When you’re out shooting or hunting, the last thing you want to worry about is eye protection. You need to be focused, calm, and cool when you pull that trigger. That’s why shooting glasses should be furthest from your mind while closest to your face.
Safety glasses may seem like overkill to some of you, but they are definitely worth the investment if you’re going to be hunting and shooting for years to come. In this article, we’ll go over everything shooting glasses, including what they are, the benefits of using eyewear while shooting, what to look for in your own set, and whether coloring and polarization are important. Plus, we’ll give you recommendations on which protective eyewear you should get depending on your shooting preferences.
Without further ado, let’s take a peek at some stellar eye protection…
Table Of Contents
- Best Shooting Safety Glasses:
- What Are Shooting Glasses?
- Benefits of Shooting Glasses
- Considerations Before Buying Shooting Glasses
- What Is the Best Color for Shooting Glasses?
- What Are the Best High-Impact Shooting Glasses?
- Should Shooting Glasses Be Polarized?
- Best Shooting Glasses for People Who Wear Glasses
- Best Shooting Glasses for an Indoor Range
- Best Shooting Glasses for Outdoor Hunting
- Best Prescription Shooting Glasses
- Top Shooting Glasses Reviewed
Best Shooting Safety Glasses:
- BLUPOND Sport Sunglasses
- Champion Traps and Targets Youth Clear Shooting Glasses
- Caldwell Adjustable Pro Range Glasses
- Smith & Wesson Major Full Frame Shooting Glasses
What Are Shooting Glasses?
It’s in the name. These are safety glasses that are made specifically to keep your peepers safe from anything related to shooting your firearm. They are specialized corrective glasses as well and are typically used in sport shooting competitions. However, they must be used for safety precautions whenever you find yourself shooting your gun, including hunting or even shooting out in your backyard or a shooting range. Even law enforcement and the U.S. military use these on principle.
Some shooting glasses also help with correcting what’s called ametropia, which includes near-sightedness. So they can be a combination of prescription glasses and safety eyewear. Now, you don’t necessarily need prescription lenses in your safety glasses — you just need safety glasses period.
Benefits of Shooting Glasses
You might think they look dorky, but there are plenty of advantages for having a pair of glasses that you use for shooting/hunting:
- Reduces eye strain: Eye strain can happen when looking into your scope for long periods of time. This eye strain can be painful in both the short- and long-term. While there’s no evidence for permanent structural damage due to eye strain, wearing shooting glasses makes the entire shooting experience much more pleasant.
- Ballistic protection: This is the big one. Most — if not all — shooting glasses are shatterproof and can withstand high-impact projectiles, keeping your eyes safe from shrapnel, recoil, ejected casings, and more. Having a pair of glasses that are impact-resistant is pivotal for keeping your eyes safe.
- UV protection: Sometimes, light conditions can include harmful UVA and UVB rays. Not only can this damage your corneas, UVA rays specifically can cause cataracts and macular degeneration. In short, spending hours out in the sun kills your eyes…when you don’t wear protective eyewear. It only makes sense to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays.
- Colored lenses enhance visual acuity: Sure, goggles are geeky. But when they keep your eyes safe AND improve your vision, it’s worth the name-calling. When you don your shooting glasses, the environment becomes crystal clear. You can see details you normally miss, making your shooting that much more accurate. And when it comes to being precise on the shooting range or putting a bead behind the front shoulder of an animal, visual acuity is crucial.
- Improves contrast: Continuing the point of visual acuity, safety goggles also increase contrast, or the difference in colors and distance. What you get is a laser-sharp view of the terrain, seeing the world in high-definition, even in low-light scenarios.
- Additional environmental protection: Tactical sunglasses aren’t only for protecting your eyes from your gun and ammunition. It saves you from the elements too. For example, a lot of lenses are scratch-resistant and can help you from getting dust, dirt, or water in your eyes. Some also have anti-fog lenses, which allow you to keep a clear field of vision while out hunting. Plus, wrap-around eyeglasses secure your eyes a full 360 degrees. Dirt, mud, bugs, you name it…they can’t mess with your eyes anymore!
- Improves overall vision: You need your eyes to be 100 percent on-point when pulling the trigger. That means you need ideal peripheral vision, clear sight, and the ability to know as much visual data as possible before you shoot. Shooting glasses give you that ability.
As you can see, grabbing a pair of high-quality shooting glasses is imperative to your whole shooting experience.
