Lifestyle

Don Draper’s US Military Standard Issue Aviators

You know about Ray-Ban and its use in Top Gun, but did you know that since 1982, the Randolph Aviator has been standard issue for the Air Force? Founded in 1972 in Massachusetts, Randolph began manufacturing Mil-Spec aves for the Air Force in the late 1970s before earning their own contracts in 1982. Straddling the line between military contractor and civilian dealer hasn't always been easy, and during Operation Desert Storm, Randolph paused their commercial program to accommodate the DOD's demands.

The Aviator - $179 (or cheaper)
This pair of sunglasses actually has more badass names—"HGU4/P" and "MIL-S-25948." As you might have guessed, they are the military issue numbers, which signify their legit-ness. These are the real deal, folks. They currently supply the Army, Navy, and Air Force with these bad boys.

The Sportsman - $179
With the brow-bar reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson's pair of Ray-Ban Outdoorsmans, these are meant for battles with deer and fish, not planes. Available in gun metal, matte black, and 23-carat gold plated, these made-in-the-USA beauties are the last thing many animals will see.

The Crew Chief - $179
This is Randolph's most standard aviator, eschewing their flagship pair's squared-off bottom for the classic curves of the Ray-Ban original. With that rounded edge, it looks slightly less militaristic than its sibling, whose shape is the one you know from Top Gun.

The P-3 - $149
These frames were originally intended to be used as prescription glasses for US Navy members in submarines, but were pressed into a sunnier use above the sea. While they're round, their size replaces any Lennon look with Randolph's military-chic.


Ethan Wolff-Mann is an editor at Supercompressor. He is not currently wearing sunglasses. Follow him on Twitter @ewolffmann.