5.11 Tactical Series "Tac-AK" and Tac-NFOE
by Bill C. for webBikeWorld.com
Summary: Interesting gloves not designed for motorcycling. There
are probably more appropriate motorcycle gloves out there for about the same
We receive many emailed suggestions for
new products to review; some are good leads while others
are put in the "Someday Maybe" pile.
But four or five random emails in a
short amount of time asking about the same product
usually gets our attention. Such is the case with
these tactical gloves.
For some reason, webBikeWorlders -- in
their eternal quest for better and cheaper --
collectively started thinking about the use of tactical
police gloves for motorcycle riding. Why or how
the interest in this type of glove came about --
especially with the gazillions of dedicated motorcycle
gloves out there -- remains a mystery. Who knows
what thoughts lurk in the deepest regions of
webBikeWorld readers' minds??
So we reluctantly ordered up a couple of
pairs of said mitts. Let me make it clear that
these are not motorcycle gloves; they are designed for
police use, and it's probably unfair to evaluate them
for motorcycle riding. But, ever responsive to our
customer's needs, I'm forging ahead anyway.
After all, there have been many other
cross-functional products that we've discovered over the
years, and discovering a motorcycle
use for an off-the-wall product is loads of fun, so why not these?
Now I know as much about tactical gloves
for police work as I do about the inside of a jail cell: nada. And since one or two of the
emails suggested that we try these "5.11" gloves from Streicher's, a
popular supplier of police equipment, I figured that was as good
of a source
I learned that there are plenty
of sources for this type of gear; in fact, not to get
into the politics of the thing, but it strikes me as odd
that there is such a huge industry built around supplying all
sorts of complex gear to police forces around the world.
When I was a kid in the Big City, the local
beat cop had a heavy blue uniform and a nightstick that
he knew how to twirl -- and use -- like a pro. Some of the
Corporals and Sergeants actually carried a .38 Special.
That was it -- no black fatigues, no combat boots, not
even a patrol car and,
certainly, no tactical gloves. How times have
Look around for police gear and you'll
find dozens of different types of specialty gloves,
boots and even socks amongst the gear choices,
along with many different types of pants, shirts and more. I can't help but
think that the industry helps drive the "need" for some
of this stuff through aggressive marketing -- does the
East Burlap Police Department really need 17 different
types of tactical gloves, each designed for a specific
Anyway, the two we chose are the 5.11
Tactical (more on that name in a bit) Series "Tac-AK"
and "Tac-NFOE". Apparently, the "AK" stands for
"Tactical Application Glove With Kevlar" and the "NFOE"
means "Tactical NOMEX Flight Ops Extended". See
what I mean about ultra-specialization?
The black AK's are made from Kevlar with
leather patches looking much like you'd find on regular
motorcycle gloves. The Kevlar is supposed to
provide protection from scratches, so I think the
combination of these two products, which are commonly
found on motorcycle gloves, is what attracted
webBikeWorld visitors to wonder if tactical gloves are a
The "NFOE" gloves are slightly
different; they are tan-colored and have a longer
gauntlet, much like the type found on a motorcycle
glove. They're made from Nomex fabric, which is
the stuff used by auto racers and others because it's
These also have leather on the wear
areas, and a pretty nice "hook-and-loop" wrist closure.
Neither of these gloves are even close to waterproof;
the fabric feels more like a thick cotton than anything
special to me, but such is the magic of modern textile
Tac-AK (left) and Tac-NFOE (right) Tactical Gloves.
Tac-AK Tactical Gloves, Top and Bottom.
Tac-NFOE Tactical Gloves, Top and Bottom.
By the way, here's more about the "5.11" designation,
described on the 5.11 Tactical company's website:
"5.11 Tactical Pants with the patented
tactical strap and slash pocket design were originally
developed for rock climbing. “5.11” is a rock climbing
difficulty level as listed in the Yosemite Decimal
System. With skill levels ranging from 5.0 (easy) to
5.10 (difficult), 5.11 is even more grueling. 5.11 is
officially defined as, “After thorough inspection, you
conclude this move is obviously impossible; however,
occasionally someone actually accomplishes it.”
