When asking what are shooting glasses, the definition is associated with eyewear that is impact resistant used by a shooter to avoid injuries from gun or cartridge malfunctions that can blow hot metal particles or gas into a shooter’s face.
Every person should know what are shooting glasses and wear these glasses for shooting. This is to offer full protection to the eyes while simultaneously taking advantage of the ideal vision under any type of shooting condition.
Target shooters and hunters may already have perfect 20/20 vision. However, there are still a number of reasons as to why they should wear the correct eye protection, over and above correcting faulty-vision.
This is extremely important for the people that hand-load their ammunition, as cases that are reloaded over and over again or when loaded when they are still very hot can result in head separations which can allow for tiny fragments of steel or brass or hot gases to flow back into the action and the blow back into the shooters eyes.
In Hurry? These Are The Best Shooting Glasses On Market!
Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses
Why is it better?
- Very comfortable
- Can be filled with a custom prescription lens
- 100% UVA/UVB protection
5 Best Shooting Glasses
With that in mind, let’s now take a closer look at our top picks.
Let’s dive into the specifics and review each shooting glasses individually. You can use the list below to jump and review specific models, or you can read along and go through all the information.
Wiley X Saber Advanced Shooting Glasses
As the cream of the crop, the Wiley X Saber glasses don’t have a tin to them, but they do cancel out 100% UVA and UVB rays.
All of that protection gives you a slightly clearer picture of the world around you.
While you don’t normally need to worry about the weight of glasses, ballistic shooting glasses usually pack a few extra ounces.
This pair rests at a nice 3.2 ounces, so it won’t weigh down on the bridge of your nose during use.
The full top frame goes from ear-to-ear, and nose guards help alleviate pressure and reduce the likelihood of red marks that are often left after wearing glasses.
Simply put, they were the most comfortable pair of shooting glasses we tested while still fulfilling all of its roles just fine.
ILumen8 Best Shooting Glasses
We talk more about yellow tinted glasses in the buying guide below.
What you need to know right now is that as far as yellow glasses go, iLumen8 hit the nail on the head.
You get excellent clarity through and through, while still reaping the rewards of 100% UV ray protection.
It protects your eyes from ballistic threats, as well as harmful light rays.
You’ll notice the black rubber running throughout the center right between the two lenses. That’s because the feet (rubber between the lenses) encases the bridge of your nose for total comfort.
You’ll also get a protective case to keep these in when not in use. The rubber makes these flexible and durable against most stressors, just be warned: they get dusty.
Howard Leight By Honeywell Genesis Shooting Glasses
Honeywell makes so many different products that it’s hard to keep track.
These ultralight shooting glasses come with 99.9% UV protection, which is plenty well enough for designated shooting glasses. If we were going for all-weather sunglasses, 100% is the only way to go.
They’re the most inexpensive option on our list, because there’s no polarization and minimal clarity restoration.
It’s not going to alter your image of the world or block our horizontal light, but it is going to protect you against most ballistics.
The curvature of the section that goes over your ears feels comfortable without being too restraining, but ensures that this is staying on your head no matter what. This inexpensive option does what it’s supposed to.
XAegis Tactical Eyewear 3 Shooting Glasses
You’ll feel like a member of Miami SWAT rolling up on a house when you wear these.
The gray lenses block just enough light, while the rubber nose guard helps to protect your face. These take up a lot of surface area on your face, which is exactly what we want them to do.
As you might imagine based on the photographs, this isn’t a lightweight pair of shooting glasses.
You’re going to feel their presence on your face, but you’ll also receive some of the best face protection that money can buy (for civilians).
Last but not least, they’re extremely durable. The rubber components allow this to be flexible without breaking, so you’ll be able to put it under light amounts of stress without the fear of breaking.
Smith & Wesson M&P Thunderbolt Full Frame Shooting Glasses
They make guns, and eye protection for them.
Smith & Wesson is all about quality, but because of the lack of aesthetics and simple plastic design, this earned its way at the bottom of the list.
There’s no rubber present, meaning these are a little more fragile than other ones that we’ve reviewed so far today.
However, they are lightweight, and include 100% UV400 protection, so you won’t have to worry about harmful rays hitting you in the eyes. On top of that, the simple frame rests easy on your nose.
It does what it’s supposed to: ballistic protection. That’s the primary function; there’s no tinted lenses or polarization. We consider these a necessity pair, but a quality pair at that.
