Hand-to-Hand: The 8 Best Tactical Gloves

Your hands are your tools, but they are also the best weapon you will ever own. Without keeping those little opposable thumbs and your other digits in good working order, using a folding pocket knife or hoping to reset a crossbow is an impossible dream. That’s the whole reason for getting a good set of tactical gloves. Whether you’re kicking in doors, taking the blue team to the splatterhouse in paintball, stranded in a downed Blackhawk, or just spending a day at the target range, you need to keep your hands in top shape, or the rest of your gear doesn’t matter.

When it comes to selecting the right pair, these gloves can be a bit┬átricky. They need to have enough protection to deal with everything from cuts and scrapes to close quarters combat. You must have sufficient flex to hold a gun’s grip and pull the trigger while keeping enough tactile sensation to unleash your self-defense knife without hesitation. They need to be warm, yet breathable. These gloves can be a matter of life and death, so now isn’t the time to scrimp or snap up a bargain. You need one of the 8 best tactical gloves because your life may literally depend on them.

1 Pair Outdoor Sports Fingerless

1 Pair Outdoor Sports Fingerless

Pro: Extremely lightweight
Con: Backing is molded foam

Nothing More Than Feeling: Some daft bugger tried to tell us that these are bike gloves; and yes, they can be used in that capacity, but these are equally adept as inexpensive tactical gloves. Nylon and leather body, you’re doubtful to use these in combat, but their foam-backing and fingerless freedom allow you to shoot without worrying about your finger slipping off the trigger or your hands taking unnecessary damage. They close with a low-profile nylon loop that lets you add in your fitness tracker or smartwatch without interfering with your operation.

Purchase: $14

Specialist All Weather Shooting Gloves

Specialist All Weather Shooting Gloves

Pro: Fit like a second skin
Con: Limited durability and longevity

For Marksmen: Pistoleros will fall instantly in love with these gloves. They are intended specifically for use with a handgun during any adverse conditions, allowing soldiers, armed patrolmen, or just weekend paintballers to keep a hold on their sidearm come rain or shine. The standard palm starts with synthetic leather, but if you know that won’t be enough, go ahead and order the non-slip additions for more texture that won’t release unless you fill out the proper forms in triplicate. Neoprene backing breathes well, reduces moisture and sweat, yet won’t bleed water into the inside.

Purchase: $15

Mechanix M-Pact Coyote

Mechanix M-Pact Coyote

Pro: Heavy wear areas are double stitched
Con: Do not dry quickly

On Guard: We make no secret of loving Mechanix gloves because they perform in a wide variety of conditions. Their M-Pact impact resistant line is ideal for servicemen and public servants because they include the sonically welded Thermal Plastic Rubber protection against heavy hits while still being able to bend. The Coyote has a tight fit and Armortex grip panels on the palm, thumb, and index finger for added grabbing ability right where you need it without additional bulk. The palm also reduces vibration which allows you to go full-auto while still keeping a bead on your target and not jarring your digits. Closed with an easy on/off hook and loop closure, this is as elegant as it is utilitarian.

Purchase: $28+

5 11 Screen Ops

5.11 Screen Ops

Pro: Each finger has a conductive tip
Con: Limited protection

Got the Touch: Patrol officers as well as the average person require the ability to interact with touchscreens whether gloved or not. Besides having the capacity for a touchscreen interface, the Screen Ops fit snugly with a good tactile response for patting down suspects, handling small items, and slipping your finger into the trigger guard without a snag. Made of kevlar with an extended neoprene and Velcro closure, they are touchscreen gloves with a tactical bend. The palm and fingers are soft, supple sheepskin that doesn’t interfere with your duties, won’t desensitize your hands, and fight off abrasion easily.

Purchase: $30+

Condor Tactician

Condor Tactician

Pro: Reinforced palm and knuckles
Con: Not good for cold weather wear

Touchy: All quality tactical gloves offer a reasonably low profile and good manual manipulation that guards your fingers without reducing your sense of touch; but the Tactician was astounding at giving a true barely-there feel. They bear padding on the fingerbacks and palms, but the fingertips themselves have a bare minimum amount of material. Tough goatskin leather lines the palm for rugged durability and is melded with ergonomic padding that shifts with your movement so it’s never in the wrong location and always protecting you from impacts and vibration. They also look exceptionally debonair whether you take tan, black, or multi-cam.

Purchase: $35

HWI Gear KTS100 Touchscreen

HWI Gear KTS100

Pro: Work well for general use or as mechanic gloves
Con: Tend to run warm with limited breathability

Most for the Money: These are probably the best choice for the casual wearer. They include touchscreen capability on the thumb and forefinger along with an ergonomic palm made of synthetic leather. Clarino grip material works for handling slick gun grips or holding the forestock on your favorite rifle or crossbow. Since these are the servant of many masters, you’ll find the fit isn’t ideal, the touchscreen tech functions, but isn’t sterling, and the overall tactile sensation is limited. You won’t want these on patrol or when fighting insurgents is on the menu, but for hunting, target shooting, and warmth with moisture wicking protection are the order of the day, these do a yeoman’s job.

Purchase: $40

Oakley SI Assault Glove

Oakley SI Assault Glove

Pro: Micro-vented
Con: Heavy

Military Grade: While most of the gloves we tried would and often do work in true military situations, these are made strictly with combat in mind. Punched neoprene backing allows for solid airflow along with tactile sensation for handling firearms and even explosives. Each finger is ridged for enhanced grip along with the true leather palms that grab hold like a set of heavy-duty work gloves. A carbon knuckle guard adds additional protection to the back and works like a knuckle duster if you need to swing away in a tight spot. Sonic welded for supreme durability, these are what you wear when you’re busting heads or raiding a meth den.

Purchase: $70

BlackHawk CRG2

BlackHawk CRG2

Pro: Reinforced thumb cradle
Con: Fit tends to run loose at the fingertips

Cutless:┬áMost of these gloves have hardened shells for dealing with tough situations, but that armor also reduces your ability to touch, feel, and move. These use the Spectra Guard system that adds protection from cuts, scrapes, and broken glass without also making them too hard-core to handle more delicate tasks, such as driving or even rock climbing. The palm is constructed of synthetic leather that conforms to the shape of your hand for ergonomic utility and a broken-in feeling you just can’t replicate.

Purchase: $82

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