Most of the other writers on Spotter Up are not as…seasoned…as some of us. They can still stay out all night long drinking and get up at oh dark thirty for ruck march like nothing happened. Some of us (I’m talking to you Michael Green), however, have noticed that we are getting a little older.
In addition to asking people to repeat themselves so I can hear them (wear your ear pro kids), I’ve noticed I need longer arms to see what I need to see lately. Now, I haven’t stooped to enlarging the text on my iPhone, but I finally caved and bought reading glasses. Or should I say, several pairs, because once you start using them you realize you need a pair in every room, the office, each car and hell, even the bathroom.
Recently, I started noticing that my front sight was not as sharp as I liked. As often happens though with gradual decline, it had crept up on me. Traditional reading glasses don’t provide the protection that shooting glasses do, and regular bifocals have you tilting your head back to use the reading lens at the bottom. And shooting glasses over reading glasses is cumbersome.
SSP has developed a range of tactical and other sporting glasses with built in magnification with no prescription needed. Their goal is to give you the magnification you need, without forcing unnatural head tilts that change your shooting stance.
You can chose which level of magnification you need. SSP recommends you check what you need at a local reading glass display by holding a pencil at arm’s length while trying different magnification options. I was fortunate, in my case, it was the same as my regular reading glasses, 1.0.
From the manufacturers web site
The SSP Top Focal Assorted Kit Features:
- Anti-fog coating, is double sided & permanently bonded to the lens, lasting 65% longer
- Feature optically correct, de-centered, shatterproof, polycarbonate lenses to virtually eliminate distortion
- Offer sharp peripheral vision, without any blind spots
- Permanent durable anti-scratch hard coating
- Provide 100% protection from harmful UVA/UVB rays
- Durable TR-90 Nylon matte black frame
- Anti-Fog venting between the frame and lens
- Rubber nose and ear pads
- Fits narrow, round, and up to XL faces
- Magnifier at the top of the lens is 3/8 inch from the top of the frame down by 1-1/4 inch wide
- Frames are 1-3/4″ tall and 5-3/4″ wide at the front
- Weight is 1 oz
- Comes in magnification powers: 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, 1.75, 2.00, 2.50 & 3.00
- NTOA (National Tactical Officers Association) approved & recommended
- Exceeds ANSI Z87.1+2015 specifications for high impact protection
My SSP Top Focal Assorted Kit arrived in a padded neoprene case with three sets of anti-fog lenses (amber, clear, & smoked) for various lighting situations. The kit comes with a micro fiber cleaning cloth and the pouch has belt loops on it, but, I’m definitely not gonna be that guy.
The lenses are shatterproof polycarbonate and have anti-fog coating on both sides. They block 100% of UVA/UVB light. The bifocal portion of the lens starts 3.8 inch from the top of the frame and is 1 1/4 inch wide.
Using the glasses
When I put on my new SSP Top Focal shooting glasses though, I was struck by how bad my close vision had become. The SSP Top Focal glasses immediately gave me a clean and crisp front sight picture. My view of the target was marginally more blurry than previously, but not noticeably so.
There is a bit of a learning curve using these. Les so when shooting but more when you stop shooting and want to see non-magnified. It felt weird at first, but I transitioned fairly quickly. Shooting in daylight, at five, 7 and 10 yards with a handgun, and at 50 and 200 with a rifle with iron sights, I was able to reacquire my front sight faster and thus improve accuracy and speed.
I am not a 3 gun, or IDPA shooter, so I can’t attest to how well they function in those variable environments. Nor have I tried the colored lenses yet for differing light conditions.
The only real negative that I see is using these on the range is one thing, but the likelihood you will have them available to you in a self-defense situation is virtually non-existent. Therefore, you really can’t “train as you fight” and you will have to readjust to an blurry front sight. Not that you will ever likely recall your front sight picture in the aftermath of a self defense situation.
SSP also provides instructions for various combinations of lenses that are interesting. I definitely plan to explore some of these options.
- Wear both right and left Top Focal® lenses (sights clear target blur)
- Wear with a Top Focal® lens on your dominant eye and a Chelan lens (no magnification) on your
non-dominant eye. (sights clear, target unobstructed both eyes open)
- Wear with a Top Focal® lens on your dominant eye and a Denial lens (bottom bifocal) on your
non-dominant eye. (sights clear, target clear, reading clear)
- Swap any of the above methods to shoot with your weak non-dominant hand/eye
SSP has other options available, including a bottom focal option. All offer the same wrap-around protective ANSI- rate lenses so you know your eyes will be well protected. Top Focals are available in 1.00, 1.25, 1.50, 1.75, 2.00, 2.25, 2.50 & 3.00. The kits start at $59 for the basic version from SSP and go up from there. You may find cheaper pricing available from other online retailers.
I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up 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.