One of the most important, yet often overlooked piece of safety equipment for the shooting is shooting glasses. These crucial pieces of eyewear not only are designed to offer extensive protection from accidents caused by failed rounds or even worse, failed guns or ricochets, but also are often tinted to promote greater optical clarity and accuracy when shooting. Such a simple product should be relatively easy to make and sell, yet the market is awash with nearly identical competing products. This can make selecting a good pair of shooting glasses difficult, and choosing the quality from the junk can be difficult. Picking the best shooting glasses requires not only knowing what your particular needs are (do you wear glasses? Plan to hunt?) but also knowing if your shooting glasses are even made to common safety standards. We went ahead and went through hundreds of shooting glasses reviews, so you don’t have to.
Jackson Safety V30
|View On Amazon|
Honeywell Howard Leight Shooting Glasses
|View On Amazon|
Wiley-X Saber Shooting Glasses
|View On Amazon|
ESS Crossbow Deluxe Kit
|View On Amazon|
Oakley Radar Path Sunglasses
|View On Amazon|
Best Shooting Glasses and Eyewear
1. Jackson Safety V30
Despite the high reviews, we weren’t sure if these would be some of the best eyewear protection for shooting that we’d run across. However, a quick trip to the range proved us wrong. These reasonably priced shooting glasses come in a convenient twelve-pack, making them ideal for gun clubs, spaces for group shootings, Christmas stocking stuffers, or even something to markup a bit and sell in a gun store. They come in a nice assortment of colors and tints, ensuring that a shooter can get whatever color they like best, and offer both front and side protection, making them rather suitable as safety glasses on or off the range.
Designed to meet ANSI standards for personal eye protection, these glasses are also bundled with a lanyard, adding to their functionality. Now while we gave them our seal of approval for the best eyewear protection for shooting, it is important to note that these are generic safety glasses first and shooting glasses somewhat second. They will work for shooting, and quite well, but the primary market is bulk purchasers like construction companies or shooting ranges. That said, if you need high-quality shooting glasses in bulk, and are after something a bit nicer and trendier than the usual run of the mill shooting glasses, by all means, grab a dozen or two of these. The cost per unit is low, and sometimes no amount of money in the world will buy back an eye injured in a shooting accident.
2. Honeywell’s Howard Leight Shooting Glasses
These are as close as you can get to designer safety/shooting glasses, and boy are they nice! Miles ahead of the competition, they are certainly some of the best eye protection for shooting we’ve run across. Still well under $20, even with carefully designed safety and comfort features like a padded brow guard, wraparound lenses, and a highly UV resistant coating to give long life to the rugged polycarbonate lenses. We really liked these glasses, in fact, we liked them so much everyone had to order a set.
The same objection to smoke-colored lenses applies here to clear lenses, but for a great many people, the advantage of orange or amber tinted lenses simply doesn’t matter. Perhaps the greatest downside though ties into some of the greatest advantages. The padded rubber nose pad can become a minor point of irritation in high heat or heavy activity, and in a world of sub $10 glasses, these cost just enough where their loss would be mildly annoying; akin to leaving a mag at the range. All told, though, the positive benefits far exceed the negative, earning these glasses a place in our next range trip. These are the sort of shooting glasses ideal for a long day shooting trap or hunting in the woods, where extreme comfort, while engaged in physical activity, is of the utmost importance. These glasses are built with active sports shooters, hunters and even construction workers in mind, and show considerable thought in design excellence and engineering.
3. Wiley-X Saber Shooting Glasses
Oof. These are nice glasses. Almost too nice, we argued over who got to take them home, which proves that the best eye protection for shooting can be stylish and affordable. The smoked wraparound UV blocking lenses, shatterproof construction, and extremely comfortable nylon frame sold us on these little gems of shooting glasses. As an added bonus, these can be had in much popular for shooting colors like amber, yellow and clear, ensuring that pretty much anyone can get the shooting glasses that work best for them.
