The best shooting glasses will protect your eyes from oils and lubricants flying rearward and ricochets. Because shooting without eye protection can be seriously dangerous, most gun ranges all over the country require them. But finding the right pair of glasses can be a challenge, especially since there are so many models on the market to choose from. Because of this, I’ve created a buyer’s guide, which includes all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision when it comes time to hit that buy now button. I’ve also tested out several pairs of glasses, narrowing it down to six pairs that have what it takes to provide the level of eye protection you need.
Below, you’ll find a comparison chart, which includes each pair, how they rated, and other important information.
Shooting Glasses Comparison Chart
ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor
This pair of glasses is the first type of its kind. In fact, it features a unique frame design that allows you to wear the glasses comfortably with communication devices and ear cup hearing protection. The frames feature arms that are ultra-thin, durable, and comfortable. The slim temple design will eliminate any pressure points or hot spots, a common issue you’ll run into with low quality bulky shooting glasses.
These shooting glasses are top of the line. The lenses are made out of polycarbonate and feature ClearZone Flow Coat technology and distortion-free Essoptics. The Flow Coat technology is designed to prevent scratches on the outside of the lenses, while also preventing the inside of the lenses from fogging up. Additionally, the Lens Lock feature will allow for quick lese interchange.
- Can be used with hearing protection devices
- Slim temple design
- Will not fit over prescription glasses.
This pair offers the latest in ballistic glasses technology, with lenses that feature rock-solid retention under impact, protective coatings on the inside and the outside of the lenses, and a lightweight design that’s impressively durable, flexible, and comfortable to wear both at the range and in the field.
ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor 2X
The ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor 2X, like its predecessor, features lightweight frames that are designed for use with communication devices and ear cup hearing protection. The lenses are made out of 2.4 millimeter thick polycarbonate and come with interior and exterior coatings that protect the lenses from scratches and fogging up in humid or cold environments.
This kit comes with the Crossbow Suppressor frames, the Tri-Tech crossbow frame with high definition copper lenses, a snap-on elastic strap, hard carrying case, and interchangeable grey lenses. The sleek temples are designed to prevent pressure points and hotspots, offering a more comfortable, flexible fit that promotes longer wear.
- Includes two frames and two sets of lenses
- Packed with extras
- Protective coating
- Bridge is very narrow
- Cannot fit over reading glasses
- Extra frames have a somewhat bulky design
This ballistic shooting glasses kit comes with two frames and two lens options, so you can choose your eyewear protection based on lighting conditions, for a better shooting experience. These glasses are perfect for both indoor and outdoor shooting, so you can wear them at the range, in the field, or keep them in a bug out bag, so you’re prepared for the worst case scenario. These lenses can be worn with both hearing protection and communication devices, comfortably, yet they also offer a lightweight design with thin, flexible arms. Unlike bulky competing shooting glasses, this pair by ESS Eyewear is light and comfortable, with a low profile design.
Bertoni Shooting Glasses
These shooting glasses by Bertoni comes with rugged frames that are made out of a combination of nylon carbon and rubber. The frames are anti-fog and made out of polycarbonate. The lenses also have an impact resistant coating that will protect them from scratches and pitting. The frames are described as shatterproof and anti-crash. This kit comes with four different lens options, two nose pieces, an optical clip prescription lens adapter so you can use prescription lenses, a carrying case made out of neoprene, and a microfiber cleaning cloth.
The glasses feature a frameless design that eliminates any blind spots that would normally impact your peripheral vision, while improving airflow, so your glasses won’t cause discomfort and sweating in hotter climates. The lens colors can be chosen based on lighting conditions and shooting type. The brown lenses will block out blue light and can improve the contrast of an orange target. The yellow lenses are designed for use in overcast and low light conditions, the violet lenses offer the best contrast for orange targets or for clay pigeon shooting, since they also offer excellent contrast against a bright blue sky. The red lenses are perfect for shooting in heavily wooded areas and highlight orange targets, neutralizing green.
