Tactical gloves generally protect the backs of your hands. But what do you do when you want to protect your palms from impact? You insert some gel pads into your gloves.
Gel inserts are not just for your motorcycle seat anymore.
Many good shooting gloves, motorcycle gloves, or tactical gloves make provisions for impact resistant palms. And the best styles feature a removable gel insert.
Firearms enthusiasts use these inserts to cushion the impact of a recoil — especially with small, large-caliber handguns. The gel protects the palm, but because it’s localized to the impact area, it doesn’t appreciably affect your manual dexterity. You can cushion your hands while still being able to feel everything that you need to.
Motorcyclists like gloves with inserts because the gel absorbs and deadens the vibration and jarring impacts from the bars. Off-road motocross bikers especially look for gloves that provide impact resistance to the palms while also offering protection to the backs of the hands (and the knuckles). Often, these styles are coupled with Kevlar for abrasion resistance, and sometimes with a gauntlet for additional protection when riding off-road.
For those who demand the best of both worlds, it’s hard to beat a goatskin palm coupled with a pair of gel palm inserts. The goatskin is tough yet pliable, and the inserts fit right where they’re needed most, without lessening the dexterity or "feel" in the fingers.
If you’re certain that you never want to be without palm padding, it may be overkill to get gloves with removable pads. Just go for a pair of gloves with built-in foam pads.
Some manufacturers use a special type of gel called Sorbothane. It’s supposed to deal with vibration (like the sort you get from motorcycle grips) better than other brands of foam or gel insert. This may not be the best choice for shooting gloves, because it’s softer and more "mushy" than most marksmen like.
The major advantage held by inserts over gloves with built-in gel pads is that, since they’re removable, you can replace them if necessary. Built-in pads have a tendency to mold and settle, and the padding effect reduces over time. Other, cheap forms of gel end up turning into a hard, lumpy mass over time. Leaving them in a hot car in the summer can exacerbate this problem.
So, to recap, you have several choices:
- Motorcycle gloves
- Shooting gloves
- Tactical gloves
- Foam grip
- Removable gel insert
Figure out which sort of glove — tactical or otherwise — is best suited for your lifestyle and hopefully you’ll be satisfied with what you end up buying. Remember to shop around, check what advertisers are selling, and don’t be in a rush.