We looked these over with a mind for utility and durability since they are in that sweet spot of either a little too pricey for what they are or a good deal. We found that they are in fact a solid set of shooting glasses for the money and well worth adding to your range bag. As a downside, we think these may obscure too much peripheral vision for some shooters. The wraparound design is crucial for proper eye protection, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing. If you have trouble with your peripheral vision, you probably want to take a look at some of the other shooting glasses we review here. However, if you spend a lot of time outdoors and need a more extreme lens design with UV protection, these will be just the ticket for you. All told, it’s hard to go wrong with these shooting glasses, especially with the multiple lens colors available.
4. ESS Crossbow Deluxe Kit
Notice what our most common problem with shooting glasses have been? It’s lens color and the fact that once you pick one color, you are stuck with it. Sure some glasses we’ve looked at can be had with different lens colors, but it isn’t unreasonable to assume that that the best eye protection for shooting would also have a nano, interchangeable lenses. Fortunately, ESS has come to the rescue with their Crossbow Suppressor kit and offered just that sort thing. However, as they say on TV, “But wait! There’s more!” and there is, what with compliance with basically every safety standard under the sun, plus US military safety compliance, you can be certain that these are some of the best shooting glasses on the market.
On the other hand, these do push a three-figure price tag, which may put them out of the reach of most casual shooters. The interchangeable lenses, while an excellent touch, also means that if you lose your favorite set of lenses, you are out of luck, which may have the effect of rendering these worthless for you. Bottom line, but these if you need the utility of several different lens colors, and regularly use at least two of them. Suitable for everyday use, or even as a loaner set that can be readily adapted to the needs of any shooter, we are hard-pressed to find a more well balanced and versatile set of shooting glasses. As we said earlier, buy once, cry once and stick with a sound investment in your safety gear.
5. Oakley Radar Path Sunglasses
What, you’d think we’d do a review of the best eye protection for shooting and NOT touch on Oakley glasses? Here they are, and worth every penny of the price. Sure they are expensive, we cringed a little at the cost of some models, but there is an old saying, “buy once, cry once” and these are certainly bought once glasses. These extremely well-made glasses with high-impact lenses and total UV protection can be ranging from a bit over $100 to over $300, making them approachable for most any dedicated shooter. Oakley glasses have long been popular with the military, both for their rugged durability and for their actual safety protection features.
All this does come at a price, though, after all, advanced designs and a total commitment to combat grade quality aren’t cheap. Our biggest objection is, in fact, their price, but there is absolutely no denying that these are an investment and a lifestyle choice. After all, if you are going to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on guns and ammo, what’s the price of probably the absolute best shooting glasses on the market? Grab yourself a pair, because you, your eyes and your shooting experience deserve the absolute best. Use them anywhere from the range for hunting, law enforcement or even military deployment. It’s rare to find a set of safety gear that is stylish, effective and tactical all at the same time, but the folks at Oakley managed to pull that off with class.
6. Remington T-71 Dual Mode Shooting Glasses
We’ve all done it, in fact, every single one of us looking for the best eye protection for the shooting has admitted to going out to the range without safety glasses. Some of us wear prescription lenses and rely on them more than is safe, while all of us admitted to just being lazy sometimes. However, laziness and cutting corners is a lousy and dangerous way to shoot, and it is fortunate that modern firearms are also incredibly safe. That is no excuse to not bring shooting glasses along, and the T-71 quickly became one of our favorites due to their high-quality construction, wraparound lenses and incredible levels of personal comfort when worn.
The primary downside to these glasses is their clear color. It’s a well-known fact that amber or orange-tinted lenses increase the contrast between objects, and can enhance shooting performance. Of course, not all shooters perceive things the same way, and not all circumstances call for tinted lenses. However, as long as the lack of tinting isn’t an issue, these affordable and highly rated glasses are some of the best eye protection for shooting when used at the range or out in the field while hunting. Another great use for these would be as spares and loaner glasses, because invariably when you get to the range, one of your buddies forgot something, so it never hurts to have spare safety gear. Grab one or two pairs and see how these well-made shooting glasses work for you.
