Whether you’re a tactical professional or an outdoor enthusiast, there are a few things you should know about how the elements impact your body – in this case, temperature. This is one of the major forces of the outdoors that every person will contend with at some point, and it can have a major impact on your body if you don’t have the right tactical apparel for the situation.

Tactical Apparel Can Help Combat the Effects of Temperature

In this post, we’re teaching you everything you need to know about the main effects of temperature (both hot and cold) on tactical performance. We’ll also show you where you can shop for the best high performance tactical gear from one of our favorite brands, MTHD.

The Effects of Warm Temperatures

There are a few ways heat can play a role in how you perform in a tactical situation. For starters, overexposure to heat can lead to impacts such as confusion, dizziness, headache, unclear vision, and fainting. There are also a few signs you have overexposure to heat: muscle cramps (because they are unable to receive the natural electrolytes of the body), red skin (a heat rash), and an increased heart rate (the body trying to compensate for the heat effects by pumping blood faster).

The impact of temperature on the body can affect your ability to perform tactical functions, like shooting, in various ways. One of the most significant effects of heat is dizziness and confusion, which can make it difficult to take a shot or accomplish the task at hand. Additionally, heat can lead to dehydration, worsening the effects and putting you at risk of heat stroke, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Luckily, there are ways to combat these effects for the most part. For starters, drink plenty of water or electrolytes before and during prolonged heat exposure. You need to listen to your body and know the signs of overexposure to heat which could become deadly. You should also wear protective and cooling clothing as much as possible – MTHD is a great line of tactical apparel to shop for this purpose. Learn more about MTHD: Mountain | Tundra | H20 | Desert and the technically advanced layering systems of high performance tactical gear for global climate zones. 

The Effects of Cold Temperatures

When looking at how cold temperatures affect the ability to perform under pressure, especially as it relates to shooting, the answer is in the hands. The hands are perhaps the most crucial part of making the shot, but they are also the area most vulnerable to exposure to cold temperatures. This is in part because fingers and hands are small in size, which makes it harder for the body to trap the heat in said area.

Function becomes impaired at around 59 degrees Fahrenheit, while loss of feeling is usually around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. We are not talking about the temperature of the environment, but rather the temperature of the tissue of the hand and fingers which is closely related to the air temperature. With more extreme temperatures in tissue, you end up losing all function in the fingers. The good news is that you can acclimate to temperatures over time the way those who live in colder regions are more used to the cold. You will want to work on cold exposure over time by protecting your shooting in different temperatures. You can also ease the effects with a pair of tactical gloves intended for cold temperatures. We've also got you covered if you need help finding the best gloves for your tactical needs.

In addition to the immediate effects on hands during exposure to cold temperatures, there is also a phenomenon called cold stress. This occurs when the body responds to cold stressors or a decrease in body heat, resulting in impaired mental function, reduced motor skills, blood vessel constriction leading to poor circulation, and shivering. While it may seem like you can just tough it out, these symptoms can significantly impact your ability to perform tactical skills and achieve your goals. Moreover, they may indicate that you are at risk of hypothermia. Therefore, it is crucial not to ignore cold stress if you are experiencing it.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the temperature of your surroundings can affect the performance of your firearms. To maintain accuracy, you may need to make adjustments to your trajectory or shot. Additionally, you should be aware of how snow can get inside the muzzle due to temperature changes. When using firearms for tactical purposes, it's crucial to understand the impact of temperature and know how to adjust accordingly to maximize performance.

Perform Your Best, Regardless of the Elements

The impact of temperature on tactical performance is a crucial factor that should not be underestimated. Both extreme cold and heat can significantly influence physical abilities, affecting things like reaction times and overall effectiveness in tactical operations. To combat these effects, it's important to wear appropriate tactical apparel, receive proper training, and develop strategies that take specific temperature conditions into account. By acknowledging the significance of temperature on tactical performance, we can help our teams perform at their best and achieve their goals with confidence, no matter the climate.