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Review: the Oakley Prizm Radar

Last winter I got my hands on a set of Oakleys with the new Prizm lens in them. They are supposed to make targets easier to see apart from the green background and make picking up the reticle of a scope a bit easier. Now, ordinarily color tinted lens give me a headache, but that did not happen when these arrived (first point in their favor). My initial response was very positive. Here is an overview of how they’ve performed after a half year of use.

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Pros
-Same great optically correct lens you would expect out of Oakley, meaning no distortion
-Prizm lens helps mute the greens of the background while bringing out the contrast of different objects allowing you to see targets better
-The coloring of the lens also gets rid of that annoying dull blue hue you get from snow reducing eye fatigue

Cons
-Lens was a bit hard to change out, leaving me worried I might crush things with my ape hands
-Tad tight on the fatter headed out there (which is not a huge deal as we who’re built that way are used to it by this point in our lives)

kit
The current kit likely varies slightly from what is pictured here. Mine is an early release.

Overview
There is a lot of snake oil in the shooting sports community. Things to make you run faster, jump higher and hit those A zone hits better than others. Made or coated in unobtanium super materials that justify the price of another gun or twelve just to have a cool bolt or fancy firing pin. We have all fallen victim to marketing or a paid shill review once or twice and that’s life. I myself believe in function over form (performance over looks) but unfortunately I know many who only want to look cool. Thankfully with Oakley’s new Radars with Prizm lenses you get both.

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My Radars arrived in the dead of winter.   I heard all this hype from some people I respect on how well these worked at the range in the summer. Thinking that I wasn’t going to get to see any benefit out of mine until spring I tossed them in my bag as a spare set of shooting glasses. On one of my trips to the range I forgot my normal pair in the trunk and decided what the hell why not give these a try. The range was under about a foot of nice white powdery snow. Everything had that dull blue haze which I find rather tiring on the eyes after awhile.

As soon as I put the glasses on and looked out from the shooting hut I was sold.

Everything looked crisp and white. It was like someone had used Photoshop and used the color adjustment slider to desaturate the blues and cyans. Pretty cool and I happily shot until dusk when the TR22 lens became a bit too dark.

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When I got home from the range that day I decided to swap out the TR22  lens for the TR45 lens since its winter and it tends to get a bit darker after work. This is my only complaint with the system. I found it a bit hard to swap the lens out. It felt like I might break something pulling the lens out. The good news is I didn’t and the lens certainly won’t come off easily if hit with shrapnel or a rebounding bullet i.e. what happened to David Reeder.

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Now that spring and summer have passed I can safely say the claims of making a target stick out against the green/brown backdrop is true. Whites seem brighter under the slightly yellowy orange brown tone you see (I am a man and my grasp of other color names is small). It just seems to make objects that aren’t the ground and trees a bit more noticeable but not in your face. You can wear these glasses all day and not get annoyed by the coloring of the lens. It makes the contrast of each object noticeable so things don’t just bleed together from being washed out.  It’s not in your face, more like looking at the target through rose colored glasses. It actually makes things not look as nice when you take them off.

detail
My best attempt at a rough idea of what you see with these on.  This is a bit darker then what you actually see.

The arms on the radar hug the head well although if you have a head like a semi truck it may be a bit tight. I have to buy my hats and shoes from stores that have big in the name though, and it didn’t cause any real discomfort it was just tightish. The muted metallic Oakley O is also a nice touch. The design of the Radars is a bit more subtle than say a M-Frame. My wife appreciated this when she using them. The lenses still offer great coverage of your eyes and didn’t fog on me (an issue I tend to get a lot with other glasses).

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Conclusion
Its refreshing to see companies trying something that others aren’t. Oakley certainly will have a hit in the shooting community with their new lens and frame. Not only that but people who hunt in the snow or enjoy snow sports will benefit from the decreased haze. I plan on giving these a try on the motorcycle in the near future to see how they fare there. These lens also excel in the evening when I typically do most of my shooting. I don’t feel like I would need to swap to clear lens as it gets darker something that I would have to do with regular tinted lens. At around $260 for the full kit or cheaper with a Standard Issue account these are not badly priced for a well made pair of glasses. I know that if Oakley comes out with a Gascan style (my personal favorite) featuring the Prizm lens I will likely get a pair for daily wear.

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You can learn more about the Oakley Prizm technology here. Find Oakley online right here, and remember they offer Prescription options. They are on Instagram (@Oakley) as is their Standard Issue program (which you should investigate if you haven’t already): @oakleystandardissue. You can also follow them on Google +, Twitter and Facebook.


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