outdoor research tactical gloves
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When discussing what gloves to review for this article, I realized how many “nonshooting” specific gloves I’d come to enjoy shooting with.
As a result, we decided to look at it differently. Rather than finding what shooting gloves are best, I wanted to determine what gloves are best for shooting.
We bought a mix of popular work gloves, duty gloves, motorsports gloves, and shooting gloves to put to the test. I wanted the test to be realistic for the average shooter. I, therefore, grabbed the Ruger MPR test gun, my Colt Combat Commander, and spent a few days shooting at some targets.
The criteria I considered were dexterity, heat resistance, wear resistance, and comfort.
Quick Take on the Best Shooting Gloves
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Why Use Gloves?Robert De Niro wearing gloves (from Giphy.com)
If you normally shoot without gloves, here are a few reasons why you should give them a try.
Shooting with gloves may seem unnecessary, or overkill for the type of shooting you do. However, a good pair will enhance your shooting experience. They can protect your hands from hot barrels and sharp magazine lips. These things can also be your ally from the whims of mother nature when shooting outside.
Gloves help prevent blisters during extended shooting while also reducing felt recoil. They keep your hands a bit cleaner too. If you’re a sweaty-palmed or hot-weather shooter, gloves can be beneficial to you and your gun. They can improve your grip as well as prevent any damage to your gun’s finish from acidic sweat.Size and Measurement
Telling you that a glove fits snugly or loosely is useless unless you know how that translates to your hand. Here’s a photo of my ungloved hand as a baseline:
My hand measures 8.5 inches around and 7.5 inches from the tip of my middle finger to the base of my palm.
Each brand of gloves is unique, just as every person’s hands are. I usually wear mediums but in some, my hands fit large-sized gloves better. Because of that, it’s always important to check the glove’s size charts before making a purchase to be sure.Best Shooting Gloves of 2021
We included seven of the best shooting gloves on the market today. While most of them are for men, I included one that also fits women best.
Some of them were not made specifically for tactical uses but all of them would be great as shooting gloves. I will share the verdict after using them as well as our best picks.
Mechanix TAA ‘The Original’ Tactical Gloves
Mechanix’s “original” glove had become popular with soldiers and law enforcement officers. Seeing the success it had, it created a modified tactical version of it.
The only real difference is the coloring since the writing has the same color as the glove. TAA means it complies with the Trade Agreements Act. It’s an act that restricts what products and services the United States government can make use of. Boiled down, a TAA-approved product is one that was made in the U.S. or a country on the approved countries list.
Size ChartMechanix size chart (from Amazon)
Fit and Features
Going off of Mechanix’s size chart, I’m right at a medium, and the hand-width measurement is true to size. I wouldn’t call them a tight fit, but it isn’t as baggy as the photo above makes it appear.
The wrist strap lets you Velcro it down as you prefer, and even when pulled tight, it doesn’t pinch your wrist. The finger fit is good for average-width fingers like mine, but the thumb is a bit long for me. If you have thin fingers this glove may feel too loose for you, but average to meaty fingers should feel fine.
The palm material is textured enough to prevent slipping when pistol shooting. Also, I didn’t need to alter my hand position from where I usually would when shooting sans gloves. All the controls were easy to feel through the glove. I didn’t notice any loss in dexterity during pistol and rifle mag changes.
The tip of the glove on my index finger slightly caught on the trigger guard when I went for the trigger. I found that a bit annoying. My index finger may be on the short side, but a little less overall index finger length would’ve been fine with me. The breathable mesh did a good job of keeping my hands cool.
Where these gloves shine is in rifle shooting. Since the trigger well is a bit bigger, I didn’t have the issue of my finger getting caught on the trigger guard as I did with my pistol. I was also able to feel the trigger and pressure without the cushioned feeling some gloves have. My support hand was able to keep the gun where I wanted it. However, with the minimal recoil, the multipurpose rifle (MPR) has, it isn’t that difficult.
Our test gun (Ruger MPR) has a slim handguard that gets a little toasty after firing a few mags back to back. “The Original” did a sufficient job at keeping my hand from burning. However, I could still feel the heat through the glove.
It’s thin, so I would have been more surprised if I didn’t feel any heat at all. The barrel felt hot for prolonged contact. Still, I was able to perform an “emergency” field strip without burning my hand on anything.
Loading a magazine with these gloves is doable but the material gets bunched up in the palm and fingers. That made it a bit more difficult to feel what I was doing.
The excess length on the thumb and index finger got caught under the feed lip of my AR mag. I ended up taking the glove off my hand, which was easy to do with the Velcro. If I needed to wear them while loading a magazine, I would most likely try to shrink them in the wash for a tighter fit.
