This tactical eyewear aims to protect officers in style
Affordable, quality tactical eyewear is now available in retail stores from the deserts of California to the streets of New York
Sponsored by Bollé Safety
By Victor Masters for Police1 BrandFocus
“Damnit, not again!” was my first thought as I frantically searched my patrol car for my missing sunglasses just before briefing. I turned my patrol bag (or “tricky bag” as we called it in the U.S. Border Patrol) inside out with no luck.
It then dawned on me that they had been left on the roof of my vehicle at the end of the previous shift. My brand new $150 “tactical sunglasses” were probably now smashed to pieces and spread out along CA 98 near Mount Signal Road or buried in the sands of the Yuha Desert.
During my five years as a Border Patrol agent in California and going into my seventh year as a police officer in Washington state, I have damaged or lost countless pairs of tactical glasses along the way. After my third or fourth time spending a ridiculous amount of money for lost glasses, I did the unspeakable. I decided to stop sacrificing my wallet at the altar of the tactical eyewear gods and purchased a pair of $10 sunglasses off the rack at the gas station near my duty station.
They didn’t look cool, they didn’t put off the cop or military vibe, and they definitely were not comfortable. I looked like a minor league baseball player circa 1990 sans the neon sunglass retaining strap dangling around my neck. But they were cheap and readily available. For someone who had spent what felt like a quarter of their GS-5 paycheck on a pair of tactical glasses that lasted but a mere week, cheap and readily available was good enough for me.
PROTECT YOUR EYES AND YOUR WALLET
Quality and reliable tactical eyewear shouldn’t have to come with a high price tag, especially for those of us who work in an industry notorious for damaged or lost eyewear due to the nature of the job and the environments that we work in.
With that said, the end of 2021 brought the discovery of a company named Bollé Safety and a giant sigh of relief for me. I had finally found an eyewear company that agreed with me and understood what I and thousands of other law enforcement officers have been saying about tactical eyewear for years.
With prices between $15 to $54.99 – and most options ranging between $19.99 and $34.99 – Bollé Safety was speaking my language. I would no longer have to once again find myself reluctantly dining on ramen noodles to be able to afford to replace my pair of high-priced tactical glasses (which inevitably would disappear once again). Not only that, the quality of Bollé Safety glasses has not left me wanting, and at a fraction of the cost that I had thought possible.
MEETING A NEED
In 2020, Bollé Safety began development on several pairs of glasses that would ultimately be included in their portfolio of Bollé Safety Standard Issue (BSSI) glasses, including the Gunfire 2.0, Tryon, Sentinel Struck and Silium+ models. To develop these, the company recruited Marc Van Buskirk, who brought with him over three decades of experience as the CEO and founder of US Standard Issue that would become a part of Oakley Standard Issue. Marc was also the CEO and founder of GovX, an e-commerce site specifically geared toward military and law enforcement consumers.
Marc and his team at BSSI quickly set out to solve the common issues that I and many of my fellow law enforcement officers have when it comes to tactical eyewear.
In particular, BSSI recognized the need for immediate access to quality tactical eyewear for law enforcement in rural areas, and the company has partnered with Dollar General to offer their eyewear in their 18,000-plus stores, many of which are located in rural areas. They are also being offered at LA Police Gear, US Patriot and select military bases.
Price aside, quality and reliability are major concerns for all law enforcement officers when it comes to our duty gear. With the offerings from BSSI, I have not been left with any questions about the quality of my glasses or whether I can rely on them. In fact, I have been encouraging other officers to give them a try as well. They offer excellent anti-scratch and anti-fog protection and, on some models, ballistic protection that even exceeds MIL-SPEC standards.
The matte black frame and subdued look also makes the BSSI glasses fit within almost all law enforcement and military uniform appearance policies nationwide. For those like myself who pencil whip a desk from time to time throughout our careers, the blue light protection provided by the BSSI copper lens also proven invaluable.
Why tactical eyewear is more important than ever
For those of us in urban environments, the need for tactical eyewear has never been greater. Having been on the front lines of multiple large protests and a large-scale looting incident involving several hundred individuals hurling rocks, bottles and other objects in my direction in 2020, it has never been clearer to me that quality tactical eyewear should be a standard issue to every officer.
BSSI tactical eyewear for every situation
My favorite BSSI model is the three-lens (clear, smoke and copper) Gunfire 2.0 kit. Swapping lenses is extremely quick thanks to the ability to swap out the different lenses from the temple pieces. Rather than having to wiggle and maneuver a lens into the frame via the bridge of the nose at the top of the lens, you simply pop out the temples and insert the new lens. Boom, done!
These glasses do not block your line of vision or peripheral vision at all and are great for protecting your eyes while at the range, chasing suspects through the brush, from bugs hitting your eyes on bike patrol, sand blasting your eyes in the Yuha Desert and many other common situations officers face. They are truly a workhorse model capable of protecting the eyes of law enforcement officers, and at a price that won’t break the bank.
The BSSI price points, quality and reliability make them a good option for any department looking to outfit their officers with proper tactical eyewear.
You can invest in your eyes knowing that BSSI has your back.
Visit Bollé Safety to learn more.
About the author
Victor Masters is an active-duty police officer for a municipal police department in western Washington. He began his career in 2010 with the U.S. Border Patrol in El Centro, California. He has served as a patrol officer, forensic artist, intelligence agent and public affairs agent. Since 2016, he has been assigned as a public information officer and recruiter.