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Cheeky vimto

Eye protection

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The usual procedure most airsofters use when using new eye protection is to test shoot it as close range. There is a more accurate way of making sure your eye protection is good enough. This is not my work, all credit goes to www.nothingbutsafetyglasses.com

 

Frame Markings

 

The frame will usually be marked on the inside of both arms. All safety frames must pass the European EN166 standard. This is a higher standard that the US or Asian equivalent and can often be preceeded by BS which is simply the direct British equivalent. If this is not stamped on the frame then you best to steer clear. Next will be a numbers and/or letters which indicate to what degree the frames passed the EN166 test within various categories.

 

 

Shape or design of the frame to...

 

3 - protect against liquid droplets and splashes. This is usually only found on goggles where a full seal is made around th eyes.

 

4 - protect against large dust particle over 5 microns in size.

 

5 - protect against dust and fine dust particles smaller that 5 microns.

 

 

Strength of the frame to...

 

S - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 12 meters per second

 

F - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 45 meters per second

 

B - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 120 meters per second

 

A - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 190 meters per second

 

T - withstand impacts at extreme temperatures

 

 

frame_standards.jpg

A frame can have a combination of markings but using the example above, the glasses are called Contour and they have the official safety 'Crown' seal of the accredited Manufacturer Bolle. They adhere to the EN166 standard but do not protect against liquid splashes, fine particles or dust since there is no number. The letters 'F' and 'T' then indicate they are capable of withstanding impacts from small objects travelling no faster than 45m/s even at extreme temperatures.

 

 

 

Lense Markings

 

Unlike the frame, lenses can meet various safety standards including EN166, 169, 170 & 172. For obvious reasons the manufacturers are not required to print every standard on the lens but simply the degree to which they meet the standard. Using the guide below you can determine which standards they meet. Once again the manufacturers seal and the CE mark are mandatory. In addition will be a degree of solar or UV radiation protection, the optical quality and then the mechanical strength.

 

Radiation Protection:

 

2 - UV Protection (EN170). The number 2 indicates the filter may effect colour recognition

 

2C or 3 - UV Protection (EN170). The number 2C (previously 3) indicates the filter allows good colour recognition

 

4 - Infrared Protection (EN171). i.e. protection from heat

 

5 - Solar Protection (EN172). i.e. 100% UV sunglare protection - with no infrared (IR) protection

 

6 - Solar Protection (EN172). i.e. 100% UV sunglare protection - with infrared (IR) protection

 

Lens Shading:

 

1.2 - Allows more than 74.4% light transmission, but less than 100%

 

1.7 - Allows more than 43.2% light transmission, but less than 58.1%

 

2.5 - Allows more than 17.8% light transmission, but less than 29.1%

 

3.1 - Allows more than 8.0% light transmission, but less than 17.8%

 

Optical quality:

 

1 - Class 1 High optical, quality suitable for regular use. Refractive power of ± 0.06 dioptres.

 

2 - Class 2 Medium optical, quality suitable for occasional use. Refractive power of ± 0.12 dioptres

 

3 - Class 3 Low optical, quality suitable for exceptional use. Refractive power of ± 0.25 dioptres

 

Strength of the lens to...

 

F - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 45 meters per second

 

B - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 120 meters per second

 

A - withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 190 meters per second

 

T - withstand impacts at extreme temperatures

 

 

lens_standards.jpg

 

So taking the above as an example you can see that the first number is 5 which indicates they meet the EN172 solar standard without IR protection. The figure that follows immediately afterwards indicates they have a shading level of 2.5 (the third highest in the range). The Crown is the official safety seal of Bolle as an accredited manufacturer of safety eyewear. Next are the EN166 ratings for optical quality and strength. 1 is the highest optical class and then the letters 'F' and 'T' indicate they are capable of withstanding impacts from small objects travelling no faster than 45m/s even at extreme temperatures. Manufacturers will often ensure that the mechanical strength of the lens and frame are equal since it will be the lesser of the two which the safety glasses will be rated upon as a whole.

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These are the usual feet per second limits at most sites, depending on what type of gun you use. I've converted the FPS to metric to show what your eye protection might come in contact with.

 

Full auto: 350 FPS = 106.6 M/S

Locked to semi: 420 FPS=128 M/S

Bolt action:500 FPS = 152.4 M/S

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A key point to note here though is the object used to test the impact resistance of the eyewear; a 6mm 0.86g steel BB is used. At 45M/s that's only 0.83 Joules, which is pretty low even for an airsoft gun.

 

However, the lenses are rated to withstand that impact as an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM and will have a significant margin over and above the specified minimum. That said, if it came down to a fight in court, I'd expect that something rated to BS/EN166-F would be deemed unsuitable for airsoft games, as it's not rated to the energy of an airsoft gun.

 

Personally I won't wear anything less than ANSI z87.1 (a US standard, but most large safety gear manufacturers will publish both US ad EU standards). Impact resistance for z87.1 is a 500G pointed weight dropped on the lens from a height of 50 inches. That's an incredible amount of force which would happily break bones, let alone eyes.

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A key point to note here though is the object used to test the impact resistance of the eyewear; a 6mm 0.86g steel BB is used. At 45M/s that's only 0.83 Joules, which is pretty low even for an airsoft gun.

 

However, the lenses are rated to withstand that impact as an ABSOLUTE MINIMUM and will have a significant margin over and above the specified minimum. That said, if it came down to a fight in court, I'd expect that something rated to BS/EN166-F would be deemed unsuitable for airsoft games, as it's not rated to the energy of an airsoft gun.

 

Personally I won't wear anything less than ANSI z87.1 (a US standard, but most large safety gear manufacturers will publish both US ad EU standards). Impact resistance for z87.1 is a 500G pointed weight dropped on the lens from a height of 50 inches. That's an incredible amount of force which would happily break bones, let alone eyes.

 

What eye pro do you wear?

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either ESS Crossbow Suppressor glasses (woodland) or ESS Profile Turbofan goggles (CQB), both have nice thick polycarbonate lenses that'll stand up to being hit with 12g birdshot, so I've no worries about BBs doing any damage!

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According the rating on mine they're only good object up to 45 m/s. This is worrying as I got these from work, I work in an engineering stores. People I work with are relying on these things in a lot more harsh environments than in a airsoft field.

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