Buyers Guide: Gargoyles Striker Shield Sunglasses

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

QGY1080We reviewed these recently and found the Striker series to be a great pair of crossover glasses.

Stylish enough to wear as everyday sunglasses, yet built for ballistic protection. Clarity is excellent and the fit is very close to the face. This helps a lot with peripheral vision. We had unobstructed vision up, down, and to the sides.

Lighter than Perez Hilton’s loafers, these are exceptionally comfortable. So, if like use, you’re too lazy to carry a separate pair of shooting glasses to the range, just wear these.

Available Here Gargoyles Men’s Striker Shield Sunglasses, Smoke Lens

Buyers Guide: ESS Crossbow Eyeshields

My Gun Culture Shooting Buyers Guide

ess-crossbow-eyewearWe did a full review on these a while back and were suitably impressed. In fact, we gave them our 4 Nun rating.

Apparently, you can even get shot in the face with while wearing them. Although we wouldn’t recommend that.

We like the interchangeable lenses, the lens locking mechanism and the comfort, but most of all, we liked the combination of anti-scratch and anti-fog treatments. Antis-scratch on the outside, and anti-fog inside. It really works.

Available Here Crossbow 2x Ballistic Eyeshields

Review: Gargoyles Striker Protective Glasses – Safety with Style

Suggested Retail Price: $75.00 to $110.00

The Good
These are really crossover shooting glasses. They offer ballistic protection without looking like range gear.
The Bad
The fit is very close to my face and there can be a touch of fogging on hot and humid days.
The Ugly
We don’t look nearly as menacing as The Terminator wearing Gargoyles.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Three Nuns – Love the style, light weight, and comfort of these glasses, but the occasional fogging prevents a 4 nun rating.

First Impressions

There are shooting glasses and there are stylish sun glasses. And never the twain shall meet. Until now. What prompted us to check out the new line of Gargoyles Ballistic Defense sunglasses was the appeal of wearing our every day sunglasses to the range and still feeling confident that our eyes would be properly protected. Yep, we’re that lazy. Changing glasses eats into range time after all.

Toric Lenses

Boy did we get an education on optics at this years SHOT Show. And we learned that Gargoyles Eyewear founder Denis Burns invented the whole Toric thing back in 1979. Here’s the simple explanation from Wikipedia:

The greatest radius of curvature of the toric lens surface, R + r, corresponds to the smallest refractive power, S = (n – 1) / (R + r), where n is the index of refraction of the lens material. The smallest radius of curvature, r, corresponds to the greatest refractive power, s = (n – 1) / r. Since R + r > r, S < s. The lens behaves approximately like a combination of a spherical lens with optical power s and a cylindrical lens with power s – S. In ophthalmology and optometry s – S is called the cylinder power of the lens.

Got it? Good.

Toric Lenses for Dummies

In case you slept during your graduate level light refraction lab class, here’s a simpler explanation:

  1. You can see great through flat lenses – but they don’t protect the sides of your eyes.
  2. Bending a lens so that it covers your eye more completely makes stuff look funny.

Toric lenses play nifty tricks with thickness and shape of the lens so that, regardless of where light enters the lens (side, front, etc), it’s focused on your retina. And things don’t look funny like in those carnie houses of mirrors.

Got it? Good.

Ballistic Defense

Make no mistake: although light, comfortable, and downright sexy, these are shooting sports appropriate glasses. They’re rated as 5 to 6 times stronger in terms of impact resistance than regular polycarbonate lenses. And they exceed ISO and ANSI test standards. So leave your regular glasses in the car, and don these on the way to the range.

Subjective Stuff

The big standout feature of these glasses is comfort. They are light, light, light. Even lighter than Perez Hilton’s loafers. The other thing that stands out is the rubberized texture at the back of the frames (see photo.) This helps the Gargoyles Strikers stay put during strenuous activity like IDPA, Steel Challenge, cycling, or extreme beach sitting.

The Striker can be ordered with a variety of lens types. The green lens is optimized for outdoor activities and we will be looking at this lens type in an upcoming review of a different model. Also available is Copper. Our set came with Smoke Polarized lenses. While polarized lenses are not ideal for shotgun sports, we find them just fine for rifle and pistol shooting where targets are stationary. By the way, Gargoyes offer 100% UV protection.

The clarity of the Gargoyles Striker with the Smoke Polarized lenses is fantastic. We had no complaints about optical quality and the peripheral vision was phenomenal.

We’ve got three more pairs of Gargoyles being featured in upcoming reviews – stay tuned.

Available here: Gargoyles Striker Sunglasses

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Review: ESS Crossbow Eyeshields

Serious But Comfortable Eye Protection

The Good
Wow. These are really comfortable. The field of vision is by far the best among the dozen or so different types of eye protection in our assorted shooting bags.
The Bad
Three of us have been sharing one set. Fighting erupts over who gets to use them on any given range trip.
The Ugly
None of our reviewers was willing to get shot in the face to test the toughness claims. Wimps.
Our Rating
3 Nuns Four Nuns!
Suggested Retail Price: $105.00

We didn’t know we were supposed to get presents to celebrate the United States Marines 236th birthday. Apparently that’s exactly the case as the folks at ESS, a subsidiary of Oakley, sent us a set of Crossbow 3LS Eyeshields to (abuse) evaluate just in time to celebrate the big event. And, as everyone knows, ESS Eyeshields are the only approved eye protection for United States Marines. Coincidence? We think not.

If you’re not familiar with ESS, they specialize in abuse. Or more specifically making sure that ones eyes are protected in harsh and abusive environments. ESS offers a broad array of glasses, goggles, and other eye protection products for military, law enforcement, fire and rescue professionals. For the general purpose shooter, the Cross Series and Ice product lines are ideal.

