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The Best Tactical Gloves For Operators & Adventurers

Best Tactical Gloves 0 Hero
Photo: Magpul Patrol Glove 2.0

From the Karuta armor worn by Japanese Samurai warriors to the Roman Legion’s galea helmets to the chainmail armor of the middle ages to modern Kevlar vests and composite helmets: the concept of combat armor has existed for millennia. And while today’s weapons systems and battle gear have hugely evolved, the basic premise of armor remains the same: aiming to provide its wearer with protection from bodily harm without overly compromising range of motion and dexterity. Today’s tactical gloves carry on this tradition while bestowing the space with a host of modern materials, construction techniques, and technologies.

And, considering your hands are used to manipulate and operate the controls of just about any weapon, military vehicle, or missions system, it’s absolutely vital to protect your fingers, palms, and knuckles. Modern tactical gloves do a stellar job of shielding your hands from potential harm while also affording additional grip, without coming at the cost of tactile feel. Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult to distinguish the genuine battle-tested military mitts from the sea of cheap imitation iterations, so with this in mind, we’ve patrolled the landscape for the finest in combat-ready palm and finger fortification to bring you this guide to the best tactical gloves.

The Best Tactical Glove Breakdown

Military Mitt Must-Haves

The Main Factors To Consider When Shopping For Tactical Gloves

Assuming you haven’t spent the last few decades serving as an elite operator, there are a handful of finer points regarding tactical gloves that you may not be aware of. In a bid to help the uninitiated, we’ve pieced together this condensed guide on the most important areas to review before pulling the trigger on your purchase. 

Primary Construction: Just like with any quality tactical bag or jacket, a pair of tactical glove’s primary material — or shell construction — plays an enormous role in determining its overall quality. Typically speaking, most modern tac-gloves are crafted around shells composed of real or synthetic leather or high-denier nylons. As what’s essentials the chassis and main element of the glove, it’s hard to overstate the significance of a tactile glove’s primary construction — making this an area that’s beyond crucial to review when shopping. 

Inserts & Overlays: After the gloves’ shell construction, the next most important element is undoubtedly the secondary materials used. Often comprised of inserts or overlays, these items afford gloves with comfort and performance-enhancing qualities through the addition of stretch patches, or fortify the glove’s seams and construction via reinforcements or overlays made of more rugged materials. 

Protection & Feel: Tactical gloves have an interesting balancing act to pull off, as they need to thoroughly protect their wearer’s hands, however, they also need to afford enough tactile feel that they don’t compromise their wearer’s ability to operate weaponry or equipment. The more robust protective gloves tend to sacrifice some response and feel, like the more lightweight gloves afford markedly better feel, they do so at the cost of protection. At the end of the day. This area is all about striking a balance based on your particular needs and intended uses. 

Padding & Armor: Another area that separates tactical gloves fro your average mitts is the presence of padding and armor. This can include everything from padding along the palms and tops of the fingers and back of hands, to motorcycle glove-style knuckle armor. It’s also not uncommon to see gloves that sport cutting-edge armor or impact-absorbing constructions such as D30. 

Supplementary Features: Tactical gloves tend to be fairly straight forward in their design. With that said, some models do come outfitted with supplementary features. This can include everything from thumb-integrated sweat wipe panels to hanging loops to touchscreen-compatible fingertips. 

5.11 Tactical Competition Shooting 2.0 Glove

511 Tactical Competition Shooting 2 Glove
Photo: 5.11 Tactical
  • Offers great value
  • Designed specifically for shooting
  • Has taper-wrap fingertips & ring-cut trigger finger
  • Are breathable & touchscreen-compatible
  • Decorated in topo pattern
  • Lacks more rugged build quality of pricier gloves

Best Value Gloves: Offering incredible bang for your buck, the 5.11 Tactical Competition Shooting 2.0 is a hardwearing second-generation pair of tactical gloves designed specifically to protects its wearer’s fingers, knuckles, and palms, without compromising the necessary dexterity needed to operate a firearm. Constructed from nylon ripstop with breathable four-way stretch, these touchscreen-compatible tactical gloves feature taper-wrap fingertips and a ring-cut trigger finger, as well as breathable padded knuckles, a swipe wipe panel on the thumb, and adjustable hook and loop wrist closures. Offered in a trio of traditional tactical/military colors (coyote, black, OD green),  5.11’s Competition Shooting 2.0 also sport a topographical print pattern on the top of the hands and fingers. 

Magpul Patrol Glove 2.0

Photo: Amazon
  • 2nd-gen gloves w/ wrap-up finger pattern
  • Made from leather & corded stretch nylon
  • Equipped w/ goatskin leather palms
  • Knuckles padded w/ closed-cell foam
  • Touchscreen-compatible
  • Wrist closures are non-adjustable

Most Versatile Gloves: Though best known for its battle-tested sights, stocks, and magazines, Magpul Industries also makes some stellar tactical accessories and wearables, and after its seriously top-notch smartphone cases, our favorite of which is the new Patrol Glove 2.0. Building on the foundation of Magpul’s popular original Patrol Glove, the 2.0 model features bolstered freedom of movement and revised articulation at the wrist openings, along with added protection in multiple areas. Like the Vertx Breacher, this glove features articulated goatskin palms supplemented with touchscreen-compatible thumbs, while the back of the hands boasts corded nylon reinforced with closed-cell foam around the fingers and knuckles. Available in two colors across five sizes, these gloves also double as a great pair of mechanic gloves or general work gloves.

