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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June 16th, 2009

Inexpensive Stick-On Lenses Help Older Eyes

The majority of competitive shooters in many disciplines are over 40, with a high percentage over 50 years old. That’s a lot of old eyes which may have trouble reading small print. Shooters who are far-sighted, and older shooters with presbyopia, may have difficulty focusing on close objects. At the range, this may make it difficult to read range cards, printed come-up tables, or even the “fine print” found in manuals for chronographs and other shooting accessories.

Magnifier lens stick-on

Here’s a solution for shooters who need better close-up vision. For just $10.50 per pair, Amazon.com sells stick-on inserts that mount to any glass or plastic lenses, including polycarbonate shooting glasses. Water is the adhesive–the surface tension effect of H20 is enough to keep the lens inserts in place. But this also lets you easily move the magnifying lenses from one set of glasses to another. ReadingGlasses.com offers the Optx 20/20 stick-on lenses for $18.00 (or $29.00 for two pair). Magellan’s, a popular travel accessory store, sells the same Optx 20/20 Lenses, Item #BA726, for $24.85 per pair. Magellan’s notes: “Flexible Optx 20/20 lenses hold fast by their own molecular attraction (no adhesive needed) and can be peeled off and reattached many times”. The video below shows how the stick-on lenses work.

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February 14th, 2009

How Safe are YOUR Shooting Glasses?

The editors of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine recently tested 10 brands of shooting glasses, determining how well the eyewear could shield users from shotgun birdshot. Eyewear samples were tested at 25, 15, 10, 8, and 5 yards, using #8 shot. One ANSI Z87.1-certified polycarbonate sample was then repeat-tested with #6 shot, #4 shot, #2 steel and buckshot. Read Full Test Report.

shooting glasses safety tests birdshotThe tests provided some very important conclusions:

1. The glasses marked Z87.1+ (“plus” is a high-impact rating) performed the best. Overall, Z87.1-rated polycarbonate lenses provided excellent protection from birdshot at 10-15 yards and beyond. Some Z87.1+ eyewear even blocked birdshot at 8 yards.

2. You can’t necessarily rely on price as an indicator of quality. The $12 Bollé VX and the $5.95 Pyramex Rendezvous both worked better than some much more expensive brands. The $5.95 Pyramex, in fact, was one of only three products that stood up to the #8 birdshot at 8 yards. The Pyramex does carry a Z87.1+ rating.

3. Avoid no-name, un-rated plastic eyewear. American Hunter Editor Jeff Johnston writes: “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.”

To learn more about safety standards for shooting glasses, read our comprehensive Guide to Eye Protection for Shooters.

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November 8th, 2007

How Safe Are Your Shooting Glasses?

The editors of the NRA’s American Hunter magazine recently tested 10 brands of shooting glasses, determining how well the eyewear could shield users from shotgun birdshot. Eyewear samples were tested at 25, 15, 10, 8, and 5 yards, using #8 shot. One ANSI Z87.1-certified set of polycarbonate eyewear was then repeat-tested with #6 shot, #4 shot, #2 steel and buckshot.

CLICK HERE for Full TEST Report.

shooting glasses safety tests birdshot

The tests provided some very important conclusions:

1. The glasses marked Z87.1+ (“plus” is a high-impact rating) performed the best. Overall, Z87.1-rated polycarbonate lenses provided excellent protection from birdshot at 10-15 yards and beyond. Some Z87.1+ eyewear even blocked birdshot at 8 yards.

2. You can’t necessarily rely on price as an indicator of quality. The $12 Bollé VX and the $5.95 Pyramex Rendezvous both worked better than some much more expensive brands. The $5.95 Pyramex, in fact, was one of only three products that stood up to the #8 birdshot at 8 yards. The Pyramex does carry a Z87.1+ rating.

3. Avoid no-name, un-rated plastic eyewear. American Hunter Editor Jeff Johnston writes: “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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