What To Look For In Shooting Glasses

What To Look For In Shooting GlassesOne of the most important pieces of safety equipment to have when you hit the range is eye protection.  Eye protection is simply something you have to have if you want to shoot safely, because without them, a spent shell casing or other pieces of debris can cause severe and lasting damage to your eyes that you could have to live with for the rest of your life. Shooting glasses are an important piece of gear and here is how to choose a good pair of glasses.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional shooter or if you’re getting ready for your very first range visit ever: you need to have eye protection.

That being said, while having eye protection is certainly better than having no eye protection at all, it’s also important to note that some types of shooting glasses are superior than others. In other words, it will be better to use glasses designed specifically for the range than to use just any normal pair of sunglasses you can find in your garage or your car’s glove compartment.

With all that said, in this article, we will cover the top reasons why shooting glasses truly are important and the top qualities that you need to look for in them.  Then, at the end of this article, we’ll briefly go over three examples of shooting glasses that meet those qualities.

Why Are Shooting Glasses Truly Important?

There are many good reasons why shooting glasses are almost always a requirement on shooting ranges.

The first reason is because accidents can always happen, and that most certainly holds true for shooting on the range too. You can be hit with anything from a ricochet to birdshot to muzzle flashes spent shell casings to dirt to pebbles to dust and whatever else.

Any of those things listed is at the very least going to irritate your eyes upon impact, if not damage, which is why keeping your eyes protected is so important not only for yourself but for the other people around you as well.  For example, if dust gets into your eye while you’re shooting on the range, it could cause you to react and possibly accidentally squeeze the trigger again.  But if you shield your eyes, that won’t happen.

It’s also a smart idea to wear safety glasses while you’re cleaning or field stripping guns as well.  The last thing you want is for any springs to come loose or for gun oil to get into your eye.  While wearing safety glasses while cleaning your firearms may seem like an unnecessary precaution, it actually is something that you should consider doing.

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Last but not least, shooting glasses can actually help you improve your vision before you shoot.  As we will explore later, the color of the lenses has a direct impact on how well you are able to see certain colors.  Yellow and orange colored lenses, for example, give you excellent contrast.  Amber colored lenses, meanwhile, can help you to improve depth perception.

In short, shooting glasses are some of the most important safety devices to have for the range.  You may even decide that it’s a smart idea to not only wear safety glasses while you’re practicing on the range but also when you’re out hunting or doing any other activities that involve shooting firearms as well.

Lens Material 

The first thing that you will need to look for is the material of the lenses. Easily one of the best lens materials to get will be polycarbonate.  This is the same type of material that is used for building bullet resistant glass.

In other words, polycarbonate is highly durable. It’s also impact resistant and very lightweight, and many law enforcement units throughout the United States are making it a rule to use polycarbonate as the go-to material for all protective eyewear.

Impact Resistance 

Other than the material used itself, perhaps the most important factor to look for in the lenses of your shooting glasses will be the impact resistance.  The reason why impact resistance is so critical is that shooting glasses with poor impact resistance will, simply put, do a poor job of shielding your eyes from spent brass casings or other kinds of debris.

There is also an incredibly easy way to determine the impact resistance of any pair of shooting glasses too: you simply need to pay attention to the standardized ratings from national organizations such as the American Standards Institute or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

If your pair of shooting glasses meets or exceeds the standards of both of those organizations, you know you’ll be buying quality.  For reference, glasses with an ANSI rating of Z87 can stop a .25 steel ball traveling at a speed of one hundred and fifty feet per second.


Believe it or not, but the color of the lenses should also play a significant factor in the decision-making process as well as you search for a pair of shooting glasses.

You should not choose the colors of lenses based on what your personal preferences are. This is because each lens color actually serves a different function.

For example, lenses that are either yellow or orange colored will give you the best contrast. They do an excellent job of blocking hazing and enhancing the color of your target.  They are also the best color of lenses to use for shooting in dim conditions such as dawn, dusk, or night.

Purple-colored lenses, meanwhile, will do a good job of enhancing any orange colored target against a non-orange background.  Amber and brown colored lenses are very effective at improving depth perception, and amber, in particular, is widely considered to be one of the best choices for both target shooting and hunting as an all-around pick.

Last but not least, gray is probably the most common color of the lens. The reason for their popularity is because gray colored lenses can block glare and without changing any color perception.  They also allow you to see all colors as they naturally are, whereas other colored lenses will block certain colors (amber and brown can block blue light, for example).  While gray colored lenses will not make your target anymore visible, they will do an excellent job of blocking bright sunlight, making them a good choice for a sunny day.


Ideally, the shooting glasses you choose will be built out of frame materials that are both lightweight and durable.  Aluminum and titanium are both very popular choices for this reason.  Plastic is also a popular and lightweight option, though it lacks the durability of titanium or aluminum.


Last but not least, you need to ask yourself this question: are your shooting glasses comfortable to wear?  Because if they’re not, chances are good that you won’t even wear them.

At the very least, your glasses need to be adjustable and comfortable, so having nose pads is a must, especially for long use.  The ideal nose pads will be made out of

A good rule of thumb to follow is you will want your glasses to be tight without being uncomfortable.  You don’t want to shoot, reload, clear malfunctions, and run shooting drills while running the risk of your glasses falling off.

Another option, besides adjustable frames, will be to go with flexible temple glasses. These glasses are designed to wrap around your head to keep the frames in place.

One last thing you may want to consider is going with a pair of prescription shooting glasses, especially if you’re wearing normal glasses already.  Prescription shooting glasses will be more expensive (perhaps as high as one to two hundred dollars), but if you’re someone who goes shooting a lot, they can definitely be a very valuable investment.

Three Examples of the Best Shooting Glasses On The Market Today

Here are three examples of the best makes and models of shooting glasses on the market today:


If you wear prescription glasses and don’t want to invest the money in prescription shooting glasses, then one of your best options will be to go with the Allen Over Shooting Glasses, which as the name suggests are designed to fit over any pair of normal prescription glasses


The Oakley Radar shooting glasses have a dark gray colored tint to diffuse sunlight and a very durable frame over the upper half of the lenses. These glasses are also designed specifically to work well with earmuffs and to stay secured to your forehead even when you’re perspiring.


If you’re looking for shooting glasses that are designed specifically for clay pigeon shooting, then the Radians Clay Shooting Glasses could be just what you are looking for. That’s because these glasses have a red tint that is designed to make the orange colored clays stand out more. Furthermore, there is no frame around the lenses to inhibit your vision in any way.


If there’s anything that you take away from this article, it’s that investing in a good pair of eye protection for the range is probably more important than you may have initially realized.

This article has been written by Sam Bocetta for Prepper’s Will.

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