Tactical. Practical. Comfortable.
Eyes. The windows to the soul, as is commonly said. Or, fantastic shot placement if you are dealing with ISIS. We all know that wearing eye protection ("eye pro") to the range is a smart idea, and when we’re out and about we have to look great while keeping the sun’s brilliant rays at bay. Lately, in the "tactical" world of shooting, we’ve seen the development of a new generation of eyewear. Glasses that work equally well on the range as they do driving to work.
"Eyes. The windows to the soul, as is commonly said. Or, fantastic shot placement if you are dealing with ISIS."
Gargoyles Performance Eyewear is making a big splash into the world of do-anything, "tactical" eyewear. I was fortunate enough to obtain two different styles, the "Stance" and the "Khyber." The Stance was a desert tan, and the Khyber was a midnight black. So not only were my eyes going to be protected, I was going to look absolutely fabulous.
Gargoyle has been in the eyewear business for some time, and their experience with making quality eyewear shows. When I first opened the box, the glasses were packaged very simply. A glasses case with a shape somewhat akin to their oval-shaped logo presented the glasses and a cleaning cloth. When I first picked up the Stance, it felt sturdy, yet lightweight. The hinges were smooth, without creaks, and had just the right amount of friction in the opened and closed positions. Excellent form and finish. When I put them on, they didn’t pinch my rather wide head too hard or too lightly- it was just about right. The rubber pads at the bridge of my nose were integrated directly into the frame, and rested perfectly. The fit was about perfect.
One of the first things I noticed about the Stance is the lenses are vertically taller than other glasses I have used. This not only was more comfortable, but allowed for a nearly unobstructed field-of-view. The slight wraparound is just enough to creep into your peripheral vision, but it isn’t noticeable in the slightest. There is a blind merging turn that I take every day when I leave my house, and most glasses’ rims hinder me from seeing around the row of pear trees into oncoming traffic. The Stance presented no such issue. The lenses are clean, and the frame feels excellent.
Gargoyle sent me the Khyber, named in honor of Wes Doss of Khyber Training, in addition to my order of the Stance. This set of glasses represented a more "tactical" look, with it’s jet black frame, aggressive styling, and thinner end pieces (the part that extends towards your temple) than the Khyber. The frame behaved exactly the same as the Stance’s frame- clean, strong, and comfortable- but fit onto my head a little bit tighter. With what I had in mind, that was a good thing. The lenses are vertically shorter than the Stance’s, but the geometry of the rims and frame keep the rims from getting into your peripheral vision. Everything about the glasses felt excellent.
Gargoyle’s tactical/performance line of eyewear is all built and tested to meet or exceed the rigorous ANSI Z87. + standards. They state that all of their lenses are made "with high-index, ballistic-rated polycarbonate materials that provide strength without added weight. " Translation: They’re light, strong, and they work. Additionally, all their lenses are coated with magical dust that reduces glare- excellent for when you’re on the water or the sun is in your eyes. These lenses have been tested to a standard that includes dropping a 1.1lb pointed missile from 50 inches, and firing quarter-inch steel projectile at 102mph… and not having any part of the lens shatter or lens and frame area touch the eye during the impact. Impressive standards that Gargoyle takes seriously.
In my mind, I would use the Stance for day-to-day use, and the Khyber for duty use while on patrol. Truthfully, the first two days I had both pairs on my passenger seat and switched them back and forth several times each drive. I couldn’t get enough of either of them! Having used Smith Elite, ESS, Oakley, the free glasses from my local bank, and several other brands of glasses, the two offerings from Gargoyle kept up with the best of them- rocking as good a feel as any top-tier glasses I’ve ever worn.
A short while later, both pairs of glasses would be put through the ringer on a three day camping trip, a multi-day intensive shooting class, and dozens of beautiful women admiring my choice in eyewear as I cruised the streets and hiked the hills of Washington State (okay, maybe I made that last part up). Built to a demanding durability standard, every day use was nothing to the glasses. They stayed clean and mostly smudge-free thanks to some "oleophobic" sciencey stuff they put on the lenses. Through long-term use, their comfort was a big factor, and both pairs of glasses performed.
On the range, I preferred the Khyber to the Stance. The thinner end pieces fit better underneath my Peltor electronic hearing protection. The thicker end pieces on the Khyber weren’t bad, and if you were just doing a short day at the range they would be more than adequate. But after about hour four of running and ninja-rolling and ducking behind things, the thinner Khyber felt better between my ear muffs and bony head.
During everyday use, or while hiking epic trails, the Stance felt extremely comfortable, and didn’t have the "tactical" look that I try to avoid while out and about. The tall lenses gave me an extremely clear field of view, and I felt pretty sexy rocking them out and about. Plus they did a pretty good job of keeping the sun out of my eyes. After all, they are sun glasses.
I couldn’t be happier with my choice of Gargoyle Performance Eyewear. They have a vast array of different styles to choose from, but for me, starting with the Khyber and the Stance was an excellent choice. I wear the Khyber every time I’m out on patrol during the day. When I’m driving to the gym in the morning or hiking on the weekend, the Stance adorns my ugly mug. I put them through the ringer, and whether it was a high-intensity shooting class or wood and rocks somehow being thrown towards my face on a camping trip (it was also a bachelor party… don’t judge), the eyewear held up and exceeded my expectations. I feel 100% comfortable using these for use on the range, on patrol, and through whatever hard-core tasks life throws at me. I also feel 100% comfortable wearing these every day- and I have! The area I live in averages 300 days of sunshine a year, and these glasses are getting a lot of use.
So next time you want to adorn your lovely faces with eyewear that will do everything- consider Gargoyle Performance Eyewear. Their current offerings for the "tactical" crowd are excellent- as good as any glasses on the market. I’m excited to see what else Gargoyle brings to the table in the coming years.
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