Disaster preparedness—and everyday survivalism, for that matter—depends on much more than just the right pack, the right tools or the right first aid kit. It’s vital to find ways to protect your most valuable assets–namely, your feet and your eyes. With either out of commission, you’re in a tricky spot.
This kind of unexpected emergency is what eyewear company Tactical Rx hopes to prevent with their tactical eyewear, intended for the everyday man and woman with a penchance for shooting or outdoor activities.
“What’s more fundamental to our lives than sight?” said Tactical Rx spokesman Kyle Ross.
About Tactical Rx
Tactical Rx is a division of Denver, Colo.-based Sports Optical, which was founded in 1993. While Sports Optical covers athletic eyewear, the focus of Tactical Rx is exactly what it sounds like: they make handcrafted, high-quality tactical eyewear.
Eyeglasses are a natural component to an EDC, says Ross. “So many of us are prescription glasses wearers, and a fine pair of custom, handcrafted sunglasses should seem like EDC if anything was.”
A week with the Randolph Concorde
I collaborated with Tactical Rx to make a custom pair of prescription sunglasses. I’ve never owned prescription sunglasses before; I’ve worn bifocals for reading and computer use since I was a teenager and I suffer from chronic migraines. This means I’m very sensitive to light, especially while driving during the day or night–during the day, the bright sun can trigger a migraine, and at night, all it takes is the flash of a particularly bright headlight and I’m done for. And while I’ve carried regular sunglasses with me on and off for several years, I didn’t think much about stepping it up to prescription until Ross made the case for EDCing sunglasses.
It was important to me to have a strong pair of glasses for everyday use that could also aid me in more adventurous activities like hiking or camping. The Randolph Concorde design stuck out to me most because of the classic gun metal aviator-type frames, designed by Randolph Engineering. This style works best with my everyday wear but are more durable than more expensive aviators. (And, let’s be real, I’ve wanted a great pair of aviators ever since Mila Kunis made them look so good in the post-apocalyptic film Book of Eli.) This particular pair costs between $189-$209, which was significantly more affordable than similar pairs I was quoted for at major sunglasses brands.
I was also given the option of several lens choices. In the past I’ve struggled with lenses that are either too dark or too light. Because of my migraines, Ross suggested the polarized rose copper lenses, which are strong enough for major glare reduction without so much darkness that my eyes have trouble readjusting afterward. As you can see in the image, the result is a classy but understated combination of color and texture, none of which looks too overly tactical (which is nice for everyday wear despite my affinity for uber-tactical gear) but still looks like a durable mix of high-quality materials.
After a couple weeks, my glasses arrived in the mail equipped with a flexible case with a keychain glasses tool and a microfiber cloth. Although I knew what the glasses would look like based on images on the website, I was still pleasantly surprised at how high-quality they look and feel. These fit comfortably on my face and don’t pinch my ears like some glasses have in the past. Although I wear glasses regularly, I’m still not used to wearing them for more than 5-8 hours a day, and in the past have found myself adjusting pairs to better prevent sliding or leaving that pesky indentation on the bridge of my nose. But this pair is one of the lightest I’ve ever owned, which means I don’t have to adjust them while driving—major points for comfort and safety.
I tried these glasses out for a week to give them a good chance to work their magic.
What happened is this: my eyesight and comfort while driving greatly improved, to the point where I won’t consider driving without my glasses now, and I feel like a more prepared person because of it. EDC items are the most effective when integrated organically into daily use. I felt a legitimate release of pressure in my forehead from where I hold stress from squinting. I also received several compliments on my glasses while running errands around town (partially because my eyes were so well-adjusted that I forgot to remove my glasses on several occasions while going into the store, but mostly because the glasses really are striking in person). The weather here in Northern Nevada at this time of year is tricky—it’s either too warm and sunny, or overcast and stormy. Because of the polarized lenses, my glasses adjust to the lighting for me regardless of activity. The next time it snows, I plan on wearing these to fight off the snow glare while I’m out trekking at Lake Tahoe.
How to pick your sunglasses
If you haven’t made the leap to prescription sunglasses, or want a quality pair made to withstand your lifestyle, I highly recommend checking out the many options offered by Tactical Rx.
Consider frame style. I wanted a great pair for my EDC, so I went with a more casual option. But if you want a pair for shooting or more tactical operations, check out the ballistic-rated Smith Elite Chamber Tactical (which cost just $99—seriously), or the super sleek Randolph Engineering Edge Shooting Frame (which start at $170 for a non-prescription pair).
Consider lenses. Tactical Rx offers four options for lenses based on lighting and preference. If you’re looking for glasses to add to your shooting kit, think about the time of day and the lighting you often face. If you want glasses for everyday and outdoor use, the Variable Conditions option might serve you well.
For more information, visit TacticalRx.com. TacticalRx provided the Randolph Concorde glasses for our review, but we received no additional compensation and the the experiences are our own. To learn more about our review policy, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.