Let’s talk about eyepro (or eye pro) – Eye Protection.
We’ll look at some options that are affordable, but good.
We’ll look at safety glasses meant for tactical use – meaning shooting – or being shot at.
These are not sunglasses per se, but many have tinted lens options and 100% UV protection – so they are sunglasses.
But they are far better because they offer the ballistic protection needed for shooting and other high risk activities.
All these will meet the minimum standards for impact protection as required by the US military.
Here’s the ballistic rated eyewear we’ll look at:
Oakley Ballistic M Frame 2.0 Shield Sunglasses
You’ve heard of Oakley – and these are good.
These have attained near legendary status and are heavily in use by all branches of the US military.
- Oakley Plutonite Lenses offer 100% UV Protection filtering of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400mm. Oakley's lightweight Plutonite lens material offers superior comfort, clarity & protection against impact and ultraviolet radiation.
- Patented High Definition Optics (HDO) provides superior optical clarity and razor-sharp vision at every angle.
- O Matter stress-resistant frame is lightweight & durable for all-day comfort & protection. Oakley's injection molded thermoplastic O-Matter frame provides improved strength & flexibility over traditional acetate & is built to withstand shifting or deforming over time.
- Ultra lightweight design (1.05-ounce total weight)
- No slip Unobtanium nose pads for betterr grip when wet for improve fit and comfort.
Why are these popular?
They offer mil-spec ballistic protection.
They are z87 rated – it’s stamped right on the frame.
With minimal visual distortion.
The lenses and nose pieces are interchangeable. For example, you can swap out the lenses for clear – if that’s what you need.
Made in the USA.
And they are insanely comfortable – which is important if you have to wear them a lot.
OK, they look good too.
Additionally, these have excellent warranty and customer support from Oakley – even when you are overseas.
Please note these are NOT polarized though.
Oakley SI Ballistic M Frame Alpha Array
Want to step it up one level from the M Frame?
Get the Oakley SI Ballistic M Frame Alpha Array (Buy on Amazon) that includes grey and clear lenses.
Gatorz Magnum Z Tactical Sunglasses
The Gatorz Magnum Z Tactical Sunglasses (Buy on Amazon) are very popular with special operations forces.
They look super-sweet.
But, more importantly they are Z87+ rated and work great.
These are made in the USA with 7075 military grade Aluminum frames.
They include a lifetime promise.
- USERS: Trusted by US Navy Seals, Law Enforcement, Motorcyclists, and Outdoor enthusiasts alike. These lenses are made of polycarbonate, giving them unparalleled resistance. Pair this with military grade aluminum frames, and you have some tough sunglasses.
- UV PROTECTION: These lenses provide maximum protection for your eyes by blocking out harmful UV sun rays. Unlike lenses with a UV coating, Gatorz tactical glasses are built with technology inside the lens itself, ensuring consistent protection over time.
- VISIBILITY: These lenses are built with TRU-RAY optics technology, which adjusts wavelengths entering the eye. They also have an oleophobic coating, which repels grease, oil, and dirt. This active gear keeps your vision clear.
- DURABILITY: Gatorz sunglasses are made with Hydrophobic and durable scratch-resistant coating. Hydrophobic coating keeps liquids off of the lens, and scratch-resistant coating makes these glasses extremely strong and scratch resistant.
ESS is a division of Oakley, and they make the CrossBlade (Buy on Amazon).
The manufacturer calls these “ballistic eyeshields”. They are made in the USA, and are Z87.1+ rated.
These include advanced ClearZone Anti-fog coatings plus two different sized lens and nosepiece options to allow for customizable modular fit.
Users can choose between a Standard lens and nosepiece or NARO lens and NARO nosepiece.
These are modular – that means they can be fit to the end user’s facial structure. This means better performance and comfort.
These have easily replaceable lenses.
This particular kit comes with 2 “NARO” lenses: clear and smoke gray lenses.
Why different lenses? Here’s why:
- Clear – General purpose tint for maximum visibility.
- Smoke Gray – Provides protection from glare and high levels of visible light and ultraviolet radiation without distorting color perception.
- Hi-Def Yellow – Best for enhancing contrast and light in low light applications (dusk, dawn or foggy environment); not recommended for night driving or bright light environments.
- Hi-Def Rose Copper – Reduces blue light and enhances contrast. Also helps Red colors stand out. Makes a great driving lens.
These are compliant with: U.S. Federal OSHA, ANSI Z87.1-2015, CE EN 166 and U.S. MIL-PRF-32432A standards.
If you like the specs on those, but want a more conservative style of glasses, take a look at the ESS Rollbar Sunglasses (Buy on Amazon).
As you can see they have a more conservative style of frame.
But, they meet the z87.1 impact standards, and have interchangeable lenses.
Revision Military Sawfly Basic Solar
The Revision Military Sawfly Basic Solar (Buy on Amazon) is a no-frills pair of ballistic rated sunglasses.
These are bit cheaper than the others – and the lenses are replaceable.
The lightweight frame and ultra-thin arms ensure a perfect fit with hearing protection and communications headsets.
- Kit includes frame with adjustable arms, solar lens, head strap, microfiber pouch
- Lenses made of indestructible, optical grade polycarbonate that can beinterchanged quickly for various light conditions and provide100% protection from harmful UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays
- Scratch-resistant coating on both sides of lens; resists wide variety of chemicals, including DEET
- Precision manufactured lenses ensure distortion-free vision, full side impact protection and anti-fog performance
- High velocity impact performance of the Sawfly System is 3-times greater than required by EN166 Clause 7.2.2 and AN SI Z87.1-2052
Wiley X Talon
The Wiley X Talon (Buy on Amazon) is another eye pro option.
These offer ballistic protection thanks to the Selenite Polycarbonate Lenses, as well as 100% UVA/UVB protection.
It comes with 3 lens colors too.
Protection for your Eye Protection? Sunglass Hard Cases
All these glasses are expensive – because they are good.
When they are not in use, stow them in the Polemax MOLLE Glasses Hard Case (Buy on Amazon).
It has a variety of mounting options, and will work on any belt, anything with MOLLE, or clip it just about anywhere.
Unfortunately though, it’s only available in black.
Need a Coyote Brown or Multicam hard glasses case?
Take a look at the ET Dragon MOLLE Sunglass Hard Case (Buy on Amazon).
This one can be mounted just about anywhere as well.
Eye Pro – In Summary
You’re going to need sunglasses – so you might as well get a good pair that also offer some amount of protection.
And once you get them, take care of them.
And by the way, if you are going to protect your eyes – might as well protect your ears as well.
Last update on 2019-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API