The Cross Series includes a family of three product lines with interchangeable components:

Crosshair The entry-level kit. Includes basic protective lenses without advanced anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings. The Crosshair series products are upgradeable with all Cross Series premium components.
Suppressor Specially designed frames for use with cup style hearing protection and communication systems. The ultra-thin frame helps eliminate pressure points and maintain the effectiveness of hearing protection by not interfering with the seal. Lenses are interchangeable with Crosshair and Crossbow frames.
Crossbow The Crossbow is the flagship of the line and features a no-slip frame and includes lenses with anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings.

All Cross Series products are available in a variety of single, double, and triple lens packagings.

In the Box

Our evaluation set was the Crossbow 3LS (3 Lens System) package. This kit includes:

  • Black Tri-Tech Fit Crossbow Frame
  • Smoke grey lens
  • High definition yellow lens
  • Clear lens
  • (2) soft pouches for lens storage
  • Hard zipper case
  • Lens cleaning cloth
  • Snap on retention strap
  • ESS sticker and instructions

Love At First Sight

With any product we evaluate, we like to find the ‘stand out’ feature. With the ESS Crossbow eyewear, that’s easy. It’s the fit. The Crossbows are light and balanced, but that’s not the biggest benefit of their fit. These glasses conform to your face and ride very close to your eyes. The biggest benefit of this is the effect on peripheral vision. Neither the top of the frame or bottom of the lens cluttered up our field of view. This is the only set of shooting glasses that we’ve been able to forget about while on the range. They’re great for shooting sports where peripheral vision is key – sporting clays, IDPA, USPSA, etc.

Lens Swapping

Second to comfort, the other stand out feature of the Crossbow eyewear is the manner in which lenses are changed. Our evaluation set came with three lenses in smoke grey, clear, and yellow to cover a variety of indoor and outdoor light conditions. Our experience with other shooting glasses systems prepared us to expect a lens snapping ultimate fighting bout to remove one lens and add a new one. It’s never easy as most systems rely on high tension lens mounts which force the user to bend and contort frames in order to remove and add lenses. The Crossbow was different. While the outside corners of the Crossbow lenses do snap into place snugly and securely, the method of removal is different. The Crossbow frame features a locking mechanism just above the bridge of the nose. Rotate it upwards and the lenses are unlocked from the frame. Each lens includes holes which are used by this locking clip. Once the lens is unlocked, simply pull the lens downward and it is easily removed. Add the new lens, rotate the locking clip into place, and you’re good to go. Much easier than traditional pressure mounted lens systems. It was plenty secure and at no time was there risk of a lens coming loose.


Dude! You Shot Me In The Face!

Reading through the customer testimonials on the ESS website is quite an experience. Customers describe being shot at, blown up, sprayed in the face with toxic waste, burned up, and a host of other misfortunes. We developed all sorts of aches and pains just reading these stories.

Strangely enough, no one on our editorial staff was willing to volunteer to get shot in the face. So we’ll share this reader testimonial from the ESS website instead:

I am writing to show and tell you of the in-field performance of the fantastic protective eyewear ESS has developed. The attached photos were taken before and after a sniper attack outside of Mosul, Iraq, on July 3, 2006. I was positioned in the right rear hatch of my rolling Stryker when a sniper that had claimed the life of a fellow soldier and good friend three days prior struck again. This time, the snipers bullet hit my gun mount and continued on to fragment and splatter on the right lens of my ESS CDI sunglasses. While I was knocked down with the impact of the bullet, I suffered only minor injuries to my head and was back in action within the week. As strong testimony to the physical toughness of the CDI glasses, after the sniper attack I simply replaced the fractured lenses and continued to wear the glasses in combat for the remaining five months of duty in Baghdad. The frames were dinged a bit, but still functioned as new, even after taking a hit from a 7.62 sniper round.Many thanks to your product development department and all of those associated with making these fine products available to our brave young men and women that continue to fight the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Sgt. Ross Shores, 172nd Stryker Brigade, 562nd Eng. Co

Closing Arguments

We really like these glasses. The combination of light weight, close and comfortable fit, and excellent field of view make them a keeper. The close fit and wrap around lens style provide eye protection from all angles. Highly recommended.


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Gargoyles Plan To Form Shooting Team

Gargoyles competition shooting team

Gargoyles Competition Shooting Team Captain Grog Photo:

According to recent reports from, the Gargoyles intend to form a new competitive shooting team. Traditionally known for their fearsome appearance, Gargoyles have not historically been recognized for their agility and speed. According to industry insiders, that reputation is about to change.

“People generally think of rock sculptures as slow and inflexible” comments Don Draper, Vice President of Marketing for Gargoyles Eyewear. “Just because they’re evil and mean looking doesn’t mean that they can’t shake and bake on the course of fire. Plus they have the added benefit of scaring away evil spirits. But the thing that really attracted us to the whole competitive Gargoyle concept was that most Gargoyles have wings and we expect them to literally fly through complex courses in major USPSA competitions.”

Gargoyles Eyewear Shooting Team

Gargoyles Eyewear Shooting Team

Rumors have been circulating for some time that the Gargoyles have been training in more sedentary shooting sports such as Benchrest and NRA Bullseye to prepare for their entre into the action shooting arena. “We’ve been really impressed by the stability and resulting accuracy that these Gargoyles have been able to achieve.” stated Wayne LaPierre, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. “They just sit there and don’t flinch – like they were made of stone or something.”

Gargoyles Eyewear will be equipping the new team with proven eye protection designs including the Classic and Veil Series but will also leverage the teams exposure in the shooting community to launch the all-new ‘Rock Solid’ series. According to unnamed sources, the Rock Solid line will feature 325% UV protection and unsurpassed durability. “These things will last an eternity” bragged Draper.

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