When shooting a firearm, it is important to take the necessary safety precautions. One key piece of protection shooters should wear whether they are in training, at the range or in the field is shooting glasses. Most shooting activities take place close to your face, so it is important to have the necessary protection in place for your eyes. This is to reduce the risk of injury due to ejected shell casings, ricochets, the sun, wind grit and dust.
When you are shooting or near someone who is shooting, it is common that bullet casings and hot brass can bounce onto your face. Professional shooters strongly recommend wearing a baseball cap with proper shooting glasses for the best protection. It is never recommended to wear regular plastic sunglasses that have no wraparound protection because they are not impact-resistant or shatterproof.
Many people get caught up in the idea of looking cool while they are shooting and fail to pick out a proper pair of shooting glasses for full protection of their eyes and face. When looking to buy a safe and quality pair of shooting glasses, take into consideration some of the following tips.
1. Lens Material
When it comes to the materials used for shooting glasses, polycarbonate is the best material available. It a bullet-resistant material that is often found in vehicles. When compared to other materials used in the manufacturing of shooting glasses on the market today, lenses made with polycarbonate are more durable, lighter, scratch-resistant and offer higher impact resistance. It is affordable and can be found from many manufacturers. Aside from polycarbonate, Trivex is another material that is lightweight, sturdy and impact-resistant.
2. Impact Resistance
When choosing shooting glasses, the impact resistance level it offers is the most important feature to consider. The ratings for impact resistance are standardized through organizations such as the ANSI, OSHA and the United States military. To find the safest lenses, purchase a pair that meets the minimum requirements for all of these organizations' standards.
If you do a lot of shooting in the field, you will want a pair of shooting glasses that offer UV protection. When you spend hours in the sun, you will need to protect your eyes from dangerous UVB rays that could cause permanent eye damage. When comparing shooting glasses, find a pair that absorbs at least 99% of the UV radiation. For added comfort and improved visibility while outside, choose a pair of polarized lenses that will help reduce glare caused by light reflection.
4. Coverage of Lenses
Your shooting glasses need to have lenses that cover your entire eye area. However, it is also important to choose wrap-around glasses to protect your eyes and wrap around the side of your face. There is always the risk of a shell casing coming from the side and getting under your glasses without side protection on them.
5. Lens Color
There are a variety of lens colors to choose from. Gray, gray-green and smoke tints are common and good at blocking out glare without changing color perception. Amber-brown lenses have tints that are best at blocking out blue light and are perfect for cloudy days when shooting outside. They can also help improve depth perception and contrast. When choosing your lens color, consider the time of day you will be using them. Some work better indoors, some work better during the day when the sun is shining and others work best at night.
If you plan to wear your shooting glasses for long periods, you will want the frames to be constructed of lightweight materials like aluminum, plastic or titanium. Adjustable frames can allow you to fit your shooting glasses perfectly to your face for a comfortable fit. Some frames have nose pads made of soft silicone for added comfort.
When comparing different shooting glasses, you will notice there are several brands to choose from. Some of the more affordable options include Radians, Smith Optics and ESS Eyewear. Other options include Oakley, Browning, Champion and Winchester. Brands such as Peltor can create shooting glasses with a prescription if you regularly wear glasses.
A quality pair of shooting glasses can range between $10 and $300 for lenses without prescriptions. If you have custom prescription glasses made, it could cost a few hundred dollars. To get the best price, it is best to shop around. Keep in mind, however, you need to protect your eyes because they're the only pair you have.
9. Prescription Lenses
Prescription shooting glasses will be necessary if you have vision problems. You may also have lenses configured with bifocals. It is important to note that prescription lenses will have to be fitted and custom made by an eye care professional.
Take these considerations to heart when searching for the perfect pair of shooting glasses. Whenever you are using a firearm, safety should always be of the utmost importance.