Choosing Tactical Gloves

Summer’s over and it won’t be long before we’re all searching for our gloves before we go out. Sore, frozen hands are unpleasant and they also get in the way of doing your job effectively, so good gloves are essential when winter hits. They have a place in your kit all year round though, because it’s not just the cold and wet they protect against. Get the right pair and they’ll shield you from a lot of other hazards too.

The first thing to think of when you’re looking for gloves is the basic construction. Leather is the traditional choice for waterproofing and basic protection, and it can still be a great option. Modern leather gloves often have synthetic material stitched or bonded to the palm and inner fingers to give a better grip – wet leather can be slippery, making it awkward to keep a good grip on weapons and other gear. The same applies to fabric gloves which are popular either as a lighter option or as a shell material for winter gloves or mitts.

Bulk and insulation are the next things you want to look at. The fact is that heavily insulated winter gloves are a lot bulkier and make it difficult to carry out precise tasks or use a weapon. You need to balance weather protection with the ability to carry out your job. Something like 5.11 Tactical’s Praetorian 2 insulated gloves are an ideal compromise – they have Thinsulate liners to keep your hands pretty warm, but they’re low bulk and clever construction eliminates awkward finger and palm seams. They’re also made of goatskin leather that’s rugged but gives a smart, professional appearance with your uniform.

Tactical GlovesFor more extreme weather, heavier gloves might be required; something like Blackhawk’s ECW Pro model will work nicely. These have a warmer, heavier fleece liner with breathable waterproofing inside a tough nylon shell. They also have some clever touches, like a goggle squeegee on the left thumb to quickly wipe condensation from eyewear or optics and quick-removal loops to let you get them off in a hurry when you need to do delicate work. Lighter insulation on the trigger fingers means that won’t always be necessary though.

It’s not just the weather that gloves can protect you from.  If you’re fast roping, you definitely need hand protection or you’ll be leaving most of your palms smeared between the helicopter and the ground. You’ll need some specialized gloves for that, but there are a lot of other protective options too. Nomex is a favorite in flight gloves because it protects against fire. If you’re working in and around vehicles in a high threat environment it’s a good choice, as it protects your hands against flash burns from an RPG or IED explosion.

Consider gloves with Kevlar or Spectra fabric too. Slash resistant gloves are excellent for law enforcement; you still don’t want to be using your hands to keep off an edged weapon, but if you do need to you can reduce or eliminate injuries by wearing the right gloves. They’re also great for urban operations where broken glass is a constant hazard.

It’s easy to focus on other items and just grab a pair of basic leather gloves to add to your gear, but think about how vital your hands are. They deserve the best protection you can get for them, so don’t skimp on your gloves.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

Fergus Mason

Fergus Mason grew up in the west of Scotland. After attending university he spent 14 years in the British Army and served in Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq. Afterwards, he went to Afghanistan as a contractor, where he worked in Kabul, Mazar-e-Sharif and Camp Leatherneck. He now writes on a variety of topics including current affairs and military matters.
Fergus Mason

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