Eye protection. It‘s essential. There is no getting around it, if you find yourself working with firearms, power tools, heavy machinery, ATVs, etc. You know how important it is to have good eye pro.
Today, we take a good hard look at the grandfather of ballistic eye pro- the Oakley M-Frames.
Specs (From Oakley):
The Oakley SI Ballistic M Frame 2.0 surpasses ANSI Z87.1 Industrial Standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection. Additionally the M Frame 2.0 meets MIL SPEC, MIL-PRF-31013. All lenses are made of pure Plutonite®, a proprietary material that offers the highest level of optical clarity available in eye-wear. You get razor-sharp clarity at all angles of view, which maximizes peripheral vision and protection against sun, wind and side impact. It also features a clip that holds the lens and frame together providing more secure support.
The Oakley M-Frames come with two different lenses, a clear and a tinted shade. During testing I logged more than 200 hours outdoors with the dark shade, and some 250 hours working around a busy welding and fabrication shop with the clear shade. The M-Frames are rated to ANSI Z87.1 Industrial Standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection, which is the standard for industrial eye pro. The M-Frames held up just fine to the impact of sticks and small rocks being tossed up by the lawnmower and weed-eater while doing yard work. They performed just as well in the shop- wire wheels shredding off, cutting and grinding discs fracturing, slag, and metal shards were no problem. At one point of time a wheel on an angle grinder fractured and some of it came spinning back at my face, it impacted my Oakley M-Frames across the right eye and a left a pretty deep scratch. After more than a year of that treatment they were essentially fine, they were just too scratched up to really see out of.
I wore my M-Frames during a wide variety of activities. They are pretty cool looking shades and I enjoyed wearing them while hiking, biking, running, doing typical yard work, tree cutting, metal cutting, grinding, welding, and shooting. I discovered that the earpiece is pretty low profile and wore well under a variety of other protective gear. I wore them under my welding hood with no discomfort. I also wore them while shooting and wearing a variety of popular helmets. No problems running them under your run of the mill Gentex ACH, no problems with the Ops-Core series of helmets, and no problems with the Team Wendy Exfil helmet either. They are low profile enough that there aren’t any huge discomfort issues with running them under over the ear hearing protection like my Peltor 6s. It is definitely better though when you are running your headset integrated into the helmet (ie. TCI Liberator II.) Overall pretty good.
Through general usage we proved that the M-Frames will stand up to far more than your average shades will, but you can’t stop there. We really wanted to test the limit of the ballistic protection capabilities, so we took them along for yet another trip to the range. Thus far we have demonstrated that the M-Frames will stand up to everything up to actually being shot. The plan was to use our friendly neighborhood “tacti-cool snowman” model and to run it through its paces with a couple of different rounds. We doctored up our snowman and let him have it. Perhaps it would have been wise to take our first shot from a greater distance than we did. At 6 feet, it only took one dose of 12 guage 2 ¾” #8 shot to turn our victi- I mean volunteer into carrot salad on ice. The M-Frames, sadly, did not survive our first shot.
If you are familiar with Oakley products, you know that they like to take a proven lense and build a million different frames to fit so you can get the look you are going for. This review covers the lense used in the Military issue SI Ballistic M-Frames, M Frame Strike, M Frame Array and many others. The whole lineup receives my highest recommendation.