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.”