Mechanix Wear TAA M-PACT 3 Covert Gloves

Photo: Amazon
  • Iconic Mechanix Wear gloves redesigned specifically for tactical use
  • Hot-stamped traction pattern affords ample grip
  • Touchscreen-compatible & machine-washable
  • Fortified via 3mm EVA accordion padding & TPR finger & knuckle guards
  • Robust protection compromises feel

Most Protective Gloves: Where Mechanix’s Original Mechanic glove just happened to lend itself particularly well to tactical applications, the M-Pact 3 is the result of the California brand setting out to engineer a tactical glove from the ground up. Fortified behind a pair of anatomically-shaped, one-piece TPR knuckle guards (which meet EN 13594 impact standards) and equipped with 3mm EVA accordion padding and two-piece palm reinforcements, the M-Pact 3 offers robust protection, as well as abrasion-resistance, largely thanks to internal fingertip reinforcements. Machine-Washable, these gloves also feature TPR wrist closures, nylon carrying loops for easy attachment to vests and bags, and 0.8mm synthetic leather fingertip inlays that enable the M-Pact 3 to be touchscreen compatible.

Oakley Factory Pilot 2.0 Gloves

Oakley Factory Pilot 2 Gloves
Photo: Amazon
  • 2nd-gen gloves made by Oakley for USDoD
  • Unobtainium surfacing on palms & fingers for a secure grip
  • Fitted w/ goatskin leather palms
  • Features carbon fiber knuckle guards & TPR finger protectors
  • Touchscreen-compatible
  • Would benefit from more padding under knuckle guards

Best Standard Issue Gloves: After delivering its original Factory Pilot gloves, Oakley was tapped by the U.S. Department Of Defense to develop a new and improved, second-generation model, ultimately giving way to the Oakley Factory Pilot 2.0 Gloves. Widely utilized by American fighting forces, the Factory Pilot 2.0 boasts a leather shell with four-way-stretch insets that comes loaded with a host of protective elements including goatskin leather palms, “Unobtainium” surfacing palms and fingers, and carbon fiber knuckle guards. TAA-compliant and touchscreen-compatible, the gloves also feature a moisture-wicking Airprene liner. 

Triple Aught Design Pig FDT Delta+ TAD Edition Glove

Photo: Triple Aught Design
  • TAD Edition version of what’s widely considered best tactile glove ever
  • Excellent materials & build quality
  • Sold in 4 color options and 2 camo patterns
  • Has carbon-impregnated touchscreen-compatible trigger finger & thumb
  • Can be difficult to find in stock

Best Overall Gloves: The PIG Full Dexterity Tactical (FDT) Delta Utility Glove is undoubtedly one of the most popular battle-ready gloves currently on the market, offering an incredibly thin and dexterous item in a package that still affords ample protection. Constructed around a two-way stretch poly material, these ultra-dependable military mitts pack paracord wrist-pulls anchored via TAD-branded TPR pieces and an ergonomically-shaped wrist opening that maximizes freedom of movement. This particular version of the FDT was done in collaboration with top-shelf tactical gear brand, Triple Aught Design, and features special topographical-inspired screen-printed graphics and TAD and PIG logos and branding. Further differentiating these special, limited-edition versions of the FDT is their palms, which replace the glove’s regular construction with carbon impregnated leather palms with touch-screen compatible trigger fingertips and thumbs.

Outdoor Research Convoy Sensor Gloves

Photo: Outdoor Research
  • Winter-spec tactile gloves designed for handling weapons & tools
  • Has Tricot insulation & GORE-TEX liner
  • Benefits from pre-curve boxed construction
  • Features proprietary Precision Grip & goat leather palms
  • Expensive price
  • Insulation & padding limit tactile feel

Best All-Weather/Waterproof Gloves: For those times when missions have to be carried out regardless of how far the needle drops, it’s best to be armed with a proper winter-appropriate glove, like Outdoor Research’s Sensor Gloves. The Convoy Sensor model boasts a fully windproof and waterproof (yet breathable) membrane underneath a stretch-woven shell and reinforced goatskin leather palms. Touchscreen-compatible, these gloves also feature pre-curve boxed construction, a Velcro-backed hook-and-loop cuff closure set up, and lightweight yet extremely warm Tricot insulation. And, despite their rugged and robust nature, these gloves are able to break-in over time, allowing them to be more comfortable and form-fitting after each use.

Arc’Teryx LEAF Rope Glove

ArcTeryx LEAF Rope Glove
Photo: Arc’Teryx LEAF
  • Ultra-premium tactical soft-shell gloves
  • Excellent materials & build quality
  • Touchscreen-compatible
  • Features finger-mounted clip-in loop
  • Insanely rugged yet weighs only 2.6oz
  • Expensive price

Best Top-Shelf Gloves: Arc’teryx’s Law Enforcement and Armed Forces division — better known simply as “Arc’teryx LEAF” — unequivocally produces some of the most high-end tactical garments and gear on the planet, with each piece of kit from the sub-brand being designed using a spare-no-expense approach that seeks to deliver the most rugged and high-performance product possible. And the Arc’Teryx LEAF Rope Glove is far from an exception in this regard. Weighing only 2.6oz, these breathable softshell, goat leather-reinforced gloves feature hardwearing Burly Double Weave overlays that allow them to stand up to everything from rope work to combat.  A finger-mounted clip-in loop, low bulk elasticized wrist closures, and touchscreen-compatible thumb and index fingers  round out these top-shelf tactical gloves.

The Best Tactical Backpacks

Best Tactical Backpacks 00 Hero
Photo: TAD FAST Pack EDC

Looking to further compile your tactical loadout? Our recent guide to the best military tactical backpacks is rife with the latest and greatest battle-tested bags and is sure to feature a spec-ops-ready vessel that meets your needs.