I used to hate tactical gloves. I hated them with a passion. They got in the way, and they were a significant pain in the ass when I was trying to work my machine gun. The reason being is I used what I was issued: they were these terrible massive Nomex flight gloves. After my first deployment using the Nomex, I dedicated myself to finding better gloves to suit my needs. I want to share with you what I learned then, and what I’m still learning now, about tactical gloves.

Tactical Gloves – Need Drives Requirement

Here is the first and foremost consideration, folks: need drives requirement. The perfect tactical gloves for every situation do not exist. You’ll have to consider your activities, needs, and the mixture of dexterity and protection you’ll need. We live in a day and age where the tactical market is massive and tuned for every type of end-user. What a marine needs is different from what a cop needs, and what a cop needs is, in turn, different from what a firefighter needs.

Materials

Certain materials provide different levels of protection against different elements and to protect against specific threats you need specific materials. I mentioned my terrible Nomex gloves. However, Nomex is an excellent material when you need to resist fire. Thus, Nomex gloves start to make sense if you’re a firefighter or running ops in-vehicle against IEDs.

Materials like Kevlar are extremely strong and resistant to tearing — and even to heat and fire. Kevlar also resists dragging. and is an excellent general-purpose material that is well suited for resisting slashes. As a material, it is generally very strong and works well in gloves of all types.

Natural leather, and various artificial leathers, is a classical material that is still a favorite for various tasks. It is strong, durable, and heat resistant. It is also somewhat difficult to puncture, and with that in mind, it makes an excellent glove for searching people who may or may not be wielding blades, needles, and other things you do not want poking you.

Dexterity and Protection

Dexterity and protection are often at odds with each other. The more protection a glove offers, the thicker the material tends to be, thus reducing dexterity. This is a compromise that requires you to go back to the first consideration and acknowledge that needs drive requirements. For example, handling a gun requires more dexterity than breaking down a door, or patting down a perpetrator. Alternatively, you can have multiple gloves for different tasks.

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But you will need to decide where your priorities lie and choose your level of protection versus the level of dexterity you need.

Grip

Finally, we get to the grip. What texture do the gloves provide you with to handle what is in your way? The wrong tactical gloves make shooting a gun and climbing ropes, ladders, and ledges very difficult.

My Picks and Why

Shooting Gloves — Tactical Made Gloves

General-purpose shooting gloves can be invaluable for high volume shooting. Anyone who shoots high volume range days knows how fast rails, barrels, and slides get hot. The Tactical Made shooting gloves offer a lightweight layer of protection that maximizes dexterity for your range days.

Search Gloves — 5.11 Station Grip

The heavy padding on the hands of these tactical gloves from 5.11 makes it easy to search crevices, pockets, and waistlines without being poked or stabbed by whatever garbage the perpetrator is carrying. They offer excellent protection in a brawl and are well suited for police work.

A U.S. Special Operations Marine provides security as Afghan Local Police members collect their first payments in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

General Tactical Gloves — Mechanix M-Pact

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M-Pact grips became my, and many other marines’, preferred tactical gloves for deployments. These gloves are rugged, durable, and offer a good degree of both dexterity and protection. They seemingly last forever and get the job done.

Heavy Duty Tactical Gloves — Hatch SOGL Heavy Gloves

The Safariland Hatch SOGL Heavy Gloves are made to last. They offer an excellent degree of protection against the world around you. This includes soft knuckle protection, a goatskin second layer, Nomex on the back of the hand, and foam shock absorption in the palms and knuckles.

Tactical Gloves 101

Tactical gloves are purpose made pieces of personal protection equipment. They have become a necessity in the modern world and right so. Without your hands, you cannot fight, and without the ability to fight, you are useless. To protect your hands, choose, and wear the right gloves.