Tactical is the current keyword when it comes to gear, and sometimes it is more fluff than function.
But when it comes to gloves that will protect your hands from cuts, abrasions, injury, and the environment while maintaining your ability to perform searches or manipulate tools tactical is a term that means something.
The best tactical gloves will help with surviving to the end of your next tour or shift. Let us help you select your next pair with some tips and even our choices for Best of the Best.
Tactical Glove Comparison
|Product Name||Best Application|
|Blackhawk ½ Finger Light Assault||Fingerless|
|CamelBak Cold Weather||Cold Weather|
|Mechanix Wear||Cut Resistant|
|Mechanix Wear||Hard Knuckle|
|Hatch Specialist||Small Hands|
Our Top Picks
- 1 #1 Blackhawk ½ Finger Light Assault Glove -Fingerless
- 2 #2 Camelbak Cold Weather Glove – Cold Weather
- 3 #3 Mechanix Wear Tactical Specialty Pursuit CR5 Glove – Cut Resistant
- 4 #4 Mechanix Wear M-Pact 3 Covert Glove – Hard Knuckle
- 5 #5 Sealskinz Waterproof Glove – For Use with Smart Phone – 5.11 Screen Ops Tactical Glove
- 6 #6 Hatch Specialist All-Weather – Small Size Tactical Gloves
#1 Blackhawk ½ Finger Light Assault Glove -Fingerless
Sometimes even the thinnest gloves still get in the way when performing complex tasks. Other times it is a matter of comfort, especially in extreme heat.
Either way the answer is fingerless gloves and our pick is the ½ Finger Light Assault from Blackhawk.
You get everything you look for in tactical gloves – heavy duty construction, dual adjustment straps for ideal fit and a high cuff for extra protection – the only thing missing are the fingers.
- From a trusted name in tactical gear
- Solid construction for long life
- Dual straps allow for better fit
- Users report tight fit until broken in and stretched
- Not suitable for cold weather use
#2 Camelbak Cold Weather Glove – Cold Weather
For a long time, tactical gloves and cold weather protection were often considered polar opposites.
The ability to provide effective cold weather protection depending on thinker materials, which in turn reduced tactical application.
Thankfully that is no longer the case, thanks in part to the Camelbak Cold Weather Glove.
By starting with a solid tactical glove foundation including textured palms for grip, flexible knuckles & fingertips for dexterity.
Thinner material in trigger finger for better feel and adjustable wrist strap and then adding Thinsulate lining the result is a combined tactical AND cold weather gloves in one.
- Lightweight, yet warm- a rare find in tactical gloves
- Includes many features desired in any tactical glove
- Manufacturer has limited history producing tactical gear of this type
- On the higher end of the price scale
#3 Mechanix Wear Tactical Specialty Pursuit CR5 Glove – Cut Resistant
Anyone looking for all-around protection, including cut resistance, and a quality pair of tactical gloves need to seriously consider Mechanix Wear’s Tactical Specialty Pursuit CR5 Gloves.
Mechanix Wear is a leader in producing protective gloves and were a long time favorite with tactical operators even before they were marketed as tactical gloves.
The anatomical design provides a fit that conforms with the hand’s natural curve for increased feel, fit and comfort.
The 3-dimensional patterning allows for extra protection in the areas where it is most needed – the back of hand, fingers and knuckles- without reducing flexibility.
Cut resistance is achieved thanks to a level 5 lining in the palms under a sturdy synthetic leather outer layer for improved long-term wear. Plus, the fingertips are touchscreen compatible as well.
- True cut resistance
- Heavy duty construction with protection in key areas
- Superior fit thanks to anatomical design
- Not ideal for cold weather wear
- Company logo visible on exterior
#4 Mechanix Wear M-Pact 3 Covert Glove – Hard Knuckle
Having additional knuckle protection is one of the latest, most popular features in today’s tactical glove.
But having hard molded plastic across the back of your hand can be both uncomfortable and restrictive. Not anymore, not when you choose the M-Pact 3.
Mechanix Wear utilizes a single-piece, impact resistant guard constructed of rubber instead of plastic.
The result is increased impact protection without the restricting hard plastic others use.
Of course, you also enjoy some of the best tactical protection available thanks to the reinforced palms & fingertips, EVA padding on outside of fingers & thumb, high cuff for increased protection and wrist loop to provide adjustable fit.
- Made by one of the leaders in protective gloves
- Single piece rubber knuckle guard for better protection & fit
- Superior full hand protection
- Thicker construction than competitors, some users report reduced dexterity
- Do include visible printed logos, which may not suit those in uniform
#5 Sealskinz Waterproof Glove – For Use with Smart Phone – 5.11 Screen Ops Tactical Glove
Let’s face it, whether we like it or not our smart phones and tablets have become an increasing part of our lives- even when faced with a tactical situation.
Sometimes you need to access your devices and it is not always convenient to take your gloves off every time. 5.11’s Screen Ops Tactical Gloves are one of the few true tactical gloves that are also touchscreen compatible.
The seamless goatskin palm provides excellent dexterity & feel. Kevlar knit fabric backing protects against slashes and is also direct flam resistant. Extra knuckle padding provides increased impact resistance.
But it is the touchscreen compatible fingers & thumbs that set these apart and allow you to address the task at hand, whether it requires a firearm or iPhone, without wasting time taking your gloves off and putting them on.
