Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Ballistic Eywear

There are a few major brands of ballistic eyewear available; at the top end of the market (in terms of price at least) is the Oakley Standard Issue range, lower down the price (and cool kudos) spectrum is the Swiss One Safety range and somewhere in the middle are the likes of Wiley X and ESS.

Oakley Standard Issue Ballistic Eyewear closely resembles the high street fashion brand in terms of design but with suppressed (or in some cases removed) logos. So where the regualar Oakley design might have a silver "O" on the elbow and the text across the nose piece the Standard Issue version would have a black "O" in the elbow and no text whatsoever across the nose. All the Standard Issue range are ballistic rated, only some of the high street versions are ballistic rated.

Wiley X are similar to Oakley in that they have a "fashion" and extreme sports background as well as their tactical range of ballistic eyewear (they also have a less trendy Fishing focus due to the excellent visuals and protections levels offered with their polarised lenses when operating in and around water.)  Also similar to Oakley they offer "array" packs with 2 or 3 lenses, normally clear and smoke, or clear, smoke and rust/rose which give the user a range of ballistic lens options for use in different lighting environments.

The Swiss One range of ballistic eyewear comes from a more safety focused background, designed for the needs of industrial users, but with a bit more fashion sense and comfort in mind than the tradional safety goggles you might get issued.  Don't be fooled though, Swiss One Eyewear offers high levels of UVA and UVB protection - comparable to any other sun-glass brand out there - as well as industrial standard EN Safety standards.

ESS are a more recent entrant to the market that surged into prominence when they won the UK MOD contract for supplying the British Army with ballistic eyewear for the current deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The general consensus was the product was acceptable, nothing to write home about, but did the job well enough, suffering from the usual complaint of easy scratching but generally robust.