Whether you’re a weekend warrior or everyday shooter, tactical sunglasses belong in your repertoire. It’s easy to see after the fact that they would have helped a situation but preparedness is the name of the game here. We’re going to take a look at some of the best tactical sunglasses on the market and their respective manufacturers. This should help you decide what belongs in your EDC bag and what can stay on the store shelves.
Compromised eyesight means that you’re unable to keep up with evolving unexpected situations. It doesn’t matter whether that’s from dirt, dust, debris, or flying objects. The job of tactical sunglasses is to protect the eyes from harmful threats. While at the same time maximizing visual awareness. Most glasses do this with wraparound protection, impact resistant lenses, and durable rugged design.
Major differences you might find in tactical glasses are things like:
- Full wraparound protection
- Polarized lenses
- High contrast and low-light lenses
- Rigid and flexible frame construction
This guide was created to help you choose the best tactical sunglasses for your needs and budget. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the volume of information on tactical gear. To make things worse, it seems like everyone has a different opinion. We’ve simplified it for you. Let’s take a look at some of the major features and why they might influence your choice:
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Quality: Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ Sunglasses
- 2 Best Value: Venture Gear Overwatch Anti-Fog
- 3 Best Quality to Price: Ergodyne Skullerz Odin Polarized Safety Sunglasses
- 4 Conclusion
Many tactical sunglasses feature thick frames with wraparound protection. This is meant to help minimize glare from obstructions at side-angles and block any incoming debris. Why does this matter? Because in high pressure situations, fragmentation or debris can come from anywhere. Having even the smallest intrusion can be a life or death interruption.
With polarized lenses, you’ll be able to see more clearly and acquire targets behind glass or underwater. Operators of vehicles, for instance, can often be obstructed behind a window glare. Additionally, they reduce eye fatigue.
Not sure if the glasses you’re checking out are polarized? Take a look at any digital watch and tilt it 90 degrees. If the face of the watch become completely black, then the glasses are polarized. If not, well, you’re out of luck. Keep looking!
High Contrast Lenses
These lenses are most often a lighter color such as a yellow or orange and serve to help “brighten” up the contrast of the world around you. You’d be well advised to wear these on overcast or rainy days where you’ll notice that image clarity and visual quality are much improved over normal situations.
One advantage of high contrast lenses is that they’re just as appropriate at the shooting range as they are in the car, around the yard, or on the streets.
When you’re looking for tactical sunglasses, you’re going to want to make sure they’re certified to meet and exceed impact protection certifications. At a minimum, you’ll be looking for glasses with ANSI Z87.1 certification for high velocity impact protection. If your needs are more stringent then you’ll be looking for a MIL PRF-31013 certification for ballistic impact protection.
While you may find certifications exceeding those discussed here, they’re usually reserved for face shields and goggles and rarely found on sunglasses.
Best Quality: Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ Sunglasses
List Price: $150.00
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon
Made with Oakley’s proprietary O Matter frames, these lightweight and rigid frame sunglasses meet and exceed Z87.1 ANSI certification standards. Partially rimless design means that downward vision is never obstructed but also means that debris can potentially enter the eye from the sides or below.
Plutonite lenses filter out all UV for daily wearing protection and the included case mean you’ll have protection for your investment. These glasses are, without a doubt, for everyday use to be carried by those who consider themselves at risk for encountering visual impact situations. Oakley’s proven name, tested ergonomics, and the more minimalist design of these sunglasses make them more in tune with every day use rather than extreme operating conditions.
These glasses are most suited to someone looking for a balance between protection, style, and function.
- Thin frame is best for daily use
- Oakley name is trusted and proven
- Lightweight frames and lenses make for a more comfortable daily wear
Best Value: Venture Gear Overwatch Anti-Fog
List Price: $29.99
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon
These tactical sunglasses are built around a large frame design which is nearly a full wraparound concept. With MIL-PRF 32432 certification, these glasses are rated to protect from some nasty high velocity impacts. Styled with a modern feel and sleek look, these glasses are great for streets or duty. Rubber nosepiece and temple tips mean the glasses won’t slide around when things get hot and rough.
One of the things I really love about these glasses is the anti-fog coated polycarbonate lens with UV protection. This is just one extra step manufacturers can take to ensure that nothing gets between you and your clarity of vision when you’re at work or play. I love the wide frames as well for their added protection and support.
These glasses are meant for those looking to acquire gear at a reasonable price which will function at or above standards for high demand situations.
- MIL-PRF certification for ballistic impact resistance
- Anti-fog lenses
- UV protection
Best Quality to Price: Ergodyne Skullerz Odin Polarized Safety Sunglasses
List Price: $34.99
Promotional Price: Check on Amazon
]Without a doubt these are the best quality to price tactical sunglasses available right now. These glasses pack every feature users could be looking for in a package price that just can’t be beat.
Available in any lens color you could want – from high contrast orange and yellow to dark smoke and black – you’ll be hard pressed to beat the value of these polarized lenses. With certifications in just about every ANSI and MIL spec, they’re nearly everything-proof. ANSI Z87.1 and MIL-PRF 32432 mean you’ll be protected on all fronts when you’re rocking these.
Optional foam inserts (sold separate) create a seal around the eyes to really keep out dust, debris, and wind when operating in harsh conditions. It’s great to be able to remove these when you’re wearing these glasses in everyday conditions. These glasses go above and beyond the call of duty while delivering it all at a budget price.
- ANSI and MIL-PRF certifications
- Optional removable foam gasket
- Thick and wide frame for wraparound protection
- Wide selection of lens and frame color options to fit you
Tactical sunglasses are not for everyone. Truth be told not everyone needs the protection offered by these high standard pieces of eyewear. Today we’ve come to a point where manufacturers are competing for attention. They are making good quality tactical sunglasses that are easier than ever to find at reasonable prices.
Make sure to take the extra time to decide what qualities are important to you in a pair of tactical sunglasses. If you’re operating in harsh conditions, go for a more dedicated pair of protective sunglasses. However, many users are often in and out of tactical situations. Thus it may be uncomfortable or unnecessary to wear heavy and bulky wraparound glasses every day.
Best for Every Day Wear
If you’re looking for some tactical sunglasses to wear every day but don’t expect to often find yourself needing the full protection of a dedicated safety glass, then the Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ is for you. The lightweight frames, thinner design, and Oakley ergonomics makes this the perfect choice for dinner out, driving around town, or operating at the firing range.
Best for the Hardcore Operator
If you’re in the line of duty every day and need a pair of sunglasses that will work as hard as you do, then the Ergodyne Skullerz Odin are the best bet. With multiple ballistic certifications and a thick, wide frame to protect from all sides, you’ll be taken care of in any situation. I also love the vast selection of colors in frames and lenses.
Stretch Your Dollar
On a budget because the wife has threated to take the kids if you spend another dollar on tactical gear? We understand.
Consider the Venture Gear Overwatch glasses for a tight budget. They meet and exceed safety standards while keeping the costs to a minimum. Without breaking the bank you’ll be able to have wraparound ballistic protection and durable frames. All that at the cost of a 12-pack.