Revision Protective Eyewear

Some folks have called me a doubting Thomas. Others seem to feel that I'll write something nice about any company that sends me equipment to test. To that second group I say, "You have no idea how much stuff I've sent BACK because it failed." In the case of this week's review item--a recheck of Revision Military Eyewear--I decided to put my own convictions to the test. I have long been a fan of Revision Eyewear and believed their ads about "37 hits, no penetrations." I decided not to take it for granted and test it myself. This week's review has pictures of ONE pair of Revision's Sawfly eyewear protection system that we shot THREE times with eight-shot. The short report is "92 hits: no penetrations". The long report is--below.

Off to the range I went. My test shotgun was my Remington 870 pump 12g with a 20-inch slug barrel. My test load was Federal 2.75-inch eight-shot shells. My target, as you can see from the photos, was a cardboard "backer" hung and fitted with a pair of Revision Eyewear Sawflys. To simulate eyes, nose and mouth in a way that would clearly show hits, I used black adhesive dots from Shoot-N-See Products which show yellow when penetrated (or scraped hard enough). I felt that shooting the target from 16 feet, which is what Revision did for testing, was a bit unrealistic. My feeling is that, from that close, a blast of eight-shot is going to do so much damage to my head that I won't care about my eyes. What was a more realistic distance? A distance that I believed would result in superficial facial injuries--not incapacitating--where damage to the eyes through the closed lids would be blinding. The distance I decided to start with was 15 yards.

So, from the 15 yard line I fired one round of eight-shot at the target. Accounting for muzzle rise I tried to aim accordingly and the resulting hit pattern is visible on the photo shown to the right here. I probably aimed just slightly lower than I should have, but the number of hits in the Shoot-N-See dots are easy to see. The holes in the gray head are also worth noting. Each represents a puncture in skin, cheek, forehead, chin, lips, ears, etc. What is important is that, of the 16 hits counted on the glasses from this shot, none penetrated.

So, okay, cool. From about 45 feet a blast of eight-shot isn't blinding. But that's just one shot. How about another? I had to find out. So, making sure the Sawflys were still in place on the target, I took that second shot. I adjusted my aim a little higher this time. I wanted to get maximum impact on the head area of the target, increasing my chances of getting as many pellets as possible to hit the glasses. What I was trying to find out is if the lenses, having been impacted once, would have weak spots that could be penetrated with a second volley of shot. As you can clearly see from the next photo down, the glasses survived the second shot and prevented any penetrations. I had to do the counting: we added another 23 impacts to the Sawflys (my aim was better) for a total of 39 hits (so far) without any penetrations.

As you can see on the right side of the target's head, the glasses were being pushed into the cardboard pretty well. Obviously, the impact energy of 39 eight-shot pellets is still enough to do some damage. I found it significant, though, that even on a second blast, the glasses hadn't failed. What would a third shot do? We were about to find out. I made sure that the glasses were still in place and stable. I moved my firing position up to the seven yard line: 21 feet. Standing there looking at the target that close I remember thinking, "Even if the eyes are still there, the head won't be." With that in mind I loaded my round of eight-shot, took aim and fired.

After the shot it was almost humorous to see the target still there with just the eye section punched out. The Sawflys were on the ground behind the target and the target's "face" was a mass of hits. The Shoot-N-See dots were covered with more yellow than black. I had to search behind the target to get the "eye" pieces and put them back in place. The right side Shoot-N-See dot showed yellow scrape marks where the Sawflys pushed through the cardboard. Still, I had to look and see just how well the glasses had held up to a third blast fired from much closer. After I got everything put back together I was suitably impressed. After putting everything in place I was quite pleased to see that there were still no holes in the eyes.

If you look carefully you CAN see a few holes in the gray shaded portions of the head that would have been behind the glasses. Since none of the shots penetrated the glasses, I have to assume that these pellets pushed through in between the lenses and frames or nose piece after the majority of pellets had impacted. When I picked up the glasses, the lenses had separated from the frames and the nose piece had fallen off. I reassembled the glasses and started counting hits. That blast added another 53 hits, for a total of 92 hits fired in three separate shots. In that final picture below you can clearly see just how covered in pock-marks the lens and frame are. For as much damage as the glasses took, think about the damage to eyesight that they would have prevented in this case.

The thing that I have to remember is that the Sawfly protective eyewear system is only ONE that Revision makes. I consider them representative of the other protective eyewear products Revision makes--although I know that I will be taking a pair of Hellfly sunglasses out to the range to shoot up sometime in the near future too.

In addition to the Hellfly and Sawfly protective eyewear systems--which strongly resemble sunglasses--Revision also makes two types of goggles: the Desert Locust and the Bullet Ant.

All of the Revision eyewear products are ballistic rated and designed for specific purposes. The Sawflys and Hellflys are exceptional for daily wear. As eye protection for law enforcement and/or special assignment personnel, they are excellent. For special operations work the goggles do great, or, on the recreational side, the Bullet Ant goggles are perfect for eye protection while you're riding your motorcycle. And if they'll stop repeated rounds of eight-shot, they should be pretty good at stopping bees and rocks.

Like any company, Revision creates slogans for their advertising campaigns and, if you're a reasonably well informed adult, you learn to look through the slogans and slick sounding statements to see what the products are really about. In this case Revision's slogans are pretty much spot on:

In Just The Blink Of An Eye
You Can Lose An Eye
Be Revision Ready

You Can't Hit
What You Can't See
Be Revision Ready

Looking at the company's performance you can see that it isn't just about slogans, though. With more than 500,000 sets of Sawfly protective eyewear delivered to the Army, Revision has both the Sawfly and Desert Locust products available for purchase through DoDEmall, GSA, and more. They both have NSN numbers. For all that, Revision is releasing new colors for the Hellflys at the '08 SHOT Show.

So, I started out double checking what was being put into the advertisements and came away more than satisfied. 92 cumulative hits later and the glasses can still be worn. Of course, you won't see much through them now, but more importantly, NOTHING would have gotten through to damage your vision. What's that worth to you? Be Revision Ready.