Gatorz® Eyewear has added its popular new Specter frame to its protective eyewear options. Gatorz strong ballistic lineup also includes the original Magnum frame, Delta frame, and Wraptor frame offerings.

About Gatorz

Gatorz Eyewear is a performance eyewear company based in Carlsbad, California. It handcrafts all of its eyewear in Yuma, Arizona.

Founded in 1989, Gatorz began with the premise of building billet aluminum eyewear that could stand up to the rigors of extreme sports. The rugged good looks and exceptional durability of Gatorz quickly made them popular with members of the US military.

The earliest military adopters of Gatorz were members of SEAL Teams One, Three, Five, Seven, Special Reconnaissance Team One, Special Boat Team Twelve, and numerous BUD/S instructors. Gatorz popularity subsequently spread to the East Coast SEAL Teams and eventually throughout the SOF community.

The Gatorz Specter is a high-performance frame featuring all the benefits of a wrap style complete with edgy, hard lines. An entirely new Gatorz look, this style offers enhanced eye protection.

Gatorz ANSI Z87.1 MILSPEC Ballistic Specter

Gatorz provided me with the ANSI Z87.1 MILSPEC Ballistic Specter with Cerakote Blackout frame and smoke lens. I was immediately impressed and remain so.

The patent-pending Specter frame is an entirely new Gatorz design. It combines the benefits of a wrap-style frame with “edgy” hard lines. It has a flatter front and smooth transition to the straight temples. Step-downs on the side give it added style. It has an interlocking hinge that helps eliminate peripheral light from getting in. The Specter looks great on all face shapes. The ballistic-rated Specter is ANSI Z87+ and MILSPEC Ballistic rated.

The ANSI Z87.1 Standard is designed to help eliminate eye and face hazards in occupational and educational settings. ANSI/ISEA impact rated eyewear carries the Z87+ mark on both the lens and the frame or housing. Z87+ means that the eyewear meets a higher impact standard and goes through a much tougher set of tests than the basic Z87 standard.

There are two main tests for Z87+: high mass and high velocity. In the high mass test, a 500-gram (17.6 oz) pointed weight is dropped from a height of 50 inches (127 cm) onto the lenses that are mounted on a head form. No pieces from the frames or lenses may break free or fracture. In the high velocity test, a 0.25-inch (0.635 cm) steel ball is shot at the lens on the head form at 150 fps (45.72 m/s). The pass/fail for the high velocity test is the same as for the high mass test, with the added requirement that no part of the lens may touch the “eye” on the head form.

Commercial eyewear products, even if marked ANSI/ISEA Z87.1 compliant, don’t necessarily meet military impact requirements. The US military MIL-PRF-32432A Clause 4.8.4 Ballistic Fragmentation Protection Standard impact testing is much more stringent than ANSI/ISEA Z87.1.

The MIL-PRF-32432A ballistic fragmentation performance requirement requires Class 1 eyewear (spectacles) withstand two hits with a 0.15-caliber (3.81 mm), 585 (± 0.15) grain, T37 shaped projectile at 700 to 725 fps (213.36 to 220.98 m/s) to the primary lens. This is approximately seven times the kinetic energy level of ANSI Z87.1 impact tests.

Lens options for the Gatorz’ ballistic lineup range from smoked, Inferno (photochromic) or clear lenses. Some limited-edition eyewear is available, as well as the Specter frame in Cerakote® Gunmetal, OD Green, or tan frames with smoked lenses. Gatorz provided me with the Specter frame In Cerakote Blackout with smoked lenses.

The Gatorz Specter has lightweight, durable 7075-T6 aluminum frame with rigged 5-barrel stainless steel hinges. The frame and nosepiece are fully adjustable. Thin temples comfortably fit under helmets and ear pro.

The lenses are made of optical grade polycarbonate and have a scratch-resistant hydrophobic and oleophobic coating that repels water and provides oil, sweat, sunscreen, and other chemical protection. They resist fingerprint smudges and fogging. Not once have I had the lenses fog up on me. Gatorz lenses have outstanding optical clarity with no distortion.

Polycarbonate lenses are the most impact-resistant lenses available. They’re lighter and thinner than glass or plastic lenses and have from 10 to 20 times more impact resistance. In addition, polycarbonate inherently blocks 100% of UV rays up to 400nm (UV400 protection).

Gatorz frames are built from lightweight, extremely durable, aircraft-grade billet 7075-T6 aluminum alloy that fully surrounds the lens. T6 tempered 7075 aluminum is a high-strength alloy that offers good stress-corrosion cracking resistance. It features a similar level of strength as many steel alloys, while being lightweight and corrosion resistant. The frames are nearly indestructible.

The strength of the aluminum allows Gatorz frames to be very thin compared to polymer frames, which by necessity must be thicker. Gatorz frames have a low-profile temple design that provides comfort while wearing helmets, comms headsets or over-the-ear hearing protection and doesn’t interfere with them.

The frames are built like a tank. Gatorz frames feature two super-strong 5-barrel stainless steel hinges on each temple The hinges are securely riveted in place with Gatorz classic signature four rivets.

The Gatorz Specter is more comfortable than any sunglasses that I have worn. All Gatorz frames, temples and nose-pieces are fully adjustable for a precise custom fit by simply slowly bending them to fit. The nosepiece is made of anti-slip silicone rubber with metal reinforcement. Long and Standard nosepieces are available. They’re interchangeable and can be used on all Gatorz styles.

Gatorz eyewear comes in a rugged hinged aluminum case with a soft microfiber drawstring pouch that can also be used to clean the lenses. A zippered rigid MOLLE case with American flag patch is available as an optional accessory. The Molle case is equipped with straps on the back for attachment to PALS webbing.

Gatorz Specter comes with a hinged aluminum clam-shell case and a microfiber drawstring pouch. A MOLLE case is available as optional accessory.

Final Thoughts

Ballistic eye pro isn’t just for the range or battlefield. It’s for everyday. Eye injuries can happen virtually anytime and anyplace. You’ve only got one pair of eyes and you can’t replace them. Proper eye protection is essential. Standard (non-ballistic-rated) sunglasses provide protection from UV but provide inadequate protection from impact and may shatter into secondary projectiles.

Gatorz has covered all of the bases with its ANSI Z87.1 MILSPEC Ballistic Specter. Gatorz ANSI Z87.1 MILSPEC Ballistic Specter has a MSRP of $300.00 with the smoke or clear lens. MSRP is $360.00 with the Inferno (photochromic) lens. Gatorz offers a discount to active, retired, and veteran military. It also offer a discount to first responder, doctors, nurses, public service/government personnel.

Gatorz stands by its products. The company offers a 30-day return police. The frames are covered by a limited lifetime warranty.

Gatorz is a supporter of the Navy SEAL FoundationGreen Beret Foundation and Global SOF Foundation.

To find out more about all of the Gatorz ANSI/MILSPEC protective eyewear, visit


Gatorz Eyewear

Material Disclosure

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based off my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

By Eugene Nielsen

Eugene Nielsen owns and operates a private intelligence and security consulting firm. He has a BA degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Political Science. His byline has appeared on over 1,500 articles published in major national and international journals and magazines. He was on Contributing Staff of SWAT Magazine for over 20 years.

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