July 15, 2022
Have you ever, immediately upon first putting hands on a new product, thought to yourself, Why is this so expensive? It seems cheap, and not worth the money.
Whatever the opposite of that is, that's what I experienced with Gatorz Eyewear.
I’ve written up a number of ballistic eyewear products before (Tactical Rx, Wiley-X, etc.), and to be honest there are a lot of great ones out on the market. I didn’t particularly care for the looks of the Gatorz frames, but what drew me to request a sample was the interesting things they’re doing with lenses. So, I obtained a sample of their Delta frames with their high-contrast shooting lenses, and their more traditional-looking shooting glasses, the Specter, with standard tinted lenses.
The Delta frames look more like old-school sunglasses than shooting eyewear. They’ve got a bit of a Ray-Ban Wayfarer look, with a hint more curve to the front, but like all Gatorz glasses, they’ve got billet aluminum frames and are 100 percent made in America. The hinges are stiff, so the arms stay where you put them like the Ray Ban Wayfarer.
The glasses have an adjustable nose piece to raise and lower them or move them closer or further away from your face. In addition to that, you can adjust fit to your head by bending the glasses either in the center or near the ends of the temples, according to included instructions. The temples are flat so they’re comfortable to wear under ear muffs. I’ve never cared for the wraparound look of glasses, although I appreciate it when I’m shooting. I found myself wearing the Deltas with their high-contrast lenses while driving more than I did shooting—and let’s talk about those lenses.
Over the years I have found that rose/brown/orange lenses tend to work best when shooting outdoors. They make colors richer and deeper and increase contrast, and I find I like them not just when shooting but while driving. I like all my sunglasses to be impact-rated. Gatorz offers two different high contrast lenses, a “daytime lens” with more tint, meant for sunny days, and a “low light lens” meant for cloudy days or indoors. I got the low-light lenses in the Delta frames.
On a sunny day the low light lens doesn’t provide much light reduction and might not be enough to keep you from squinting. Perhaps not the best for a Phoenix resident, but they worked great for me in Michigan in winter. They’re perfect for wearing indoors or on cloudy days, all the way up to dusk, as I found they made the colors pop more. Taillights were brighter. Browns were browner. They seemed to make the edges of objects more defined. I’m sure the reason for that is science, but all these technical advances seem to me more akin to voodoo. Still, I’m happy to reap the benefits.
Physically, though, what surprised me was just how thin the lenses were. Maybe half the thickness of other shooting glasses I’ve worn/tested—and yet these lenses meet the Mil-Spec for ballistic glasses (MIL PRF 32432A, 4.8.4, Ballistic Fragmentation Protection). The lenses also have an anti-fog coating, UV 400 protection, and are oil and grease repellent, but that goes for every one of Gatorz’ products.
The only disadvantage to these high contrast lenses? They’re somewhat see-through, and as you can see from the photos…kinda/sorta pinkish/purply. I don’t mind at all. In fact, wearing these lenses in the Delta frames gives you a definite Tony Stark aesthetic. But FYI.
If you want a more wrap-around/protective style of eyeglass, you’re in luck because that’s pretty much every other frame they’ve got. Either their lenses curve around your face or their aluminum temples are very wide and provide side coverage. Or both. And they’ve got a number of other lenses as well, including standard tint, polarized lenses, and their new OPz lenses, which are polarized but designed to work with digital devices.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, quite often polarized lenses and LCD screen often don’t play nicely together. The displays just…disappear. I’ve noticed it most frequently on the simpler screens usually found on gas pumps and some point-of-sale card readers, but occasionally the reticle on your red dot will disappear when wearing polarized glasses. With Gatorz OPz lenses, that’s no longer a problem.
Depending on frame or lens style, Gatorz start at $180 and head up to $280, but you very definitely get what you pay for.