Best Shooting Glasses Buying Guide
1. Eye Protection
Open any manual for most any firearm, or read the box for most any ammo, and you’ll see the same warning repeated over and over and over again; wear eye protection. One might dismiss this as simple lawyer talk, or the sort of warning that is so common sense as to be meaningless, but the sad reality is that the lack of the best eye protection for shooting can lead to ruinous injury or loss of vision in case of an accident. But you say your gun is safe, and your ammo brand new, what could possibly go wrong? Well, lots of things.
1.1 Out of battery firing
This uncommon yet sometimes terrifying malfunction happens when faulty ammo or mechanical failure in the gun meet each other, and a round goes off before it is chambered. At it’s best you have unexpected noise and an awkward moment, at it’s worst there are bits of a brass casing and maybe even bullet fragments flying about.
1.2 Catastrophic failure of your gun
This can happen to the best of us, using the best of guns and the best of ammo. Sometimes the ammo factory makes too hot of ammo, or maybe a squib load goes off and jams a bullet in the barrel and you miss it, or perhaps for some rare reason, the metallurgy of your gun was off, or you were using faulty hand loads. But no matter the reason, nobody loves an exploding gun, and you better have eye protection on if that happens.
This can be due to shooting at the wrong sort of target (never shoot at rocks, hard ground, or flat bodies of water), or simply due to freak ballistic accidents. If a bullet comes bounding back at you, or maybe bits of rock fly towards your face, do you really not want to be wearing eye protection?
1.4 Pierced Primers
No that isn’t the latest heavy metal band, but rather a failure of your ammo, either due to faulty primers or a too-long firing pin. When the primer is pierced all the way through, gas from burning powder will vent back out of the gun and possibly towards your face. This is closely related to a case failure, where the case simply fails to hold together in the firing. Wear your shooting glasses, hot gas to the face isn’t fun.
You can see that even with modern firearms and well-made ammo that sometimes Bad Things just happen, this is why wearing shooting glasses is such a critical part of standard firearms safety. This is made more crucial when shooting outside of a formal range, or hunting or even for tactical duty. When you’ve got your trophy buck lined up or are in a tactical situation, the last thing you want to worry about is any of the myriads of problems that could destroy your eyesight. Whenever possible wear the best shooting glasses you can find, and rest easy that your eyes are protected.
2. Is the Price Right?
Everyone’s budget is different and not everyone can afford or even wants to buy the same shooting glasses. Fortunately, thanks to modern methods of manufacturing you can have perfectly safe glasses for just a couple dollars, all the way up to prices approaching a car payment, and they will all protect your eyes in case of an accident. But how do you decide what is the best price range for you? Well, that’s a bit harder to answer, but the short answer is whatever your wallet will bear, and the more realistic answer is that you need to factor a few different things in. Certainly, the price is an object, but so is a utility, intended use and even what you do for a living. More expensive shooting glasses will have features that appeal to certain professional users but not too casual ones. General utility and even fashion all play roles in deciding how much to spend on eye protection.
If you really only want to spend a few dollars and are a casual shooter, the market for the best eye protection for shooting is wide open and readily caters to your needs. Many inexpensive shooting glasses are combination safety glasses/shooting glasses, which means they are just as suitable for industrial or construction work as they are for range duty. That also means they aren’t exactly made to be stylish but just comfortable enough to wear. Bottom line, you do get what you pay for, and if it’s semi-disposable glasses you are after, they aren’t hard to come by. Buy these if you don’t shoot a lot, or simply need a spare set of glasses in case you forget your good ones. These are also suitable for commercial use at shooting ranges, or if buying in bulk, to resell.
On the other hand, there are nicer shooting glasses that approach or break the three-figure price point. Who spends a hundred bucks for fancy sunglasses? Lots of people. Professional shooters, soldiers, law enforcement, active outdoors people; in other words people who are heavily invested in shooting and the outdoors. At this level of dedication, a premium set of shooting glasses is hardly a burden and may even be a requirement, especially if you spend considerable time shooting, or even carry a gun for a living. Many of the more expensive shooting glasses are more like high-grade sunglasses, meaning you can wear them anywhere sunglasses are appropriate, making them ideal for law enforcement and security professionals, or simply somebody who appreciates the finer things in life, and wants to rock their Oakley’s outside of the range.
