May 25th, 2017

Protective Eyewear for Shooters — What You Need to Know

Eyewear Safety ANSI Z97 Lucky Gunner Test Impact Pellet Glasses

If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t wear eye protection, you need to check out the LuckyGunner Labs Eye Protection Test. For those who DO wear safety glasses — don’t assume that everything is OK. Just because you purchased name-brand “safety glasses” doesn’t mean that you are getting truly effective protection. In fact, many forms of protective eyewear sold today are flimsy, or poorly made. Consequently, they won’t stop even low-energy, slow-velocity fragments.

CLICK HERE to Read Complete Eyewear Test Report by LuckyGunner Labs.

Lucky gunner eyewear testTwo years ago, LuckyGunner Labs conducted very extensive field tests of 28 types of eyewear, ranging in price from $7 to $220. Remarkably, some of the most expensive safety eyewear performed no better than $10 items. Many of the products failed shockingly — with the lenses coming right out of the frames when hit with pellets. LuckyGunner recorded these kind of failures even with ANSI Z87-“approved” eyewear. The reason is that the Z87 test is not tough enough: “The basic ANSI standard is referred to as Z87, and you’ll see this marked in a number of locations on most eye protection marketed to shooters. However, the Z87 impact standard involves a .25″ steel ball traveling at 150 fps — this is fine for protecting eyes from debris that might fall or be thrown, but is not extremely relevant to shooters, who are dealing with objects traveling at much higher velocities.”

Standard Impact speed Caliber/Size
ANSI Z87.1-2003
High Velocity
150 feet/second
45 meters/second
0.25″ diameter steel ball
(25 caliber)
Mil-PRF-31013
Vo ballistic test
640-660 feet/second
195 meters/second
0.15 inch diameter steel projectile (15 caliber)

The testers recommend you select eyewear that meets military specification (above and beyond ANSI Z87). The MIL-PRF-31013 Standard covers projectiles up to 650 feet per second. This is much more stringent. Additionally, you want to replace often-used protective eyewear every year or so. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can weaken polycarbonate and lessen its ability to withstand impacts.

SUMMARY — What to Look for in Protective Eyewear

THE GOOD — Eyewear Protects Against Direct Hit with .22 Short Bullet
APEL Revision Sawfly eyewear was shot with a .22 Short, pushing a 29 grain bullet at 710 fps. That’s not powerful by modern firearm standards, but this might be fairly representative of a ricochet bullet fragment. The Sawfly lens stopped this 29gr bullet with minimal damage to the cheek area.

Lucky gunner eyewear test
THE BAD — Remington Eyewear Lenses Separate. Right Lens Enters Eye Socket
The most gruesome example was the cheap Remington eyewear which shed both lenses back towards the eyes, one of which embedded itself into the eye socket. The real-world implications of this action are disturbing to say the least.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

THE UGLY — Prescription Glasses Failed Miserably
Many ranges don’t see any need for protective eyewear beyond prescription glasses. However, most prescription lenses offer little if any protection. If the prescription lenses are glass, this can create more problems. As shown below, these prescription glasses offered no ballistic protection, and, in fact, proved more dangerous to the eyes due to the flying glass shards.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

_blank
Results Chart, Video Clips, and Photos copyright Luckygunner.com.

Summary and Conclusions:
For faster-moving projectiles such as ricochet fragments, you need high quality, tested eye protection. LuckyGunner recommends eyewear with a single (one-piece) lens for any activity where your face might be struck by small, fast-moving objects. Individual lenses detach from the frames once a certain level of force is reached, and they are driven back into the eye sockets, where considerable damage may be done. There are good examples of protective eyewear with two separate lenses, but a broad, one-piece lens distributes force much better.

Lucky gunner eyewear testA wide, comfortable, and preferably soft rubber nosepiece is critical. Along with good “arms”, this will serve to keep the eye protection in place and will also reduce the chances of the lens being driven down or back into the face with enough force to damage the orbital bones.

