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Tactical Winter Gloves: Is Your Collection Complete?

Tactical Winter Gloves: Is Your Collection Complete?

For police officers and other first responders, the hands are critical to everything you do, so you need the right gloves to both protect the hands and enhance performance in whatever task you engage.

As a former police officer, I’m acutely aware that being equipped is not the same as being well-equipped. Different situations challenge you to perform different tasks and require different levels of protection. And when it comes to gloves, the truth is: There is no one glove for every situation!

So there’s practical value in having multiple types of gloves in your “work collection.” Depending on where you work, this collection may include cold-weather winter gloves as well as warm-weather gloves. I’ve worked patrol during many harsh New Jersey winters, so I understand well the need for thermal protection to stay warm and dry.

Whether I worked patrol during winter or summer, I carried at least three pairs of gloves in my patrol bag:

1) General Patrol Gloves. This is the go-to, all-purpose glove. To promote safety and convenience, they’ll be thin, provide great dexterity, and have a good grip. They’ll let you easily access and use your tools and weapon. And they’ll allow you to perform as many regular tasks as possible without having to remove your gloves, such as use a phone and other touch-screen devices. In the winter, they’ll provide thermal protection and water resistance to keep you warm and dry.

2) Heavy-Duty Patrol or “Patrol HD” Gloves. This is when you want more protection—searching a vehicle, or going into a building looking for a suspect. If you have to make an arrest, the suspect might have a knife. They may be in a drugged out or deranged state and try to bite you. You deal with homeless, drunk people who urinate themselves or have sores and bleeding wounds. So you need both cut protection and fluid protection for your hands. To go through a door or glass you might want some hard-knuckle protection, as well. Of course, for better protection, you must compromise some dexterity. In the winter, you also need thermal protection.

3) Heavy-Duty Work Gloves. I believe everyone who drives a vehicle, especially every police officer, should carry gloves for heavy duty situations such as a car accident. You may need to get someone out of a mangled car, cut their seat-belt. Exposed to glass and sharp metal, you need robust, Level 5 cut protection. You also need fluid protection. The accident victim may be bleeding. You may need to drag a bleeding deer or some other animal off the road. Oil and fuel may be all over. You may need to do all this in bitter cold, perhaps wet weather, such as snow—the cause of many accidents.

To meet all the needs and preferences of police and other first responders, I’ve designed many types of gloves for 221B. You can review the entire 221B Glove Collection and use the filters to sort for cold weather plus the various types and specific features you need. Here are my recommendations for gloves that fulfill the three broad situational needs outlined above:

General Patrol Gloves

221B’s Agent 2.0 Elite gloves are very popular winter-weather all-purpose patrol gloves. They provide the best of all worlds: thermal protection, fluid protection, and high dexterity. They’re warm, block wind, and resist water—thanks to an inner liner made of Hipora, a water-resistant fabric that’s also breathable (i.e., it lets moisture out.) Agent gloves provide a contoured, slim fit. They have robust grip on the palms and fingers, with our smart-touch fingertip treatment on the index fingers and thumbs so you can use mobile devices without removing your gloves.

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Here’s how one customer reviewed them:

“Awesome Gloves!!! I used these gloves when the temp was extremely cold in Tennessee and they kept my hands so warm. I was able to use my phone with out removing my gloves and have my hands freeze. I was able to draw and fire my weapon on the range with no problem.” —David P. (3/10/21)

While 221B gloves provide the maximum amount of dexterity for whatever level of protection each glove offers, there’s still a trade-off or compromise between dexterity and protection. For example, if you need little to no thermal protection, our Recon glove gives you the ultimate in glove dexterity—we call it second-skin-thin—while also providing powerful grip on the palms and some abrasion protection on the back.

If you need more thermal protection than offered by Agent 2.0 Elite, our Summit Gloves are our warmest and driest. They have extended wrist cuffs with hook-and-loop wrist closure. And yet they’e not big and chunky. They’re relatively low profile with impressive dexterity for the protection offered. Our Touch-Tip technology on the fingertips lets you use your smart phone. The palms and fingers provide excellent grip.

Patrol HD Gloves

The heavier duty patrol glove for search and entry should protect you from cuts and fluids, as well as some level of impact. We offer several gloves in this category to choose from based on how you prioritize your needs.

Warrior Gloves offer 360 Level 5 cut resistance and impact protection with leather on the back of the hands, as well as a hard thermoplastic on top of the glove fabric covering the knuckles and back of the fingers. They’re favored by SWAT teams and special ops who may need to go into buildings and do things like punch through glass, doors or walls, These gloves are true armor for your hands, and yet they're quite flexible for the protection they provide. The fingertips offer good touch-screen capability.

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Commander Gloves offers hard-knuckle protection, but with an injection-molded rubber that's concealed underneath the glove fabric (in contrast to the Warrior glove) for police duty where you don't want the hard knuckles to be overt. Even with abrasion and impact protection and Level 5 cut resistance (on the palms only), these gloves are slim-fit, lightweight, and offer great dexterity, including a special tactile material on the thumbs and index finger tips for superior smart-phone use. The material on the palms and finger tips provide superior grip. The rubber backing on the index fingers is recessed for easy weapon use.

Gladiator Gloves are similar to Commander, with an ultra-thin design, great dexterity, superior grip and touch-screen capability, recessed rubber backing on the index fingers for weapon use, and Level-5 cut resistance over the palms. But they give up some impact protection to be a little more flexible than Commander. In place of concealed hard-knuckle protection, the back of the hand, knuckles and fingers are protected with a high-density injected rubber.

Responder Gloves Elite adds 360-degrees of fluid protection with a fluid-resistant liner. This fluid-resistant liner makes them an especially good cold-weather glove. They also provide Level 5 cut protection on the palms and a special tactile material on the thumbs and index finger tips for superior smart-phone use. They're full dexterity and are great for patrol search and tactical shooting.

Heavy-Duty Work Gloves

Hands down the best glove to handle the tasks I described earlier (helping people with car accidents, hauling deer off a road) is our Diesel Work Gloves 2.0 Elite. I designed this glove to seriously protect your hands from injury—from cuts, scrapes, impacts and fluids—and still give you superior dexterity and touch-screen capability.

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They’re HPX Level 5 cut resistant. The outer layer is 100 percent goatskin. There’s a Hipora fluid-resistant (and breathable) inner layer. And the back of the hands and fingers are protected with injection-molded, impact-absorbing rubber.

While these gloves are ideal for any task or profession that exposes the hands to danger, I clearly had police work in mind when I created them. When I was an officer, this kind of glove did not exist. We used thick leather gloves that were not cut or fluid resistant.

If you have any comments or further concerns, please email me. 

- Suresh

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