August 04, 2020
By Richard Nance
There’s no shortage of companies offering eye protection, but when a 113-year-old company famous for manufacturing optics introduces their own line, we have to take note. Each of Leupold’s eyewear models are made in the U.S. and all feature stylish lightweight frames and scratch resistant lenses, but there are a few differences between them.
Leupold makes its lenses from ballistic-rated materials for impact protection. For use at the range, we recommend the Packout, Switchback and Tracer for the full ANSI Z87.1+ high-velocity impact rating. When the shatterproof lenses are married to the non-metal frames, you get eyewear that’s rugged, lightweight and flexible.
Leupold’s eyewear is offered with and without polarized lenses, and feature advanced coatings found on their optic systems. Polarized lenses help minimize glare, but traditionally polarization is a coating that can be scratched or worn off. However, Leupold’s lenses are made with in-fused polarization, which means they are impervious to wear you’d expect. Further, the lenses are given the Guard-Ion hydrophobic coating, enabling them to be easily wiped clean of dirt, water, and fingerprints. Leupold’s Diamondcoat treatment means that they’ve hardened the surface of the lenses to make them scratch resistant, and Daylight Max technology ensures UV protection and optimal clarity.
The lenses are set in frames that feature a non-slip rubber bridge pad designed for comfort and to keep the eyewear secure from sliding down your nose, even during prolonged active use. For the most versatile frames look at the Tracer, which is the only model to allow you to easily change lenses between the included clear and yellow lenses to maintain maximum protection in any light condition. These lenses can be set in either a Shadow Tan standard with a bronze mirror lens or Black colored frame that comes with a Shadow Gray lens. I’ve been wearing the Tracers at the range and on camera with Guns & Ammo TV, so I can attest to their all-day comfort and clarity.
Beyond the Range
The Becnara and Katmai are geared for everyday wear and outdoor activities. These glasses feature the same ballistic-rated lenses and come in four different frame colors with three lens color options, with or without polarization. The feature list between the Becnara and Katmai is identical, but they’re styled differently. The Katmai is based on the classic Wayfarer while the Becnara is a modern approach to rectangular frames.
The Packout and Switchback offer full-frame support and were specifically designed for hunters and shooters. With the high-velocity impact protection, the Packout and Switchback are wrap-around styles with the Switchback having the more rectangular-shaped lenses and the Packout with rounded corners. They come in matte black with shadow gray lenses or a matte tortoise color with bronze mirror lenses.
Just like their optics, Leupold’s Performance Eyewear is backed by a limited lifetime guarantee. Check them out for yourself at Leupold.com. Try them and you’ll find their ruggedness and quality are apparent.
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