Typical Sap gloves that you’ll find for sale include several important features.
A sap is an impact weapon consisting of a flat leather sack filled with powdered lead or lead shot. It distributes the kinetic energy of the impact across a wider area than a blackjack, which is similar in intent, if not in construction.
The value of a sap is twofold:
- First, it delivers a knockout blow — and potentially a killing blow — without breaking the skin.
- And second, it is easy to carry in a pocket because it’s flat and unobtrusive.
Like a traditional, handheld sap, sap gloves feature pouches filled with powdered lead or some other dense, pliable material. These pouches cover the knuckles, and often the back of the hand.
There are two benefits conveyed by this sort of arrangement:
- The lead cushions and protects the knuckles, allowing you to punch hard objects without as much risk of knuckle damage as you’d face bare-handed.
- The heavy, dense material covering the knuckles and backhand add inertia to your punches, so you hit harder than normal. Your hands truly become a weapon when you wear sap gloves.
Typically, sap gloves are used by people who need a self-defense option that does varying degrees of damage depending on the situation. Bouncers, bodyguards, and other security officers are the usual sorts you’ll find in possession of this sort of gear. These gloves are low-key and non-threatening, and they let you judge how much damage to do to an assailant: perfect for bouncers.
Some states make the possession of sap gloves illegal. You’ll have to check your local laws and ordinances to see if this gear is prohibited in your area. But since they’re mostly a self-defense item, the vast majority of states don’t prohibit you from buying or owning them.
It can be difficult to find true tactical sap gloves (those with the quality of authentic tactical gear). Most are lower cost and quality than real tactical gear. But many tactical glove styles include hardened knuckles which are similar in function.
What’s the difference between tactical gloves and sap gloves?
The difference is simple: intended use. You see, sap gloves are intended for one purpose only: to increase the power of your punch. And, perhaps, to cushion your knuckles during a punch so you avoid bruises or other impact injuries.
But tactical gloves are a class of gloves that share features needed by military operators, law enforcement officers, and the like. There is no such thing as a standard tactical glove, because, depending on the intended use, the features and styles vary.