Eye protection is probably one of the best precautions to take both on the field and on the range. After lots of eye injuries suffered by many during deployment, the DoD has decided to take measures against this big issue. Companies like Oakley have revolutionized the materials and the manufacturing process in order to meet these ballistic requirements. It has been many years since the US Gov. has issued the first Oakley Ballistic protective goggles and since then Oakley has produced different variants for different missions.
The SI Ballistic Det Cord sunglasses are the latest addition in Oakley SI’s line of eye protection. The low-profile design meets the requirements of many covert operations, while still having that “Oakley DNA” for aggressive environments and when things go south.
With the constant presence of threats in high risk environments, asymmetrical warfare seems to be the keyword of this century. In the last few years brands like Oakley SI, who have always equipped armed forces, have found themselves designing and manufacturing more discreet products for the tactical market.
The lens placement on the Det Cord is slightly different from the usual sunglasses (aside from the ballistic protection). The frame design allows the lenses to sit very close to the user’s face, providing a very wide field of view. It also shields sunlight from any direct contact with the eye, above or beneath the lenses.
This design seem interesting also when speed is involved; with the lenses positioned so close to the user’s face the Det Cord appear to give some very good protection also from dust and wind.
Oakley has designed these glasses with the tactical operations in mind. The thin construction of the ear stems allows the glasses to be comms compatible (or ear pro). Not having this feature would lead to the loss of the seal of the muffs, causing them to lose any hearing protection capability. A thinner design of the frame is also very important if an helmet is worn. If you are carrying a ballistic helmet with night vision, lights and accessories attached you will end up with quite some weight; so it is important to have a secured and comfortable fit.
The DetCord are manufactured to conform to the ANSI Z87.1 – 2010 requirements. To meet the ANSI Z87.1-2010 rating the eye protection must exceed specific high mass – high velocity tests and provide continuous lateral coverage. Most competitors on the market don’t provide lateral coverage; the presence of a “+” after Z87 will assure the lateral coverage compliancy.
The DetCords high purity optical-grade polycarbonate also meet the ballistic fragmentation MIL-PRF-32432 required by NATO forces and DoD.
To enhance the performance of the product under stress Oakley has applied a very interesting material for the nose-piece. It’s always annoying when, under stress, sunglasses (or even worse eye pro) slip down on the nose because of the presence of liquids on the skin. To solve this issue Oakley has applied a rubberized material on the nose piece, and even after some pretty hard use it does not seem to come off.
Another issues that, with other optics, appears on similar activities is fogging. This phenomenon is due to the body heat and moisture condensing in small drops on the lens itself. When shooting it’s usually frequent to have fogging in the winter when utilizing a rifle or a carbine; usually after some sort of dynamic action. We have had the opportunity to test this product from late summer until now and, due to the coating applied to the lenses, we haven’t had a sigle issue.
The this version comes with Cerakote applied to the entire frame. This superficial finish enhances the anti-reflection capability of the Det Cord and it also provides longevity to the surface of the frame. When used in conjunction with helmet systems and comms usually eye-pro and sunglasses get scratched a lot, the application of Cerakote prevents this from happening.
Sometimes dangerous, and potentially deadly, environments surround us. Whether you are overseas behind enemy lines, lost in the wilderness or a survivor in natural disaster a fixed blade knife is the tool that will always get you home safe and sound. A survival knife can provide the right help for water, shelter, fire, food and protection. It is the most versatile piece of equipment that we can carry. Gerber produces one of the milestones in the mil-spec survival blades: the Gerber LMF II Infantry. The Infantry is the definition of the survival knife, with an overall length of 269 mm, a blade length of 123 mm and a well-balanced weight of 330g this beefy knife can be utilized for tasks of different nature. The Gerber team is well known for providing the user with well-engineered products, and they seem to have reached a very good standard with the LMF II Infantry. They have chosen a 420 high carbon steel for this blade, which makes it very good against corrosion and hard use; in fact the Infantry can be even used as a prying bar in an emergency situation. To meet the compliancy of the aircrews’ standard issue, Gerber had to design the LMF II with two main features:
- It had to be tough (so that it could be used, by the crew, as an escape tool from the aircraft after a crash).
