Ballistic eye pro isn’t just for the range or battlefield. It’s for every day. 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.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 2,000 eye injuries occur every day at work in the US. Wearing the proper eyewear could prevent more than 90% of all eye injuries.

Wiley X

Wiley X, an American company known for its high-quality protective eyewear, was established in 1987 as Protective Optics, Inc. by the late Myles R. Freeman Sr., a US Army Veteran Initially, the company focused on crafting cutting-edge sunglasses, goggles and gloves for the US military.

Freeman’s military experience played a significant role in the founding and development of Wiley X. His understanding of the need for high-quality protective gear to protect those who protect America was a driving force behind the company’s success.

By 1990, Wiley X broadened its product range to cater to civilian needs, offering protective eyewear and sunglasses for activities like motorsports, cycling, fishing, hunting, and industrial manufacturing. In 2007, the company underwent a re-branding, changing its name from Protective Optics, Inc. to Wiley X, Inc.

Throughout the years, Wiley X has remained dedicated to innovation, earning a reputation for producing eyewear that meets the ANSI Z87.1+ standards for clarity, high-velocity, and high mass impacts. In 2022, the company relocated its headquarters to Frisco, TX.

Today, Wiley X continues to supply top-tier protective eyewear to various sectors that require impact resistance. Whether it’s for military use, outdoor activities, or daily wear, Wiley X is committed to safeguarding the vision of those who safeguard America. Wiley X is an ISO 9001 certified company.


Wiley X provided me with its WX VALOR with matte black frame and three lens system (smoke gray, light rust and clear lenses). A tan frame and single and dual lens systems are also available as options.

WX VALOR with black frame and light rust lenses. All WX Valor lenses meets the MIL-PRF-32432A ballistic standards. The lenses also comply with ANSI Z87.1+ for optical clarity and high mass/high velocity impact standard.

The WX VALOR is a standout product, featuring a semi-rimless frame that is lightweight for comfort. The semi-rimless design provides an unobstructed view and allows for airflow. The lightweight frames are constructed of Triloid nylon, a type of nylon that’s known for its toughness and durability. The low-profile design of the temples allows for a seamless fit under helmets, communication headsets, and over-the-ear hearing protection devices. The temples are tipped with rubber, ensuring the glasses stay in place even during intense activities. The frame has a medium head size optimal fit, although it fits comfortably on most face and head sizes. The glasses are prescription ready. Weight is 22 grams (0.776 oz.).

The WX VALOR features interchangeable lenses, providing exceptional protection and visibility under any condition. The interchangeable lens system enables the wearer to transition to clear lenses for low-light operations in dimmer light conditions and also makes it easy to replace the lenses if needed. It should be noted that the lenses are no longer interchangeable after a prescription.

The lenses of the WX VALOR are made from Selenite™ Polycarbonate, a shatterproof material that meets the MIL-PRF-32432A ballistic standards. The lenses also comply with ANSI Z87.1+ for optical clarity and high mass/high velocity impact standards, as well as US Federal OSHA 1910.133(b)(1)(1) standards. They offer 100% UVA/UVB protection and distortion-free clarity. The lenses are coated with T-Shell™, which resists scratching, ensuring longevity. They also feature Foil™ anti-fog lens coating to help prevent fogging. The lenses are distortion free and provide superior clarity.

The WX VALOR is available with smoke gray, polarized gray clear and light rust lenses. The gray lenses excel in moderate to bright light conditions. Only gray and clear lenses provide true color perception. They are the only lenses approved for wear by the military, with the exception of products with approved laser protective lenses. The light rust lenses provide excellent depth perception, improve contrast, make your surroundings appear brighter, cut through glare, and reduce eye strain in moderate to low level light conditions.

The polarized gray lenses are designed for bright conditions where glare is a problem. They have a built-in laminated filter that allows only vertical light rays to pass through. The polarization almost totally blocks horizontal rays, thus eliminating reflected glare. They are great option for people who enjoy watersports, fishing, skiing, and other outdoor activities. On the downside, polarized lenses can block the visibility of many electronic displays. Many modern electronic displays rely on polarization. They can make slippery surfaces more difficult to see and can alter your depth perception.

