We Found the Breaking Point Of Jackson’s Nemesis Safety Glasses During Our Review

How do you solve a problem like uncomfortable eye protection?

byMatt Thorson| UPDATED Aug 11, 2021 5:46 AM
We Found the Breaking Point Of Jackson’s Nemesis Safety Glasses During Our Review

Jackson Nemesis safety glasses are everything your boss expects to get the job done, but they do it with a style and flair that goes against what most people imagine as personal protective equipment or PPE.

Jackson offers an alternative to the cheap and uncomfortable with its Nemesis line, with as much focus on the fitment, comfort, and styling as on safety. While they aren’t the $2 pair of readily available safety glasses—we got ours on Amazon for $6.95—bulk prices are available to help curb the burn. From a wraparound lens to the lightweight plastic to the rubber nose and earpieces, Nemesis glasses fit comfortably and offer superior protection along with multiple lens options for a variety of applications.

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more, Matt Thorson

If you are looking for eye protection that is as cool as your rusted-out hot rod and great at keeping rust out of your eyes while you’re wrenching, take the time to check out the Jackson Nemesis safety glasses. 

Unboxing Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

I received my glasses in the mail, and outside of the bubble envelope for shipping, the glasses came to me the same way I have received many pairs over the years: in a simple cellophane bag along with black nylon retaining strap. Jackson offers six lens and two frame options for the Nemesis: clear, clear with anti-fog, indoor/outdoor, smoke with anti-fog, bronze or amber for the lenses, and black or camouflage for the frames.

I ordered the black frames with the dark smoked lenses, and they look spectacular. They are lightweight yet have a quality feel to them. The retaining strap is a nice feature included with the glasses, but they are difficult to install on the earpieces. 

Some assembly required. , Matt Thorson

Getting After It With Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

  • Good: Comfortable and stylish without compromising protection and coverage.
  • Bad: While the lenses are safety rated, it doesn’t take much to scratch them.
  • Check Latest Price

I have recently discovered a way of testing safety glasses that’s both fun and informative. I shoot them. My oldest son’s BB gun works great for testing the limits of the only thing between your eyes and the dirt and grime under a car or the sparks from an angle grinder. Outside of a spur-of-the-moment Airsoft war breaking out in your shop, a BB flying at your eye is not a common occurrence. This test does, however, offer a tangible demonstration of the level of protection that safety glasses can offer.

The BB gun delivers the .177-inch lead shot at about 300 feet-per-second and, from a distance of about five feet, the Jackson Nemesis' were not sparred. I shot the lens four times, hit the nosepiece three times, and shot the earpiece a couple of times for good measure. Outside of the small dent left in the plastic lens, the glasses performed well in all tests except the last one. This time I aimed at the inside of the lens, the side your eyes would be on and squeezed the trigger.

The damage was catastrophic. There were pieces strewn across my back yard (only inches apart, really). Unfortunately, this final shot also found its way to the frame at the top of the lens and took a chunk out. This left the lens dangling from the nosepiece and the earpiece on that side completely separated from the rest of the frame. The Nemesis safety glasses had fallen at the hands of its archnemesis, the BB gun.

Of course, this isn't a likely scernario given the last shot was aimed at the inside of the glasses, a location that probably won't  see an impact. Yet, I expect safety glasses to be designed to withstand multiple impacts without breaking and these, well, they didn't live up to that.

What’s Good About Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

When it comes down to it, the Jackson Nemesis safety glasses are quite capable of protecting your eyes. That, coupled with fantastic styling and sold fitting and comfort, they've got a lot going for them. Even at two to three times the cost of the cheapest glasses on the market, the compliance and comfort that comes with the Nemesis is hard to beat.

What’s Not Great About Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

The glasses have a few shortcomings, but the one that would be the hardest to deal with is how easily the lenses get scratched. I have a habit of putting my safety glasses up on my hat when I’m not wearing them, and in the heat of the summer I find myself pulling my hat off to wipe my brow, inevitably dropping my glasses on the ground. This has ruined many pairs of safety glasses in the past, and unfortunately the Jackson Nemesis were not an exception. 

Safety glasses should be designed to offer maximum protections as well as a clear vision of what’s being worked on. While protection is undeniably crucial, once the glasses are scratched the view field is compromised. And these glasses scratch far too easily. Nemesis safety glasses may never break (unless you shoot them from the inside, it seems), but it probably won’t be long until they become too scratched to be useful.

The Jackson Nemesis' smoked lenses., Matt Thorson

Our Verdict on Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

The only effective safety glasses are the ones that are worn, and to its credit, Jackson's Nemesis is both comfortable and stylish, meaning neither will impact wearability. Yet, while the Nemesis is safe—deflecting 300 FPS BBs at five feet is no small feat—its easily scratched lenses, and an edge-case breakthrough, give us pause when hovering over the Buy It Now button.

Yes, you have to wear safety glasses to make them useful, but if you're eyesight is blurred because of Jackson Pollock-esque scratches, you could be putting yourself in harms way. And while $6.95 isn't extremely expensive, if you're replacing them after heavy use every few weeks, you're doing yourself a diservice. Especially when Executive Editor Jonathon Klein swears by his scratch-resistant Kleenguard Mavericks—they've taken multiple wood shrapnel hits and show no scars—priced as of the time of writing at just $8.85 on Amazon.  

While the Jackson Nemesis are solid in terms of safety and style, their ability to be easily scratched has us looking elsewhere. 

While the Jackson Nemesis are solid in terms of safety and style, their ability to be easily scratched has us looking elsewhere. 

FAQs About Jackson Nemesis Safety Glasses

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q. Can a face shield be used instead of safety glasses?

A. A face shield is typically used in addition to safety glasses to protect the face. 

Q. How long do safety glasses last?

A. Most experts suggest three to five years without incident before needing replacement.

Our Gear Section

The Drive's Gear section is our brand-new baby, and we want it to grow. In the interest of clarity, we want you, our dear readers, to know that the products we get in arrive from a variety of sources, including those we purchase ourselves and those we receive from manufacturers. No matter the source, we maintain our editorial independence and will always give you our honest assessment of any product we test. 

We cannot be bought — unless you wave $1 billion in our faces. Maybe then we'll consider it.

Let’s Talk: Comment Below To Talk With The Drive’s Editors

We’re here to be expert guides in everything “how to” and product related. Use us, compliment us, yell at us. Comment below, and let’s talk, y’all. You can also shout at us on Twitter or Instagram. You can also reach us at guidesandgear@thedrive.com.