Using a good pair of tactical knee pads is very important, especially if you like shooting from the kneeling stance. The knee pads will protect both your knee joint and your pants from scratches, and they can improve your shooting experience.
Whether you’re looking for a pair of knee pads for the shooting range, or you need one for your next airsoft match, you might find it difficult to find the right ones. The best tactical knee pads often get mixed up with sport knee pads or construction ones, so they might not be easy to identify.
In the following article, we present the best 6 knee pad models of 2017 and reveal their pros and cons. We also explain what differentiates a good knee bag from a bad one.
- Alta AltaCONTOUR Knee Pad
- PRICE $$$
- Color : Abu
- Material : Nylon Fabric
- Dimensions : 10 x 3.5 x 7 inches
- Features : Biomechanically-designed / Unique Alta Strapkeeper System
- Condor Elite Knee Pad
- PRICE $$$
- Color : Od Green
- Material : Hard plastic
- Dimensions : Width: 6.4" / Height: 8.8"
- Features : Contoured 0.5" foam padded interior / Water-resistant non-slip rubber cap
- BLACKHAWK! Tactical Knee Pads V.2
- PRICE $$
- Color : Black
- Material : 600 denier Nylon
- Dimensions : 10.5 x 8.2 x 3.5 inches
- Features : Injection-molded flex cap design / Closed-cell foam padding
- Alta AltaLok Contour Pads
- PRICE $$$
- Color : Olive Green
- Material : Cordura nylon fabric
- Dimensions : 9 x 4 x 11 inches
- Features : Thick neoprene recovery foam padding / Adjustable to fit most sizes
- Military Outdoor Clothing Knee & Elbow Pads
- PRICE $
- Color : Camouflage
- Material : High density polyethylene
- Dimensions : 12 x 5 x 12 inches
- Features : 4 piece set complete with two elbow pads & two knee pads / Genuine US military Issued Surplus
- Alta Industries AltaFlex Knee Pads
- PRICE $$
- Color : Coyote
- Material : DuPont Cordura nylon
- Dimensions : 7.4 x 0.9 x 12.3 inches
- Features : Black rubber cap knee pad / Alta buckle fastening system
Alta AltaCONTOUR Knee PadThe AltaContour knee pads come with the specially designed AltaLock fasteners. The knee pads are made out of durable nylon fabric and they allow a wide range of motion, so you will be able to use your legs without restrictions.
The interior of the knee pads has a flexible foam padding that will protect your knee and improve the comfort while wearing the pads. The neoprene foam padding will support your knee and keep the pads in place without creating pressure.
- Dual Straps – The dual strapping system will provide extra comfort while wearing the pads. This will secure the pads and stop them from flapping.
- Bottom Strap Could Be Better – While the top strap is elastic, the bottom one is made out of woven material. This makes the pads harder to put on and remove
Condor Elite Knee PadThe Condor Elite knee pads offer a good protection, and they’re comfortable to wear for a long time. These knee pads allow your knee the to move freely, just as it would without wearing them.
The pads’ contoured foam interior is 0.5” thick, and it will keep your knees comfortable at all times. These pads use plastic side buckles for an easy handling. The straps are elastic, and they have fasteners which are easily adjusted.
The non-slip rubber cap will prevent the pads from slipping. This will allow you to make a wide range of movements without having to adjust the pads.
- Buckles – These pads use buckles to fasten to your knee. While the buckles might take slightly longer to adjust than a Velcro strip, they are more durable.
- Can Slip After Long Use – These caps can slip down your leg after long use
BLACKHAWK! Tactical Knee Pads V.2The BLACKHAWK! knee pads offer a good protection to your knees and prevent you from ruining your pants. The pads come with a high-quality nylon shell, and they use a closed-cell foam padding to absorb most of the shock before reaching your knee.
The closed-cell foam is not only shock resistant, but it’s also weatherproof. This foam does not absorb moisture, so you can wear them in damp weather without feeling any discomfort.
- Maintain Their Position – Once you adjust these knee pads, they will maintain their position even when you’re running. This is a great way to make sure your knees are protected.
