Gatorz Eyewear Review

By Jeremy Tremp
Posted in #Gear
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Gatorz Eyewear Review

November 26th, 2022

6 minute read

Do you know what the most underrated piece of EDC gear is? A sweet pair of shades. That’s right. You may be the most kitted out or skilled dude or gal on the range, but if you don’t look cool, what’s the point? I jest, but a good pair of shades are worth their weight in gold. Eye protection is an often overlooked but utterly important consideration.

review of gatorz eyewear
Protecting your eyesight doesn’t have to be purely utilitarian. Gatorz eye pro combines stylish design with impact resistance.

But it’s not that easy, you might say. You may love the look of some shades, but they just don’t fit your face, or they are uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time. That would be true if we weren’t talking about Gatorz.

If you are familiar with the Navy SEAL and or Special Operations communities, there is a good chance you’ve seen some of them wearing a pair of Gatorz sunglasses. This is for good reason as Gatorz shades are designed, machined and hand assembled in the USA, and they are as tough as they come.

The Foundation

Gatorz was founded in the 1980s with the intent to build the most rugged eyewear possible from billet aluminum. The idea was that mission-driven people could rely on these sunglasses for both clarity and protection. The sunglasses were adopted by extreme sports athletes and later adopted by the Special Operations community because of their rugged reliability.

gatorz spectre eyewear
The Gatorz frames and lenses tested by the author offer a low-profile style suitable for EDC.

For years I have seen these shades used by folks like Tu Lam, Jack Carr, Travis Kennedy and Clint Emmerson. But until recently, I never really looked into the company beyond cursory glances here and there. Turns out, Gatorz are hand crafted here in my home state of Arizona. They also offer a wide array of ballistic and polarized options. I decided to grab a pair for the range, and a pair to wear every day.

Why choose two different pair? I am glad you asked.

My Choices

I generally wear larger square-style, open-side frames for my EDC because in Arizona the heat can be overbearing. But on the range, that style doesn’t offer as much protection as a wraparound design. This is where the Gatorz Specter frames come in.

gatorz spectre
The Specter frames wrap the eye pro close to the face to help prevent a spent case or other debris from damaging your eyes.

The Specter is one of Gatorz wrap-style frames. They are larger frames that have a close fit and taller sides to protect foreign objects from reaching your eyes from the left or right. Additionally, the Specters have thin adjustable temples (the side of the sunglasses) that don’t dig into the sides of your head when wearing over ear protection or helmets.

z87 protection rating
Z87+ is an impact rating that tells you the frame and lenses have been tested in lab conditions to meet a specific set of impact-resistance criteria.

For my EDC shades, I chose the Delta frames with Tan Cerakote and polarized lenses. The Delta frames are a larger square style, which I appreciate. The temples are a bit shorter in height and the frames have good airflow on the top and bottom. Here in Arizona, if you are not inside, you’ve got a pair of shades on, so it’s essential that they be comfortable. The Delta frames are super comfortable and offer a lot of protection against the harsh Phoenix rays. If you know me well, you know I am quite fond of anything FDE/Tan. So, finding some shades that were Cerakoted Tan was a match made in heaven.

Tough and Flexible

Earlier I mentioned billet aluminum, and here’s why that is cool: you can shape all the Gatorz frames to your face. Yea, that’s rad. They won’t warp over time, become brittle, or deform in extreme temperatures either. The lenses have a scratch-resistant coating ensuring they are as rugged as their users. Additionally, the lenses are high contrast and have an anti-fog coating for use in all environments.

testing the prodigy with gatorz eyewear
The author tested the Gatorz eye pro on the range while shooting the Springfield Prodigy 9mm pistol.

Let’s dive into that self-fitting feature. Since the frames are made from billet aluminum, you can simply bend the frames into fitting your facial structure as you see fit. To loosen or tighten the fit, you can carefully bend the frames inwards or outwards. Similarly, you can adjust the fit of the temples by slightly bending them from the middle toward the rear.

If this seems daunting to start bending $250.00 dollar shades, Gatorz has you covered with a YouTube video detailing exactly how this self-fitting is done. Beyond the frames and how tight or loose they are, you can also adjust how high they sit on your face as well as how close the frames are to your eyes. You can accomplish this by how you adjust the nose piece, and this is all covered in-depth on the Gatorz website.

Hands-On

Circling back to my range shades, the Specters, I got to choose my color on those as well, and you guessed it, FDE. The edgy, hard lines look fantastic with the tan coloring, and they make the black Gatorz logo really pop. The Specters are comfortable on my face, and they provide a lot of protection on the range. The sides are large and enclosed while the lenses are also tall enough to cover my entire eye from cheekbone to eyebrow. When wearing the Specters with ear protection that goes over the ears, I noticed a lack of that “pinching temple” headache after a couple of hours that I usually receive from thicker plastic frames.

gatorz specter eyepro
Although the Gatorz frames are made of aluminum, they are not heavy. In fact, the author found them to be very lightweight.

When you hear the term billet aluminum, you might think “metal shades? Sounds heavy.” But these are some of the lightest-feeling sunglasses I have owned. From a road trip to a range session, you begin to forget you are wearing eye protection. Gatorz nailed it on the comfort level without sacrificing the rugged design.

gatorz specter eye protection
The lenses offered excellent visibility throughout the testing. The author found the lenses provided excellent sharpness and vibrancy.

Beyond how sweet these shades look and feel, we can’t overlook possibly the most important factor of a good pair of sunglasses ­— clarity, color and contrast. When you put on a good pair of sunglasses, it should feel like you just upgraded to HD vision. The Gatorz deliver on that optical promise providing a super sharp, vibrant, contrasty picture. Walking outside and sliding the Gatorz on feels like what water is to a parched throat.

After wearing these shades for a few weeks every day and on the range, I think it’s safe to say I’ll be a customer for life. Supporting U.S.-made products that support our industry making premium products for discerning people is what it’s all about for me. When it comes to protecting your eyes from UV rays or errant spall/brass, you don’t want to skimp out. Do yourself a favor and check out the Gatorz website. Gatorz has a lot to offer, from nine frame styles, four Cerakote colors, and 15+ lens options for you to choose from. I think their most unique feature is the self-fitting aspect of the frames.

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Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp

Jeremy Tremp is a filmmaker/photographer who turned his passion for the firearms industry into a dream job. Having identified a need in the 2A space, he and some like-minded friends started Offensive Marketing Group to help bring their unique skillsets to an industry in dire need of "outside of the box" marketing approaches. One of the perks is getting access to some of the best gear and training in the industry. In his spare time, he loves to be at the range testing gear and learning to be a better shooter, firearms advocate and content creator.

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