Protecting the eyes when out for a day of shooting is overlooked. However, an errant particle of gunpowder or a shard from an exploding clay pigeon could cause serious injury if the eyes are left unprotected.
Given the endless variety of shooting glasses available, it’s crucial to know what to look for when selecting models tailored to your shooting practice.
This eye protection guide will help you navigate and choose the perfect frame, specialized lens, and adaptable comfort settings, leading to shooting glasses that offer years of seamless protection through thousands and thousands of rounds.
Understanding Shooting Glasses
Although shooting glasses come in many varieties, it’s important to understand the basics of a high-quality pair.
The ANSI Z87.1 Certification ensures that safety glasses, goggles, and other eye protection gear meet the minimum requirements for keeping your eyes safe. When it comes to shooting, it’s crucial that your glasses meet these standards. While other standards like military ballistic impact ratings offer extra protection, Z87.1 glasses are usually enough for most recreational shooting.
Types of Shooting Glasses
Shooting glasses come in general-purpose and specialized varieties.
- General shooting glasses have impact-resistant lenses and frames designed for basic eye protection. They shield against common hazards like ejected shells or clay target fragments.
- Specialized shooting glasses offer enhanced features such as amber lenses for improved contrast when aiming at targets. Others have thicker foam padding or flexible fit designs optimized for shotguns or hunting rifles.
- Many companies offer prescription shooting glasses with shatter-proof polycarbonate lenses and wrap-around frames, enabling people with vision requirements to safely take part in shooting.
Key Features to Look for in the Best Shooting Glasses
When choosing shooting glasses, there are a few key features to prioritize:
- Impact Resistance: this is the most important factor. Look for highly shatterproof lenses that can withstand high-velocity impacts.
- Lens Materials: polycarbonate and Trivex lenses are preferred options as they are very durable and shatter-resistant.
- Lens Thickness: look for at least 3 mm thickness to ensure robust protection.
- Special Lens Treatments:
- Anti-scratch and anti-fog coatings maintain clarity during shooting activities especially when glasses are prone to scratching or fogging.
- UV protection filters against harmful rays.
- Frames should be:
- Lightweight yet durable.
- Made of advanced polymers that resist breakage but absorb shock.
- Flexible to prevent fragmentation hazards if impacted.
- Curved wraparound lenses and a sealed design to block out debrits.
- Additional features:
- Adjustable nose pads and lenses.
- Retention straps/cords.
- Multiple lens and frame colors.
- Carrying cases.
- Allows matching glasses precisely to shooting sport or style.
Lens Color Options
Whether you need crisper target separation, reduced glare, or protection from excessive light intensity, lens color tailors visibility and safety to your specific shooting conditions.
Clear lenses are the standard default, allowing natural, undistorted vision. They work well for most shooting conditions and are a must in darker environments.
Yellow or Amber Lenses
Yellow or amber colored lenses enhance contrast in environments with flat or muted lighting. By blocking some blue light, targets stand out against darker backgrounds. Amber lenses prove especially helpful for shooting disciplines requiring careful aim against fuzzy backgrounds or indistinct targets. Clay target sports benefit from the improved visual acuity of amber tints.
Smoke or Gray Lenses
Gray and smoke lenses reduce overall light transmission, much like sunglass lenses. They cut glare and diffuse harsh light during open, outdoor shooting activities. While clear lenses suffice in many cases, some specialty shooting disciplines rely heavily on lenses with enhanced contrast.
Colored Lenses for Enhanced Contrast
Orange, Vermillion, pink, and purple tints heighten fluorescence to differentiate targets against complex backgrounds under various lighting. Colored lenses essentially filter and focus ambient light to bring out the visual signatures needed to distinguish marks for proper aim.
Frame Design and Comfort
The frame design plays an important role in the fit, comfort, and safety of shooting glasses.
Adjustable features allow you to custom tailor the frame to your facial features and shooting style.
- Flexible nose bridges with adjustable silicone nose pads enable securely fitting the frame flush against the face.
- Adjustable temples calibrated with length settings or interchangeable sizes are ideal for optimizing the grip against the side of the head.
Wraparound vs. Standard Frames
Wraparound frame designs provide a secure protective seal and coverage by eliminating gaps between the glasses and the face. The curved lens shape and close contour design offer extended side shielding. However, the snug fit of wraparound shooting glasses can lead to discomfort if not adequately ventilated.
Finding the Right Fit
Identifying the right frame size and adjustability features that match your facial attributes is crucial. For instance:
- People with spherical faces typically fit well in rounded frames.
- Those with square-shaped faces pair better with boxy shooting glasses.
- Oblong faces tend to do well with full wrap designs.
- It’s important to pay attention to whether your brow position and nose bridge angle match standard frame curvatures or require adjustment.
Special Considerations for Prescription Shooting Glasses
Some manufacturers offer frames designed specifically for prescription lenses that have the same safety features as their non-prescription counterparts. Other companies offer insertable lenses compatible with their shooting glasses line. This option allows the user to swap out normal lenses for prescription lenses without without having to replace the entire frame.
Popular Brands and Models
There is a wide range of brands and models to choose from; and while options abound, several manufacturers stand out as popular choices among shooting sports enthusiasts in the United States.
When researching, some notable names to look into include:
2. Smith Optics: Smith Optics offers a range of shooting glasses. They are known for their ergonomic design and comfort including the Aegis Arc Compact Eyeshield Field Kit. These are designed to provide superior protection and comfort, and they are available in prescription lenses.
3. Revision: Revision Military is a leading manufacturer of protective eyewear for military and law enforcement personnel. They are designed to provide ballistic protection and high-quality lenses. One of their most popular models is the ShadowStrike. These glasses are designed to provide excellent contrast and detail, and they are ANSI rated ballistic eyepro.
4. Tactical RX: Tactical RX offers a variety of protective eyewear, including the
Tactical RX Mt. Falcon Rx: These glasses are designed with comfort in mind, and they are available in prescription lenses as well. They also come with interchangeable lenses, which makes them versatile for different lighting conditions.
5. Beretta: Beretta is another high-quality brand that has a good range of shooting-specific lenses in different color options. One of their popular models is the Beretta Clash Shooting Glasses.
6. Radians: Radians offers inexpensive eyeglasses that can be used as a backup or loaner pair. One of their popular models is the Radians Revelation Glasses.
7. ESS Eyewear: ESS Eyewear offers a variety of glasses with ballistic protection and high-quality lenses. Take a look at their ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor 2x Deluxe Kit.
8. Wiley X: Wiley X offers affordable options like Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses.
9. Gatorz: One of the most popular models of Gatoz is the Gatorz Magnum.
Maintenance and Care
Regular cleaning preserves lens clarity and durability. Use mild soap and lukewarm water, avoiding harsh cleaners or abrasive cloths that could scratch lens coatings. Dry using a soft microfiber cloth designed for glasses.
Repeated cleanings also keep frame grips and surfaces sanitary between users.
Keep glasses in a protective case when not worn. Storing glasses in a cool, dry location keeps lenses from degrading. Avoid laying glasses facing windows or light fixtures where magnifying effects could concentrate intense sunlight on lenses left unattended for long periods. Following diligent maintenance habits preserves optical clarity and safety performance while extending product lifespan through multiple shooting seasons.
Opt for durable shooting glasses designed to meet your needs. Use this buyer’s guide to find the ideal vision protection for seamless performance, and prioritize investing in quality to maintain clear sight for seasons to come.