What Are The Best Shooting Glasses? We Show You The Top 10 Options
When shooting your firearm, safety is paramount. Not only do you need to be aware of those around you, but you also need to be vigilant about your own.
A big part of that is wearing the right protective gear, such as hearing protection. Besides hearing protection, the other main safety equipment you should have with you is the best shooting glasses to help protect your eyes from flying debris.
To help you get started, we compiled a list of the 10 best shooting glasses. Later in the article, we look a little closer at 5 of the options to pick our favorite.
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CHOOSING THE BEST SHOOTING GLASSES
It doesn’t matter whether you shoot at the range, when hunting, or on private land, but good eye protection is a must. Anything from a malfunctioning weapon to fragments and flying bullets could lead to serious eye injury without adequate protection.
If you compete, protective frames are usually mandatory. We recommend you check with the competition managers, as they will have different rules and guidelines, and some can be quite strict. If you compete or shoot on a range, make sure you know what the minimum safety requirements are – you don’t want to buy equipment to then find they don’t meet the expected requirements.
Even when not competing or out on the range, good eye protection offers a shield from wind, sun, dust and any possible injury from gun recoil, so we recommend you use them when out hunting or anywhere you expect to be firing. Using normal sunglasses and prescription glasses will not give anywhere near enough protection for your eyes.
The best shooting glasses have impact-resistant lenses, and will also have added protection to the sides of your eyes, aspects that are not found with normal prescriptive glasses and sunglasses. Don’t risk losing one or both of your eyes by assuming your normal glasses or sunglasses will be enough. Buying a pair is the most sensible thing to do.
There are two aspects to look out for when choosing the best shooting glasses for yourself. First of all, look at how much coverage over the eyes you get. Secondly, look at the impact rating of the lenses. Impact ratings are tested by a number of agencies and they will specify a minimum requirement that a pair must have before a manufacturer can label their items with the agency’s stamp of approval. They are:
- American National Standards Institute (ANSI) – the minimum rating is Z87.1 (often manufacturers will state this as ANSI Z 87.1, or can be above)
- The U.S. Military – The minimum requirements are MIL-PRF-31013, and can be above
Another aspect to look out for is the colour of the lenses. Your choice of lens colour will depend on the type of shooting activities you are involved in and the light conditions.
By filtering out one colour, other colours tend to become more enhanced, which makes the game or target stand out much more clearly against the background. The colour will also affect perception, reflection and depth. Here is a quick guide to what each colour lenses are generally used for:
Clear (with mirror coating) – reduces glare and reflects light – used both indoors and outdoors
Pale yellow – will brighten and contrast colours in low level lighting, for example shooting at sunrise, sunset, or in the evening under artificial light
Medium yellow – contrasts in dim light or when overcast – great for enhancing orange clay targets
Orange – will block out blue light and haze and enhance the orange in a target. Ideal for firing orange clay targets.
Cooper polarized – blocks blue light and increases contrast. Great on a bright day when the target is against a green background.
Light purple – gives clear contrast to the orange of the target, especially against a background of tall trees, as it will dampen the green of the foliage, and enhance the orange of the clay targets.
Dark purple – greatly enhances orange in the sky and reduces glare. Can be used in snow, and also great for using in bright sunlight.
Amber-brown – great for cloudy days as it will block out blue light – increases depth perception and contrast – good for hunting and pulling the trigger.
Vermillion – works best in poorly lit backgrounds, as it will enhance targets against the background. Will highlight orange and dampen greens, so great to contrast a target against a background of trees. This is also ideal for anyone with red-green colour blindness or deficiencies.
Brown – picks up the brown colour of game birds and reduces light. Great for bright days where there is a lot of glare against an open background.
Grey / smoke / grey-green – great for bright light, blocks glare but will not affect colour perception – effective in all weathers
OUR REVIEW OF 5 PAIRS
So you have decided to buy a pair. But, with so many makes and models around, which are the best shooting glasses for you? We’ve compiled a list of the best shooting glasses, where we will go through the pros and cons of each, so you can make an informed decision.
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These have been placed on our best shooting glasses list for being such an inexpensive option, and yet can boast ANSI Z87.1+ requirements. These can be bought with amber, clear, copper or silver mirror lenses. They all boast an impact resistant polycarbonate lens, which provide 99.9% UV protection, and are scratch resistant. These are wraparound lenses too, so you get protection at the sides of your eyes without obstructing your view. The non-slip temple pads and the soft, adjustable nose pieces ensure a comfortable fit. The only issue we had is that the nose piece can break quite easily, but these are easily replaced. A worthy entrant on our best shooting glasses list.
Champion Over-Spec Ballistic
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Considering how difficult it is for prescription glass wearers to find products that are designed to comfortably fit over their daily eye wear, this item had to make it onto our best shooting glasses list. These are wraparound, giving protection to the sides of your eyes, boast scratch resistant, two-piece lenses and a durable ‘fold smart’ frame which will not damage the lens of your prescriptive ones. You can also choose to have amber lenses instead of clear. Add to that the molded nose piece and slip resistant materials and these glasses are designed to feel comfortable and stay put, even in strenuous activities. The real advantage however is that these have four times the protection requirements of ANSI Z87.1, and meet the military standard of MIL-PRF-31013. The only slight disadvantage we found was that, with some larger prescriptive ones, these can distort your peripheral view somewhat. However, these still remain a fantastic option for glass wearers.