A frame that connects across the top of the lens, not individual arms which attach to the outside corners of the lens, is recommended. This will reduce the chances of the lens detaching from the frame under impact (it’s still possible, just less likely). Some types of eye protection actually use the frame to absorb impact and distribute force.

NOTE: Andrew, the author of the LuckyGunner Eyewear report, was a former Navy Corpsman. Accordingly, he is familiar with health and safety matters.

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December 21st, 2016

Stocking Stuffers — Budget Gift Items for Gun Guys

stocking stuffers christmas gift guide

Christmas is just four days away, so today we’re featuring a hand-picked collection of “stocking stuffers” for precision shooters. So as not to bust your holiday budget, all of our selections are priced under $10.00. These items are handy tools that you’ll use over and over again at the range and/or at your loading bench (so you’re allowed to buy them for yourself, even after Christmas). Our AccurateShooter staffers use most of these items, including the Surveyors Tape, 10X Loupe, Ballistol, Mirage Shades, Crocogators, and Barrel Bags.

Gifts $1 to $5 

Shooting Glasses S&W Safety
Safety Eyewear
$1.50

Surveyors Tape
$1.99
Sinclair Barrel Mirage Shade
Barrel Mirage Shade
$4.95
Carson 10X Magnifier Loupe Loup
Carson 10X Loupe
$4.99

Safety Eyewear ANSI Z87.1. Yes you can get ANSI-approved Safety Eyewear for under two bucks. At that price you should pick up a half-dozen sets, just so you have extras. We recommend that shooters wear eye protection at all times when handling firearms. This eyewear special is offered by CDNN Sports. Call 800-588-9500 to order.

Surveyors’ Tape. Always watch the wind when you shoot. Inexpensive, Day-Glo Surveyors’ Tape (aka “Flagging Tape”), attached to a stake or target frame, makes a good wind indicator. It will flutter even in mild breezes, alerting you to both angle and velocity shifts. This should be part of every range kit. Don’t leave home without it.

Sinclair Barrel Mirage Shade. For high-volume varminters, and competitors who shoot fast in warm weather, a mirage shield is absolutely essential. This prevents hot air rising off the barrel from distorting the image in your scope. The aluminum Sinclair shield can be trimmed to fit, and comes with stick-on Velcro attachments. Two lengths are available: 18″ for short BR barrels, and 24″ for longer barrels.

Carson 10X Loupe. You’ll find dozens of uses for this handy 10X magnifier. Use this Carson 10X Loupe to check for burrs on case mouths, inspect bullet tips, find rifling marks on bullet jackets when setting seating depth, and look for potential separation lines on cases. There are dozens of other uses. In our reloading room, this inexpensive magnifier is one of our most valuable tools.

Gifts $6 to $10 


Dewey Crocogator
$6.50
Ballistol multi-purpose gun lube
Ballistol Aerosol Lube
$8.99
Sinclair Barrel Storage Bag
Benchrite Barrel Bag
$9.50
stalwart wood sinclair loading block
Stalwart Load Block
$9.99

Dewey Crocogator. The Crocogator tool, with knurled “teeth” at both ends, is simple, inexpensive, and compact. Yet nothing zips though primer-pocket gunk faster or better. Unlike some cutter-tipped primer pocket tools, the Crocogator removes the carbon quick and easy without shaving brass. One end is sized for large primer pockets, the other for small.

Ballistol Aerosol Lube. Ballistol is a versatile, non-toxic product with many uses in the reloading room. We have found it is ideal for lubricating cases for normal full-length sizing. It is clear, not gooey or chalky like other lubes. It is very, very slippery, yet is easy to apply and just as easy to wipe off. As you lube your cases, the Ballistol will also clean powder fouling off the case necks. For heavy-duty case forming and neck expansion, we’ll still use Imperial die wax, but for every-day case sizing, Ballistol is our first choice. It also helps prevent your dies from rusting and it even conditions leather. Ballistol is a favored bore cleaner for Black Powder shooters because it neutralizes acidic powder residues.

