When it comes to shooting for fun or sport, eye protection is an essential piece of equipment. There are many hazards while shooting, so it is necessary to be certain that your eyes are protected at all costs. Splinters from targets and the risk of bullets kicking back into the face can happen at random, so wearing protective glasses can save vision in the long run. There are many factors to consider with the best eye protection glasses for shooters to experience the safest session possible.
- Reviews of Eye Protection Glasses for Shooters
- Radarlock Path Prizm Trail by Oakley
- Revision Military Sawfly Essential Eyewear
- Smith Optics Aegis Echo II Compact Elite Tactical Eyeshields
- Smith Optics Director Tactical Sunglass
- Champion Over-Spec Ballistic Glasses
- Radians Revelation Protective Shooting Glasses
- Carhartt Carbondale Safety Glasses
- Remington T-71 Dual Mold Shooting Glasses
- Standards for Eye Protection
- Types of Eye Protection Glasses to Avoid for Shooting
Reviews of Eye Protection Glasses for Shooters
Here are some options for eye protection glasses for shooters. They range in price and level of protection.
Radarlock Path Prizm Trail by Oakley
Oakley is known as one of the best producers of eyewear. Their products are durable and function well above expected standards. The Radarlock Path Prizm Trail glasses are some of the best protective sunglasses on the market. They are made of polycarbonate lenses that are also polarized. These glasses come with interchangeable lenses that are based on Oakley’s Switchlock System. They also come with nose and temple pads for full comfort. While they are a lightweight pair of protective eyewear, they are impact rated. They also offer the following features:
- PRIZM™ — fine-tunes vision for specific sports and environments
- Path — lenses touch cheeks and help extend the upper field of view
- Plutonite® — top UV Protection filtering 100% of all UVA, UVB, UVC and harmful blue light up to 400nm
- O-Matter™ — stress-resistant frame material
These technological features have all been rated and tested time and again; and while they make for a rather expensive pair of glasses, they are worth every penny for the protection they provide.
Revision Military Sawfly Essential Eyewear
Another familiar brand in protective eyewear for shooters is Revision Military. They have set the industry standard when it comes to high-impact ballistic protection by both meeting and exceeding military standards for glasses. One of their iconic models is the Sawfly Essential. The kit includes adjustable frame arms with either clear or solar lenses that are interchangeable. It also has a head strap for added stability, and it comes with a microfiber pouch and case with a belt clip for the safest storing options on the go.
The lenses are made of nearly indestructible, optical grade polycarbonate that works in multiple light conditions. They also provide protection from UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays. The scratch resistant coating resists a wide variety of chemicals, including DEET that is used for mosquito repellent. These glasses are distortion free, provide anti-fog features, and will withstand high impacts from the front and the side, providing further protection to all areas of the head while shooting. Another bonus: the lenses are designed to reduce glare.
Smith Optics Aegis Echo II Compact Elite Tactical Eyeshields
Smith Optics’ Aegis Echo II Compact Elite Tactical Eyeshields are also some of the best protective
eyewear for shooters on the market, and they are a bit more affordable than the models previously
mentioned. They are made of superior ballistic impact protection materials as per MIL-PRF-31013. They
are also super thin as they are made of a moldable alloy at the temples to fit cleanly around the ear without breaking. This technology also allows them to fit under over-the-ear protective hearing equipment without breaking. They feature hydrophilic lenses that are fog-resistant and scratch resistant. They provide 100 percent protection from UV-A and UV-B rays, and they are compatible with Smith’s RX system of lenses.
These protective glasses feature Smith Optics’ Pivlock system that allows for quick and easy lens changes. These lenses are also tapered to remove distortion. Decades of research in sport and optic design come together to make these glasses with the expertise of tactical professionals.
Smith is a popular brand on this listing for a reason: they set and exceed industry standards again and again. Their Director Tactical Sunglasses meet military specifications for MIL-PRF-31013 and ANSI Z87. The taper lenses prevent distortion and the frames are constructed of lightweight materials that are also impact resistant. The lenses for these eyeglasses are UV-A, UV-A, and UV-C rated to protect against such rays. They also have nose pads for added comfort. They do not wrap around the head as well as other Smith Optics models do, so there might be some discomfort when wearing them under over-the-ear protective hearing gear. They also do not fit over prescription glasses, however, the lenses can be replaced with prescription ones for added range of use.
Champion Over-Spec Ballistic Glasses
Champion offers a far more affordable pair of protective eyewear for shooters. These Over-Spec Ballistic Glasses are some of the best rated protective glasses for their price. They are designed to go over a pair of prescription glasses with ease, and they provide optimal comfort and wraparound safety. They are scratch resistant and do not distort images with their sharp vision features. They have a durable frame, and the arms fold inward without scratching the lenses on the inside. The lenses come in both a clear and amber-colored option and are made to reduce glare. They are rated four times greater than ANSI Z87 therefore meeting MIL-PRF-31013 standards.
