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Product Review: Camelbak patrol gloves

These gloves are designed to protect the hands during patrol and critical deployment duties

I am an expert on gloves, although I do not establish my bona fides in the same manner that most experts do. I was wearing gloves when my hand was crushed in an industrial accident.

Areas of my hand were less than one centimeter thick when I freed myself. It was about 20 degrees outside, which probably was a good thing for preserving some of the flesh.

The good news: The glove I was wearing was of sufficient quality to retain enough components for it to be saved by a half day of surgery, plus several follow up procedures.

These gloves are designed to protect the hands during patrol and critical deployment duties. (PoliceOne Image)
These gloves are designed to protect the hands during patrol and critical deployment duties. (PoliceOne Image)

It took about 18 months and my insistence on working through the pain of rehab to put my hand back together. I was flat turned down for military service the first time and failed two physicals when I finally got in. Yes, I treasure my Law Enforcement and Military career.

At any given time, I have a couple pairs of gloves nearby. Gloves saved my hand, and I am an expert.

Putting Two Pair to the Test
I recently tested the Camelbak Impact Elite patrol gloves and Camelbak FR Magnum Force gloves. Both products are designed to protect the hands during patrol and critical deployment duties.

The FR Magnum Force gloves just made my favorite list. I like the cut resistance of Kevlar but the ones I used on patrol for several years had a Kevlar liner, which was itchy.

I’m not sure if it’s just the weave that makes these gloves different, but they don’t itch, they breathe well and the hand doesn’t slide around inside. The fabric in the FR Magnum Force is 96 percent Kevlar and 4 percent anti static fiber for flammable environments. The FR stands for Flame Resistant, by the way.

I only buy pre-curved gloves, because my hand is pre curved. This pair appears to have been literally manufactured around a last. They have great digital flex, but the textured leather does not bunch up under the material, allowing me to maintain a good weld on my Glock. Even the wet grip is outstanding here.

The question that everyone is asking is whether one can shoot with these gloves. Not only could I shoot with them, the FR Magnum Force had tremendous “feel” for slide manipulation and magazine changes.

The FR Magnum Force glove has extra panels in the palm for vibration resistance. This glove, in fact, was designed for military CQB and urban combat, not police work.

It has a reinforced hard knuckle panel, which is really for working around heavy equipment and vehicles. Really, this product is perfect for patrol use. I can think of a dozen times on patrol where I have skinned my knuckles going over fences and into crawl spaces, let alone fighting on the ground.

The Impact Elite also has knuckle protection, but in a subtler way. There are Thermal Plasticized Rubber (TPR) “channels” in the back of the hand, which look like racing stripes, designed to do the same thing as the FR Magnum Force hard knuckle panels do.

These gloves use Clarino, which breathes well and is appropriate for moderate, not hot, temperatures. The most notable quality are the tacky surfaces in the fingertips, which continue to be tacky, even after the gloves are wet. These gloves have a Velcro closure, which do a good job of covering the most vulnerable part of the wrist.

How’s the dexterity? I typed a portion of this article while wearing them.

The one thing I would like on the Impact Elite is an extended surface to mount Brite Strike All Purpose Adhesive Light Strips (APALS). 

I liked these gloves, but I would pick the FR Magnum Force gloves every time.

After all, I am an expert.

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