Eyewear Review: Wiley X Saber Ballistic Glasses

It’s often said that there are two items that should be an airsofters first purchase… “A good set of boots and decent Eye Protection”, It’s pretty sound advice and as such that I’d hope any seasoned airsofter would relay it to the next generation on the playing field.

But it’s not an easy task to find the option that suits your needs… There’s so many things to consider when choosing eye-pro, from head shape to how well it all fits alongside your headwear to plain old quality, it’s an area that you don’t have to spend a massive amount on but you must consider that no matter the cost of your eyepro, it pales in significance to the price you’d pay for loosing an eye.

So with all the options on the market, So Why Wiley X and why the Saber Glasses? Well I’d already owned a pair of Wiley X Saints (Modelled by Mr Cooper in American Sniper) and I’d been on the lookout for a lower profile set of glasses that offered maximum coverage and didn’t cost the earth. The Saber’s fit the bill at a modest £35 for a single lens/frame set. If you think £35 is too much to pay for eyepro, please do yourself a favour and find a hobby that doesn’t involve getting shot at.

I ordered my set from the ever helpful guys at Tactical Kit, I generally start any gear related searches there. As you can see from the above image, I have opted to use a few shots from the manufacturers own site. Unfortunately it’s bloody tough to take certain shots showing detail and profile of a clear lens (And as my glasses are about two years old it’s probably not fair to show my beaten up old pair as a sole example).

So what do you get in a single lens package? Well you actually get more than you might think:

A branded microfibre pouch to carry your glasses comes as standard, along with instructions on how to look after and take apart your eyewear.

In addition to being worn conventionally, the Saber has removable temple arms which can be replaced with an ultra low profile “Tactical Strap”.

Now it’s not for me to say what the best option is for each individual, but I do like having my eye-pro secured as close to my eyes as possible. The tactical straps certainly are what I’d choose for most applications, the fact that the box containing the temple arms has been relegated to the attic with all the other non-essentials all speaks for itself.

So, onto the lens itself. Wiley X are a self confessed ballistic glasses manufacturer first and foremost, all of their eyewear being subjected to the industry standard ANSI tests as below…

The one piece lens is made from a patented material, Selenite. This is a shatterproof polycarbonate which Wiley X state offers a superb optical clarity, I’m no expert in optical clarity but I have to agree that these certainly don’t appear to have any distortions around the edge of the lens.

There is another reason why these (And other Wiley X models) offer such a good clarity, the lens itself is die cut from a larger formed piece.

This means that the last few millimetres should have the same characteristics as that in the centre of the lens, in layman’s terms you’ll have edge to edge clarity on the whole lens. As for the colour lens you can choose from, there are a number of colours available from clear to smoke (Dark grey tint), vermillion (pink) to rust (orange) and yellow.

You can even get these glasses to work with your prescription inserts by using their RX insert adaptor (available separately).

The nosepiece is removable and offers a fit for practically every nose shape, the two soft rubber contact points being movable to a position that suits you but without simply moving of their own accord. It simply clicks in and out of place allowing easy replacement, as with all the components on the Saber there are spares available should you need them.

Both EN166 and ANSI Z87+ ratings are displayed on the lens and frame along with a CE mark and the model in block letters.

The lens also comes as standard with a foam brow bar, I’ve removed this on mine to allow better airflow but it does leave you a touch more prone to sweat rolling down and touching the lens (especially if wearing a helmet). However this foam barrier is a lot more low profile than their full seal glasses, such as the Brick Glasses I reviewed a while back.

In addition to Airsoft, I find myself using these more and more when at work. The nature of using power tools such as disk cutters, angle grinders and the good old hammer and chisel means that I’m happier to have a ballistic rated eye protection than some cheapo “safety” glasses that have the bare minimum safety rating.

As such, these glasses pretty much live in my car… So whether I’m underneath a tractor or lorry at the farm, destroying something at work or shooting kids in the woods I’ve always got these glasses near to hand.

I’m not going to suggest that these are the absolute dogs danglies and a must have for everyone, we’re all different and have differing requirements and more importantly, different face shapes. I’ve hopefully been able to give you an insight into a piece of vital PPE that I’ve worn whilst airsofting and whilst using power tools at work, I don’t say it lightly when I state that for the last two and a half years these have been my shooting glasses of choice.

I’ve also a moral obligation to tell you that Wiley X EMEA have recently asked me to be a brand ambassador for them, Although at the time of posting this I’ve not been given any benefit or reward by Wiley X or indeed any business associated with them.

Obviously I’m honoured that a reputable business like Wiley X would ask me to represent them but I’m only willing to do so on the basis that I’m free to write what I want without editorial oversight, and also because I’ve used their products for long enough to know that I’m working alongside a brand I trust.

I’ve been offered a few partnership opportunities in the past but up until now I’ve only taken up one other offer from HW Holsters (again on the merits of previous purchases) to test and review their M45A1 holster and CAT TQ Holder.

Be assured, I’ll always ensure that the content posted is open, honest and the information is as unbiased as possible…

I have a responsibility first and foremost to the readership, and it’s not one I take lightly. Someone, somewhere might use my review to make that final decision to buy something that’s essential to their safety and I want to make sure that I help them make the right choice.

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