Product Review: Eye Safety Systems: Rollbar Series of Ballistic Eyewear

From a young age, we all tend to wear eye protection for one reason or another, may it be sports, work, or just for driving. I had never even heard of Eye Safety Systems (ESS) growing up, but always appreciated quality eyewear. In the early 2000s, I was issued my first pair of ESS eye protection by the IDF. I remember I got two pairs of them: one pair were goggles for demolitions, breaching, etc., and a second pair were ballistic sunglasses with an interchangeable lens kit. At the time, we all used the yellow lenses so we could have just one pair that would work for both day and night operations. Those glasses became part of our first-line personal protective equipment, which included fingerless gloves with wrist wraps, knee pads, helmet, ear protection, boots, face mask, etc. I wore the glasses operationally, at the range, and while riding my motorcycle. I used the goggles on some operations and kept them on my helmet when not in use. Surprisingly, I was able to keep the same pair of glasses for almost four years before the lenses got severely damaged by rock fragments. They saved my eye, though. At the end of my service, I turned the glasses back in.


Fast forward to the present day. I have two pairs of ESS Rollbar Series Ballistic glasses, which seem to bridge the gap between goggles and glasses. I have one pair I use for operational activity and range work during daylight, and another pair for night ops and range. The daytime pair is outfitted with the copper lenses, which provide just the right amount of tint, glare reduction, and protection for outdoor use, but is also suitable for indoor use. (Think moving from outside to inside a structure.) The other pair is outfitted with the yellow lenses and is ideal for night operations and maintains the same superior level of ballistic protection and has nice wide lenses and a frame that hugs the orbital socket to overlap the bones around the eye. I like how the arms positively click into the open and closed positions. Meanwhile, they grip firmly to the sides of the head and feel securely in place even when at a full sprint. The Rollbar comes with interchangeable lenses, so I would recommend buying the tactical series, which come with the copper lenses and blacked out logos to meet military requirements.


With daily use will come damage. I distorted the frame on mine a year ago and kept wearing them. Finally, I called ESS and told them what happened. They replaced the glasses within ten days. Excellent customer service: they didn’t even ask for a receipt. Further, they will give you the same pricing if you are a member of Oakley Standard Issue (the same company). Trust your eyes to ESS: they work.


Garret Machine

1 comment

  • Great review. I love ESS. Still have my standard issue set from 2010 going strong.

    Aaron Wallenburg

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