The Flyby: Eye Protection from ESS

The Flyby: Eye Protection from ESS

by David Hildebrand, PCI #404T/EMSCI #118T
Denton (TX) Police Department
IPMBA President

I have been lucky enough over the last 18 months to have the opportunity to test a pair of sunglasses made by Eye Safety Systems, Inc., otherwise known as ESS.  The company is a supplier of eye protection to our U.S. military currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  For that reason, I was excited to give these glasses a run around the block by a domestic bike cop. 

On first assessment, the Flyby is definitely a departure from my normal style of sunglasses.  For a number of years now, I’ve worn full “shield” style glasses from a couple of different manufacturers.  I’ve tried Smith’s, Smith & Wesson, and Rudy Projects and have good things to say about all of them.  The Flybys are a captive dual lens style, meaning that there are two lenses and they are not interchangeable.  I wasn’t real sure how I would like this.  They are solid black with a dark tinted lens.  When I first looked at them, I thought, “Men in Black”!  They came in a brushed soft case with a lens cloth for cleaning them.  The lenses are a high impact 2.2mm polycarbonate, providing broad coverage, comfort, safety, and sporty style. They also provide 100% UVA/UVB protection.

The Flyby fits close to the face and as I was to find out, this was a blessing as well as a curse.  The blessing part was that they did a wonderful job of keeping particles and wind away from my eyes.  The downside of it was that they would fog up at a moment’s notice.  The fit was secure with not a lot of movement even during heavy cycling.  Here was where I also began to notice something else that I had not experienced with any of my other sunglasses.  Due to the tall temple arms and how they attached to the front frame of the glasses, I found that my peripheral vision was somewhat limited. 

To do rear scans that usually I could accomplish with a slight turn of my head, I had to dramatically turn my head to see what was coming up behind me.  For some folks this would probably not be a problem, for those with some neck issues it could be.  I did find that the longer I wore them, the less I noticed it.  Another issue that reared its ugly head was the temple arms themselves.  As I mentioned earlier, the arms are tall but not very thick.  I’m not sure what the process is for making them but it left what felt like a seam on the bottom of the temple arm.  After wearing the glasses for a couple of hours, this seam began to irritate the tops of my ears where they connect to my head.  I tried hobby sandpaper to smooth it but still have not gotten it to the point where I do not feel any discomfort. 

Despite the couple of sniggling little irritants, I do like my Flybys.  They currently are my backup glasses behind my Rudy’s but in front of my Smith Moab glasses, that is, when I can get them back from my wife, who has taken a liking to them. 

You can see all the eye protection that ESS offers at their website, www.esseyepro.com.  ESS participates in IPMBA’s Product Purchase Program, offering 30-40% off list price.  

David Hildebrand is currently the Training Coordinator for the Denton Police Department.  He has been a firearms instructor since 1997 and a bike officer since 1996.  He currently serves on the IPMBA Board as President.  He can be reached at david.hildebrand@cityofdenton.com

(c) 2009 IPMBA.  This product review appeared in the Winter 2009 issue of IPMBA News.

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