Tactical gloves serve many purposes and can be the difference between an aborted or successful operation. They come in a variety of materials, each style built for maximum comfort and protection using high strength and flexible materials. Fire or extreme heat, cold weather, and dirt creeping into the gloves are just a few of the hazards encountered when actively engaged in the field.
With the latest advances in technology, tactical gloves provide the best grip you can get for your gun, knife, or whatever your situation requires. Some of the major vendors of tactical gloves: Mechanix, Blackhawk, 5.11, Line of Fire, and Viking, have their top brands compared here to determine the best gloves available. There seems to be no agreement about a single glove meeting all the requirements for every operation. As customized as the materials and technologies are, the manufacturers appear to be willing to make tradeoffs to focus on a specific aspect of the functionality of the glove.
The Top 10
We researched and tested plenty of the major vendors of tactical gloves out there; Oakley, Wiley X, Mechanix, Blackhawk, 5.11, Line of Fire, and Viking, just to name a few and found plenty of differences between these manufacturers.
|5.11 Tactical Screen Ops Gloves||Kevlar Knit|
Tactical Touch, Seamless
|HWI Gear Hard Knuckle Tactical Glove Prices and Reviews||Kevlar Leather Palm|
Molded hard-knuckle piece
|5.11 Scene One Glove Prices and Reviews||Flexible Molded Thermoplastic Rubber Knuckle||Yes||No||$$$|
|Blackhawk Men's Fury Glove with Kevlar Prices and Reviews||Cowhide leather protection|
|Blackhawk Men's S.O.L.A.G. HD Glove with Kevlar (Black, Large)||Cowhide leather Palm|
Molded hard-shell knuckle
|OAKLEY Factory Pilot Glove/Gloves 94025 Black, Large||Pittards Leather Palm|
Carbon Fiber Knuckles
|OAKLEY FACTORY PILOT GLOVE COYOTE SIZE LARGE||Pittards Leather Palm|
Carbon Fiber Knuckles
|Mechanix Wear M - Pact Gloves Prices and Reviews||Trek Dry Stretch fabric|
TPR (Thermal Plastic Rubber)
Synthetic leather palm
|5.11 Station Grip Glove Prices and Reviews||Ironclad Leather|
Four Way Stretched Padded Knuckles
|5.11 Tac A2 Gloves Prices and Reviews||Synthetic Leather suede palm|
Neoprene and Velcro
Before trying to determine the best of the best, the distinguishing characteristics of both the manufacturer and the individual glove itself must be examined to be able to recommend what sets them apart. There are four broad categories to evaluate:
Finger dexterity – This is the ability to move and flex the fingers inside the gloves to enable placing the finger inside the trigger guard or being able to pick up smaller objects with the gloves on.
Fire resistance – There are situations where a fire or flame retardant quality will save a person from severe injury.
Price – The thinking is, the higher the price, the more features it will have and be constructed of superior material. Equal or similar prices gloves will cost about the same.
Special technologies – Each manufacturer has created special technologies to enhance the quality of their gloves, some that will distinguish it from its competitors.
In assessing special technologies, it is important to note that a superior technology can immediately eliminate the competitors for the best tactical glove. Here are the gloves from each of the major manufacturers and their specialties.
5.11 – The high-end glove has a patented Tactical Touch fingertip construction which provides superior dexterity for the wearer.
Blackhawk – The SOLAG (Special Operation Light Assault Glove) features a fire resistant model with a dual-layer palm for water repellency and increased abrasion resistance.
Line of Fire has TEGS technology in most of its gloves. The Technology Enhanced Grip System has a high-friction gripping material built into its glove providing excellent gripping capabilities regardless of the type of surface.
Mechanix – The company offers no patented special technology, but does claim to have a 20 year proven track record of its Original Woodland Camo Glove, sold in various styles and sizes. The special technology lies in the combination of materials and construction.
Viking – Zoombang is polymer, soft and pliable but when a sudden shear force or impact is encountered the material will morph its physical characteristics, behaving with solid-like properties to dissipate the energy of the force. After the danger is gone, the material returns to its original state. Temperatures cannot affect this characteristic of the material.
The Best Tactical Gloves
The Mechanix entire line of Original series gloves are constructed for cold weather environments, keeping the hands and fingers warm. With knuckle protection, reinforced fingertips, and the padded palm layered with a second ply of Poron XRD, the warmth comes with protection for the entire hand. The biggest advantage of choosing The Original line is it’s very affordable price range along all lines and styles.
The Viking Tactics Assault Glove with its patented Zoombang technology is the easy choice here. The idea of a material that can change to resist the impact of shock and return to its original state is the best of technologies to afford the wearer both protection and a comfortable fit. The cost of the glove is moderately higher than the Mechanix line but still reasonable.
Line of Fire’s TEGS system is advertised to maintain the same gripping power on all types of surfaces. It’s Stryker high end line of gloves offer a 4-way stretch Kevlar and digital goatskin leather material, and includes a 36 inch roll of TEGS tape.
5.11’s XPRT HardTime Gauntlet glove incorporates the Tactical Touch technology, adding to the Kevlar construction, comfortable fit, and three cuff stretch zones that aid in keeping dirt and debris from penetrating the glove. This particular glove has a long length to it, making it ideal for operations that demand the most of your equipment.
The Blackhawk SOLAG model is one of the few tactical gloves that have a fire resistant construction backed by a quality manufacturer. Their Full Finger Gloves with Kevlar style, reinforced with leather fingertips and a dual layer palm pad for extra protection makes this the perfect choice for a quality short glove.
The question at the end of this selection is whether technology actually makes a tactical glove superior to another that does not incorporate a similar technology. There seems to be no agreement about a single glove meeting all the requirements for every operation. As customized as the materials and technologies are, the manufacturers appear to be willing to make tradeoffs to focus on a specific aspect of the functionality of the glove.
An operator may choose more than one type of glove to fit his particular need. What has been shown here is that the right tool for the fight job holds true for tactical gloves as any other piece of equipment.