- Each finger is touchscreen compatible
- Quality goatskin and Kevlar construction
- Suitable for both the range and the street
- Higher end of price range
- Touchscreen compatible material prone to wear
#6 Hatch Specialist All-Weather – Small Size Tactical Gloves
Those with smaller hands can face a real challenge finding tactical gloves that fit properly.
More often than not they find the gloves they selected are too big, meaning a loss of dexterity, or too tight, resulting in an inability to wear long term.
Enter the Hatch Specialist All-Weather glove. Although these gloves were specifically designed for use in cooler weather their design provides a secondary benefit – a near perfect fit for those with smaller hands.
This benefit is the result of two factor; Hatch’s use of neoprene & Synsi-feel synthetic leather for a skin like but comfortable fit and the fact that these are one of the few gloves offered in a true and accurate smaller sizes.
The wrist hook & loop strap allows even more refined fit and the short wrist length is perfect for wear with a watch.
- Available in smaller sizes than many competitors offer
- Sizes are reported to be true and accurate, eliminating the need to order a size larger or smaller than needed
- Combination of leather and neoprene construction allows for skin like fit and protection where needed most
- May be too warm for summer, warmer climate wear
- Neoprene back may not provide full level of protection from slashes, cuts, etc.
- Neoprene may not last as along as competitors’ materials
Best Tactical Gloves: Buyers Guide
Choosing the right tactical gloves can be confusing, especially if you are purchasing your first pair or have not purchased a pair in a long time.
The last couple of years have flooded the market in not only brands but also styles, features and materials.
Every manufacturer claims theirs is the best, even when they offer several competing designs. The key is to get a pair that will meet YOUR demands and fit YOUR mission or missions.
You need to consider how you will be using the gloves, when you will wear them and what tasks you will be performing while doing so.
For example, fingerless gloves may offer protection for the palm & knuckles while allowing easy loading of magazines or completion of delicate tasks; however, these same gloves will not protect you fingers or provide protection in cooler temperatures.
On the other hand thicker cold weather gloves or even those designed for extra slash protection may be less pliable and limit dexterity.
All tactical gloves are designed for a specific purpose and although they may be suitable for other missions, they will not be the best choice. Some operators purchase multiple pair, each for a specific mission or season.
Let us help you narrow your search by providing some tips on what to look for when shopping.
what the gloves are made from should be the first consideration. Selecting the wrong material for the task at hand, or poor-quality materials, will likely result in the gloves failing to perform as expected or failing altogether.
Leather was once the most popular material due to its higher durability and long life, however, it tends to become slippery when wet.
Many of today’s gloves are constructed of synthetic materials, including fake leather, to prevent this from happening. Many synthetics are also naturally textured to improve grip even when dry.
Kevlar or a similar cut resistant material is necessary to increase slash protection and a heat retaining material, such as Thinsulate, is necessary for cold weather wear. One point of caution when selecting synthetics – make sure they are flame resistant.
Some are prone to melt when exposed to heat. Not something you want to happen when wearing them. Neoprene is the go-to for true waterproof gloves and will also allow more flexibility and better fit.
the main purpose for wearing tactical gloves is protection for your hands. It is important to select a pair that includes features that maximize this protection while maintaining flexibility and function.
Look for extra material or padding in the palms, knuckles and along the fingers. Joints should be open or include spaces in any padding to increase range of movement.
Shooters will want the trigger finger and tips of other fingers to have thinner material to allow the feel and dexterity needed to load magazines, feel weapons operation systems and manipulate buckles etc.
tactical gloves function best when the fit properly, which is generally considered tight. Having a form fitting, skintight fit allows the gloves to cover and protect without impeding.
Think about the difference between wearing gloves and mittens.
Many designs include a preformed anatomical shape that includes a molded curve like a hand in a partially closed grip.
Others are made from flexible nylon material to allow a full range of movement. It is also important to understand how a specific manufacturer sizes their gloves.
If shopping in a brick and mortar store, try on several pair and see what fits you best. If shopping online review the sizing guide and return policy.
Remember, some materials will stretch with wear so check to see if that is the case before settling on a final size.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are tactical gloves used for?
The main benefits of tactical glove are (1) protection for the hands in harsh conditions commonly encountered in tactical environments and (2) increased grip on tools and weapons when exposed to water, sweat, blood etc.
Depending on the pair selected today’s tactical gloves can also protect against cold and function as general purpose duty gloves as well.
What makes the best tactical gloves better than others?
It generally comes down to construction.
Almost all manufacturers boast their gloves protect from cuts, slashes, abrasions etc. while providing improved grip but what makes the best of the best stand above the others is construction – both materials and method.
Gloves that use the best materials and are constructed using double stitching, larger pull tabs etc. will last long and allow for ease of use.
In the long run the latter will last longer, perform better and ultimately rank higher in the ratings.
Why are knuckle gloves hard?
The hard knuckle covering is originally designed to protect the wear’s knuckles from abrasion and impact, both are common injuries in tactical situations.
Over time some users, as well as observers, have mistakenly decided this feature is designed to provide increased striking ability. While this may be a secondary benefit it is not an intended feature.
Do knuckle gloves hurt?
Obviously, it was never the intention of the designer that this feature would result in discomfort for the wearer. However, this is often the case and is usually the result of either poor fit or a design flaw.
If you select a pair of quality gloves an ensure they fit properly there should be no discomfort, although there may still be some restricted range of movement.