Santa Christmas Stocking giftsBenchrite Barrel Bag. If you run a switch-barrel rig, or take spare barrels to a big match, this simple but effective barrel bag will protect your valuable steel. The bag is moisture-resistant vinyl on the outside with a soft, quilted interior to protect the barrel’s finish and delicate crown. There are two sizes: one for barrels up to 26 inches, the other for barrels up to 31 inches. Both sizes are priced at $9.95 per bag. That’s cheap insurance for those priceless barrels.

Stalwart Wooden Loading Block. These handsome wooden loading blocks, sold by Sinclair Int’l, feature chamfered holes properly sized for the particular case you reload. Stalwart blocks are stable on the bench, and the hardwood material feels nice to the touch. These “Stalwart” loading blocks have the same machined fit as Sinclair’s popular white “Poly” blocks. Each Stalwart block is machined from select hardwood and has 50 holes (except for model #LB-9 with 32 holes). Finger grooves are machined into the sides for a sure grip.

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July 16th, 2015

Eye Protection — What You Need to Know

Eyewear Safety Eye Protection Glasses Guide

There is one subject as to which we should all be in agreement — the need to wear quality, protective eyewear whenever one uses a firearm. Sadly, it’s not uncommon, at the range, to see shooters wearing no eye protection, or wearing cheap, “dime-store” glasses that can shatter on impact.

This video from Luckygunner Labs shows what can happen with low-quality eyewear. When hit with pellets, the left lens came out and the right lens entered the eye socket!


Read Our Guide to Protective Eyewear

We’ve created a comprehensive Guide to Protective Eyewear. Forum member ChuckW2 told us: “That was the most important article that has ever been posted on this site. I am amazed how many people do not wear glasses while shooting or hunting. Great read….” If you haven’t done so already, read the story. We guarantee you’ll learn something new.

CLICK HERE to READ Comprehensive Eyewear Guide

The Eyewear Guide explains the safety standards that apply to protective eyewear and reviews the best lens materials currently available including Polycarbonate, Trivex™, and SR-91. You may not have heard of Trivex, but it is probably the best material out there right now — it’s tough, lightweight, and has better optical properties than Polycarbonate. SR-91 is a good choice for those who need a polarized lens. Our Eyewear Guide also includes a section by Danny Reever on Prescription Shooting Glasses. Danny discusses the available options in lens materials and has many helpful recommendations.

Along with our reviews of lens materials, tint properties, and frame design, we highlight a study done by the NRA’s American Hunter magazine. 10 popular brands of eyewear were tested, with some very interesting results. The testers observed that price does not necessarily assure quality. Relatively inexpensive Bollé VX and Pyramex eyewear both worked better than some expensive brands.

On the other hand, don’t select eyewear simply because it’s cheap or easy to find. American Hunter editor Jeff Johnston observed: “It’s a mistake to assume that any plastic-lens sunglasses off the rack at the local 7-11 are made of polycarbonate and therefore are effective as shooting glasses—cheap plastics are not polycarbonates; in fact, wearing them could be worse than wearing nothing, as they can introduce sharp shards of plastic to your eyes in addition to the projectile(s) that caused them to break.”

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September 24th, 2014

Eye Protection — LuckyGunner Labs Field Tests

If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t wear eye protection, you need to check out the LuckyGunner Labs Eye Protection Test. For those who DO wear safety glasses — don’t assume that everything is OK. Just because you purchased name-brand “safety glasses” doesn’t mean that you are getting truly effective protection. In fact, many forms of protective eyewear sold today are flimsy, or poorly made. Consequently, they won’t stop even low-energy, slow-velocity fragments.

CLICK HERE to Read Complete Eyewear Test Report by LuckyGunner Labs.

Lucky gunner eyewear testTwo years ago, LuckyGunner Labs conducted very extensive field tests of 28 types of eyewear, ranging in price from $7 to $220. Remarkably, some of the most expensive safety eyewear performed no better than $10 items. Many of the products failed shockingly — with the lenses coming right out of the frames when hit with pellets. LuckyGunner recorded these kind of failures even with ANSI Z87-“approved” eyewear. The reason is that the Z87 test is not tough enough: “The basic ANSI standard is referred to as Z87, and you’ll see this marked in a number of locations on most eye protection marketed to shooters. However, the Z87 impact standard involves a .25″ steel ball traveling at 150 fps — this is fine for protecting eyes from debris that might fall or be thrown, but is not extremely relevant to shooters, who are dealing with objects traveling at much higher velocities.”