It all boils down to your needs and your budget. Nobody who is reasonable will laugh at you for showing up at the range of low-priced shooting glasses, and if you can afford and want the higher priced brands, you should rightfully enjoy them. The most important thing is that you get your eyes covered with quality shooting glasses and wear them when needed, otherwise, the most expensive, most perfect set of eye protection will be meaningless to you.
3. Form Follows Function
For something as simple as shooting glasses, there are a lot of variations on the theme and finding the best eye protection for shooting can be hard. Some are little more than shop class safety glasses that have been rebranded, while others appear to be high-end sunglasses, yet are impact rated. In each case, the design of shooting glasses reflects the end-user, consumer demand, and even simple aesthetics.
One of the most obvious design variants you’ll see is the lenses themselves. Some are large and cover a good bit of the face around the eyes, and wrap far around, to the point where your eyes are almost totally protected at all angles. These can be uncomfortable to wear for long periods of time, though, and may not be ideal for long-term use, although there is no denying the raw utility of such brute force design. But what else do you need out of your shooting glasses? A special shape? Tinted lenses? Ventilation? Consider all of this first, as they will help rapidly narrow down the playing field.
In other cases, we will find shooting glasses that strike an ideal compromise between a crude, yet effective design, and something sleeker, lighter and easier to wear. These will have smaller lenses that still protect the eyes, and they may taper off to the sides to provide protection off to the sides. Too you will find a myriad of shapes of the frame, bridge, and temples. These parts all aid in holding the glasses on your face, and sometimes in adding protection. A large frame can double as protection, and a stout overbuilt bridge and temples will not only make for more a more secure fit but help hold the glasses in place in case of an impact. When selecting your shooting glasses, it is best to consider several pairs and what your intended purpose is. In fact, you may need to own a couple of pairs to cover all circumstances you shoot in.
These factors all depend on your personal comfort and individual need. There are shooting glasses that will accommodate almost any situation and need, but you have to select them knowing ahead of time what it is you want out of shooting glasses. This selection isn’t as time-consuming or difficult as it sounds, but it is a crucial part of selecting the best shooting glasses, and if you haven’t purchased shooting glasses before, you should take a moment to consider what you want and need out of them before making a selection. A few careful moments now will pay great dividends in the future when you are out shooting and don’t have to deal with shooting glasses that simply do not work for you, or give you all the function you wanted out of them.
Glasses design is both very simple and very complex owing to the need to accommodate as many different face shapes as possible. Do you want padded bridges? Flexible temples? Maybe you don’t want so much of the lens to wrap around the sides? These factors all depend on your personal comfort and individual need. There are shooting glasses that will accommodate almost any situation and need, but you have to select them knowing ahead of time what it is you want out of shooting glasses. This selection isn’t as time-consuming or difficult as it sounds, but it is a crucial part of selecting the best shooting glasses, and if you haven’t purchased shooting glasses before, you should take a moment to consider what you want and need out of them before making a selection. A few careful moments now will pay great dividends in the future when you are out shooting and don’t have to deal with shooting glasses that simply do not work for you, or give you all the function you wanted out of them.
4. Pick a Color, Any Color
Ever wonder why shooting glasses are traditionally orange or amber in color? Sure it makes for cool 70’s long-haul trucker looking sunglasses, but unless you are looking for a bit part in a remake of Convoy you’ve probably wondered why those colors? Well wondered the same thing, and after asking a neighborhood optometrist with questions and possibly small bribes, we found out that there is a sound scientific reason for that color range. Turns out that those colors not only block haze, and visible blue spectrum light, but enhance the orange colors in the target, making dark colors and browns stand out. Different shades of yellow or amber are used in different lighting conditions, with the lighter colors being used in the darker light. So if you are shooting in bright light, you’ll want a darker orange or amber tint, while in more subdued light, you’ll be looking at the lighter colors that approach yellow. Of course, the yellow color range isn’t the only color available in shooting glasses, you can get them in clear, and various smoke tinted lenses as well.