The FAA recommends against the use of polarized lenses by pilots as they can impair visibility through an aircraft windscreen by enhancing striations in laminated materials and also mask the glint of light that reflects off shiny surfaces such as another aircraft’s wing or windscreen, which can reduce the time a pilot has to react in a “see-and-avoid” traffic situation.

WX VALOR with tan frame and smoke gray lenses. The WX VALOR is available with smoke gray, polarized gray, clear and light rust lenses. The lenses are user interchangeable.

The WX VALOR is listed on the US Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL®) Qualified Products List (QPL), further attesting to its quality and performance.

ANSI Z87.1 Standard

The ANSI Z87.1 Standard is a comprehensive guideline developed to mitigate eye and face hazards in occupational and educational environments. It outlines the criteria for selecting, using, and maintaining various face and eye protectors, promoting the most effective materials and methods of use. Adherence to this standard is voluntary.

The current version of the standard, ANSI/ISEA Z87.1-2020, is the second revision since 2010. The 2010 revision marked a significant shift towards a hazard-based approach. Prior to this, protective eyewear was classified as either basic or high impact. However, starting with ANSI Z87.1-2010, eyewear is now classified as either non-impact or impact rated. The 2020 edition further refines these changes and addresses issues related to new technologies not previously covered in ANSI/ISEA Z87.1.

The Z87+ standard involves two main tests. In the ANSI high mass test, a pointed weight of 500 grams (17.6 oz.) is dropped from a height of 50 inches (127 cm) onto lenses mounted on a head form. No parts of 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 criteria for the high velocity test are 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.

The standard also ensures optical precision, impact resistance on frames equipped with prescription and standard glasses (made of two-millimeter-thick polycarbonate), anti-fog and anti-scratch coating, UVA and UVB filtering, frame resistance, and side protection.

Eyewear that passes the impact tests carry the Z87+ mark on both the lens and the frame or housing. Prescription products that comply with the standard are marked with Z87-2+. It’s important to note that commercial eyewear products, even if marked ANSI Z87.1 compliant, may not necessarily meet military impact requirements.

WX VALOR with black frame and clear lenses. The WX Valor has met all military requirements for MCEP eyewear.

US Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) System

The US Military Combat Eye Protection (MCEP) System, which adheres to the specifications for combat eye protection (MIL-PRF-32432A), has stringent requirements. This specification, revised on 11 September 2018, supersedes the previous version, MIL-PRF-32432, dated 9 January 2013.

MCEP is designed to protect against dust, flying debris, and ballistic hazards during training and battlefield operations, while ensuring compatibility with existing soldier equipment. It is approved for use by all Departments and Agencies of the US Department of Defense (DoD).

MCEP eyewear undergoes rigorous testing. This includes tests for ballistic fragmentation, optical quality, operational testing as prescribed in MIL-PRF-32432A, and certification to the ANSI Z87.1 Standard for Occupational and Educational Personal Eye and Face Protection Devices.

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

Eyewear that meets military ballistic standards can be identified by reading the manufacturer’s product description or by purchasing those listed on the APEL QPL. Only eyewear on the APEL has been validated against Army requirements for ballistic fragmentation protection.

Eyewear qualified by APEL will be labeled as such on the packaging and frame. Army regulations stipulate that eyewear not on the APEL is not authorized for wear during combat, training, or when there’s a risk of impact injury to the eyes, with the exception of situations where laser protection is necessary.

The WX VALOR is on the US Army’s Authorized Protective Eyewear List Qualified Products List.

Final Thoughts

Wiley X has left no stone unturned with its WX VALOR. It showcases superior design, craftsmanship, and quality. It’s robust, fashionable, comfortable, and offers maximum, protection. The system of interchangeable lenses adds to its versatility. Like all Wiley X products, it’s designed and manufactured in the USA. The WX VALOR appeared in the film American Sniper.

MSRP for the WX VALOR runs from $85.00 to $150.00 USD depending on your choice of options. The WX VALOR comes with a black nylon zippered clamshell protective case with clip and belt loops, cleaning cloth with Wiley X logo, and leash cord with rubber grips.

WX VALOR protective case.


Wiley X

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 provides intelligence and security consulting services. He has a bachelor's degree in political science from the University of California. His byline has appeared in numerous national and international journals and magazines.

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