Both of these gloves are relatively
comfortable and actually feel like other motorcycle
gloves I've worn.
Gloves either use external or
internal stitching in the fingers, and there are pros
and cons for both types of construction. Both
pairs of these tactical gloves use internal stitching and
I can feel the stitches in and around my fingers and
fingertips; I don't care for that feeling, in
motorcycle gloves or any other. I prefer external
stitching and smooth insides, but that's just me.
If I had to choose between the two, I'd
definitely take the tan-colored "NFOE" gloves, which are
available in black. They seem more comfortable and
the underside of the fingers is completely covered with
leather, which is a one-piece section that starts on the
palm. This gives a more consistent feel all the way
up the fingers, right to the fingertips.
The Nomex material that makes up the
body of the gloves is very comfortable,
and it feels stretchy; I'm not sure if that's a
characteristic of Nomex or not, but it makes for a very
nice, close-fitting glove that is a perfect fit for my
hand. Both of these gloves are a size large and
they fit true to size, in my opinion.
Both gloves are actually very good for
hot-weather riding also, if you don't mind the lack of armor.
The fabric lets in a lot of air and the thin material
feels much less bulky than just about any motorcycle
glove I can think of.
But the big question is protection: how
would these tactical gloves hold up in a slide?
Truth be told, I'd prefer to have some cow and armor
between me and the road. But maybe the thin
patches of leather on the tactical gloves would at least
provide some protection, and they must be better than
When all's said and done, this was an interesting
diversion into a rare possibility that we'd find a
cheaper or better substitute for motorcycle riding
gloves. But since the tactical gloves aren't
really cheap, at $44.99 each, at least half that
argument is void, because it doesn't take much
searching at all to find some decent-quality basic
motorcycle gloves for that price.
If the tactical gloves had some type of
knuckle armor and maybe thicker leather patches and some
padding, it may be possible that they'd make a decent
set of gloves for motorcycle riding. But then they
wouldn't be tactical gloves, would they?
Review: Tactical Gloves
Retail Price: $44.99
|Colors: Black, Tan
Sizes: S to XXL
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From "M.": "I like the idea.
Mostly because I am (cheap) and I like to have gear that has
The first pair of gloves that I ever used for motorcycle
riding was a pair of Combat Vehicle Crewman (CVC) gloves
that the Army issued me when I was riding around in an
armored vehicle. They were great. Thick OD green
Nomex, medium thickness black leather, SUPER comfortable,
and when I sprayed them with Camp Dry, good enough for the
occasional Georgia shower, best of all they were FREE!!!
Since then I have worn standard Nomex flight gloves,
mostly as a backup when the dog ate my riding gloves, and
recently my backup pair of gloves has been a pair of the
newly issued tactical gloves made by a company called SW
Motorsports that now provides the gloves for Camelbak.
See I like the idea of one pair of gloves that I can wear
at work and on the ride home.
Agreed that they are not the best for the bike, but then
again neither are the deerskin work gloves that are my
primary riding gloves. But they are the best for me.
It seems to me that the motorcycle gear companies charge
an exorbitant amount of money for a glove that has all kinds
of pretty things attached to it and don't seem to offer a
glove that is basic and still provides the protection.
So for someone like me (and many other Soldiers and the
like) tactical gloves are a great option, especially when
they are issued to us."
From "K.A.": "I have seen these (Duluth
Trading Company DTPro Kevlar work gloves) in the Duluth
trading catalog and have wondered for the price ($34.50) for
Kevlar stitched work gloves. Some of my $40 to $60
gloves have come apart at the seams with just normal use and
I wonder how they would hold up in a accident?
Also, if they can make this glove for @ $35 with Kevlar
thread the motorcycle glove companies should be able to make
on for a little more with some armor. They even have a