You know when you see a marketing claim and you’re curious to see how well it holds up? That happened to me when I saw an ESS claim in their 2013 brochure. Here’s the claim:
If you aren’t familiar with ESS, a subsidiary of Oakley, they make eyewear for military, law enforcement, airsoft, fire & rescue, hunters, and competitive shooters. When I contacted ESS to tell them about the stress test I wanted to run, they sent me a few pairs of their Crossbow Suppressors to destroy.
My shotgun of choice was a Benelli M2 modified for 3-gun by my sponsor, Salient Arms International. I started off by upping the ante and at 10 meters, I sent some Winchester Super X 2 3/4″ 00 buckshot up against the ESS 2.4mm thick polycarbonate lens. One of the BBs struck the lens and punched right through.
I guess I wasn’t too surprised, so I dialed everything back and used some Winchester Super X 2 3/4″ #7.5 shot shells I use for 3-gun comps.
Now things got interesting. The first shot separated the lens from the frame, but none of the #7.5 shot penetrated the lens.
An ESS Marketing rep let me know that the separation was rare, and was probably due to me shooting at pre-production samples. Successive shots continued to impart more damage to the lens but after four blasts, there were plenty of dimples but no through and throughs.
The fifth shot slightly compromised the backside of the lens where I could see a few visible cracks. I took a sixth and final shot which ended up being the tipping point. Even then, only one BB made its way through the lens.
The full video footage I took is available here:
In conclusion, I think ESS’s marketing claim stood up to the test, and then some.
Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.