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When looking around for a good set of goggles for use in your airsoft loadout, several things come to mind: Comfort, fog factor, field of view, price, protection, and user friendliness. Smith Optics Outside the Wire (OTW) goggle series promises clarity and comfort along with a wide variety of color patterns and fits. We got to look at the OTW Tan 499 series goggle in the non-Asian fit. Looking fairly standard for a protective goggle meant for field use, the OTW goggles meet US standard MIL-DTL-43511D, ANSI Z87.1-2003 and EN166 safety standards. This durability is easily apparent in the removable lens which is very rigid, unlike some replica military goggles out there. The stock strap features a dust cover and adjustment buckles that make sizing the goggles simple.

In terms of comfort, the thin foam lining that surrounds the inner edges of the goggles do not have a lot of padding, but their firmness means they are not going to “go flat” at any point soon. Also, the firm foam is flame-resistant as well as anti-microbial, both very important things! Unfortunately, the Tapered Lens Technology (TLT) which helps the goggles to provide a distortion-free view of the world inversely-affects their comfort. The progressively-tapered lens gives the goggles an unnatural curve which doesn’t quite fit one’s face they way you hope they would. To their benefit, this technology does indeed provide a distortion-free view, but you may sacrifice a full seal over a lower half face mask in the process of wearing them. Against my skin, the goggles did provide a full seal, despite their sharp curvature.

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The biggest problem I encountered with the goggles was the fogging. These goggles seemed to fog up a lot easier than other airsoft goggles I have used. Even with some anti-fog rubbed on the lens, moisture still appeared after a while. Now, it has been rather humid down here in Southern California for the last couple of weeks, so I would wager that this would ease up a bit in drier climates or shorter games (I played in several hour-long games). Another factor in their fogging was the wearing of a lower half mask with them. Because of their curve and being unnaturally-seated against the half mask, it was easier for breath to travel up into the lens area. I found one fix for this is to poke holes into the foam-covered vent slots at the top and bottom sides of the mask. However, you MUST be careful in doing so as you may make the mask unsafe for airsoft use in the process.

Something that I get asked a lot is how a person attaches their goggles to a MICH or FAST helmet. Thankfully, Smith Optics has a solution for this with their OTW Bungee Quick Strap. Retailing for $30 dollars, these straps replace the stock straps on the Outside the Wire (OTW) goggles and each features two bungee chords connected to a Velcro piece. Removing and attaching straps to the OTW goggles is a simple matter of pulling them off each end in a twisting motion. Once installed, it is recommended that you attach the included rail mounts to your helmet’s side rails. Then, it’s a simple matter of hooking your goggle straps to each mount and wearing them at will. The system will even work on helmets with COMTAC style headsets mounted to its side rails. The bungee is easily maneuvered through obstruction for a nice, snug attachment point. Playing a large number of games with the OTW goggles attached to my FAST helmet, I found it very easy to take them on and off, and not having to worry about putting them in a carrying case when not in use was simply aces.

On their own, I give the Smith Optics Outside the Wire (OTW) goggles a 3 out of 5 rating for airsoft use. However, when coupled with the OTW Bungee Quick Strap, I elevate the rating to a 4 out of 5. The ease of attaching these goggles to a helmet and the user friendliness that such a setup provides is of great value to an airsofter out looking to have some fun games. Now, these goggles are meant for field use and, for that purpose where you would not be trying to seat them against a half mask, their protective qualities are very apparent – this review was looking at their usage in an airsoft environment.

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Outside the Wire (OTW) goggles product link

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com