Allen Company Over-Prescription
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These come in amber or clear lenses and boast 1.0 millimetre polycarbonate lenses with black over-sized temples. As there are so few designed to fit over prescription glasses, this is a good budget option for our best shooting glasses list. However, these do not have an ANSI or military impact rating. We also found that if you wear wide, rectangular, the curvature of them will mean that they come into contact with the edges of your prescriptive eyewear. This does mean these may not fit correctly, and will feel as though they are perched on the end of your nose. We wish the manufacturer made these a little wider to account for this. However, if you wear more narrow prescriptive ones, these should work just fine for you.
Radians Revelation Protective
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These deserve a place in our best shooting glasses list for not only being the most comfortable ones, but also for the sheer number of different lens colours you can choose from. Choose from amber/yellow, clear, silver mirror, blue mirror, copper, dark smoke, ice, light smoke, orange and vermillion. All lenses are made from impact resistant polycarbonate, exceed ANSI Z87.1+ requirements, and provide 99.9% of UV protection. Will give complete protection against discharged debris. However, the real draw is how adjustable these are. If you have ever found the uncomfortable to use, perhaps pinching at the sides as they are too small, or falling off as they are too big, pinching your nose etc, then these are for you. Boasting a four position telescoping temples with five position ratchet positions, these are designed to fit any size head comfortably. The ears can adjust for length and even the angle between the lenses and ears can be adjusted. Also, as the armsare thin, anyone with a narrow face will love how they will be able to wear ear muff protectors with these ones – an impossibility with large, wide shooting options.
Radians Shift Interchange (5 Interchangeable Lenses)
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This is the top of the range item on our best shooting glasses list, and the perfect option for anyone who needs more than one colour lenses. These have 5 interchangeable lenses in clear, copper, amber, orange and green mirror. All the lenses exceed Z87.1+ Standards. Sold as a full kit, it comes with a robust storage case, cleaning cloth, neck cord and an extra nose piece. This is the perfect kit for anyone who shoots a lot in all kinds of weather, and carrying lots of different bifocals would be cumbersome. The lenses can be changed easily, although do practice installing them first to get super-fast at it. This is the most expensive option on our best shooting glasses list, and if you can’t foresee yourself needing more than one or two coloured lenses, then this option may be a bit over the top. But if you are an intrepid hunter, or someone who simply loves gunning in many different environments (on the range, indoor, clay pigeon. etc) then this is the Rolls Royce of specialized eyeglasses.
Our best shooting glasses choice
Our reviewed range from the cheapest at under $8 to just under $77, and your choice will ultimately come down to your budget, as well as what shooting activities and environments you will find yourself in. Let’s quickly recap on the 5 best shooting glasses:
The Remington T-72 options are our most inexpensive option on our best shooting glasses list, and yet still exceed ANSI Z87.1 requirements and come in a choice of 4 colour lenses. The only issue we could find was the nose piece can break easily, but for this price point, you’re unlikely to find a better pair.
The Champion Over-Spec Ballistic are our most impact resistant item on our best shooting glasses list, boasting an impressive four times the ANSI Z87.1 requirements, and also meet the military standard of MIL-PRF-31013. These are also designed to go over prescriptive ones. The only small issue we had is that, when worn over some prescriptions, there is slight peripheral vision distortion.
The Allen Company Over-Prescription made it onto our best shooting glasses list they that can go over prescriptions are thin on the ground. This is a great budget option for prescriptive wearers and come in amber and clear. We did worry, however, that there appears to be no impact rating, and anyone who wears wide rectangular styles of eyewear may find these touch the sides of your prescription frames
The Radians Revelation Protective deserve a place on our best shooting glasses list for the sheer number of different colour lenses they come in (amber/yellow, clear, silver mirror, blue mirror, copper, dark smoke, ice, light smoke, orange and vermillion) and also exceed ANSI Z87.1 requirements. But the real advantage is its adjustable design which means that all shapes and sizes of heads will find these comfortable.
The Radians Shift Interchange (5 Interchangeable Lenses) is for anyone who loves gunning in all kind of environments and find they need more than one pair of frames to suit all the different activities they do. These come with 5 interchangeable lenses, all in different colours, and come with everything you need in one kit. The most expensive but most versatile option in our best shooting glasses list.
Which eyeglasses would we choose?
This depends on what and where you would use them, as well as your budget. For absolute versatility, you cannot beat the Radians Shift Interchange product.
However, if you tend to shoot in one type of environment (e.g. on the range) and don’t expect to be in the great outdoors where the lighting can change a number of times during the day, you may find these are a little expensive if you end up only using one or two of the coloured lenses.
Our favourite has to be the Radians Revelation Protective Shooting Glasses. Apart from the sheer number of colour lenses these come in, the adjustable design means that everyone can customise their pair to fit them perfectly.
And for prescriptive glass wearers, look no further than the Champion Over-Spec Ballistic Glasses, our most impact resistant glasses on our best shooting glasses list.
What Do You Think – What Are The Best Shooting Glasses?
As always, there will always be different opinions on what are the best safety frames! If you have an opinion on what the best are, please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.