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.
Gerber is a recognized leader in military-grade tactical products. We had the chance to test for a few months one of their new Cortex flashlights.
These lights are proudly built in the US and are designed to meet the needs of the military professionals. The Gerber Cortex series is comprised of three flashlights: the Cortex, the Cortex Compact and the Cortex Rechargeable. This line of lights features the Gerber’s patented Omnivore technology, which allows them to operate on multiple powers sources. The Cortex and Cortex Compact can operate on either AA or Lithium CR123A batteries, while the Cortex Rechargeable runs on Lithium Ion 18650 battery but will also accept disposable CR123A batteries.
The Cortex Flashlight is built with adaptability in mind. It can run on either three Lithium CR123A batteries or two AA batteries. The Cortex accepts both alkaline and lithium, providing the operator with flexibility when battery choices are limited. With a maximum output of 675 Lumens (when running on three CR123 batteries), the Cree XML LED provides a level of light than can be effectively utilized to overwhelm an aggressor or identify a threat. In an outdoor environment this light can be effective for hundreds of yards.
As you can see from the images above the light has a very wide outer beam, while still having a focused hot spot in the middle. We believe that Gerber has found a good balance between wide-external and focused-central. This fine combination allows the operator to enhance its situational awareness while still being able to utilize the tool actively and selectively. The tail switch cap allows to select between three modes: high, low and strobe. The low mode provides an output of 40 Lumens and is well suited for administrative tasks.
The light is built with heavy duty in mind. The Cortex is made of aircraft grade anodized aluminium which feels solid and tough as soon as you grab it. Because of its aggressive design, the bezel can be used as a striking tool or even to brake glass, in case things go very south.
The light is also provided with a built in clip, for easier carry when a sheath is not available.
We believe that this flashlight could be very interesting especially for those who live in Europe, while other US made flashlights are very expensive this seems to have an excellent Quality/Price ratio. For the pure tactical application (CQB, even weapon mounted) we prefer to have a momentary only switch. But this product still does a very good job for a personal defense task. In all these months that we have been using this product (and we didn’t treat is very good) we have never experienced a failure of any kind. We have accidentally dropped this light for quite some distance and every thing was fine, and even underwater it worked magnificently.
We recommend this light for its adaptability, and we would definitely keep it in my car or in a Go bag. The Cortex’s adaptability and versatility make it a tool you must have. The fact that you can utilize this light for personal defense, search and rescue and general outdoor/tactical applications definitely make this flashlight one of the best we have ever owned.
So if you need to purchase a flashlight that can do the work of 3 or 4 we strongly recommend this. If you are looking for a light to keep on your person when hiking in the mountains, operating overseas, rescuing, hunting or even as and EDC tool, this is the one.
The Gerber Cortex flashlight is available at GerberGear.com