Considerations Before Buying Shooting Glasses
Don’t just get the first pair of glasses you see on Amazon. You’re looking for high-quality, UVA and UVB protection, and specific materials and lenses. Here’s a complete list of what you need to look for when selecting your eyeshields:
- Material: The best material is, by far, polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is tough and strong, making them durable, meaning they can withstand whatever elements you hunt in. Both the frames and the lenses should be scratch-resistant, impact-resistant, and shatterproof. As well, a lightweight frame should be a given.
- Impact Resistance: This is so important, we’ve mentioned it twice now. These lenses need to give you ballistic protection and environmental protection. It’s the same with hearing protection; the trick is to keep gunshots from messing with your ears and your eyes.
- Lenses: Sometimes, you need different lenses for different occasions. That’s where interchangeable lenses come in. If you can get a pair of glasses that have interchangeable lenses, look for both clear lenses and lens colors that can potentially block UVA and UVB rays, as well as blue light. You can get vermillion lenses, which is a special type of red that aids in UV protection. (Again, the best lenses material-wise will be polycarbonate lenses.)
- Standards: As with ear protection, eye protection has its own standards. Whether it’s military standards, the American National Standards Institute standards (ANSI standards), or even OSHA, you want lenses and frames that rank at the tippy-top of the standards range. OSHA — which is what keeps industry workers safe — all but demand an ANSI Z87.1 rating. The latest is ANSI Z87.1-2015. The ballistic U.S. military standard for glasses is MIL-PRF-31013. So the ANSI standard is civilian-grade, while the U.S. military standard is, of course, military-grade. (At the very least, you’ll want ANSI Z87.1 standards.)
- Fit: You don’t want your safety glasses sliding down your nose, resulting in them not doing their job at all. A proper nosepiece will ensure your glasses fit snuggly. The best of the best is an adjustable nosepiece or a rubber nosepiece (or both). The adjustable part can customize the fit to your noggin, while rubber allows for a non-slip fit. So when you’re looking for your pair, take some time to assess the nose pad.
- Comfort: A comfortable fit comes down to a few key elements. The nosepiece is obviously one of them. Another element is the material around the ears. Do the ends of the glasses have rubber tips? Do you want eyewear that’s wraparound? These are questions you should ask yourself when considering various safety glasses.
- Color: This is a personal preference, which we think is also important for your shooting glasses. Do you want the traditional black frames, or do you want to make a statement? Perhaps camouflage to help blend into the scenery. There are also various brands that come in cool colors, such as OakleyHoneywell, and Smith Optics.
What Is the Best Color for Shooting Glasses?
This is tricky. Oftentimes, clear lenses give you the best vision overall. However, vermillion or blue-light-blocking lenses offer better UV protection. This may come down to personal preference.
If you can find a pair of high-quality glasses that are clear, can keep you safe from the elements and can protect you from ballistic projectiles, then go with those. If you can’t find those in clear, opt for colored lenses. Vermillion is a popular choice. Amber lenses are also solid.
What Are the Best High-Impact Shooting Glasses?
The number one pair of shooting glasses for high-impact alone is the Smith Optics Hudson Tactical sunglasses, which meets U.S. military spec MIL-PRF-31013 and exceeds the OSHA-approved ANSI Z87.1 standards.
Second place would be the Revision Military Hellfly Ballistic sunglasses, which also meets U.S. military ballistic impact standards. The Wiley-X Saber Advanced shooting glasses are also a crowd favorite with military standards. And, just to add one more, the Smith Optics Elite Aegis Arc Eyeshield gives you unparalleled protection (complete with a comfortable nosepiece).
Should Shooting Glasses Be Polarized?
This solely depends on your shooting conditions. If you shoot indoors, polarized shooting glasses are not good at all. Polarized glasses are also terrible for dark conditions or nighttime shooting. Conversely, bright conditions or outdoors shooting in the daytime is perfect for polarized lenses. This is especially true for those times where there’s a ton of glare or reflected light or even hazy conditions.
So how you normally shoot will determine whether you get polarized safety glasses or glasses that aren’t polarized.
Best Shooting Glasses for People Who Wear Glasses
Allen Company shooting glasses are the cream of the crop when it comes to prescription glasses for hunting. You can wear these bad boys around your actual glasses, allowing you to be protected without compromising sight. Also, these fit comfortably with shooting earmuffs, which is a terrific feature. (You should be looking to protect your ears too while shooting!)
Howard Leight shooting glasses by Honeywell are also terrific for over-glasses lenses. (They also have rubber nose pads, making them secure and comfortable.)