Standard Impact speed Caliber/Size
ANSI Z87.1-2003
High Velocity
150 feet/second
45 meters/second
0.25″ diameter steel ball
(25 caliber)
Mil-PRF-31013
Vo ballistic test
640-660 feet/second
195 meters/second
0.15 inch diameter steel projectile (15 caliber)

The testers recommend you select eyewear that meets military specification (above and beyond ANSI Z87). The MIL-PRF-31013 Standard covers projectiles up to 650 feet per second. This is much more stringent. Additionally, you want to replace often-used protective eyewear every year or so. Long-term exposure to UV radiation can weaken polycarbonate and lessen its ability to withstand impacts.

SUMMARY — What to Look for in Protective Eyewear

THE GOOD — Eyewear Protects Against Direct Hit with .22 Short Bullet
APEL Revision Sawfly eyewear was shot with a .22 Short, pushing a 29 grain bullet at 710 fps. That’s not powerful by modern firearm standards, but this might be fairly representative of a ricochet bullet fragment. The Sawfly lens stopped this 29gr bullet with minimal damage to the cheek area.

Lucky gunner eyewear test
THE BAD — Remington Eyewear Lenses Separate. Right Lens Enters Eye Socket
The most gruesome example was the cheap Remington eyewear which shed both lenses back towards the eyes, one of which embedded itself into the eye socket. The real-world implications of this action are disturbing to say the least.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

THE UGLY — Prescription Glasses Failed Miserably
Many ranges don’t see any need for protective eyewear beyond prescription glasses. However, most prescription lenses offer little if any protection. If the prescription lenses are glass, this can create more problems. As shown below, these prescription glasses offered no ballistic protection, and, in fact, proved more dangerous to the eyes due to the flying glass shards.

Lucky gunner eyewear test

_blank
Results Chart, Video Clips, and Photos copyright Luckygunner.com.

Summary and Conclusions:
For faster-moving projectiles such as ricochet fragments, you need high quality, tested eye protection. LuckyGunner recommends eyewear with a single (one-piece) lens for any activity where your face might be struck by small, fast-moving objects. Individual lenses detach from the frames once a certain level of force is reached, and they are driven back into the eye sockets, where considerable damage may be done. There are good examples of protective eyewear with two separate lenses, but a broad, one-piece lens distributes force much better.

Lucky gunner eyewear testA wide, comfortable, and preferably soft rubber nosepiece is critical. Along with good “arms”, this will serve to keep the eye protection in place and will also reduce the chances of the lens being driven down or back into the face with enough force to damage the orbital bones.

A frame that connects across the top of the lens, not individual arms which attach to the outside corners of the lens, is recommended. This will reduce the chances of the lens detaching from the frame under impact (it’s still possible, just less likely). Some types of eye protection actually use the frame to absorb impact and distribute force.

NOTE: Andrew, the author of the LuckyGunner Eyewear report, was a former Navy Corpsman. Accordingly, he is familiar with health and safety matters.

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May 11th, 2014

Multi-Lens Shooting Eyewear Kit — Safety at a Bargain Price

When folks inquire about shooting glasses, they often ask: “Should I get clear lenses, or high contrast lenses, or dark lenses?” The answer is “Yes”, “Yes”, and “Yes”. Variety is good — this lets you pick the best lens for the conditions and for the discipline you are shooting. In a 3-gun match in the summertime, you may want darker lenses. On a hazy day, when shooting F-Class, you may want a high-contrast lens (yellow or orange). When bench-testing rifles or competing at benchrest matches, under a roof or awning, most of the time we prefer clear lenses. This is especially true if the targets are in the shade.