Clear lenses will be most suitable for people who prefer seeing things in natural light. They are our pick for hunting, as there is nothing to obscure tracking or sighting game, and you can always fit a colored filter to your scope if you want the benefits of tinted lenses without wearing them all the time. Too, you’ll find clear lenses may be preferable in periods of poor weather (after all, not everyone can enjoy shooting in ideal weather conditions) or simply overcast days. Traditional smoke tinted lenses that function as sunglasses can be enjoyed anytime that you would prefer dark lenses. Periods of intense sunlight or use by individuals with particularly sensitive eyesight all encourage smoked lenses. For that matter, they can sometimes fill in with clear lenses when you want some sort of tinting but don’t want to start playing around with special colored filters.
Many premium shooting glasses have smoke-colored lenses as they are commonly worn as sunglasses first (think military, or range masters, or simply people who want high-quality shooting glasses) and eye protection second. Here you have the ideal blend of style, high-quality construction, and colored lenses. These sorts of colored lenses are used in all situations where shooting glasses are called for. Ultimately choosing the color of your lenses depends on your eyesight, where you live or plan to shoot, what your personal preferences are if you want to use your shooting glasses outside of the range, and what tints work best for you. We heartily encourage you to experiment with several different colors to find the best eye protection for shooting under the conditions you think you’ll be shooting under to determine which colors work best for you. This is where you’ll most likely find that instead of a single set of glasses, you’ll own two or three to ensure that you are always covered, or perhaps invest in a set of interchangeable colored lenses.
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
We showed you some of the most common situations where wearing the best eye protection for shooting can save your vision, but like with any voluntary safety product, there are always those who think “it couldn’t happen to me” or that accident happen to other people. The stark and often harsh reality is that not wearing shooting glasses can ruin your life. Guns are dangerous, and while much has gone into ensuring all that danger exists from the muzzle forward, it can still be dangerous at the end closest to your face.
Ask yourself, are you willing to risk having serious burns on your face from venting gas or an exploding round? Is today a good day to have to go to the emergency room to have brass and lead picked out of your face? Even worse, can you live with just one eye? Or even no eyes at all? Metal fragments do not discriminate, and the human eye is a rather squishy body part and one that is easily damaged by sharp bits of hot metal and blasts of superheated gas. It is your responsibility to yourself, your friends and your family to wear eye protection when shooting. You may go a lifetime without an accident, or you may come home, stare at a ruined set of shooting glasses, and be forever grateful you were wearing them.
You can minimize the risks to yourself by only shooting guns in good repair, using clean, well-made ammo, and correctly operating your gun, but accidents still happen. A simple online search will show people who have suffered grave facial and eye injury due to accidents when shooting, and plenty who avoided needless suffering and expense by spending a few bucks on a set of shooting glasses. Gun and shooting safety rules were not invented to burden the shooter or gun owner, nor are they constantly taught, repeated and enforced at ranges out of a desire to irritate people, but rather out of a need and desire to ensure maximum safety and enjoyment for people. Sure, shooting glasses may not always be “cool” and it can be tempting to dispense with them, but each time you do, you are also risking doing away with your quality of life and vision.
Shooting glasses can be replaced in moments, but you may never get your eyesight back. The bottom line is always wearing eye protection when shooting. Any suitable set will do, but just like you’d (hopefully) never shoot without hearing protection, you should never shoot without eye protection. Get a couple of pairs. Carry a spare, be willing to loan out a pair to somebody who forgot their own, but carry and use them. We hope you found this buying guide useful, and we really hope that you have already taken basic shooting safety to heart and follow it, and if not, that you will now. Buying shooting glasses isn’t hard or complicated, but it is an important part of being a safe and responsible shooter. Take a look at other tactical outfits here.