The Mechanix TAA Tactical Gloves are mostly great for overall use. It’s comfortable and most of all very affordable. It may call for some adjustments, but if your needs are not very specific, a pair of these would be very handy.
Mechanix M-Pact 3 Tactical Gloves
The M-Pact line has seen a few revisions since its original introduction. The current model, inspired by the earlier designs, is a blend of the first two. It retained and increased the knuckle reinforcing of the original model. It also got the accordion-style padding of the M-Pact 2 but moved them to the fingers instead.
I wore the original M-Pact when I worked at a repair shop, so I was curious to see how the M-Pact 3 would fare as a shooting glove. Like the “Original Tactical,” the M-Pact 3 Tactical uses the same color for the writing and the glove itself. This one has an ID tag on it where you can write your name, which is a nice touch.
Based on the Mechanix chart, I’m a medium. The hand width is true to size, and it has a snugger fit than the TAA Tactical glove. It’s preferable, especially since this glove has more padding and reinforcement.
Like the Mechanix Original, it’s a bit long in the thumb and feels like there’s less excess material. Then again, not everyone has the same hands and it might be the right length for you.
The real polarizing difference these gloves have would be the rubber knuckle protection. It’s a great feature, and it does have a cavity for your knuckles to settle into. For me, it falls in the right place when I make a fist. I would highly recommend trying them on in person to make sure they do for you too.
When shooting, the M-Pact 3 gloves felt noticeably thicker than the other gloves on the list. But since they fit fairly snug, I didn’t notice any reduced control or slipping.
At first, I thought that the reinforced knuckle might interfere with my grip on the pistol. Impressively, it didn’t. The material on the index finger is thicker, or at least not as soft as the other gloves. Because of that, there isn’t as much tactile feedback when operating the gun.
The gloves have striations on the tips of the thumb, index, middle, and ring finger, which add a little extra grip. They made a more noticeable difference on my support hand. This will help maintain rearward pressure on guns with more significant recoil.
There was very little handguard heat transfer when shooting a few magazines back to back. Holding the barrel briefly was possible too. I would certainly consider these gloves the best at resisting heat on the list.
Despite being the thickest gloves I tested, they did a decent job at tasks requiring some dexterity like loading a magazine. The texturing helped prevent things from slipping out of the palm. Aside from that, the finger striations made picking up rounds easier as well.
It’s clear these gloves were designed for much more than just shooting. Because of great heat resistance and usability, the M-Pact 3 would work well as an all-day duty glove.
Titan Ops Half-Finger Gloves
Titan Ops markets its gloves as being cross-disciplined. They’re popular with motorcycle and motocross riders due to their proven durability. Ride in on the bike, shoot, and ride home.
Fit and Features
Despite normally wearing a medium, as noted by Titan Ops’ sizing chart, I’m right in the middle of the large range. I’m glad I looked at the chart too because, even being a large size, it’s a snug fit in the palm.
The finger fit is perfect and terminates just below the first joint. That keeps it from bunching up when bending your fingers. My thumb has a little extra room around it but not enough to be annoying.
The knuckle reinforcement is nowhere near as substantial as the Mechanix M-Pact 3. It should fit a wider variety of hand shapes. Material-wise, it’s a much harder plastic too.
The gloves have two separate straps: one for fitting and one for retention. You don’t need to make the strap overly tight to ensure these stay on. These factors are comfortable enough for extended shooting sessions. I like that the exposed fingers make tasks other than shooting easy as well.
The most noticeable benefit these gloves provide is the increased level of feedback. They’re ideal for guns with lighter triggers or those with small trigger guards.
The drawback is less finger protection. There’s no extra insulating layer when shooting in cold weather, or from any exposure. It’s a good thing the palm is fairly thick and has an extra padded layer on the upper palm. It helped dampen recoil a bit, so these gloves could be a good pick for shooters who suffer from joint pain.
I found these gloves to be less ideal for extended bouts of rifle shooting. The thicker wrist straps limit your range of motion. Loosening them helps, but they still dig into your wrists after a while.
These gloves would be great for non-pistol-gripped rifles since the wrist bend is less severe. The cushioned palm helps reduce felt recoil on more powerful pistol gripped rifles. It will also prevent lower Picatinny rails from digging into your hands.
Since this glove is half-finger, it won’t help all that much when dealing with heat. The palm is thick enough to insulate it from a hot metal handguard, but your fingers will still be exposed to it. You could try to keep your fingers and thumb off the guard in a pinch. However, it’s not very comfortable for extended shooting.
