|What to look for in Shooting Glasses|
Things to look for in shooting glasses...
Shooters of all kinds require eye protection, whether at the range or in the field. The majority of shooting activities take place in close proximity to the face. Facing the possibility of ricochets, flying objects (ejecting shells, etc), wind, sun and dust, it only makes sense to use good eye protection. Although everyday sunglasses are better than nothing, you're much better off with a pair of protective glasses specifically designed for shooting activities.
But when searching for a quality pair of shooting glasses, what factors do you look at to help make an educated purchase?
For some additional in-depth information on shooting glasses, you might want to check out one of our other sites called Shooting Glasses Guide.
We'd recommend evaluating the following components when making your decision:
Let's look at each one in more detail:
A very important important feature to consider. For shooting applications, Polycarbonate is the best lens material available on the market today. Polycarbonate is a type of LEXAN® from G.E., the same material used for bullet resistant glass in autos. It's such hard material that a special diamond grinding wheel must be used to cut the lens. To form the lens itself, the material is melted and then force injected into a special mold. In comparison, Polycarbonate lenses are lighter, more durable, more impact-resistant and more scratch-resistant than any other lens material in today's market. Many law enforcement and fire agencies are now making polycarbonate lens standard issue on all protective eyewear. We strongly suggest looking at polycarbonate lens for your glasses.
We'd suggest choosing shooting glasses with lens that meet or exceed all three standards. If not all three, at least two. We wouldn't take a chance with any less.
UVB is responsible for sunburn, prolonged eye damage, and some forms of skin cancers. It can penetrate thin cloud layers and up to three feet of water. UVA is the cause of sun related drug reactions.
To provide adequate protection, look for shooting glasses that absorb at least 99% of UV radiation. Choose shooting glasses with one of the following labels: "Blocks 99% or 100% of UV rays", "UV absorption up to 400nm", or "meets ANSI UV requirements." It should be noted that even clear Polycarbonate lens will block or absorb UV rays, so don't become focused on the tint as playing a role in the level of protection.
Many shooting glasses manufacturers are now offering glasses with interchangeable polycarbonate lens. Some manufacturers are now offering glasses packages that come standard with a set of 3 different colored lens. We highly recommend that you take a look at this option, as you'll be able to get a lens set of colors/tints to meet the needs of most lighting and atmospheric conditions encountered.
Frame material - We recommend that you look at frames that are constructed of a lightweight material like plastic, aluminum, or titanium. You'll find frames made from those materials much more comfortable at the end of the day.
Adjustable frames or flexible temples - Those features will allow additional fitting adjustments for added comfort. Flexible temples may also allow you to wrap around the ear in the "cable" style to help keep the frame in place, and the tips of the temples may feature little rounded ends, or "balls," to enhance comfort.
Nose pads - possibly adjustable so that the frame rests in the optimum position, and should be made of soft silicone material for additional comfort.
about prescription lens?
For example, Ed recently looked at having some prescription shooting glasses made by Oakley, and was quoted a price of $385 and some change. Actual prices will vary, so shop around. If you need prescription shooting glasses, we'll talk about a much more cost effective solution down below.
What about brands
do you recommend? And why?
Keeping that in mind, Ed and I highly recommend a brand called Eye Safety Systems or ESS for short. They are relatively new on the market, and produce an outstanding pair of shooting glasses called the ICE or Interchangeable Component Eyeshield at a great price. The ESS products have been adopted as the standard combat eyewear issued by all branches the U.S. Military.
Rather than go into tremendous detail here as to why we love the ESS ICE, check out the link below:
The best part about the ICE, the price. The whole system of frame, 3 lens, and carrying case, is only $50.00. Shop around, you won't find a higher quality pair of shooting glasses at a better value.
Here's another great reason we love the ICE, if you need prescription lens, the ICE has an optional RX carrier that you can buy for another $27.00. Take the RX carrier to your eye care professional, have them insert your lens into the carrier, and then snap the carrier into the ESS ICE frame, and you've got prescription shooting glasses. You just saved 100's of dollars compared to standard prescription shooting glasses. Put that saved money towards another gun...
We hope this information proved to be useful to you. Please let us know if you have any questions regarding this product.
Gunner's Alley 2003