Duncan Busby gets an eyeful of the shooting glasses specialist’s latest innovation.
Few archers have perfect vision and luckily it’s not needed to shoot well; as long as your aim is consistent and unobstructed you can knock out the 10s every time. So how do you ensure your aim is consistent? Bright sun can cause you to squint just as much as gloaming darkness; you can’t control your shooting conditions, but you can increase the performance of your eyes. Most archers have to remove their sunglasses to shoot because the frames obstruct their aim. This sudden change in light conditions can shock your eyes and alter your focus.
Poor light conditions can make it tricky to see the target; colours are dim and your eyes have to strain to focus. The goal of X Sight’s low-light lenses is to enhance colours to make the ambient surroundings more vibrant, so target colours pop and appear with more clarity, as well as to protect your eyes from damage and allow them to remain relaxed and focused.
Shoot in colour
The X Sight 2RX shooting glasses are suitable for archers of all abilities. The features include ‘enhanced airflow technology’ to reduce the chance of lens fogging; a soft rubber brow bar is fixed through each lens to enable air to circulate and heat to escape.
They use a one-piece frameless wraparound lens to ensure that your field of vision is completely unobstructed. The ‘frame tilt’ allows archers to vertically adjust the position of the frame and tilt the angle of the lens towards or away from their face, tailoring the fit of the glasses to their particular field of vision. They also increase safety in the case of accidents.
Every lens in the range offers UV400 protection, effectively blocking 99.5% to 100% of all UVA/UVB ultraviolet radiation – this includes the clear lens. This is important because squinting can also lead to a subtle reposition of your facial muscles, and even the smallest change to your form can affect your ability to replicate the same shot sequence again and again.
The intense filtration the coloured lenses provide has quite a dramatic effect on your vision. By enhancing specific colours, they can help you centre, increase ‘awareness’ and improve visual clarity. HD Brown blocks so much light that it enables you to see detail on the horizon not normally seen with the naked eye.
Xtrm Yellow turns the dullest light into a bright and sunny day. They do take some getting used to. X Sight lenses are graded on a visual light transmission (VLT) scale and its percentage reflects the amount of light that shows through the lens. The higher the VLT percentage, the more light it allows through. The clear lens has a VLT of 100%.
Shoot with prescription lenses
Newly introduced to the X Sight range is the RX insert, RX being the commonly denoted symbol for a medical prescription. The RX insert allows you to utilise all the benefits and features of professional coloured shooting glasses with your prescription eyewear. Unlike traditional frames, which are flat, RX inserts are curved to adapt to the wraparound style of X Sight performance glasses.
The RX insert can be filled with your prescription lenses by most opticians. It is then fixed in place behind the X Sight lens using grooves in the ventilation bar, making it quick and easy to switch between colours. Check with your optician about the suitability of your prescription for RX inserts.
Shooting with X Sights
I was lucky enough to test the 2RX shooting glasses in a range of colours, including the Target Contrast set, and I was impressed with their quality and presentation. The zip-up hard case holds up to five coloured lenses securely.
The shooting glasses are extremely lightweight, and though they are available in only one size, they fit comfortably. The glasses are designed to be used without nose pads to allow the lenses to sit more closely, creating an unobstructed field of vision, but there is the option to add nose pads should you want to. I found the frame tilt option handy. Being able to adjust the angle of the lens meant I could position the glasses comfortably for my field of view.
The lenses are easy to change thanks to the magnetic clamp attachment system; simply place your thumb over the X Sight logo and your finger on the reverse of the clamp. Then bend the arm in towards the lens to release the magnetic fixing and open the clamp. The clamp will simply slide out of the socket and you can attach the arm on to a different lens.
I’ve enjoyed using the X Sight glasses in a range of light conditions. The HD Brown was particularly helpful when the sun was directly behind the target, a situation that has cost me points in the past. The Xtrm Yellow, Amber and Light Yellow lenses have brightened my poorly lit indoor range without distorting the target colours. I’ll especially appreciate these lenses during the indoor season.
The Ultra Blue, Vivid Green and Ice Blue nicely enhanced the colours on a World Archery 50m face. I use a large black dot to aim, which covers around 70% of the gold. These lenses improved the consistency of my aim by dimming the red zone and making the small visible gold ring pop.
I’m excited to try the X Sight glasses on a field course. The yellow and orange lenses will really make a difference around shaded woodland.
I’m impressed by the X Sight 2RX glasses. Despite their light weight, they felt tough and I’m confident they’ll survive the usual wear and tear archery kit receives throughout the season.
They cost around three times less than similar performance eyewear; the huge range of lens options available, along with the complete accessories kit that comes with every set, make the X Sight glasses great value for money.