Eye Protection Standards
There are a number of published standards that exist to ensure that eye protection meets or exceeds certain safety tolerances, and it is important for anyone buying shooting glasses to be familiar with them. These civilian and military standards exist to provide a minimum baseline that all safety glasses must follow to ensure function and performance.
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is the most common standard for safety glasses used in the civilian world. These standards are the minimum for construction and industrial workers and other people who use eye protection as part of their job. Naturally, such standards are useful in building shooting glasses, which is why the best shooting glasses are ANSI rated Z87.
- ANSI Z87.1-2003 compliance is noted with a Z87 on the glasses or packaging. Insist on it.
- This is a high impact rating, meaning it will protect your eyes from flying debris and small objects.
- Uses improved testing techniques to ensure safety glasses meet impact resistance standards
- Suitable for industrial use as well as safe shooting.
- Duplicates international standards for eye protection and impact rating.
- May also protect against fine dust, chemicals, and liquids.
ANSI Z87 is the baseline standard by which all shooting glasses should be judged. Given the low cost of many shooting glasses, you have to ask yourself if it is really worth it to buy glasses that are not ANSI approved? This is a rigorous standard that ensures optimal impact protection for your eyes, and should not be ignored.
Military Standard 662 F V50 Ballistic Test for Armor is the military answer to ANSI standards. The military is naturally concerned with ensuring protective eyewear can stand up to the rigors of hard use, and provide safety in combat and other harsh conditions. This is the gold standard for shooting glasses and is the one to look for when buying the absolute best shooting glasses.
- Approved for military use.
- Suitable for law enforcement.
- Improves on ANSI standards to create a system that offers true combat-ready shooting glasses.
- Required for any safety or shooting glasses used by or issued to US military personnel.
- Designed to handle high impact and hard use.
MIL-STD 662 F shooting glasses will likely be more expensive than their ANSI approved cousins, but for a very good reason. These are the ultimate in shooting glasses and intended for use by our soldiers in some of the most dangerous conditions they’ll face. This means if it’s good enough for a war zone, it’s certainly good enough for you. If you were in the military, you already know the tough duty these sorts of shooting glasses can take, and if you haven’t served, the fact these are a military standard should be enough to sell you on them. When choosing military standard shooting glasses, you get more bang for your buck, and some of the most advanced, well-designed shooting glasses ever made.
Best Shooting Glasses Comparison Chart
|PRODUCT||PRICE||GLARE PROTECTION||IMPACT PROTECTION|
|REMINGTON T-71 DUAL MODE SHOOTING GLASSES||$||99.9% UV protection.||Meets or exceeds all ANSI Z87.1+ requirements.|
|JACKSON SAFETY V30||$||99.9% UV protection||Meets ANSI Z87.1+ standards. 12/Case|
|HONEYWELL’S HOWARD LEIGHT SHOOTING GLASSES||$||99.9% UV protection||Meets ANSI Z87.1-2010 (High Impact) and CSA Z94.3 standard|
|OAKLEY RADAR PATH SUNGLASSES||$$$||100% UV protection coating||It meets ANSI Z87. 1 standard|
|WILEY-X SABER SHOOTING GLASSES||$$||Bock 400 nanometers or 100% of the suns harmful UV rays||N/A|
|ESS CROSSBOW DELUXE KIT||$$$||100% UVA/UVB protection||Complies with ANSI Impact Standards|
Shooting glasses don’t need to be complicated or uncomfortable. Modern eye protection is both affordable and easy to wear and is made to accommodate every imaginable sort of setting and need, from active combat in the Mid East to an afternoon shooting at cans with an air rifle or a pistol. There are published standards that help keep you safe and ensure you are buying a quality product that will actually protect your eyes in case of an accident, and any number of colored lenses that will enhance your shooting experience or simply make it more comfortable. Modern synthetic materials have given us lightweight and easy wearing frames and lenses, and top-notch shooting glasses are available to fit any budget and any price point. If you are shopping for your first set of shooting glasses or simply looking to get a new or even better set, we’ve got the best shooting glasses right here for you to look over!