Radians offers a perfectly well-priced pair of protective shooting glasses in their Revelation line. These glasses come in a wide range of colors to fit any style. The lenses provide 99.9% UV protection, and Radians claims these glasses will protect eyes from discharged debris with ease as they exceed ANSI Z87 regulations. They provide a long-term wear that is comfortable and the telescoping temples can be positioned in five directions with ratchet adjustment to find the perfect fit for any shooter. However, they do not fit over traditional prescription lenses. Another word of caution with these glasses: they cannot be used when the shooter wears sunscreen or sunblock as they become covered with a residue that can cause long-term damage to the lenses.
Carhartt Carbondale Safety Glasses
Carhartt is another familiar brand. They produce quality materials at a fraction of the cost of their competitors. Their Carbondale Safety Glasses are rated to meet ANSI Z87 standards. They are made of a scratch-resistant polycarbonate that provides 99% protection against UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays. They have a flexible rubber nose piece and the arms wrap around the head for added comfort. They also come in several colors to meet individual style preference. They even have a sunglasses option! They can also be worn with full-face helmets, however they do not fit over prescription glasses, and the lenses cannot be changed out for prescription options, either.
Remington T-71 Dual Mold Shooting Glasses
Remington is a name that has come to be associated with shooting for many reasons over the last decades. Considering they make guns and ammunition, it would only make sense that they make eye protection glasses for shooters as well. Their T-71 Dual Mold Shooting Glasses are rated to meet and exceed ANSI Z87 standards, and they provide 99.9% protection against UV rays. They provide a comfortable fit, and the dual-injected rubber frame and temples are durable and soft, making for cushioned brow protection. The vented frame allows air flow to prevent fogging. They are not meant to fit over prescription glasses, though, and the lenses cannot be changed out for a prescription option, either. They also do not wrap completely around the back of the head like other models mentioned above. They do, however, allow over-the-ear hearing protection to sit completely flush with the sides of the head and ears, making them comparable to some of the more expensive protective glasses considered so far.
Standards for Eye Protection
Organizations and individual job positions as well as shooting ranges have required standards when it comes to wearing eye protection. Even the military has a protocol for wearing eye protection for shooters. Most protective eye glasses meet basic ANSI standards referred to as Z87, which should be marked on several locations on a piece of protective eyewear for shooters. Z87 is an impact standard that tests a pair of protective glasses at 150 FPS with a .25 inch steel ball. Some shooters might not find these standards sufficient as bullets and casings can fly back much faster than 150 FPS.
Therefore, military standards are the most reliable when choosing protective glasses for shooting. Code MIL-PRF-31013 dictates that a .15 inch diameter projectile traveling at approximately 650 FPS should be the standard to judge protective wear. Unfortunately, not many products on the market are tested at this standard, so finding quality glasses can be a challenge. If this standard cannot be met, try looking for glasses tested at a slightly lower standard, which tests a .22 inch diameter projectile traveling at 550 FPS. This standard is more realistic, which will open up more options for protective eyewear.
If neither of the above conditions can be met, the glasses should at least meet the ANSI Z87 standard as a minimum requirement.
Types of Eye Protection Glasses to Avoid for Shooting
The following eyeglasses should not be used during shooting:
- Impact rated eyewear that has seen exposure to sunlight over a long time period
- Non-impact rated prescription glasses
- Non-impact rated sunglasses
These types of eyewear will not stand up to the risks involved with shooting. Impact rating is not perfect, but it will weed out the options that provide no protection whatsoever. As far as prescription glasses and normal or prescription sunglasses are concerned, there are models that are rated for impact in these categories and are easily available.
Prescription glasses by themselves can be rather dangerous if they are the only protective barrier being used over the eyes during shooting. Whether they are made of glass or polycarbonate, typical prescription eyewear glasses will shatter, causing fragments to explode and possibly enter the eye. A pair of impact-rated eyewear should be worn over typical prescription eye glasses for the best protection, even if wearing two pairs of eyewear at the same time might be a little annoying and cumbersome.
Age is another factor. As eyewear sees wear and tear over the years, they are going to fall below their impact ratings. Therefore, they should be replaced often. You can use frequent impact testing to indicate when the replacement process should take place.
There are many factors to consider when purchasing the right pair of glasses for protection at the shooting range. Industry standards for ANSI Z87 and MIL-PRF-1310 are set pretty high, but many eye protection glasses for shooters claim to meet or exceed these standards. The essential key to finding the right pair, though, is to make certain they meet the type of daily use that will be expected of them. Some of the glasses mentioned are less expensive than others, which may or may not perform at the expected level as some of the more expensive models. A fact to keep in mind is that the more expensive models on this list are tested again and again to reach industry standards. When finding the best eye protection glasses for shooters, the right pair should come with scrutiny to protect eyes from damaging debris at all costs. Knowing what to look for and understanding what provides a comfortable fit are a must for all shooters.