There are a only few products on the market where you can observe a level of competition as you can observe in combat gloves. Almost every tactical company produces a line of combat gloves but only a few are really worth their price. But what actually is a combat glove. A combat glove has one simple task: To protect a soldiers hands. Exercising or even fighting with injured hands will always result in limited effectiveness. In the field your hands will or can be affected by: Moving parts of weapons, flame, digging during fieldcraft, friction by ropes, the elements and even bites of suspects. There are many specialist gloves that are cut resistant, Insulated, weatherproof, flame resistant or shock absorbing.
A good combat glove should manage to be a jack of all trades but master of none. It should also still be tactile while being robust. Most of all they should be affordable, as there is no item that is getting lost in the field more often than your gloves. During the first years of my active service time in the military I always opted for the best and most expensive gloves available, or what I thought to be the best. After some years I switched back to issued gloves as they were for free, and always available, I even bought some surplus ones for a few Euros.
Towards the end of my service time I discovered the Petzl Cordex. The Cordex gloves are civilian climbing gloves that somehow found there way into the military. For good reasons. They are fairly priced and will last for some years even after extensive use. The leather on the palm is thick, yet tactile enough for basic weapon manipulation, it also won’t get catched by a weapon slide. It will protect your fingers from sharp parts, rocks and abrasion. You also don’t feel unconfortable in them when digging in the mud.
They feature a relatively lose fit and don’t have a liner. The missing liner is a great point, because during repeated donning and doffing the liner won’t dislocate like in many other gloves. So you get a very fast entry. The cuffs are also made of a beefy webbing and close with a generously cut piece of velcro, not a flimsy plastic cuff like on Mechanix, which was always my main problem with their gloves.
The upper of the Cordex is made of an breathable and moisture wicking stretch material, it does a great job of keeping the clima around your hands neutral. So despite this being a very thick and protective combat glove you won’t suffer wet hands.
What I really liked is the really big grommet hole that is located on the wrist. It makes it really easy to just hang the gloves on e.g. a S-Biner. Hanging a glove instead of putting it in a pocket will allow them to dry if wet while freeing up space in your clothings pockets.
Grippiness of the gloves is pretty awesome. Especially while climbing ropes etc. you will enjoy its climbing and rappelling heritage.
Now let’s look on the FR side of things. To start with yet: This glove isn’t FR rated. So if you have to wear FR gloves on duty you will need an additional pair of nomex gloves. But working on a campfire while performing basic fieldcraft will not affect the glove, they also work as a heatshield when handling hot barrels.
As you may have understood. You can’t have all the nice things a glove has to offer. But with the Petzl Cordex you get a solid and rugged workhorse, that still let’s you perform most basic manipulations you will encounter on duty. Combine this fact with the fair price point and you will get a glove that fits most basic needs. Again, this isn’t a range glove that let’s you find the perfect trigger reset, this isn’t a touch screen compatible glove and this isn’t a rated cut resistant glove and this glove isn’t fancy. This is a work/ combat glove, that you can rack a slide with, without fearing to injure yourself combined with the advantages of a rappelling glove.
Even after months of work with the Petzl I experienced no material failures, besides a few lose threads. So it is very well made, despite the fair price point.
You can get the Cordex glove directly at Petzl or in every climbing store. If you want a more rugged upper you can also get the Cordex Plus, which have a leather upper material.
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