which is marketing jargon for a thin layer of fabric on the trigger finger. This element of the design helps to increase your sensitivity.
Lastly, these gloves are also available in a gender specific model. A lot of other gloves which are marketed as being intended to be used with firearms seem to have a lot of reviews stating that they don’t function well for that purpose, which isn’t the case here.
These gloves are great for firearm enthusiasts looking for a lightly padded set of tactical gloves. While the PIG Full Dexterity Tactical Gloves are more expensive than some of their competitors, by all accounts they’re also one of the best gloves around if you’re looking for something that offers a lot of tactile sensitivity. The only possible flaw is that they aren’t rugged enough to be used for other purposes, so if you’re looking for a set of all around gloves you may be better off with something else.
The fit is great and doesn’t impair dexterity. There is no excess fabric to bunch and create problematic spots at the tips of your fingers, where you need sensitivity to pick things up and press triggers. Overall, one of the best general purpose gloves on the market, and certainly worth the price.
Don’t be an idiot – Protect your hands!