U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Last spring when I was at the A*B Arms Media Day out in West Virginia at Panthera Trainer Center, I had a chance to try a new type of eye protection which blew my mind. I got to demo the Ctrl Eyewear equipped with e-Tint inside the massive 6000 sq ft PTC shoot house. Having a background in engineering, the technology behind these glasses just amazed me. Even though I got to play with them, I didn't have enough hands-on experience with the glasses to do a proper write-up for the Ammoland readers.
I recently was contacted by the folks over at Ctrl Eyewear to see if I would be interested in trying out their glasses with e-Tint for a few weeks to see how I liked them. Being amazed by the lenses at the A*B Arms Media Day made my decision an easy one. I jumped at the opportunity, and told them to send them over!
The Ctrl Eyewear with e-Tint technology is not your every day eye protection or sunglasses. What makes these glasses unique is the ability to go from light to dark and back again in one-tenth of a second by just hitting a small button located right on the frame of the eyewear. These glasses are like something straight out of a science fiction movie.
Ctrl Eyewear accomplishes this amazing feat in the sunglasses by something called e-Tint. The e-Tint pulls this off by sandwiching a liquid crystal screen between two polycarbonate lenses held together by a polycarbonate frame. The eyewear's frame has a built-in rechargeable battery that lasts almost a month before it needs recharging. The glasses come with a flat micro USB cable to allow for recharging of the lenses. This cable is the same that comes with most phone chargers.
The Ctrl Eyewear also comes with a stylish hard case that protects the eyewear from accidents. On the inside of the case is a small netted pocket that can be used to store the micro USB cable. It also comes with a sunglass bag that also doubles as a cleaning cloth for the glasses which is very useful. The last thing that is included by Ctrl Eyewear in the package is a strap that allows the wearer to secure the glasses around their neck to prevent the eyewear from falling and breaking.
Another cool feature that the manufacturer included on the Ctrl Eyewear is the ability to put the e-Tint into an automatic mode quickly. All the wearer has to do is hold down the same button that is used to darken the lenses for three seconds. The lenses will then blink three times letting the wearer know the glasses is in automatic mode. I like the single button design on the frame. I think it simplifies the use of the e-Tint.
When the light levels reach a certain point, the Ctrl Eyewear will automatically darken for the wearer. Then when it gets a little bit darker, the glasses will then lighten up. This automatic setting is a neat feature that works pretty well in most cases. To turn this feature off the wearer just repeats the same procedure by holding down the darkening button for three seconds until the lenses flash once more.
The lenses in the Ctrl Eyewear are ballistic lenses built to the military Mil-PRF-32432A specifications. Ctrl Eyewear manufactured the glasses to this spec because they mainly designed them for military use in the Navy, Air Force, and Army (Sorry Marines). A company called AlphaMicron has been developing the e-Tint solution since 1996. The ballistic protection is why I started using the Ctrl Eyewear as my primary eye protection when I went shooting at the range.
The idea of the Ctrl Eyewear is that the warfighter could go from a bright environment into a dark background without having to remove their glasses. In automatic mode, the soldier wouldn't even have to touch the eye protection at all. It took AlphaMicron about a decade to develop the liquid crystal tent, but the company finally created the e-Tint that can be found in the lenses of the Ctrl Eyewear. According to Ctrl Eyewear, the Navy SEALS are currently testing the glasses.
I did run into one issue with the Ctrl Eyewear using the automatic setting when driving. I was driving down a tree-lined road, and I was going from bright sun to the shade of the trees very rapidly and repeatedly. The glasses tint would go on and off very quickly almost causing a strobe-like effect. I had to turn off the automatic setting because the constant change in darkness was too distracting to drive on the tree-lined road. To be fair during my testing I did a lot of driving on the open highway, and the Ctrl Eyewear worked perfectly in the automatic setting. I think I just had the perfect storm of conditions on the tree-lined road.
When it comes to eyewear, an important thing is how they look. I like the look and feel of the Ctrl Eyewear. Not only do they protect my eyes but the glasses look good while doing so. They remind me of wrap around Oakley glasses that are so prevalent in military and shooting circles. Th ability to adjust the temple and nose pads are two other pluses with the eyewear. The only thing I don't like about the glasses in the string that keeps them on your neck. I have never been a fan of strings on glasses.
One thing I would like to see with the Ctrl Eyewear is the ability to adjust to multiple levels of brightness. I am not sure how possible that is with the current e-Tint liquid crystal screens, but if it is possible, I will spend a few extra dollars to get a pair that has that ability.
For a starting price of $299 and going up from there these are expensive glasses, but Ctrl Eyewear isn't going for the poolside crowd that is just lounging around. Ctrl Eyewear makes these for the active cyclist, sports shooter, and soldier. For the amount of tech and development that went into these glasses, the price is surprisingly pretty good. They are also available in prescription lenses.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%'ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.