I nearly blew up my gun not long after I began reloading my own ammunition. I had thrown together some .223 and was happily sending 62g projectiles downrange when I pulled the trigger and felt something… strange.
I opened the bolt to release the empty case and checked for signs of malfunction. Nothing appeared to be amiss, and I was about to chamber another round when I realized how little recoil had accompanied my last “shot.” Experienced reloaders will already know what happened. I had neglected to load one of the cases with powder, so when I pulled the trigger, the primer popped the bullet just a few inches down the barrel.
My wife calls me absent-minded, but I prefer to describe myself as “especially thoughtful” — just too busy thinking about big important things, rather than what’s happening at the moment. In either case, my mistake could have destroyed my gun and seriously injured my devilishly handsome face. It also reminded me once again why wearing eye protection is no less important for safe shooting than ear protection or proper gun handling.
Enter Magpul’s new line of ballistic-rated eyewear.
The legendary polymer magazine company has expanded its product line this summer to include a new stock, bipod, apparel, and three eyewear models available in dozens of lens color and tint combinations.
The Explorer features a casual design, while the two high-performance models—the Terrain and Summit—hug the user’s face to protect against liquids and other materials. All three models incorporate the same impact resistance, but the Terrain and the Summit’s tighter fit also qualifies these designs for the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) Z87.1 industrial safety standard.
I prefer the Explorer because I can wear them with semi-professional attire without looking like a mountain climber. If you actually plan to climb a mountain, however, the Terrain or the Summit will be less likely to abandon ship at 5,000 ft.
Each model comes in a variety of frame styles, lens colors, and mirror colors, and all are available in polarized and non-polarized varieties. The Explorer I received came with bronze lenses and no mirror, and Magpul provides a helpful chart to help customers choose which lens color will best suit their favorite outdoor activity:
My favorite outdoor activity? Shooting. Which is why I was curious to learn how Magpul defines “ballistic rated.”
Turns out, they have something pretty specific in mind.
All three models meet both the ANSI Z87.1 high impact standard as well as the much higher standard developed by the Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) Program, aka, MIL-PRF-32432. While ANSI tests projectiles travelling at 150 fps, the military requires testing with 0.15 caliber, 5.85g projectiles traveling at 650 (+/- 10) fps. Even if the lens stops the projectile, the product fails the test if the lens is cracked or fractured.
A standard .22 long rifle travels about twice as fast as the projectiles in the military’s ballistic test, but Magpul’s glasses can still help protect your eyes from freak ricochets or, uh, reloading mishaps. They’d also be a good idea for motorcycle riders concerned about rocks and other debris.
For military folks, Magpul told me they’re seeking to get their eyewear in the Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL), but that process is slow, so they’re not quite there yet.
Comfort and Performance
I’ve been wearing the Explorer almost daily for about six weeks, and I’ve found them to be remarkably comfortable. They’re constructed from a light-but-strong thermoplastic called TR90NZZ, which Magpul calls “the strongest thermoplastic eyewear material available.” The super-light design allows for comfortable all-day wear, and the padded, low-profile temples can be worn under helmets or hearing protection.
The plastic is flexible without feeling flimsy, and the temples snap open and shut, which prevents unintentional opening and closing. The hinges’ covered design prevents them from loosening, though I did notice a tiny hole on the underside.
I’ve taken these glasses shooting, fishing, hunting, and hiking, and I’ve been impressed with the lens and picture quality. Where other sunglasses have failed to reduce glare on a sunny day, Magpul’s glasses sharpened my vision. I took them on an all-day fishing trip last week, and I didn’t feel the effects of eyestrain or the headaches caused by other kinds of eyewear. Everything appeared clear and sharp, even in the glaring Texas sun.
Bottom line? If you’re looking for a tough, comfortable pair of sunglasses for your next adventure, Magpul’s new eyewear is worth a look.
Visit Magpul to learn more about Magpul Explorer eyewear by clicking HERE.