Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord Eyewear Review

Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord Eyewear Review

This year at SHOT show I bumped into huge Oakley booths at the range day and at the show which showcased everything from entry safety goggles to some pretty kick ass looking safety eyewear. As we all should now know, eye-pro (eye protection) is a requirement if you are shooting or in a combat situation. In fact the number one injury that puts soldiers out of service is eye related injuries. This is one reason why the military started pushing hard that troops begin wearing ballistic rated eyewear during deployment. We have seen the market explode in the last few years with a huge variety of ballistic eyewear to address the military's need for troup eye protection which meets ballistic and optical standards of MIL PRF32432 and ANSI Z87.1 (2010) requirements. Oakley's expansive line of eyewear covers the spectrum from entry goggles, to multi-lens kits, to the rather fashionable Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord eyewear I am testing here.

When we think of the name Oakley, most of us think of hard bodied Olympic snowboarders or volleyball gals with the latest style of snow goggles or sunglasses, or maybe backpacks, but most of use do not think "Military eyewear". In fact Oakley is old brand from the 1970s when they burst into the market with very unique motocross handgrip. Then came the eyewear which we all know Oakley most notably for and then followed all the other accessories and clothing the company is well known for now. The innovation continues.

Military eyewear is another market which most do not expect to see Oakley in, however they have actually been selling Oakley to the military for over 20 years. Initially the eyewear was pretty much the same models as the consumer market, however over time they became more specialized to optimize ballistic protection, comfort, and fit the special fitment requirements of the military. Although the military has not been particularly famous for style, however Oakley believes that even after meeting military guidelines that there is room for a ton of style and fashion. The SI Line (Standard Issue), is designed exclusively for government customers.

Many will take one look at the Oakley SI Det Cord's and say they are just another nice set of Oakleys, however there is a bit more added into this line of eyewear. The legacy of top quality fit and finish in all of Oakley's 100% USA made eyewear continues with the SI Ballistic Det Cord. Yep, they are all American made eyewear in case you didn't know.

If you have not purchased a top end set of sunglasses in a while and have been living life behind cheap sunglasses, you are missing a lot... like you literally are not seeing as much. Slip on a set of Det Cord's can its like you have HD vision versus the low end eyewear you usually wear. I own a number of top tier ballistic eyewear, however I have to say that Oakley really does deliver some superbly clear lenses. The lenses are anti-fog coated to retain visibility even when you start to steam. The SI Ballistic Det Cord's do have a rather large oversized lens design, however I noticed that they deliver a much more wider unrestricted viewing window versus smaller framed eyewear. The expanded optic window was greatly appreciated once I was on the range where I realized my old ballistic eyewear was truncating some of my optical window.

Oakley has also made the SI Ballistic Det Cord's very comfortable with a rubberized "unobtainium" nose piece. The thoughtful ergonomics is also noticed once you start sticking comms in your ear. Generally most sunglasses fight your ear comms, however Oakley designed the Det Cord's to be comms compatible and also comfortable with a helmet.

The Oakley SI Ballistic Det Cord's delivers all these features while meeting ballistic standards in a design which are highly fashionable. The design is not just another top frame style range eye protection, the SI Det Cord's actually have a substantial amount of style that does not scream "hey look at me, I am tactical". If you are one of those covert types, you may want to consider the SI line as an option.

Oakley actually offers the SI Det Cord's in both a polarized semi-reflective lenses and these grey lenses. Generally I love polarized sunglasses simply because they really cut down on full sun glare, however with so many optics and electronics now polarized to deliver that same non-glar performance, you can get that polarized blackout effect in some situations where you don't want it. Tactically speaking that could be a bad thing not being able to see into a car window, or through a optic which might be polarized. I can see advantages and disadvantages of both, however this is probably the reason Oakley offers both options.

The SI Ballistic Det Cord's are packaged with a soft microfiber storage sleeve which offers some degree of protection, but will not add bulk to a pack. After seeing these at SHOT show, I wanted to get the word out on what Oakley is bringing to the market and especially since they are a 100% American made product. With most eyewear made overseas it is refreshing to see Made in USA on the inside of the stems. IF you are looking for a great set of ballistic eyewear that can deliver protection on and off the range or at all times during deployment, the SI Ballistic Det Cords are a really cool option.


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Oakley Standard Issue - www.oakleysi.com


Clyde said...

Please explain why these aren't just decent sunglasses with the word ballistic thrown on to jack up the cost. Are they just polycarb lenses like most Oakley or are they something superior like the NXT that Julbo uses? You explained why polarized can be a disadvantage but don't talk about the tint (presumably neutral gray and apparently fairly dark, 10%?) and it's drawbacks in variable light and deep shade. A photochromic lens is more versatile and a yellow/brown tint cuts haze better. Looks like you bought into the marketing hype and scored some free glasses. BTW Oakley is owned by Luxottica, an Italian company, and most production is in China.

Major Pandemic said...

NXT's run around $180 the Det Cords are under $150. Oakly does not specify what the lens material is nor the tint %, so I did not list that. These are ballistic eyewear that meet Mispec requirements. You could use them as sunglasses, however they fit the safey requirements required for combat eyewear. The SI line is make in the US. The consumer line is made elsewhere typically.

Unknown said...

These are the only islets besides the M frame that is stamped Z87 for the anti rating. This a requirement at my job so I will be getting a pair. Most oakleys meet the standard but aren't stamped so I can't wear any of my others.