Historically, gauntlets were a very important armour part, since the hands and arms often are the easiest part of the body to hit with a hand to hand weapon. This being the case, many types of gloves were constructed. Some of the more popular were chainmail mittens and the plate glove, where each finger is protected by a separately articulated metal casing. For the common soldier, rugged gloves of thick leather were often the only option, maybe with plates of boiled leather or metal riveted on.
Gauntlets lost most of their military value with the introduction of easily reloadable firearms, shifting the emphasis of battle from close quarters to distance.
Today, gauntlets are mostly used in contact sports, such as fencing, since modern warfare demands fine motor skils hampered by thick gloves. Gauntlets are however sometimes used by bomb defusal professionals and butchers.