Ballistic Eyewear: What is it and tips to identify

Ballistics is considered to be a part of science that studies object movement like rockets or bullets. When safety eyewear is concerned, ballistics refers to military-grade impact protection. However, this standard is found to differ immensely when compared with safety eyewear designed for civilians. Ballistic Eyewear is rather tested and designed to meet fragmentation standards and high-speed military impact.

Difference between Military and Civilian Safety Eyewear Standards

Safety eyewear meant for civilians is indicated as Z87+ marking. Military Ballistic Standard-662 refers to those products that meet military-grade standards.

  • Civilian Standards: Goggles and safety glasses with Z87+ markings indicate that Ballistic Eyewear is designed to meet ANSI Z87.1 high-impact. It also meets ISEA / ANSI Z87.1 industrial safety standards established for eye protection. Such Ballistic Eyewear is used for different personal and industrial applications. All magnifier safety glasses, readers and Plano use Z87+ marking. Impact-rated prescription lenses use Z87-2+ marking. If Rx inserts are used with military eyewear, then it is likely to be marked Z87-2 and is impact rated.
  • Military Standards: MIL-PRF-32432 Ballistic Eyewear fragmentation standards are quite rigorous. It uses tests quite similar to ANSI Z87.1 standard. But it has to meet stringent requirements. For testing purpose, two major Military Ballistic Standards are used, namely, MIL-DTL-43511D (for goggles) and MIL-PRF-3103 (for spectacles). Eyewear qualifying such tests while meeting other criteria is likely to get listed on Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL). It determines that this product is approved to be used by the US Army. Military-grade eyewear does meet the stringent ANSI certifications. But it is not necessary for ANSI-certified goggles and glasses to be APEL certified.

APEL Certification

Impact standards essential to derive this certification is quite high when compared to ANSI standard. MIL-PRF-3103 testing is known to produce about 7x more impact energy when compared to ANSI Z87.1 standard. Moreover, for goggles, military impact standards are considered to be quite rigorous.

Comfortable, functional Ballistic Eyewear is worn by the US army without having distracting designs or bright colors. They can also be disinfected. They safeguard the wearer from the harmful UV rays, offer better optical clarity, ensure proper fit, environment stability and chemical resistance.

How to find out APEL-certified eyewear?

Z87+ marking should be present in all ANSI-certified eyewear. Military-grade eyewear presently does not come with any such marking system. Checking provided APEL list and PEO Soldier updates can help ensure that APEL Standards are met.

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