These guys bagged some birds using Tactical Rx prescription hunting glasses.

Gotta avoid those Dusky’s.

We want to share the story of a customer of ours, Gary, and the recent set of glasses we made for him. He’s photo’d above with his friends and their take of 16 geese from a weekend hunt earlier in January. They’re up in Oregon, and from the photo you can see the light is variable/overcast. Knowing what we did of his use and conditions, we put together a high-contrast custom tint for the Smith Optics frame he already had. We know a lot of folks in the NW have to be particularly aware of the Canadian dusky geese and make quick decisions based on the coloring, so it was important for us to create a tint that maintained an authentic color perspective, while still enhancing the view in low-light situations. They certainly bagged some birds, so he must have been seeing pretty good.

Hunting eyewear is one of the most precise and challenging types of eyewear we make. Conditions often vary between the extremes, yet lens tones and functionality needs to be sharp and precise. Obviously, there are a lot of variables in the equation: location, what you’re hunting, what you’re shooting (or in the case of the duskies, what you’re not shooting), all the prescription variables, personal preference as far as fit and style, fogging issues, etc. This is a lot to take in to ultimately shape into a set of prescription hunting lenses, and while hunting is a very general term that takes many different forms, it can be an extremely demanding activity and eyewear has to meet those demands.

Gary was cool enough to pass along a fun photo from the weekend, and we’ll also point you towards his friendly post on the ifish forum, which is Oregon-centric but for the rest of us it’s still a place for some good discussions about prescription hunting eyewear and about broader hunting and fishing topics.

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Julbo USA Vermont Classic.

Tactical Rx in American Handgunner

Funky meets Protection.

In Roy Huntington’s The Insider column in the current (Pg. 116, March/April 2016) edition of American Handgunner magazine he features the Julbo USA Vermont Classic frame. He goes on to say that the side covers reduce glare, and indeed they should: it’s a frame born to block the glare for mountaineers as they walk across glaciers. These days, it can block the glare at the range, on the road, and for one recent customer, at concerts when he doesn’t want to focus on anything else. Yes, like blinders on a horse. (We didn’t ask him what type of music he’s into, but we can only assume he’s got the coolest glasses at the latest T Swift show.

If you’d like a non-prescription option, the Vermont Classic frame can be picked up for a cool $150, and we can also load in Tactical Rx custom prescription shooting lenses starting at $209.

 

Julbo USA Vermont Classic frame with Tactical Rx custom prescription shooting lenses featured in American Handgunner Magazine.

Julbo USA Vermont Classic frame with Tactical Rx custom prescription shooting lenses featured in American Handgunner Magazine.

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Custom Almost Lens shooting bifocal in Clear. Rudy Project Rydon Tactical frame.

Almost Lens FAQ’s

One of our most popular lenses is our Almost Lens, an inverted shooting bifocal intended to help crisp up your front sights if you’re no longer seeing them as clearly as you’d like. On one hand this lens is a very simple premise and not something that we really invented. On the other hand, we’ve found a way to innovate and customize a stagnant, existing idea. Genius, we say! In any case, here are a few answers to the questions we receive most frequently regarding the Almost Lens:

– It’s a custom placement, so we’d send you a frame (or a few if you want to try some on for fit and style) and you’d mark it and send it back to us. We’d include a marking kit for you to use, which is a piece of cake.

– It’s a lined bifocal, and the general placement is above your eye, both of which help make sight/target acquisition quick and easy. There’s no more tilting your head back to access the lower portion of your lens, and the lined bifocal gives a large field of view for your near vision so you no longer have to seek out the sweet spot in your progressive.

– We take your given reading prescription and adjust it for the distance from your eye to your front sights. We’ll ask you for this distance measurement, in inches, and we’ll make the accommodation on our end. If you have multiple barrel lengths/sight distances, either take the average or prioritize one of your guns. There’s a few inch margin here so two inches won’t make a difference.

– What else…Most folks go with it only in their dominant eye, but some people put it in both eyes and others do one eye with the shooting bifocal above their eye and in the other eye they put a traditional lined bifocal.

– To order, the best way is to give us a call with your prescription handy. We can talk you through some frame options and get some choices sent out to you for marking.

Almost Lens inverted shooting bifocal in the Numa Point Ballistic frame.

Almost Lens inverted shooting bifocal in the Numa Point Ballistic frame.

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Polarized lens tones. At a golf course, because, well, we like to golf.

