Tactical RX Custom Prescription Shooting Eyewear

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Many TFB readers already know that I love to talk about good optics. However, one type of optic that is often neglected is the eyewear. It doesn’t matter how good the scope is on your rifle, if your eyes are bad, then you won’t be using the mounted optic to its full potential. Most of the reflex collimator sights and fixed magnification prism optics do not feature diopter adjustment.

I was told by one of the well-known red-dot sight manufacturer that about 1/4 to 1/3 of their returns and repairs are actually nothing wrong with the optic, the real cause is that the end-user needs corrective eyeglass.

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Tactical RX (a division of Sport Optical) based in Denver, Colorado, is specialized in making custom prescription eyewear for the shooting sport, law enforcement and military clienteles. The company was founded in 1993 by an Army Veteran that pioneered the techniques and procedures in making corrective prescription on curved lens without optical distortion. Tactical RX is one of the few eyewear providers that can do this and for some styles of lens, they are the only one in the world that can do it.

The technicians at Tactical RX hand grinds each set of lens according to the prescription of their clients. Each step is meticulously inspected and the lens are hand fitted into the customer’s frame. I would highly recommend you call them (303-455-3369) and talk to one of the Tactical RX’s technicians about choosing a frame and lens configuration that will fit your needs. Once I had talked to a Kyle from Tactical RX about my prescription, I received three frame samples to try out.

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One of the popular frames available from Tactical RX is the Numa Point ($109 frame only). It comes in black, desert tan or camouflage. The sample I received features matte black finish with rubberized non-slip pads on the nose and temple areas. The Numa Point offers a perfect fit to my face.

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The 2nd frame sample is the Numa Chisel ($139 frame only). It features an open frame design for the lens and it has a set of conformal rubber nose pads. The lightweight frame is strong yet very flexible and it’s coated with matte RealTree camouflage finish. It’s also available in the standard black and pink color. The Numa Chisel is very comfortable and it will be a tough choice between this and the Numa Point.

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My 3rd frame sample is the Smith Elite’s Director Tactical ($99 frame only). It’s styled in a popular tactical sunglass shape and it come in matte black only. As with all Smith Elite’s tactical line, the Director Tactical frame comes with a lifetime warranty. For me the Smith Elite Director doesn’t feel as good as the two Numas but it’s more affordable.

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One of the Tactical RX’s lens specialties is what they called the “Almost Lens”. It’s a specially ground inverted bifocal design which gives shooters of iron sights a clear sight picture of the front sight. This is a popular lens choice for many pistol shooters.

 

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A close-up of the inverted bifocal lens. A small horizontal dividing line is shown near the middle of on the right lens. The lens surface above that is grounded for seeing close. The shooter can use that to line up the front and rear sights. Then he or she just needs to tilt up very slightly and use the lower lens surface, which is grounded to see distance, to see the target.

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The open-frame design of the Numa Chisel is not only a weight saving feature but it also increases the field of view for the shooter. However, Kyle from Tactical RX told me that the open-frame design has some limitations on how the lens prescription could be ground, as well as the limited availability of lens colors.

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I was surprised to find the mandarose color high-contrast lens works better than the yellow lens that I usually use on my non-prescription shooting eyewear. The mandarose resembles a shade of orange color with some magenta-tint added. The mandarose color lens allow me to pick up targets faster from the high desert background.

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The Smith Elite setup features dark color lens to serve the role of sunglasses. It works great in the bright outdoors. Kyle recommended adding the polarized lens coating for use in the desert. Tactical RX also offer extra dark tint coating for those who need it.

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My best friend Chris Wilson is wearing the Numa Chisel model. Chris and I still have fond memories of hitting targets at 500-meters with just iron-sights in our younger days during range qualifications. Now both of us can’t see past 100 yards without our prescription eyeglass.

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Tactical RX’s eyewear with prescription lens starts at $195. The Almost Lens inverted bifocal and progressive models start at $249. Those are actually very reasonably priced for a set of custom-made eyewear that’s tailored to your needs. I paid more than that for my last couple pairs of regular eyeglass and those don’t even offer ballistic protection. The total cost of a set of Tactical RX eyewear depends on the choice of the frame, lens prescription and the lens coating applied to it.

If you are a shooting sport enthusiasts that wears eyeglass, you may want to consider checking out Tactical RX for your next set of dedicated shooting eyewear. Those that are active duty military or law enforcement, Tactical RX will give you a 20% discount on their products and service.


