Best Eye Protection – Safety Glasses

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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 Men's OO9213 M Frame 2.0 Industrial Rectangular Sunglasses, Matte Black/Grey, 32 mm
  • OAKLEY SI: Oakley SI was created to improve the safety, performance and comfort of our soldiers and safety professionals. They offer the ultimate optical clarity and protection in combat ready equipment for those whose lives depend on their gear.
  • M FRAME 2.0 INDUSTRIAL: Meets or exceeds high mass and velocity impact requirements per ANSI Z87.1-2003/2010 and ballistic fragmentation impact standards per MIL PRF-31013, Clause
  • COMPATIBILITY: SI M Frame 2.0 Industrial frames are fully compatible with helmet-mounted night vision devices and MICH, ACH, CVD, PASGT, and Crye Helmets.
  • GREY LENSES: Grey lenses have 15% visible light transmittance suitable for bright light, meets MCEPS neutrality and chromaticity requirement and blocks 100% of UVA/UVB/UVC light. HDO Optics provide razor-sharp clarity as well as impact protection.
  • FRAME FIT: O-Matter frames are lightweight (1.05-ounce total weight), chemical and impact resistant and durable for all-day comfort with quick, tool-free lens change technology, comms compatible ear stems, and rubberized nose pad for a secure fit.

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.

Oakley Men's SI Ball M Frame Rectangular Sunglasses, Matte Black/Prizm Tr22, One Size
  • Durability and all-day comfort, stress-resistant O Matter frame material
  • Ultra lightweight design
  • System features quick, tool-free lens interchange
  • Full compatibility with helmet-mounted night vision devices
  • Advanced anti-fog coating

By the way, these will work with all sorts of helmet-mounted night vision devices and popular helmets including MICH, ACH, PASGT, Ops-Core, Team Wendy, and more.

Gatorz Magnum Z Tactical Sunglasses

The Gatorz Magnum Z Tactical Sunglasses (Buy on Amazon) are very popular with special operations forces.

Gatorz Magnum Z Aluminum Frame, ANSI Z87 Safety Sunglasses-Blackout/Smoked Lens

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.

Gatorz Magnum Z Aluminum Frame, ANSI Z87 Safety Sunglasses-Blackout/Smoked Lens
  • 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 CrossBlade

ESS is a division of Oakley, and they make the CrossBlade (Buy on Amazon).

ESS Sunglasses CrossBlade 2X Naro Kit Black with Clear/Smoke Gray Lens

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.

ESS Sunglasses CrossBlade 2x Naro Kit Black with Clear/Smoke Gray Lens
  • Frame Color Black
  • Lens Color Smoke Gray
  • Model EE9034-03
  • UPC 841181100918
  • (1) Black Crossblade frame with NARO Clear lens and NARO Nosepiece

These are compliant with: U.S. Federal OSHA, ANSI Z87.1-2015, CE EN 166 and U.S. MIL-PRF-32432A standards.

ESS Rollbar

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).

ESS Sunglasses Black Rollbar Silver Logo Kit w/Interchangeable Lenses
  • Black frame with silver ESS Logo
  • Interchangeable 2.2mm Clear and Smoke Gray Lenses
  • Zippered hard carrying case
  • Elastic retention strap
  • Includes Gift Box

As you can see they have a more conservative style of frame.

But, they meet the z87.1 impact standards, and have interchangeable lenses.

ESS Sunglasses Black Rollbar Silver Logo Kit w/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.

Revision Military Sawfly Basic Solar Kit – Solar Lens, Black Frame, Regular – Anti-Fog, Tactical Military Ballistic and Eye Protection Glasses
  • Sawfly Eyewear Kit -– Enjoy ballistic eye protection that both exceeds military standards and is versatile and rugged enough to meet the needs of any civilian; regardless of weather.
  • Anti-fog, Distortion Free Vision -– Curved interchangeable scratch-resistant lenses provide unrestricted field of view and anti-fog technology combine for high impact protection with flawless optics.
  • Perfect Fit -– Sawfly’s lightweight frame, adjustable arms and head strap ensure perfect fit when paired with additional tactical headgear including hearing protection and communications headsets.
  • Highly Versatile -– Designed for eye protection during combat but can also provide eye safety from flying projectiles in activities like hunting, driving, cycling, sailing, airsoft paintball, etc.
  • Sawfly Kit Includes – low profile black frame with adjustable arms, (1) solar lens, and (1) microfiber pouch.

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.

Wiley X CHTLN2 Wx Talon Advanced Changeable Sunglasses, Smoke

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).

Polemax Tactical Molle Zipper 1000D Nylon Sunglasses Case Eyeglasses Hard Case Outdoor Portable Travel Carry Glasses Case (Black), Large

It has a variety of mounting options, and will work on any belt, anything with MOLLE, or clip it just about anywhere.

Polemax Tactical Molle Zipper 1000D Nylon Sunglasses Case Eyeglasses Hard Case Outdoor Portable Travel Carry Glasses Case (Black), Large

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).

E.T Dragon Molle Sunglass Case, Eyeglasses Hard Case Carrying Case 1000D Nylon with Clip(CP Multicam Camo)

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.

Oakley Men's OO9213 Ballistic M Frame 2.0 Shield Sunglasses, Matte Black/Grey, 32 mm

Last update on 2024-06-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API