We rate the importance of gloves pretty high, especially if you’re going to have fight while wearing them. They may not be as vital on a daily basis as socks (don’t laugh – if you don’t think good socks are important, you’re a fuckwit) but they’re a lot more significant when rounds are traveling both directions. This article is a review of the Under Armour Tactical Summer Blackout Gloves, kindly provided to us by TacticalGear.com with the admonition to “try to tear them up and see what you think.” Our friend Glin Sodger did just that. Yes, we promised you Glin’s glove review a few weeks ago and it’s late. That’s not his fault. He had the article to us on time, we just hadn’t run it yet. We will get around to stopping our procrastination…someday. Here’s what he had to say. Perhaps it will help the aboulomaniacal among you narrow your choice of gloves down. Mad Duo
Under Armour Tactical Summer Blackout Gloves
I didn’t expect that reviewing a pair of gloves would be so tough, so my ‘review’ below isn’t intended to sway you towards or away from purchasing a pair. I’m going to lay out what I discovered over the period of several months and let you take that under advisement. They appear to sell out frequently, as many places are unable to keep them in stock (including TacticalGear.com), but that certainly should not be only (or even the most significant) factor in your determination to buy any piece of gear you might have to wear or use in harm’s way, gloves or otherwise.
Construction. The Summer Blackouts are built from synthetic leather, neoprene and mesh. They secure to the hand via a Velcro wrist closure. As one can probably tell from the name, they are designed for use in hot weather, offering sufficient protection against bangs and dings and serving as a barrier for handling hot or potentially harmful objects. Each glove has an attachment loop opposite the wrist closure that can be used to hang the gloves up.
Aesthetics. The color I received is what Under Armour refers to as Desert Sand. They are very light in color, dramatically so when compared to the brown that most of my kit is made up of. They are a closer match to the lighter tan in the DCU (Desert Combat Uniform). The lighter tan picks up dirt and grease very quickly, giving the palms a greyish hue. Each glove as an Under Armour UA logo on the back of the hand. There are some stylized silicon-grip lines throughout the palm of each glove that serve to provide additional traction, but these lines are very thin and cannot actually be felt through the glove.
Comfort. I was actually sent 2 pair of these gloves to review, on in Small and on in Medium. Gloves are often problematic when it comes to finding that “perfect fit”; for instance, I usually wear a size Medium in Outdoor Research brand gloves and Nomex flight gloves, but I prefer to wear a size Small in Mechanix and the SKD PIG gloves. In the case of this style of Under Armour gloves I preferred the closer fit of the Small (at this size the gloves would hold comfortably even without the wrist closure secured). There were no noticeable hotspots commonly attributed to bunching/overlap of material. The bulk of the glove’s non-contact surfaces (the back of the hand and finger) are constructed of mesh, and there are generous vent holds on both sides of the glove. These will help keep your hands free of moisture on hot days. These gloves were clearly designed for use in hot weather, and if you’re looking for protection from the cold, look elsewhere. Although they serve as a barrier for cold air during cooler months and are obviously better than bare skin in inclement conditions, they do not have any appreciable insulation properties. Note that Under Armour offers a Winter Blackout glove that appears purpose built for this application.
Dexterity. The relative thinness of the synthetic leather combined with its subtle stretch properties make these gloves very form fitting. Stitching is minimal in contact areas (the palm of the glove is mostly devoid of unnecessary stitching. I felt the gloves to be more than sufficient for manipulating a weapon. The gloves allowed me to reliably depress the slide-stop on my pistol, which is what I consider to be one of the more precise movements required whilst wearing gloves. I was also able to twist knobs and press recessed buttons on a radio without issue.
Protection: The synthetic leather protected against a heated handguard that could not be held with bare hands. They also provided sufficient protection when working a weapon with hard edges (an M240B machine gun). Though there is not as much protection on the back of the hand as a hard-knuckle glove would offer; I found them to be sufficient for minor bumps. The gloves stop at the wrist; there is no additional forearm protection in the form of an extended cuff.
Durability: I’ve been wringing out these gloves for about a few months now and aside from some of the pattern wearing off the palm and neoprene fraying; the gloves have held up well. The mesh material has abraded against an onslaught of different surfaces but none have worn completely through. All of the stitching has held. My primary area of concern is the mesh on the back of the hand as well as the synthetic leather that makes up most of the palm. If a tear were to develop on the palm, it would not take much for the hole to open up.
Potential areas for improvement: I would like to see redundant stitching on the first joint of the trigger finger (Something I do to facilitate use with a touchscreen or electronic devices with small controls). This would allow users to cut the tip off while minimizing fraying. Cutting and melting the seam would work, and I have done this on other gloves, but found that fraying eventually occurs when you do this. I also think some additional protection on the back of the hand might be warranted, particularly the knuckles, but only if it could be done without impeding manual dexterity and fit.
The Under Armour Tactical Summer Blackout Gloves held up to the abuse I put them through, were comfortable and allowed me to perform the motor skills I needed to accomplish. Are they worth $25-$35 to you? That will depend on what you intend to do while wearing them (and of course what you want out of them). Keep in mind my notes on sizing if you, like me, are one whose preferences in size and fit vary from brand to brand.
We hope this helps you guys. If you have any specific questions or if you have some experience with these gloves, let us know in the comments below and we’ll try to answer. Note – legitimate questions and concerns, chuckleheads – if you wore them fastroping or laying C-wire and they gave out on you, well then that’s on you!
Carry on smartly. Still looking for an excuse to stay on our site? Watch Sodger and some of his friends as they spend a mild afternoon enjoying what they enjoy most.