Best Shooting Glasses for an Indoor Range
The Radians Revelation, Radians Clay, or Radians Shift interchangeable glasses are wonderful for an indoor range. (They are an absolute steal too in terms of cost.) In a nutshell, Radians makes some damn good glasses for indoor elements due to high standards and comfortable fit.
Another great option is the Oakley Radar.
Best Shooting Glasses for Outdoor Hunting
The Beretta Dedicated metal frame shooting glasses are top dogs in terms of outdoor hunting. It doesn’t compromise on your field of vision polycarbonate-injected lenses give you maximum protection and durability. Not only that, the size of the lense if enormous, allowing for a huge field of vision, complete with anti-fogging, wrapping tips to maintain a secure fit, and an extra-comfortable nosepiece for extended wearing. That way, when you’re out on an hours-long hunt, you can wear these wrap-around shooting glasses and never feel a strain.
The ESS Crossbow Suppressor is another great option. These can be worn with earcup hearing protection, which gives you the ultimate outdoor hunting experience without sacrificing your ears or eyes.
Best Prescription Shooting Glasses
Wiley-X has various styles that can work with your prescription. Be forewarned, though: Prescription shooting glasses can cost a decent amount when compared to non-prescription. Just something to keep in mind.
Top Shooting Glasses Reviewed
First up on our list come from BLUPOND. These chic sunglasses are great for both protecting your vision and looking cool as heck at the shooting range.
These anti-fog, semi-polarized lenses offer colored lenses for minimal distortion and night use/black-out lenses for maximum sun exposure. Their light-neutralizing technology offers sublime UV protection, and the semi-rimless frames offer an enhanced field of vision while minimally distorting your view.
Here are some other vital specs:
- Shatterproof polycarbonate lenses
- Blue-light neutralization
- Lightweight frames
- Integrated rubberized nose pads
Not to mention, these are extremely stylish if you want to make a fashion statement.
While we aren’t sure whether it clears ANSI standards or not, if you want to go with the cool-looking option that offers protection and comfort, then definitely go with the BLUPOND Sports Sunglasses.
These shooting glasses are for the young hunters among us. Champion Traps and Targets provide a quality pair of clear lens shooting glasses.
The glasses are ready for any ballistic recoil while giving you sharp images with zero distortion. The durable “smart-fold” frame ensures that you won’t damage the lenses whenever they’re on or off. The lenses are also scratch-resistant, complete with exceptional comfort and wrap-around safety.
Here are a few more characteristics of the youth glasses:
- Molded nosepiece
- Slip-resistant temples
- Smaller frames for younger or smaller people
Again, the standard isn’t 100 percent clear, but these are affordable and quality. If you have a little shooter-in-training, the Champion Traps and Targets Youth Clear shooting glasses are an ideal fit.
These glasses are where it’s at, what with the adjustable nosepiece and black frames. To be sure, Caldwell Pro Range glasses are in the top two on our overall list of the best.
They block 99.9 percent of the harmful UV rays and are ANSI Z87.1 certified for pivotal impact resistance and ultimate durability. The adjustable nosepiece and temples allow for a secure fit and stay in place during high-pace parts of your hunt.
Other characteristics include:
- Wrap-around frame design
- Clear, zero-manipulation lenses
- Can be combined with hearing protection
Also, right now on Amazon, you can get them for cheap (as in, under $10).
If you need a reliable, convenient, versatile pair of shooting glasses, then definitely opt for the Caldwell Adjustable Pro Range glasses.
Last on our list of the best shooting glasses come from famed gun icon Smith & Wesson. These glasses have the best possible rating, with a U.S. military grade of MIL-PRF-32432. Plus, it’s rated with full peripheral eye coverage and UV400 rating to ensure overall protection of your eyes.
These glasses are certified for pivotal impact resistance. The rubber nose pads and earpieces keep them from slipping while you’re using them. They also have clear, zero-manipulation lenses so you have a full field of vision and ultimate protection at the same time.
The Smith & Wesson Major Full Frame glasses are great for a bunch of different everyday uses. So if you’re looking for a versatile pair of safety glasses, these are it!
Getting high-quality shooting glasses is in your best interest as a shooter and a hunter. If you’re going to be protecting your hearing at the shooting range or in the great outdoors, might as well protect your vision while you’re at it.
Take a look at what to consider again, then explore our top shooting glasses to select your perfect pair of eyewear. Choose the best lenses, make sure they clear at least ANSI standards, and ensure they’re comfortable and fit correctly. Do all that, and your hunts/shoots will be crisper, clearer, and, most of all, safer.