So, there are good reasons to have a variety of lens types. But does that mean you must carry around a half dozen sets of shooting glasses in your range bag? Not at all. Many eyewear makers offer shooting glasses with interchangeable, snap-in lenses. This allows you to adapt your eyewear to the conditions. And now you can get a handy, multi-lens kit for under twenty bucks.

Pyramex shooting eyewear interchangeable lens Amazon

Pyramex 5-Lens Shooting Eyewear Kit
One of the best deals we’ve found is the Pyramex Ducks Unlimited Shooting Eyewear Kit, available now for just $19.30 at Amazon.com (with free shipping for Prime members). This Kit gives you a comfortable frame with five (5) different anti-fog lenses: Clear, Amber, Sun Block Bronze, Orange, and Infinity Blue. The interchangeable lens design lets you easily switch lenses for different lighting situations. Pyramex is a well-known manufacturer of safety eyewear. The Pyramex Kit meets ANSI Z87.1+ safety standards.

Pyramex shooting eyewear interchangeable lens Amazon

Complete Kit with Five Lenses, Case, Retaining Strap

This versatile Pyramex Kit boast five (5) interchangeable lenses. The polymer frame features adjustable temples, rubber nosepiece, and temple pads. The Pyramex Ducks Unlimited Kit includes neoprene carrying case, neck cord, and microfiber lens cloth bag. All lenses exceeds ANSI Z87.1+ standards and provide 99% UV protection. This is a very good deal. Heck, you could pay $8-$9 just for a Croakies neck retainer.

Verified purchasers of this Pyramex Kit have posted very positive reviews on Amazon.com:

“These glasses were really impressive. At the price I was not expecting anything this nice. I am in the military and my unit gets issued the Oakley M frames which go for around $120 if the government doesn’t give them to you for free and I like these better. They extend in length which one might expect but closer to the frame there is another joint that lets you adjust the angles of the [temple arms] separately.” — Zac

“I was surprised by just how many lenses and accessories come with this very complete package. The lens change out is a bit awkward, but with the sheer variety of lens choice which will cover just about any lighting condition you encounter, it more than makes up for that. Great packaging, I really do think the tilt feature is useful as hearing and eye protection at present isn’t really integrated. I use them for shooting, where cheek weld, eye relief and clarity are all important and these do the job well.” — Richard

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March 9th, 2010

New Champion Eyewear Offers Enhanced Impact Protection

Champion Target has introduced a new series of shooting eyewear with impact resistance rated four times greater than “industry standard” ANSI Z87.1 specifications. These glasses are offered in both clear and gray-tinted lenses, either full-frame or open frame. The new clear ballistic shooting glasses (item 40615, MSRP: $17.49) have an open frame with a wrap-around design offering enhanced temple protection. The clear lenses are good for iron sights shooting, offering high light transmission even while providing 99% UV protection.

Champion Ballistics Glasses

Full Frame Glasses meet MIL-PRF-31013 Standards
The full-frame ballistic shooting glasses (item 40613, MSRP: $20.49) feature gray smoked lenses for reduced glare and enhanced image sharpness, and 99% UV protection. With impact protection that meets the tough military standard MIL-PRF-31013, these glasses are available in either red or black frames. NOTE: The new Champions are not the only shooting glasses that pass the MIL-PRF-31013 test. Many of the Wiley X products do so also (see video below).

You only have one set of eyes, and they are NOT replaceable. You should ALWAYS wear eye protection when shooting and it makes sense to use the best eyewear available. For more information on Shooting Eyewear, read our article on Eye Protection for Shooters.

MIL-PRF-31013 Certification vs. ANSI Z87.1
Safety glasses for US military applications must be certified with a ballistic Vo rating which exceeds ANSI Z87.1 requirements by a factor of four. ANSI Z87.1 testing checks for penetration with a .25 caliber projectile at 150 fps. The military MIL-PRF-31013 Vo protocol checks for penetration by a .15-caliber projectile moving at roughly 650 fps. See Video below, showing test of Wiley X eyewear.

MIL-PRF-31013 Test — .15 Cal Projectile at ~650 fps — Wiley X PT-1 Glasses

YouTube Preview Image
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