Words: Alex Ko
For many years now, I’ve used the Oakley Flak Jacket XLJ product line for both daily wear and shooting sports/classes. I recently found out that they’re in the process of discontinuing the Flak XLJ’s. Thanks to Xiao at the Oakley SI division, I’ve had the opportunity to put a few of their other products through some USPSA matches and a few shooting courses.
• Flak XLJ – Good eye coverage with decent field of view, but a little cumbersome to swap lenses. Being discontinued.
• Flak 2.0 XL – A solid update. I went with the XL model as the lens was slightly wider and stretched lower than the regular 2.0 lens. My only dislike was the frame indents on the outside edges of the lenses, I sometimes notice them in my peripheral vision. YMMV, some people don’t notice it.
• Speed Jacket – Aesthetically similar to the Flak and Flak 2.0, this new frame features a quick change lens system. To make them more comfortable when worn under over-the-ear hearing protection, the arms of the frame don’t have a rubberized sleeve and are thinner.
• Flak Draft – uses the same lenses as the Speed Jacket. The frame is almost aesthetically identical to the Speed Jacket with some slight detail differences, but more notably it does have rubberized arms making them perfect for me now that I’ve switched to FF-12 electronic in-ear hearing protection by Harris and Sons.
For my current needs and preferences, they all have their strengths but the Oakley “Flak Draft” is the winner.
In terms of lenses, I love the Prizm TR45 lens. The Oakley Prizm technology is a game changer allowing me to see clear contrast between targets and the dirt berm behind them. The “45” of TR45 is the light transmission value (so they allow more light to pass through than the TR22’s). TR45’s work well for all day use though I’d still recommend switching to clear lenses for dawn/dusk/low light shooting.
Some Oakley frames (and prescription lenses if you need that) don’t have the TR45 lens option so I’d suggest going with either the Prizm Trail or Prizm Golf lenses. Both the Trail and Golf lenses will give you similar results to the TR45’s but will also further enhance certain other colors.