Oakley Tombstones: A Tool For Tools
One of the lesser thought about pieces of equipment for a safe shooting experience is eye protection. While you hear everyone arguing about whether earmuffs are better than ear plugs or if Peltors are really worth the money when compared to Howard Leights, on few occasions will anyone actually question whether or not their sunglasses are ANSI rated or if they offer a full face seal. In fact, eye protection is often a second thought even when compared to what you plan on wearing to the range on that day. As someone who wears prescription glasses I always assumed my Wayfarers were good enough, but after thousands of rounds down range with my nose pressed to the changing handle of an AR I came to the realization that not all eye protection is made equal. Enter: The Oakley Tombstone glasses.
Around January of this year I was in a bind due to Milsim West’s TACSOP requiring ANSI Z87+ rated eye protection that provides full protection for the eyes. Because to the timing, my options appeared to be limited to a choice between buying something cheap and
flimsy and breaking the bank. Luckily, however, the golden god that is Larry Potterfield descended from the heavens into my spam mail folder with the deal of a lifetime: A set of Oakley glasses and two spare lenses in shades reminiscent of vaporwave album art for the meager price of $60.00. I snatched them while I had the chance and haven’t looked back since.
Upon receiving these glasses I noticed that my pair looked different from most of the photos I could find of them online. With a more prominent brow and scallops at the bottom of the lenses I figured that the model I received was from a more recent production run, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Oakley offers two different styles of lenses for this model of glasses: one line named the Reap, which I had received, and a far more toned-down looking line which they call Spoil. These styles can be swapped between on the fly as the Tombstones offer really nothing more than a set of temples that lock onto a lens via a hook on the lens and a trigger-released locking mechanism on the temples. Though this can make the glasses feel a little flimsy at time, they are more than capable of achieving the protection their ANSI rating guarantees.
Oakley makes a major selling point out of the fact that these glasses offer a 120 degree field of vision with a lens curvature that makes acquiring a sight picture faster and easier while retaining clarity in the peripherals. At first I was pretty skeptical of the claim, but these really do perform far better than any other eyepro that I’ve ever worn simply because your lenses don’t just cut out into sunlight or get blocked off by unnecessary amounts of opaque plastic. The lenses really do wrap all the way around and out of your eyesight so that your field of view remains completely uncluttered.
Oakley also boasts that these glasses, being designed for shooters, offers superior hardware extending beyond just the lenses into the nosepad and temples. The nosepad is made out of a soft, flexible rubber that forms to your face in such a way that not only provides a solid grip but also long-term comfort that can make you forget that you ever put them on. The temples are attenuated so that even scantly padded earmuffs like Impact Sports can be placed over top without breaking the seal of your hearing protection.
Another bold claim made is that the PRIZM lenses offer greater clarity for less eye strain than other shaded glasses. While I’ve come to accept this over time, I do think Oakley is overstating their product a bit. I don’t necessarily believe they’ve struck gold so much as they’ve opted for a lens shade that allows greater light transmission without being on the darker side of the spectrum such as more common tints in green, grey, or brown.
While I have expressed what borders on worship to these glasses so far, I do not believe that they are without fault. One such fault would be the Reap’s extended upper brow. When wearing anything from hats to helmets, this will invariably get in the way if you prefer your headwear to sit low. While there is always an alternative option to lens styles, they don’t seem to vent heat as well which means you’ll eventually end up having to read Larry Vickers’ guide to hover glasses.
Something else to think about is that, without fault, you will look like a tool while wearing these glasses. There is no way to avoid looking like your last set of glasses was a pair of first generation M Frames that were issued to you alongside a scowling face and a sidekick role in some B-list action movie released during the Summer film drought.
At the end of the day, I love these glasses. They’re my favorite pair of safety glasses even if they do have a few downsides. Though the price of the three-lens kit is rather hefty at $285.00 without any discounts, the single-lens glasses are far less intimidating at $150.00. I’d say they’re well worth it at that price point.