SSP Eyewear: First Look
You only get two eyes in your lifetime and it doesn’t take much to damage or irritate them and render you fairly useless. Defending yourself or even working for that matter with injured or damaged eyes becomes largely an exercise in futility, unless you happen the be comic book hero Daredevil, but that isn’t reality. The need for proper eye protection isn’t just a necessity on a shooting range but also across a wide spectrum of careers and hobbies. The fact we only get two irreplaceable eyes is why I put such value on proper eye protection during most all of my hobbies from shooting to yard work and many point in between. That’s why when SSP Eyewear was kind enough to reach out to us and give us the opportunity to give their Methow Kit a full test and evaluation run, we gladly accepted.
Who is SSP Eyewear ?
SSP Eyewear is company who is dedicated to the importance of eye protection, which hits close to home for the company’s founder who’s own grandfather suffered the loss of an eye as a child. SSP makes eye protection that exceeds OSHA & ANSI standards and they test each of their glasses against a 1/4″ steel ball at 100 MPH. That’s a lot more of a real world test than many people realize. The company features a wide range of styles and designs of glasses that even allow shooters to customize them to accept corrective lenses like bifocals and trifocals. They do all of this great prices, values and discounts for our nations first responders and military personnel. The company really stands behind its customers and it’s product and it shows. The first set of protection they sent us is the Methow Kit, a six lens set that covers almost any situation you might run into. Let’s dig into the specifications.
Name: Methow Kit
Manufacturer: SSP Eyewear located in Moses Lake, Washington
Frame Material: TR 90 Nylon
Frame Weight: 1.1 Ounces with clear lens attached
Frame Color: Black
- Crystal Clear – Anti-Fog lenses (92% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion. Low light, rainy, overcast and nighttime use.
- Enhanced Kiwi Bronze – Anti-Fog (28% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion, brightens orange targets and reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Bright conditions
- Enhanced Lemon Yellow – Anti-Fog lenses (85% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion. Increases the visibility of orange targets allowing more light to reach the eye and reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Low light, overcast conditions
- Enhanced Huckleberry Purple – Anti-Fog lenses (36% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion, superior contrast, increased definition. Used to view orange targets against sky blue and green backgrounds. Excellent for reduced snow glare. Medium to bright light conditions.
- Enhanced Tangerine Orange – Anti-Fog lenses (51% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion, brightens orange targets with sharper contrast, blocks haze. Reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue blocking technology. Medium to low light conditions
- Enhanced Grapefruit Pink – Anti-Fog (35% light transmission) Optically correct decentered lens provides zero distortion, Designed to enhance orange targets against green backgrounds. Reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue blocking technology. Medium-light conditions
Uses: Hunting, Construction, Sport Shooting, Outdoor Enthusiasts, Mountain Biking
- Hard case
- Cleaning cloth
- Six lenses
- Two nose pads (Clear and Black)
First impressions of any product can tell a user a lot about the company the quality control and the pride the people who work the assembly and shipping departments. The SSP Eyewear showed up in a box that was well taped, unabused and snugly contained our eye protection kit. When it comes to the kit itself the first thing that jumped out at me was the case, a large rectangular hard sided black case that has a cleanly marked company logo across it.
Opening the case was what I would expect, a zipper and some foam and presto the presentation of our much anticipated eye protection. What struck me right up front was that the company ships the frames with the clear lens installed and each of the other five lenses wrapped individually for their protection. This is a small step but very nice in terms of not being lazy with packaging. Tucked into the case with the frame was a cleaning cloth and a clear replacement eye piece, again a nice touch that other companies might not provide.
The first time I picked up the frames out of the box it was instantly noticeable these were not the style of glasses I was use to. These frames are ridiculously light, to the point that I went to put them on the scale and at 1.1 Ounces with a lens attached you can wear them and not even feel them. As of this article date the frames only come in black and that’s fine with me. The arms of the glasses are stiff to open because they are new, but they do feature screws that hold them to the frame. This is especially helpful in the event you break or wear one out you can order and replace the arms yourself, a nice touch that many might overlook.
When I put them on I noticed that the soft rubber sections on the ends of the arms grip nicely but don’t pinch the sides of my head. This again is a nice attention to detail, and with repeated head movements vigorously side to side and up and down the glasses held still with no slipping. This really points out the relationship between the nose cup and the arms in terms of gripping capability and balance of the frames themselves.
With six lenses to choose from its a bit confusing which one to use and what conditions, thankfully that is listed here and on their website. If, and that is a big if, I had to say something constructive about the overall kit I would say that a card to describe the lenses would be a huge bonus to users. The polycarbonate wrap around style lenses are rated at various levels of light transmission from 28 % to 92%. I have been using the clear (92%) for home projects around the yard and my table saw and have found the lenses to be amazing. They are crystal clear, haven’t fogged up yet and provide an amazing amount of protection for my eyes without compromising anything in terms of distortion blurry spots.
The other lenses I have been using routinely are the Kiwi Bronze and Grapefruit Pink due to issues outside of my control I haven’t been able to get as much use as I would like out of the other lenses. Living in Alaska in the summer we usually encounter two types of weather, gorgeous and bright or overcast and rain. This summer we have set record temperatures and it’s been clear and hot. This type of weather means that the lenses that have a lower light transmission rating have been getting the bulk of the work. This isn’t a problem with SSP Eyewear at all, it’s a problem with mother nature. The manufacturer lists on their web site what the optimum conditions are for each lens and I have found they are exactly right.
Changing the lenses is straight forward and uncomplicated and takes seconds. The fact the company sent a second set of notepads is a nice touch especially if you rotate between two types of lenses. SSP Eyewear really made these glasses to cover a wide range of conditions and types of uses not just for the firearms community.
At the end of every test and evaluation period we ask ourselves the same questions. What could be better about the product ?, Would we buy and use the product ? and Do we trust this product to do what it is advertised to do ? With the SSP Eyewear I would say that the only thing that I would like to see different about these glasses is a card describing the characteristics about the different lenses. Do we trust the product and would we buy these glasses if we were in the market ? A resounding yes to both. The company tests these lenses to ridiculously high standards and the modularity of the set up is a winner. The fact you can get them with inserts for your corrective lenses makes these a huge hit for many users.
When I was discussing these glasses with a co worker who is a retired United States Marine Corps Combat Engineer Officer and competitive three gun shooter he sang their praises even before I told him what model I got to test and evaluate. He spoke at great lengths about how comfortable they were in competition and how the ability to have bifocals set in this glasses really changed his shooting game. Including allowing him to shoot better and place much higher in the state wide standings.
SSP Eyewear offers discounts and free shipping on some products and supports many of the shooting sports foundations as well as first responders, military and law enforcement personnel. They recognize that their clients are out putting themselves and their eyes in harms way and work hard to provide a high level of safety and wide range of styles of eye protection. It’s hard to get excited about safety things sometimes but we are excited by the SSP Eyewear offerings and think they are an incredible value for the money. We have zero problems recommending our readers check them out.