When you are out in the field, you need protection you can count on for your whole body, and your eyes are no exception. Ballistic eyewear ensures that your eyes are kept safe from small fragments and projectiles, things that you can easily come up against while you're on a mission. They are especially recommended for anyone who is shooting or may potentially be shot at. Tactical glasses like these come in a variety of styles and colors. Many people opt for sunglasses, giving them maximum protection from the sun's glare as well. There are other varieties that offer anti-fog capabilities. Which is the best option for you will depend on the situation in which you will be using them. The bottom line is, that in order to do your job properly, you need to be able to see well. Your eyes need protection from the elements and all the extra bits that may come your way. With all the hard work that you have put into your career, you want to do everything you can to make sure that you are able to perform to your maximum capability. Choosing high-quality protective eyewear is one thing that can help you do just that.
SAFETY GLASSES AND PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR
Whether you're an industrial worker, a law enforcement officer, or a member of the military, protecting your eyes from harm is of the utmost importance.
WHAT ARE SAFETY GLASSES?
Safety Eyewear is a category of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that includes a broad range of glasses, sunglasses, and goggles. This type of PPE is designed specifically to protect the wearer's eyes from hazardous debris, chemicals, impact, heat, and/or harmful light.
However, not all safety eyewear is created equal and it's important to do your research. At US Patriot, we know how tedious this process can be. That's why we've put together a list of top-rated safety and protective eyewear from trusted brands, like Oakley, Wiley X, and ESS. Read on to learn more!
ANSI Z87.1 SAFETY STANDARDS
To comply with current American National Standards Institute (ANSI) safety standards, every piece of protective eyewear must go through rigorous testing that includes blunt impact, radiation, splashes and droplets, small particles, large debris, and anti-fogging. Eyewear that meets these stringent criteria is labeled according to the level of performance (e.g. "Z87+" high-velocity impact, "U" UV protection, "X" anti-fog coating, etc.). You can find out more about what these symbols mean by consulting your ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020 manual.
Some examples include Wiley X Rebel Tactical Sunglasses, which offer high velocity and high mass impact protection, and Rothco GI Type Goggles which combine wind, sunlight and blowing sand/dust protection.
WHY ARE SAFETY GLASSES IMPORTANT?
As of 2020, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) reported that an estimated 730,000 workers per year sustain eye injuries on the job. 10% of those injured are forced to miss work and roughly 15% experience temporary or permanent loss of vision.
Most of these injuries are the result of sparks or debris encountering the eye and can easily be avoided by using proper eye protection while on the job.
Like the American workforce, US military service members and law enforcement often come into contact with hazards that can threaten eye health. However, soldiers are also exposed to ballistic projectiles and fragments, such as shrapnel and bullets.
MIL-PRF-31013 safety standards use similar methods of testing eyewear as ANSI Z87.1, but these tests are much more rigorous. Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL) requirements include ballistic impact protection, subdued colors, enhanced optical clarity, UV protection, chemical resistance, and more.
MIL-DTL-43511D safety standards cover APEL ballistic goggles. Military safety goggles can withstand ballistic impact, have anti-fog lenses, are resistant to chemicals, and have a gasket that forms a tight seal against dust, debris, and other potential hazards.
Finding the right ballistic eyewear for the job can be confusing. Even carrying the "APEL" label won't guarantee you'll get a pair of sunglasses or goggles that will work as hard as you do. Below is a short list of products that fit the bill and then some.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TACTICAL SUNGLASSES?
Tactical sunglasses should be durable, lightweight, and compatible with tactical gear, such as helmets and comms equipment. Lenses are fog, scratch, and impact-resistant (MIL-PRF-32432).
In our opinion, Oakley SI Ballistic M Frame® 3.0 Strike Sunglasses are the best of the best. These rugged sunglasses have ballistic-rated Plutonite® lenses with High Definition Optics® and Polaric Ellipsoid™ geometry to give you enhanced clarity when precision is everything. These sunglasses are fully compatible with MICH, ACH, CVC, PASGT, and Crye™ helmets.
The Wiley X Nash Tactical Sunglasses tick all the boxes with a lightweight wraparound frame with double-injected rubber temples that reduce slipping in humid environments. Shatterproof Selenite™ polycarbonate lenses enhance color and
contrast, reduce glare, and protect against 100% of UV radiation.
Oakley SI Gascan® Multicam® Collection Sunglasses are another of US Patriot Tactical's favorites. With XYZ Optics and Polaric Ellipsoid Dual Lens technology, these lightweight military sunglasses continuously exceed expectations. Available in MultiCam®, MultiCam® Alpine, and MultiCam® Black and with Grey, Warm Grey, Polarized Grey, or Black Iridium lenses.
APEL goggles have many of the same features as tactical and APEL sunglasses, but with a few key differences. Where sunglasses are appropriate in most environments, goggles provide security and consistency in unpredictable situations, such as inclement weather and/or combat.
Like any safety eyewear, tactical goggles should rise to meet the requirements of the job at hand.
WHAT ARE THE BEST TACTICAL GOGGLES?
In our humble opinion, the Wiley X Spear Goggles Two Lens Kit (APEL) is one of the best goggles in the industry. This Wiley X Spear Tactical goggles kit includes two shatterproof lenses, one clear for indoor and low light conditions and one grey for bright light. Both lenses are impact-resistant and have ASAF coating.
These Oakley tactical goggles come in black and tan and have a crystal clear Plutonite® lens with High Definition Optics® that blocks 100% of harmful HEV and UV rays. A lightweight frame with a foam gasket and adjustable back strap provides a secure fit that's comfortable enough to wear all day.
Two ESS products that made the cut are ESS Profile NVG Goggles and ESS Jumpmaster Goggles. Both are UPLC, helmet, and NVG compatible. All ESS products are proudly made in the USA!
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