- Straps Are Close – The top and bottom straps are relatively close to one another, and that might be uncomfortable for some people. This is especially true for people who have large calves
Alta AltaLok Contour PadsThe AltaLok knee pads have a flexible cap that’s thick enough to protect your knees, but it’s also slim enough to offer you maximum flexibility. The pads have a strong construction, and they’re very durable. The pads’ interior is made out of a thick neoprene foam, so they can be used for support or protection.
The rubber cap is skid-resistant, so it won’t slip down your leg while you’re moving. The foam padding offers great support without interfering with your motions.
- Lightweight – These pads are light, so you can wear them for a long time without feeling any discomfort. You might even forget you’re wearing them
- Quality Control – Some customers complained that they received 2 right or 2 left knee pads. If this happens, contact the customer support service to fix the problem.
Military Outdoor Clothing Knee & Elbow PadsThis tactical set comes with two knee and two elbow pads. All of them are adjustable, and they will fit most sizes. Both the knee and the elbow pads come with a top and a bottom strap. The top strap is elastic, and the bottom one is woven nylon. The straps will prevent the pads from slipping, but they will allow you a good level of flexibility.
The pads are genuine military issued surplus, so they’re very durable. They are made out of high-density polyethylene, but they have a comfortable interior. The straps can be adjusted easily, and they will maintain their length.
- Good Condition – Even though these pads are used, they come in a good condition. Some of them might present small stains and scratches, but that won’t affect their efficiency
- Wear And Tear Signs – The wear and tear signs are sometimes obvious, and that might be a problem for some people
Alta Industries AltaFlex Knee Pads
The AltaFlex knee pads use a black rubber cap to protect your knees. The cap is specially designed to maintain its position, and it won’t slid down your leg when you’re moving. The knee pads are secured in place by a top and a bottom strap. Both straps are elastic and adjustable, so the knee pads will fit most sizes.
These knee pads use a buckle fastening system. This system is easy to adjust, and it’s more durable than the Velcro straps other models use. The Alta Strapkeeper will secure the excess straps, so they won’t flap when you move.
- Good Straps – The straps are very good, and they will maintain the cap’s position over your knee.
- Doesn’t Breathe – The nylon material doesn’t allow your knees to breathe, so they will get hot in warm weather.
Tactical Knee Pads Buying Guide
Whether you’re looking for a set of knee pads because you want to use them in a tactical situation, or you’re just looking for a pair that will allow you to hold the kneeling shooting stance for a longer time, you have to know what differentiates the good from the bad.
In this Shooting & Safety post, we explain what to look for in a pair of knee pads, and how to choose the right model for your needs.
The material used for the knee pads is very important. Just think that the material can come in direct contact with your skin, and you’ll realize how important it actually is. If you buy knee pads that have a scratchy surface, you won’t be able to wear them for long.
Even if you wear long pants and the knee pads won’t come in contact with your skin directly, the material is still important. The material will not only allow your knee to breathe, it will also offer a certain amount of flexibility. If the material is very stiff, your leg’s movement might be limited or impaired.
If the knee pads won’t allow your legs to breathe, you won’t be able to wear them for long on a warm day. Now, since warm days are the best ones for hunting, range shooting, and airsoft matches, that can really be a disadvantage.
The type and weave of the material will also influence your knee’s flexing and stretching ability. If the material doesn’t maintain its position when you’re on the move and it gathers under your knee, it will create a discomfort every time you flex and stretch your leg.
Knee pads are specially designed to protect your knees, right? Well, they are, but not all of them achieve this in the same way.
Some knee pads use plastic or polyethylene caps. These caps are durable, and they can withstand anything you put them through. In fact, the military uses polyethylene caps, so it’s safe to assume the material is one of the most durable available for this type of gear.
The problem with polyethylene caps is that they’re easy to scratch. Every time you lean in them on a hard surface, you risk scratching them. Now, that might not be a problem if you’re just looking for something to protect your knees, but it might be if you’re looking for the “TactiCool” factor.
Other knee pads use rubber caps. These caps are not as durable as polyethylene ones, but they’re still strong enough to protect your knees. The rubber surface will absorb and distribute the pressure off your knee, and you will be able to kneel for a longer time. These caps are not as durable as the plastic ones, but their surface is slightly harder to scratch. This will allow you to keep the caps looking as good as new, or in a good condition for a longer time.
