We present new results for the pure gauge SU(3) static force computed in a novel way on the lattice. We use Wilson loops with a chromoelectric field insertion for measuring the force directly and compare it with the traditional way of performing a numerical derivative on the static potential. Extended Wilson loop calculations have a bad signal-to-noise ratio, and the use of discretized chromo field insertions causes finite extension effects. We extend our method to support the gradient flow algorithm to improve the signal-to-noise ratio and to challenge finite extension issues, which leads to a larger impact on the general usage of operators with chromo field insertions. Furthermore, we show that direct measurement of the static force can be used to extract the strong coupling constant $\alpha_s$ and to perform the scale setting.