Polarized Lens Tones

(Above: Yes, we took lens sample photos on a golf course because, well, some of us enjoy golf.)
We have a few polarized lens options to choose from. Lenses, polarized or otherwise, are largely a point of personal preference and there isn’t a wrong or right answer. If you have any questions about your specific light conditions or needs, write us through our comment box or call us. As always, we’re glad to send you out some lens samples to demo and look through, but this guide should help give you an idea of the tones we’re talking about and what they’ll look like:

Polarized Grey: This looks like a grey lens. It has 80% light blockage and provides excellent blockage in bright conditions. From the outside, it’ll look like this:

Numa Chuck ANSI z87 shooting and safety frame with super dark grey polarized prescription lenses.

Numa Chuck ANSI z87 shooting and safety frame with super dark grey polarized prescription lenses.

Polarized Brown: The brown has the same 80% light blockage as the grey, but because of the tone it offers a higher contrast view with yellow hues mixed in. We’ve received a lot of feedback that the brown helps targets stand-out, so if you want a dark lens but prefer a little more “pop”, the brown is a good choice. From the outside, it’ll look like this:

Rudy Project Rydon in Demi-Turtle, with Polarized Brown lenses. Demi-Turtle is a classy tone that works well for hunting.

Rudy Project Rydon in Demi-Turtle, with Polarized Brown lenses. Demi-Turtle is a classy tone that works well for hunting.

Polarized Rose-Copper: (NOTE: This lens style is not available with the Almost Lens or lined bifocals.) The polarized Rose-Copper lens is our lightest polarized lens option, at 75% blockage, and also our most versatile. The rose hues provide sharp definition in everything from bright conditions to cloudy, overcast days and shade. From the outside, it’ll look like this:

Joseph von Benedikt of Shooting Times magazine in the Smith Elite Hudson prescription shooting sunglass.

Joseph von Benedikt of Shooting Times magazine in the Smith Elite Hudson prescription shooting sunglass.
Photo Credit: Shooting Times magazine.

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Shot Show in Las Vegas, January 19-22, 2016. Meet Tactical Rx there!

SHOT Show Preview

SHOT Show is the largest, most comprehensive trade show for professionals in the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. Luckily for us, everyone involved in those industries has eyes they need to protect, whether it’s the knife-maker at his steel grinder or the hunter who needs low-light lenses for early morning bird hunting. Tactical Rx provides the highest quality custom prescription eyewear for all of these diverse groups.

So, every January we head to Vegas as SHOT Show takes over with the newest gear from manufacturers large and small. It’s a scene, to say the least. Some products are as high-tech as tech gets, such as the Leopold D-EVO Scope, and others are lower-tech (if beautifully precise traditional craftsmanship using high-carbon steel is lower-tech), such as our local knife-making friends up in Golden, Spyderco.

In any case, it’s a fun time, and it’s a great opportunity for a small, independent company like Tactical Rx to gain exposure to a national audience. In the past, the friends we make out at SHOT Show have developed into deep, long-lasting relationships with people who have diverse roles in our industry. Of course, it’s also a chance for us to keep an eye on the latest trends in eye-pro to make sure we continue to offer our customers the best they can get.

As we gear up for this year’s event, if you’re going to be out there and would like to meet us, shoot us a note and we’ll see if we can catch up.

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Rudy Project Rydon in Crystal, with black chromo kit. Custom Rx Lenses, in Transition.

Cool as Ice.

This is an icy cool pair of shades perfect for winter. It’s the Rudy Project Rydon, in Crystal. We swapped out the standard red chromo kit for black. This is about as clear as a pair of sport glasses can get, though the lenses are transition, so in sunglight they’ll go black.

*The crystal version of the Rydon aren’t ANSI z87. They’re safe, in the sense that the frame is made to the same specs, but it hasn’t been put through ANSI z87 testing so not safety rated. Only the all-black model is ANSI.*

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Tactical Rx Custom Vented lenses.

Custom Venting

Lenses are prone to fogging. It’s a reaction based on the heat produced by your face, the humidity of the environment and the temperature, as well. There are certain things that can be done to alleviate fogging:

– Get the right frame. If you know that you produce a lot of heat and sweat, don’t get a frame that creates a tight seal around your face. It’s going to fog. Open-bottom frames naturally allow for more ventilation and airflow, but full-frame options can be just as good if they fit properly.

– If you give us a heads up, we can treat a lens with an Anti-Fog coating for you at no charge. This coating does a pretty good job of reducing fogging issues and it’s easy to notice the difference between a lens that has been coated and one that hasn’t. If you breathe on one and breathe on the other, the untreated lens fogs up.
Other sports eyewear companies literally charge upwards of $60 for this coating. We’ll do it for free, and if you want a full bottle of the concentrate we use it’s an additional $10. We’ve demo-ed and tested dozens of anti-fogs, and it turns out the $10 one works as well as the $100 one.