The exposed fingers make mag loading a breeze since there’s no loss in dexterity.
The Titan Ops Half-Finger Gloves offer great dexterity. There’s good feedback and they do quite well as pistol shooting gloves.
Tactical Half Finger GlovesTactical Half Finger Glove (from Gun Gear Depot)
The Tactical Half Finger Gloves is another great half-finger option. It is budget-friendly and provides use in different areas of outdoor activities. Since all the gloves I’ve included here are from familiar brands, I realized I also need to try something for the sake of quality, not the name. I tested this pair on a different day and was not disappointed at all.
Fit and FeaturesTactical Half Finger Glove back portion (from Gun Gear Depot)
I’m usually a medium but it’s a good thing I checked their size chart. I ordered a pair of XL and they fit quite well. One of the first things I noticed about these gloves is that they look very durable. These are the types of things I wouldn’t mind wearing rain or shine. Since they’re fingerless, I don’t need to take them off when using my phone.
The gloves have several protective features. There’s a protective pad for the knuckles as well as ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) padding for the palm. Since it’s made for heavy-duty use, I don’t find them very flexible, although not to the point of being inconvenient. The wrist hooks are useful for hanging these gloves after use or when cleaning them.Tactical Half Finger Glove front portion (from Gun Gear Depot)
The palm pads add aesthetic and function to the gloves, making them more resistant to wear and tear. Since they are made for both men and women, it’s good that the wrist size is fully adjustable. I found them a bit stiff at first but they loosened up quickly. Still, when worn, it would be hard to ignore that you’re wearing something on your hands.
Initially, I thought that the thick palm foam might affect my grip but it didn’t. The half-finger design helped with dexterity and pulling the trigger with ease. That makes them remarkable pistol shooting gloves. My support hand was planted firmly with some cushion-like backing.Tactical Half Finger Gloves (from Gun Gear Depot)
The protective features of the gloves helped when shooting rifles. The feedback was great, and I like that I can still have tactile contact. The wrist enclosure, however, tugged at my wrists and could somehow dig into the skin in the long run. Other than that, it was very effective when it comes to recoil. It was mostly similar to the Titan Ops Half Finger Gloves, minus the plastic knuckles.
These gloves are excellent when it comes to handling different gun types. However, since they’re not full gloves, your fingers are not protected from heat. Your palms and knuckles are fully secure though.
The half gloves are ideal for tasks like magazine loading â both pistol and rifle. Having your fingers free allows you to handle small parts with greater ease.
The Tactical Half Finger Gloves do a good job at securing your hands. Again, they’re very durable and were built to last. With this quality at a low price, these are easily the best-budget pick.
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Magpul Core Technical Gloves
Magpul is a big name in firearm accessories and is probably best known as the manufacturer of PMAGs. It has expanded its offerings to include shooting gear and apparel, one of which being its Core Technical gloves.
Size ChartMagpul Size and Fit Guide (from Amazon)
Fit and Features
By Magpul’s chart, I’m a medium, and they feel true to size. They’re very form-fitting, which is likely due to the soft and slightly elastic material used for the hand. That makes them snug, but not restrictive, especially since they don’t use any kind of closure â just an elastic wrist. That makes getting them on and off more effortful than typical shooting gloves. Still, it ensures that they won’t slide off accidentally.
It also has a small loop in the glove that helps you pull them on quickly. I didn’t notice any rubbing or chafing by tucking it up into the glove. If gloves are shoes for your hands, these feel more like socks.
These gloves feel the most like wearing nonshooting gloves. They don’t have any noticeable reinforcement layers or bulkiness and don’t bunch up in the palm at all. All the controls were easy to operate, with only a minor loss in feedback.
The first two fingers and thumb have touchscreen-friendly tips. At first, I was worried the stitch would sit right between my trigger and finger, but it didn’t end up being a problem. Impressively enough, the palms feel more durable than they appear. They’re about as abrasion-resistant as the Mechanix TAA “The Original” Tactical Gloves.
The lack of wrist closure makes rifle shooting very comfortable. There’s nothing to dig into your wrist when bent at various angles. The level of grip they have is ideal for typical rifle shooting. They’re also thick enough to protect you from sharper edges. Something I didn’t expect was how great they were at blocking wind chill. Actually, they’re the ones I wore when we were packing up after shooting.
Heat resistance was average. The handguard never felt too hot to hold, and brief contact with the barrel was fine. It took longer for these gloves to dissipate the heat than the other gloves. That’s probably why they seemed better during colder weather.