If you’re going to wear knee pads for a long time, they might as well be comfortable. When it comes to comfort, there are two factors that greatly influence it – the internal foam padding, and the straps.
- Foam Padding – First of all, you should know that not all manufacturers use the same type of foam for the internal padding. Some of them use open-cell foam, while others use closed-cell foam. The difference is in the foam’s structure, but it will affect how the foam behaves. The closed-cell foam will not absorb moisture.
For one, this is important because it won’t absorb your sweat if you wear the pads directly on your skin. This is also important because it means the foam will not get wet when it’s raining. If a knee pad gets wet, it also gets heavier. Being heavier, the knee pad is more prone to slippage, and it can slide down your leg when you’re moving.
The closed-cell foam is also better at absorbing shocks, so it will be more effective if you drop to your knees or if you spend a long time kneeling.
The thickness of the foam is also important, but not as much as you would think. It’s true that a thicker layer of foam will protect your knee better, but only if it’s high-quality foam. Poor foam can get deformed quickly, and no matter how thick it is, it won’t offer a good protection.
- Straps – Good knee pads use two straps to keep your knee protected. The top and bottom strap distribute the weight among them, making the pads more comfortable to wear.
You might be surprised, but the straps’ material is also very important. Most manufacturers use an elastic material for their top straps, but only a few of them use the same material for the bottom one. If a knee pad has two elastic straps, it’s easier to adjust, and the chances of it slipping are slimmer.
The way the straps fasten to the knee pad is also important. Some manufacturers use Velcro to secure the kneecaps in place. Others use buckles. The main advantage of Velcro is that it’s easy to adjust and set in place. You just have to pull the strap, press it on the opposing side and that’s it. But the downside is that Velcro can deteriorate over time, especially if you use the knee pads frequently.
The buckles are more durable than the Velcro strips, but they’re more difficult to adjust. You have to spend some time for every adjustment.
Not everybody wants knee pads for their protective role alone. Some people also consider the TactiCool factor. If you’re one of those people, you should know that the military issued knee pads are some of the cheapest models available. Not only that, but they also one in a set of elbow pads. Can’t get cooler than that
Knee pads come in different price ranges, but most of them are not overly expensive. However, the higher price doesn’t represent the real value of the pads. There are high-quality pads on the market that come at a decent price.
Best Tactical Military Knee Pads Comparison Chart
|Alta AltaCONTOUR Knee Pad||$$$||Abu||Nylon Fabric||10 x 3.5 x 7 inches||Biomechanically-designed / Unique Alta Strapkeeper System|
|Condor Elite Knee Pad||$$$||Od Green||Hard plastic||Width: 6.4" / Height: 8.8"||Contoured 0.5" foam padded interior / Water-resistant non-slip rubber cap|
|BLACKHAWK! Tactical Knee Pads V.2||$$||Black||600 denier Nylon||10.5 x 8.2 x 3.5 inches||Injection-molded flex cap design / Closed-cell foam padding|
|Alta AltaLok Contour Pads||$$$||Olive Green||Cordura nylon fabric||9 x 4 x 11 inches||Thick neoprene recovery foam padding / Adjustable to fit most sizes|
|Military Outdoor Clothing Knee & Elbow Pads||$||Camouflage||High density polyethylene||12 x 5 x 12 inches||4 piece set complete with two elbow pads & two knee pads / Genuine US military Issued Surplus|
|Alta Industries AltaFlex Knee Pads||$$||Coyote||DuPont Cordura nylon||7.4 x 0.9 x 12.3 inches||Black rubber cap knee pad / Alta buckle fastening system|
One of the best things about tactical knee pads is that they are versatile. You might be trying to find the best tactical knee pads for your airsoft matches, but you might end up using them more when you’re gardening.
Whether you plan on using them in tactical scenarios or not, keep in mind that knee pads have to be comfortable, easily adjustable, and inexpensive. Don’t spend hundred dollars to get one, instead, you may spend your budget for a good ear protection accessory, or safety shooting glasses, tactical pants or even a tactical glove that you may need in the field. They should also offer a good amount of protection to both your joints and your pants.