Our Associate Editor for Woods Monkey had the opportunity to test drive a pair of Revision Eyewear’s Hellfly Ballistic sunglasses, and you might just say he saw the light!
Sometimes it’s the basic pieces of kit that you overlook that can make a a big difference when you hit the field. Take your glasses for instance. Years ago I was on a kick where I had to have expensive shooting glasses and sunglasses. Then, after breaking and losing more than my fair share of them, I just sort have given up and for better than a decade now I’ve made do with cheap versions of both. I pretty much had convinced myself that it really didn’t matter that much and I was content in my ignorance and firm in my belief that it didn’t make a difference. That was until I had the chance to try out a set of Revision Eyewear Hellfly glasses over the summer. I’d like to say that it took months of use to really change my mind on the subject but that simply wouldn’t be true. I’m chagrined to admit that the difference between quality eyewear and the cheap stuff was apparent immediately upon trying the Hellfly’s on. If you’ll forgive the pun, when I slipped the glasses on I could really see what I had been missing.
If you’re not familiar with Revision Eyewear, it may simply be because their primary focus is really on tactical glasses for the military and law enforcement. Revision has built their business on providing tough quality eyewear to protect folks who regularly go into harm’s way. Like many products designed for the military, that translates into tough, capable, and thoroughly tested gear that will work just as well for civilians on the shooting range, while hunting, driving, or just enjoying a day in the field. As mentioned, I got the opportunity to check out a set of Revision’s Hellfly Ballistic Sunglasses. The Hellfly’s are a more casual style eyeglass that still provides excellent protection. They’re stylish enough to wear as regular every day sunglasses but give you the added protection of a safety glass that you won’t find with many other brands.
The Hellfly glasses use 2.2 mm thick lenses of a high impact, optical grade polycarbonate that meet ANSI safety standards and exceed U.S. military ballistic eyewear impact resistance requirements. They have 100% UV protection and the wrap around design keeps out light as well as wind, grit or anything else that might want to get into your eyes. The frame is a lightweight but durable polymer material that’s contoured for your face and has rubber overmolded temple pieces. The nosepiece is adjustable to allow the user to custom fit the Hellfly’s to their face. At only 1 ¼ ounces, the Hellfly’s are comfortable enough to wear all day without even really noticing that you have them on. They come in a pretty broad array of frame and lens color options too.
My test glasses came with black frames and “Midnight Mirror” lenses. You could tell these were a quality product right off the bat. First off, they came in a box. Heck, I’ve been buying sunglasses off the rack for so long that I was impressed just with that alone. Okay, okay, so it’s just a box. Still, it’s actually nice to be able to see what you’re getting and a breakdown on the features of the product when you get it. How many times do you get a new piece of gear and then have to go and research the particulars about it? Inside that box was very a solidly constructed hard case with a zippered closure. It’s a tough case that should hold up well and appears very crush resistant. There was also a lens cleaning cloth and an instruction sheet that further explains some of the features of the glasses and how to care for them. And, of course there were the glasses themselves.
The Hellfly’s have a very modern and streamlined look to them. It is a tactical wraparound design, but I don’t want to overstress that because they’re still casual enough for daily wear and routine wear in the outdoors, even if you aren’t storming a Taliban position over in the ‘Stan. I was impressed with how light they felt considering their stringent safety compliance standards. I was expecting something heavier and chunkier when I first read about them. Despite the light weight, they still appear to be well made and there was nothing about them which you would call flimsy. The Midnight Mirror lenses had a reflective, slightly rainbow hued appearance to them. Not at all unattractive and more subdued than a fully mirrored lens would be. So, my overall initial impressions were of a well packaged, solidly designed and stylish set of glasses. That’s a good start, but what happens when you view the world through the lenses is where the rubber really meets the road on a set of eyewear.
Well, I already mentioned that the minute I slipped the Hellfly’s on, I saw what I’d been missing with cheap glasses for years. The optical clarity of the Hellfly’s is impressive. When viewed through the UV filtered lenses things appeared much crisper and sharper than they did without the glasses on. You weren’t simply cutting the glare like with cheap sunglasses; you were actually getting an improved look at the world around you. If you slip on a set of Hellflys and take a stroll through the woods, you’ll find yourself picking out more detail than you might otherwise. This was confirmed by slipping the glasses off and looking at the same scene and then putting them back on. It was an obvious difference. The same features that enhance a walk in the woods work well on the rifle range and behind the wheel of a car as well. I found that both environments benefited from the glare reduction and enhanced detail and crispness that you gained when wearing Revision’s eyewear. I found the glasses comfortable to wear for long periods of time too. As I suspected, the light weight frames pretty much went unnoticed once you had them on. I didn’t find any real wear points along the nose pieces or temple pieces like I have with other glasses either.
Just to confirm that I wasn’t being over wowed by my first set of decent glasses in years, I passed the Hellfly’s along to fellow Woods Monkey writer Ian Fielder to try for a while as well. Unlike me, Ian has used a good number of quality sunglasses over the years including models from Oakley, Dragon Optical, Anarchy, and Ray Ban. Ian liked the Hellfly’s a great deal. He felt that they really brightened up the road and cut down on sun glare better than any of the other glasses he’s used. Ian stated that he liked the adjustable nose clip a lot. It was very comfortable and the glasses didn’t slide off of his face. He also liked the look of the Midnight Mirror lenses. He expressed some concern over the plastic frames, as he’s broken a number of plastic frames over the years, but he didn’t have any problems with the Hellflys in use. On the plus side, he appreciated how the wrap around fit blocked out the sun even along the sides of the glasses. His only real criticism was that he said the lenses did fog on him a couple of times. I didn’t have that problem myself, but I suspect that’s something that can happen with any eyewear given the right set of circumstances.
With a suggested retail price of $99.99 for the Hellfly Ballistic Sunglass kit, you’ll find that they do run a bit more than your average off the rack sunglasses. However, compared to some other brands of high end eyewear that’s really a very competitive price. When you factor in the comfort of the design, the built in safety standards of the lenses, and the exceptional vision granted by the Hellfly glasses, that price starts looking pretty attractive. If you’re in need of a quality set of glasses for the outdoors and want something that offers better protection than your basic set of sunglasses, then I’d suggest taking a long hard look at Revision’s line of eyewear, especially the sporty Hellfly model.