Table of Contents
Shooting Glasses FAQ
SHOULD SHOOTING GLASSES BE POLARIZED?
Yes, they most certainly should be. There’s virtually no downside to polarized lenses when you really think about it.
If you’re not familiar with polarization in lenses, it’s a method used to block out certain waves of light.
Horizontal light waves are basically invisible to you, and only vertical waves are able to penetrate the lens and reach your vision. This makes everything a bit clearer.
The sky looks bluer, the clouds pop a bit more, and you don’t see that sheen on top of the ocean that always makes you squint your eyes.
In short, polarization clears everything up visually, but it does reduce how much light you see. Think about turning the contrast all the way up on your television, and turning the brightness down to about half of what it is right now. That’s basically what polarization does.
If you have the option, get polarized lenses. If not, get colored lenses, which we’ll talk about in a minute.
Cancelling out some form of light is a good idea. It promotes clarity, and prevents your eyes from receiving too much blue light (which is what causes eye strain from screens and monitors after prolonged exposure).
WHAT COLOR LENSES ARE BEST FOR SHOOTING?
Why don’t we let you decide that for yourself? This is a quick list of the different lens colors and what they do. We’ll give our recommendation at the end.
Amber: Much like yellow lenses, amber lenses block out blue light while also providing clear visibility in low light conditions.
Yellow: Designed to filter out blue light, these open up your line of sight by making everything ahead appear clear and crisp.
Blue/Purple: If you’re hunting and your prey has a backdrop of forest behind them, blue and purple lenses help clarify all those greens and oranges in the foliage. It paints a better image of your target.
Brown: While it’s a less popular option, brown lenses help mellow things out in extremely bright situations. It can help with eye strain, and is best used if you’re hunting something with orange or red in its feathers/coat.
Personally, we’re always going to go with amber colored shooting glasses. They have the right amount of light blocking, and give you the clearest visual of your target.
WHY ARE SHOOTING GLASSES TINTED YELLOW?
You’ll notice that SWAT, police, and even military personnel depicted in photographs and movies have yellow shooting glasses. Why? The yellow tint improves contrast and give the shooter better clarity when looking towards the target.
There’s that, and some people who say it helps prevent excessively bright muzzle flash from distracting them while shooting. It just mellow the muzzle flash coloration and intensity out quite a bit, so there might be some truth to this, but it’s mostly from personal accounts.
Yellow tinted shooting glasses don’t just add contrast for clarity; they help cancel out ridiculously bright rays of light. Most yellow and amber colored lenses on shooting glasses are there for protection, but also cut out blue light from UV rays. You can basically look through light without feeling your head pounding or seeing blurs of light.
CAN PRESCRIPTION GLASSES BE USED AS SAFETY GLASSES?
Inherently, no, your prescription glasses cannot just be used as safety glasses.
That being said, you can get safety glasses custom made with your glasses prescription in mind. As a matter of fact, that’s an excellent idea so that you avoid all potential injuries while assembling, deconstructing or reloading your gun.
Prescription glasses are usually made thicker than standard readers, which is why people often assume that they’ll do just fine in a shooting range.
They still need to meet a certain level of safety compliance to be considered viable for shooting. No pair of prescription glasses just automatically come with ballistic protection.
HOW DO YOU TELL IF GLASSES ARE SAFETY RATED?
Identifying ballistic eyewear is a quick and easy skill that you need to have under your belt, along with many others, before you can really start assuming mastery over shooting.
There are two different grades, each of which will be marked somewhere on the glasses (usually on the inside of one side of the frames).
Z87+ markings signify that the eyewear in question is just standard safety eyewear. It’s not meant for ballistic use, and you shouldn’t be wearing whatever those are when you’re shooting.
The ANSI Z87.1 is when it meets the industry standard for eye protection. It must have the ANSI included, otherwise you’re just holding some shiny plastic.
Those are civilian standards, but then, you have military standards.
Testing is done similarly to ANSI, but the MIL-PRF 32432 Ballistic Fragmentation system is ridiculously more rigorous. You can’t get away with even the smallest issue; everything has to be perfect in this instance.
Look on the inside of your protective eyewear for the necessary information. There are plenty of in-between ratings that you might find on standard sunglasses as well.
Shooting Glasses Video
Here is a video discussing how to choose various tints of Shooting Glasses: