Shooting glasses explained

Lensmart 2022-09-08 16:02:16

Any avid target shooter or hunter already knows that shooting glasses are indispensable equipment for the sport. It's necessary to wear one when handling a firearm or if you are at the range, forest, or hunting field.

Your eyes must always have ample protection and good sight when shooting. The sport poses plenty of hazards that you can prepare for with the right gear.

Shooting glasses

What are shooting glasses for?

Shooting sports exist to help people build up their marksmanship. It's a special hobby that requires discipline and the right gear. Wearing glasses for shooting is a necessity due to ricochets and errant birdshots. Also, excess powder from the gunfire can blow back and burn your eyes.

The only way to protect your precious eyes during shooting practice is to wear the prescribed glasses. Appropriate eyewear is your protective barrier against the cartridge ejecting from the firearm. Having them on allows you to keep a clear vision despite inclement weather such as a downpour.

Other than that, shooting eyeglasses also keeps your eyes shielded from other hazards. Twigs, leaves, airborne debris, and other particles can fall and hurt your naked eye. You can also get a good sight of the target despite gusty winds and other issues.

You can improve your accuracy when you use prescription glasses for shooting. Most designs for this type of eyewear offer great contrast when viewing your surroundings. You can even wear your spectacles or contacts under specialized models of this eyewear.

Differences between shooting glasses and ordinary glasses

Shooting eyewear and regular eyeglasses share similar characteristics—both provide eye protection, and you can wear them outdoors. However, there are remarkable differences that distinguish one from the other.

Firstly, a pair of shooting glasses offer special protection for the eyes. Every model should adhere to several protection ratings before it can be recommended for use. Your pair should possess American National Standards Institute ANSI Z87+ rating, which refers to high-velocity and high-mass impact protection. The lens and frame remain intact despite blunt impacts, recoil, or potential ricochets.

Shooting eyeglasses must also meet the MIL-PRF 32432 standard. It is a military ballistic rating that requires eyewear to have the necessary features. They include durability, UV absorption, easily detachable lenses, and more.

Ordinary glasses, on the other hand, do not need to meet these safety requirements. They can still offer basic protection against the sun's glare, debris, and dust particles, among others.

Shooting glasses are generally made for better durability than other eyeglasses. However, you might not find a lot of options for this eyewear fashion-wise, unlike regular glasses.

Are shooting glasses the same as safety glasses?

Some people assume that shooting eyewear and safety glasses are the same given that they have a similar appearance. They are both highly durable and made for heavy-duty use. They also provide an improved level of eye protection.


The most blaring difference is the purpose of these two types of eyewear. Shooting glasses, as suggested by the name, are used exclusively for shooting practice. You can never go without one to a shooting range or hunting session even when you are not holding a firearm.

In contrast, safety glasses are eyewear made especially for industrial work or any task that involves flying debris. It acts as a barrier between your eyes and the surroundings. Whether you are working with chemicals or construction materials, this eyewear is a must.

Safety rating

These two eyeglasses follow safety ratings set by the (ANSI). Shooting glasses require the maximum ANSI standards to ensure a high level of protection for the wearer. This pair of glasses also undergo extensive ballistic resistance testing and high-velocity impact assessment.

Safety glasses also follow ANSI standards, but manufacturers focus more on guaranteeing outstanding durability.


Lenses for shooting eyeglasses are more durable and surpass impact resistance standards. They also come in different tints to offer better contrast and visibility in different conditions. On the other hand, safety glasses are typically colorless. The lenses may also have less durability than prescribed shooting lenses.

What color is best for shooting glasses?

The lens tint is a crucial factor in the type of shooting eyewear you need to bring with you. Experts recommend premium quality polycarbonate lenses with an anti-UV and scratch-resistant coating for this type of glass. The lenses typically have a yellow or orange tint to block blue light and haze. These hues also enhance the color contrast between the target and background.

Here's a summary of various lens tints and the most suitable conditions for wearing them.

1. Yellow or orange lens. Blocking blue light and diffusing haze are two strong points of this lens hue. They improve depth perception, which consequently enhances accuracy.

2. Amber lens. Amber shooting eyeglasses are popular because they block blue light and enhance color contrast. If you use a clay pigeon, you will see the target clearly despite dreary or low-light conditions.

3. Purple or blue lens. If the background features a lot of greenery, you can improve your vision with purple or blue shooting eyewear. This hue prevents the distracting green color from ruining your focus on the target.

4. Gray lens. Gray lenses lessen the bright light around you, which helps balance the background's tone. It is suitable for sunny conditions, blocking light to reduce eye fatigue.

5. Brown lens. Brown shooting glasses increase the visibility and contrast of red and orange targets. Hunters prefer to use these eyeglasses in open areas or fields with brilliant sunlight.

How to find the best shooting glasses?

Holding a firearm in proximity to your face always poses a risk to your safety. It's crucial to wear prescribed glasses for shooting to shield your eyes from harm.

The first thing to consider when shopping for this eyewear is to make sure that they possess safety certifications. They are tactical gear, and as such must deliver the highest level of protection for you. It's better to pay a few more pennies for high-quality shooting eyeglasses than meet accidents on the range.

Although expensive glasses aren't always the best, you can expect cheaper options to have low-budget materials and design. Instead of looking at the price tag, it's ideal to go for a pair that checks all the features you want. For instance, it should have durable lenses and frames that fit your face shape.

You can also prioritize lens coverage when buying shooting eyewear. You can opt for wraparound or oversized lenses that cover your eyes entirely. These designs prevent particles from hurting your eyes. It also wouldn’t hurt to choose a frame style that enhances your tactical appearance.

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