– CUSTOM VENTING. This is what’s so cool about making custom lenses and doing all your lenscrafting in-house. We can custom vent the heck out of a lens. You want a few vent-holes? No prob. You want twenty vent-holes? Sure thing. By venting the lenses the moisture has a route to escape and it makes a substantial difference to the fogging properties of a piece of eyewear. This is, naturally, the third step in the process to prevent fogging. We drill into the lens and there’s no going back, so if you request custom venting, please be sure. It takes a little bit of time and handiwork, so we charge $30 for the service.

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ANSI z87: What, Why, etc.

The majority of the frames we sell are ANSI z87+ rated frames. What does this mean?

It means they’ve been tested by the American National Standards Institute and have passed the various tests and points of inspection the ANSI folks require to give it the z87+ certification. For our lenses, these tests include a drop ball test in which a 500 gram projectile is dropped onto a lens to illustrate its lens retention properties, as well as a high-velocity impact test in which a 1/4″ steel ball is shot at 102 mph into a lens. This is an image of the high-velocity testing from Smith Elite laboratory:

Smith Optics Elite Prescription Tactical Eyewear.

Smith Optics Elite High-Velocity ANSI Testing.

Sometimes people ask us if other frames are unsafe: No, not really. Unsafe isn’t the term, and of course, any eyewear will protect you better than no eyewear. ANSI z87-rated frames are held to a safety standard, so the distinction is more that they have not been put through the same testing as frames that have passed ANSI z87 standards. It costs money for companies to test frames, and they have to do it to every color and SKU# they sell, so in many cases the materials, construction and design is the exact same, but they’ve simply opted to test the black and the camouflage models, and none of the others. If you’re required to get the ANSI model you have no choice, and if you want a little extra peace of mind, you should go for it. There’s usually no price difference.

We make our lenses out of high-index polycarbonate, which keeps them thin, lightweight, and most importantly, safe. It’s important to understand that a lens doesn’t stand on its own, and so for the lens to be safety-rated, it must be loaded into a frame that has been tested and marked as an ANSI z87+ rated frame. This is primarily because one of the major issues here is the lens retention, which is largely based on frame design.

We offer a Safety Stamp on any of the lenses we make, at no charge. This safety stamp is useful if you’re in a situation, whether it’s at work or on the shooting range, in which someone will inspect your eyewear to confirm that it is indeed ANSI z87+ rated. A lot of occupational situations requiring safety eyewear demand this marking on the frame and lenses, and while most ranges do not, we’ve heard of some that do.

To safety stamp the lenses we literally impress the lens with a tool we have. You can feel the stamp with your finger, but we stamp it out of your field of view so you never notice it as you’re wearing them. Here are some photos (it says “SO+”):

A clear, unstamped lens.

A clear, unstamped lens.

A lens with a small safety stamp in the upper, outside corner.

A lens with a small safety stamp in the upper, outside corner.

Just for effect and to clearly illustrate the stamp, we went a little overboard with this one.

Just for effect and to clearly illustrate the stamp, we went a little overboard with this one.

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Randolph Engineering Concorde Aviator.

We like the Randolph Engineering Concorde

Randolph Engineering is a fantastic combination of product and story. The story is that two Polish immigrants met working at a tool and die company in Boston and years later decided to found their own optical tooling and machinery company, in Randolph, MA. After establishing Randolph Engineering as a leader in optical metalwork, in the late 1970’s they began manufacturing mil-spec aviators for the US Air Force. A decade later, after establishing their manufacturing chops in the military sector, they began selling commercially. Today they are an iconic American eyewear company, owned, designed and manufactured with excellent craftsmanship here in the US. We are currently the only dealer in Denver, and in Colorado for that matter, selling Randolph Engineering Ranger Shooting Eyewear.

The RE Concorde is one of their iconic and most popular frames. Teardrop in design, it is the frame design most people imagine when they hear “aviator” frame. (This is potentially a misnomer considering Randolph Engineering’s true Aviator frame is more square in its styling.) With both skull and bayonet temple options and multiple sizes and finishes, the Concorde pleases a diverse range of faces and personalities. We’ve found happy homes for Tactical Rx custom Rx lenses in the Randolph Engineering Concorde with Ashley at craft EDC blog The New Artemis and with Roy below in top-notch shooting magazine American Handgunner.

Personally, I’ve had my Randolph Engineering Intruder for a few years now and it’s treated me perfectly: on hikes, at the range, and driving around town. I went with the polarized rose-copper lenses, so my world is always rosy and glare-free.

April 2014 issue of American Hangdunner, featuring Tactical Rx custom prescription lenses in the Randolph Engineering Concorde frame.

April 2014 issue of American Hangdunner, featuring Tactical Rx custom prescription lenses in the Randolph Engineering Concorde frame.

AHGConcorde

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