Just about everyone knows the Oakley sunglasses brand, but when I think of Oakley my first thought would be their line of ballistic glasses. I have worn Oakley’s for years and when Steve asked me to review the new Oakley Radar Prizm and the Aviator SI ballistic sunglasses, I was very glad to oblige.
Radar Prizm Shooting Glasses
The photo above shows the basic frame and lens along with a second darker lens. Oakley refers to this set as a lens array. Between the two lenses they cover just about any shooting environment. The set comes in a Carbon Fiber finished case.
This “M” style frame and Radar Prizm are very popular not only with shooters but with soldiers, Marines and others serving overseas. This new Prizm model provides users with better contrast when choosing targets whether on the local range or the arid desert our military currently operates in. The Oakley Prizm technology enhances clarity and contrast by blocking specific wavelengths along the color spectrum.
I have had the opportunity to use my set of Prizm sunglasses on several types of shooting ranges. These include the sandy type of range you see in the southwest as well as the very different colors of the midwest with brighter greens and darker ground colors.
It is interesting how the color of the lenses change in the type of light they are exposed to. Indoors the lenses appear a medium purple while outdoors they have a bit of an amber tint. Trying to describe colors is about like trying to describe how high is up! I can say these glasses perform as advertised and do make it easier to see not only your target through open sights but aid in viewing targets through optics by enhancing the reticle. The contrast between colors are key to the way these glasses work.
At least for me they have made it easier to pick up the target. I’m fairly certain they will work well for just about any shooter.
I should add the fit of the Radar Prizm frame is very comfortable. They do come with an extra set of nose pieces for a custom fit.
This Oakley webpage contains a dropdown menu with the various lens tints. When a lens is chosen they display a simulated color for the particular environment you choose.
The diagram below depicts a representation of the effect the lens has on various colors.
SI “Crosshair” Aviator
The SI “Crosshair” Aviator is more of a daily wear set of sunglasses, at least in appearance. The Crosshair is also for shooting and carries a ballistic protection rating.
I have always liked the Aviator style of sunglasses. The only problem I have discovered over the years is they are rather fragile with the frames easily bent. That is certainly not the case with the Crosshair style. These things are tough. They are hard to bend, in fact impossible without a lot of twisting which would destroy them. Another weak spot of the old Aviator type was where the earpieces met the frame. They had a tendency to bend and slide down your nose or just get bent out of shape. The Crosshair has a unique piece where the frame and earpieces meet that prevents any bending. The material is also heavy duty compared to most sunglasses of the type. They hold their shape no matter what and don’t slide down your nose even when you’re on the range in the summer and sweating a lot.
This photo shows the way Oakley has prevented the ear pieces from bending.
Constructed of ultra-lightweight hi-modulus C-5 frame material
Comfort and performance of three-point fit that holds lenses in precise optical alignment
Ultra lightweight design (1.45 ounce total weight)
Compatibility with all helmet-mounted night vision and helmets
Thin stem technology enabling compatibility with over-ear hearing
BALLISTIC & OPTICAL STANDARDS
Meets or exceeds the ballistic fragmentation impact standards contained in Clause 126.96.36.199.1 of MIL PRF 31013
Meets High Mass Impact Test contained in Clause 6.2.2 of ANSI Z87.1-2010
High Definition Optics that meet optical standards contained in Clause 5.1.4 of ANSI Z87.1-2010
Meets or exceeds ANSI Z80.3-2008
I have been wearing these sunglasses daily and on the range for the past several weeks. I found them to be very comfortable. Both the Prizm and Crosshair are very sturdy as I’ve mentioned. As with my other Oakleys I expect these to last many years and like all Oakleys they are very hard to scratch. All Oakley glasses use a hard coating to achieve this scratch resistance. Above all Oakleys protect the wearer’s eyes from fragmentation and other harmful debri.
Both pairs have been very good on the range and do provide the helpful contrast as advertised. The Prizm’s are good for sunny and cloudy days while the Crosshair really shows it’s stuff on bright sunny days. I don’t see how you could ask for better sunglasses for the range or daily wear. The SI Radar Range Prizm MSRP is $265.00 with hard case and two lens, the SI Ballistic Crosshair has an MSRP of $260.00.