These gloves did quite well at more dexterous tasks like magazine loading. It didn’t bunch up around my fingers or interfere with their movement. It also didn’t get caught under the feed lips at all. I never felt like I wanted or needed to remove them to load various magazines.
Magpul’s Core Technical gloves are the most comfortable gloves on this list. It’s ideal for extended and semi-cold weather wear if extra reinforcement isn’t needed.
PIG Tactical Alpha Gloves
The Patrol Incident Gear (PIG) Tactical Alpha Glove is SDK’s most popular shooting glove. I had high hopes for these gloves, but they were more than met after trying them on. Its stellar reputation is well deserved.
Size ChartPIG Tactical Alpha and Delta Sizing Chart (from Rainier Arms)
Fit and Features
I’m a medium by their size and they feel perfect to me. The width is true to size, as is the finger length. They’re very snug and don’t have any extra material that bunches up when you close your hand or bend your fingers.
I also didn’t feel the need to cinch the gloves down much with the Velcro strap as I do with some other gloves. Despite the snug fit, there wasn’t any spot that felt overly tight. There’s no restriction in your range of motion. The back of each finger has relief cuts â flex joints as the manufacturer calls them â that allow full-finger articulation. These are probably the best-fitting gloves I’ve ever owned.
However, there is a caveat. At PIG’s own admission, they sacrifice some durability for a superior feel and fit. I’ll only be using them as a range glove. The build quality itself is great, so I’m fine with them having a slightly reduced lifespan.
These gloves are great for shooting pistols and rifles. But between the two, pistol shooting is where they shine. The material on the fingers is thin enough for feedback. It also lets you feel the individual checkering on your grips or pistol frame. These feel the most like shooting without any gloves on at all as far as the palm and fingers are concerned.
Thanks to the flex joints, it didn’t feel like the glove was pulling back against me when bending my fingers. It remained comfortable despite the snug fit. I don’t think it would make that much of a difference for range plinking. However, for competition shooters who want the utmost accuracy, it’s a nice feature.
When shooting the MPR, they don’t have much of a cuff, so the range of motion isn’t hindered. They’re also thin enough to fish out stuck casings should the need arise. These have become my favorite shooting glove and will have a permanent spot in my range bag.
Due to how thin the gloves are, they’re not as good at resisting heat. The handguard didn’t become so hot, but it did feel the hottest out of all the gloves, aside from the half-finger. They’ll save your hand from getting burnt if you brush against a hot barrel. Although, they’re not thick enough for anything more than brief contact.
Dexterous tasks like magazine loading were no issue with these gloves. They work well whether you’re loading pistol or rifle mags.
The PIG Tactical Alpha Gloves is our pick for hot weather. They’re thin and don’t limit movement. Like me, when it comes to comfort and usability, these gloves can become your range buddy instantly.
PIG Tactical ECHO Women’s Gloves
Women’s gloves don’t always get the attention they deserve, so I wanted to highlight one of the best. We tried SKD PIG Tactical ECHO Gloves and were not disappointed. This line of gloves is a relatively recent entry into the market but they’ve done an excellent job so far.
Fit and Features
I don’t get to shoot with family as often as I’d like, so I invited my mom along to see how she liked them. According to her, the fit is true to size for women’s sizes, so no need to size down to make them fit. Still, I have read reviews about the sizing being too small, so you might want to check their chart first just to make sure.
According to her, they were snug but not restrictive and were comfortable enough to leave on all day. She didn’t feel like they were pulling against her fingernails as other gloves can. The elastic wrist was good at keeping them on without being overly tight.
Normally, she doesn’t like shooting with gloves since they tend to feel too padded, but these made the cut. There was an increased amount of grip when racking the slide and while shooting.
Unlike some larger Velcro closures, the elastic wrist didn’t hinder her holster draw. Reloads were also quick. These gloves immediately became her new shooting must-haves.
They did a good job at resisting heat from the handguard and brief barrel contact. She tried continuous fire and had no problem with heat whatsoever.
There was no loss in dexterity when wearing them, so loading her P238 magazine and the MPR was unhindered.
The PIG Tactical ECHO Women’s Gloves made this list for a reason. They have great dexterity and one can wear them easily for a long period of time. The quality was impressive and most of all they provide a wide range of usability. I consider these the best women’s gloves.
We can all agree that gloves are the simplest yet one of the most important things to bring to the range when shooting. They give hand protection while also providing support for your firearm. While the gloves I reviewed are great in their own right, I also have the top picks from the best bunch:
Another thing to consider is ear protection for shooting. You should also check out the best shooting glasses for a safer hunt or trip at the range.
I hope you enjoyed the best shooting gloves review and love to hear what gloves you shoot in the comments below.
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