- It had to electrically insulate the user from any live wire he could find while escaping through the fuselage or the cockpit.
To accomplish these two requirements Gerber developed a very interesting design that meets both strength and protection using a combination of 420hc steel and hard composite materials in the body of the handle. The Blade: The use of the 420 High Carbon steel makes this knife incredibly resistant against rust, especially with application of the black non-reflective coating. Even though the Tanto design looks much cooler on a tactical knife, thankfully, the LMF II has a drop point design, which makes it a much stronger knife for any bushcraft or survival use. Due to its design and the 5 mm blade thickness, this knife is a great tool for chopping, prying and digging. The spine of the blade has a 90 degrees angle with no chamfer applied, which allows to light a fire with a Magnesium bar or flint fire starter. The blade has a drop point plain edge with 47 mm of serration closer to the handle. Even though some people believe that a knife has to have a plain edge, we know that a survival/bushcraft knife MUST have a serrated edge. The serration of the blade makes it much easier to cut through harder material, cords, fresh vegetation and it retains much better a sharp edge. Serrations are mandatory on a 420 HC steel survival blade to help maintain sharpness in the field, since this material could lose edge after some use. Sharpening this knife in the field is very easy. The sheath of the knife houses a V-shaped sharpener for the drop-point part of the blade that allows the user to carry an always-sharp blade, no matter what. If you really need to sharpen the serrated edge on the field, Gerber makes a great tool that makes it very easy: the Bear Grylls Field Sharpener. The blade also features two lashing holes to use the knife as a spear; this feature becomes very interesting when you have to find some food in the wilderness. We have used this method in the past to catch fish in a small river and it really can change the situation from a disaster to a memorable moment. One of the basic rules of providing food in the wild is that you do not have to use more energy than the one you’re going to gain from what your catch will give. To accomplish this goal the spear is the perfect tool since it doesn’t always require much running. The spear is very easy to make with very little cordage and it can also be used as a self-defense tool from wild animals. The Handle: Because of the large production scale of these knives, Gerber was able to use an injection molded handle with a diamond texture on its surface. This handle has a rubbery feel and really sticks to the user hand even when the surface of the handle is wet. The large pommel at the end of the grip allows a much more secure and firm grip. It also functions as a striking tool and a hammering surface. When working on bushcraft tasks, quite frequently, we have to grip the knife from the very end of the handle and strike on the back of the blade with a large piece of wood in order to chop down through a log; with this design, it is much easier and faster to do so. The Sheath: We believe that one of the most important parts of a knife is its sheath. For us, good retention, slickness, protection (both of the user and the blade) and different attachment options are key features in a good quality sheath. The sheath is made of ballistic nylon with a fire retardant coating. The retention of the knife is due to a friction lock mechanism that secures the knife in place even if attached tip-up on a plate carrier or a chest rig. The Infantry can be carried both right-handed and left-handed since the knife can be stored in the sheath either ways. The LMF II comes with many different mounting options. The knife can be carried on the belt, on a MOLLE system and, because of the leg straps, also thigh and calf carry. We gave this knife a very hard time, we have used it for a while now and we are very happy with the results. The overall package seems very durable and stiff and even the sheath after many drops seems to retain the knife without any wobbling. At first, we were quite worried for the black coating of the blade but even after hitting some rocks it did not seem to peel off at all. This, for sure, is not an EDC knife: it’s beefy and not light. But when you will need it, you will be glad of its weight especially when chopping wood or cutting down a tree. One of the features that we like the most about this product is its 25 YEARS WARRANTY and the fact that it is MADE in the USA (Portland, Oregon). If you are looking for an excellent-quality versatile survival knife for an affordable price, the Gerber LMF II Infantry is the perfect choice. For more intel please visit Gerber’s website.
Clothing featured in this article:
Vertx Tactical Belt