They’re based on the Tac AK2 glove with Kevlar and two articulated knuckle plates . The knuckle backs are hard laminate, separated to improve flex. There is goatskin on the palm, finger facings and fourchettes—and by fourchette we mean the “forked strip of material joining the front and back sections of the fingers of gloves”, not the female genital piercing of the same name.
One additional advantage of these knuckle plates is that they’re much lower profile than other brands. Sadly, such gloves are in violation of policy & procedure for a number of law enforcement agencies. Certain administrations view them like they would a sap or cudgel…cuz, you know, wearing a pair of hard knuckle gloves automatically makes you the Boxer of Quirinal.
We digress. The attribute we liked most about this glove was the tactility. You can easily manipulate an AR trigger or 1911 hammer and perform mag changes. Most telling, you can easily reload a 12-gauge, which in our experience has always been an excellent indicator of good fit and dexterity in a glove.) We didn’t take apart a bolt carrier group or anything that like that but they definitely provide for superior dexterity.
The gloves fit snugly and have adjustable wrist straps. The current models are wrist cuff only, which might turn some wearers away. Those requiring an extended cuff (for break-and-rakes, for instance) will not get the protection they need, but 5.11 is releasing a gauntlet version with additional reinforcement soon.
This provision aside, the Hardtimes seem good to go. They will wear if you use them hard, of course, and the knuckles will get scratched up, but if you’re upset about your gloves being scuffed then you’re probably the same guy who snivels when he has to drop a magazine on the deck during training.
The biggest drawback we see on the Hard Time gloves price—they’re $10 more than Oakley Pilots, but you’re paying for greater dexterity (and it's American Kevlar, too). They’re obviously more expensive than Mechanix gloves (which for the record we really like), but they’ll also hold together long past when a Mechanix will be in rags. Hard Time tactical gloves are currently offered in black or desert in the "Accessories/Gloves" section of 5.11's website.