Writer and gear editor with articles published in major gun publications. A five year combat veteran of the US Marine Corps, Tim is also part of Point & Shoot Media Works, a producer of photography, video and web media for the firearms and shooting sport industry.


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  • Eric

    I’ve always thought of getting prescription sunglasses. I have a clip-on attachment for my prescription glasses, but these do look nice. I wish they had more styles to choose from. I’d love to get a pair like these:

    http://www.spyoptic.com/store/sunglasses/mens/alpha-commando-kit-1.html?color=374139

    • Timothy G. Yan

      I have a set of revision eyewear with prescription insert (which I lost it a while back), it’s not as comfy or tight fit as having the RX grounded directly on the lens.

  • TV-PressPass

    As somebody who just shot the MGM Ironman with contacts and eyepro, that dust makes life hell. Being able to get proper prescription ballistics would be amazing

  • Phil Hsueh

    Just as an FYI, it’s eyes are bad not eyes is bad.

  • D I Genes

    Too small not enough coverage. Limited Rx available. Not high quality frame. Bad review. Pass.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Actually it is a very good review. Different frames have different prescription limitations. You cannot cheat physics.

  • Peter Carl

    IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME FINDING PERSCRIPTION SUNGLASSES THAT ARE GOOD LOOKING AND INDUSTRIAL / MIL SPEC …… READ ON.

    If your looking for script sun glasses that are good looking, very functional, balistic speced , inexpensive, and have inexpensive but durable lens …… Then I suggest you look at a company called UVEX. They make all kinds of eye and face safety gear but what you want to look at is the UVEX Genenis safety glasses (About $12 with one lens included, the RX insert (about $29.00), and replacement lens in a number of colors and reflective coatings ( about $4.50 to $8.00 each depending on configuration) putting your RX into the insert will cost between $65 and $90 ( mine runs about $80 to $85)
    Summery . . . . For approxamently an start up out lay of about $125.00 you get a pair of first rate industrial eye protection, that has you prescription protected seperat and inside the outer lens and when you do scratch or damage the lens you just replace it with a fresh new one! I ware mine daily for work and play. The do as well on the ski slope , or hunting, or the range as they do in a dangerous work enviroment. My frames last with hard use 2 to 3 years. Lens will last 6 months or better with normal care, the RX insert will last at the very least thru 3 script changes as mine has so far. I’m a big believer in options, and knowing what’s out there. This is just another option to be aware of.

    • 2hotel9

      Used to love Uvex safety glasses, then they “improved” them, making them very uncomfortable. Mainly wear MSA throw aways, anymore. Their photo grays are nice but scratch very easily, the dark and amber are mostly what I wear every day.

  • Bill

    Having been through monovision, contacts, LASIX, trifocals, now bifocals and readers, I’m convinced that the only way to get correctly fitted Rx glasses is to find an ophthalmologist and optometrist who won’t freak out if you explain exactly what you need, and that will involve a private office and your duty or primary guns. They need to factor in exactly the relationship between your eyes, sights and potential targets. And that presumes that you have a consistent grip, stance, cheek weld, etc.

    I have never had a successful experience with lenses ordered, but not adjusted and ground for my individual eyes, and that includes some big name companies (not this one) in everything from spectacles to inserts behind glasses, goggles and gasmasks. Congrats to those who have.

  • iksnilol

    How is the FOV (field of view) with them?

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Won’t it be the same as they usually are?

  • gunslinger

    i’m usually ok with my contacts and w/e s.glass i have.

    but there are times where i don’t want to put in contacts, my eyes get irritated or may just need a replacement in the middle of the day. not a bad option.

  • Mystick

    As with most of the “prescription” sunglasses and safety frames out nowadays, these will not function for people with a high negative spherical correction… there’s too much of a curve to support the optical requirements of the lens.

    • Steve (TFB Editor)

      Sadly yes. I have been down this road myself.

  • thmsmgnm

    I would like to thank the TFB for covering prescription sunglasses, it is one of the subjects that applies to a number of shooter that NEVER seems to get covered. Because of this post and the discussion I now have two more options to explore, thank you.

  • Mark N.

    I have a pair of Wiley’s that I bought a few years go. My one mistake was not getting them in a bifocal or progressive lens (I bought them for driving, so went with a single vision distance lens). The frames were only $100, but the lenses (tinted, polarized and prescription with UV filters) cost $200.

    • Timothy G. Yan

      I used to get my glass in Costco but always ended up costing $200+ with all the option I wanted.

  • Grindstone50k

    I wonder if my HSA will cover that.