- Flexible frames
- Includes four lens color options
- RX optical clip allows you to clip on prescription lenses
- Anti-fog coating
- Lenses do not provide impact resistance
This kit comes loaded with four lens color options, allowing you to choose the perfect color based on where you’ll be shooting, and the type of shooting you’ll be doing. The kit comes with lenses that are perfect for both indoor and outdoor use. The lightweight, flexible frames are designed to promote wearer comfort, while eliminating pressure points and hotspots. Overall, this is a great kit for the gun enthusiast on a budget, and anyone looking for more bang for their buck.
GruntX Ballistic Shooting Safety Glasses
GruntX offers an affordable pair of ballistic shooting glasses, with clear lenses. These glasses are designed for both indoor and outdoor shooting and provide UV protection. The UV400 lenses can easily block out 99% of harmful UVB and UVA rays. The lenses are made out of polycarbonate and are scratch resistant. These wraparound frames are flexible and made out of plastic polymer. The lightweight and flexible design of the frame will prevent hotspots and general irritation, promoting all day use.
The front of the frames are reinforced with high tensile strength nylon. This makes the frames impressively durable, yet the frames themselves will feel very light on your face.
- UVB and UVA protection
- Scratch resistant coating
- Frames are flexible and light
- Frames are reinforced with high tensile strength nylon
- Only includes one set of lenses
- Anti-fog coating is not effective
If you’re looking for a simple pair of glasses for use during a hunting trip or while you’re at the range, these glasses deliver the type of durability and UV protection that many buyers are looking for. The frames are durable, flexible, and light, while the surface of the lenses are scratch resistant. These budget-friendly ballistic glasses ensure full peripheral eye coverage and offer a superior level of quality, for a price that won’t break the bank.
NOVATICA Shooting Glasses
These glasses are designed to enhance the shooter’s performance by contrasting depth perception between the background and target, in a variety of lighting conditions. The lenses are impact and scratch resistant, with a semi-polarized design that will protect against UV rays and reduce unwanted reflections and glare. The lenses will reduce glare that comes from reflective surfaces and improves contrast in outdoor or indoor shooting ranges. The lenses offer UV protection and will block UVC, UVB, and UVA rays. The frames are lightweight and feature the popular wraparound design that offers wide coverage.
- Protects against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
- Lightweight frames
- Lenses are impact resistant
- Anti-glare lenses
- Cannot be worn with reading glasses
These glasses combine functionality and style. The low-profile design allows you to use them anywhere you go, making them a great choice for your bug out bag, use at the range, or for camping and hunting trips. The lightweight frames with anti-slip temple arms, combined with the soft nose pads promote longer wear, while the anti-glare lenses, complete UV protection, make these glasses suitable for a wide variety of light conditions and shooting environments.
XAegis Tactical Eyewear
This pair of tactical glasses by XAegis features three lens color options, so you can pop out the lenses and use a different color, based on lighting conditions. The frames of the glasses are made out of rubber, so they’re durable and flexible, with a lightweight feel that most wearers will appreciate. The polycarbonate lenses are available in clear, smoke, and yellow. The lenses are also anti-fog, impact resistant, and scratch resistant. The semi-rimless frame design provides a more comfortable fit at the temples and bridge.
- Anti-fog coating
- Three lens color options
- Glasses are not compatible with hearing protection earmuffs
The variety of lens options makes these glasses suitable for use in a wide variety of lighting conditions, both indoors and outdoors. The glasses feature a durable design, with a flexible frame that’s designed for all-day use. Unlike competing models, this set is very versatile and designed to meet a wide range of shooting conditions, whether you’re practicing at a range or using these glasses on your next hunting trip.
Shooting Glasses Buyer’s Guide
When you’re shopping for the right pair of shooting glasses, there are plenty of factors to consider. Obviously, you’ll need a pair that offers maximum protection, but you’ll also need to take into consideration the environment you’ll wear them in, and different types of lighting needs.
However, safety will always be the priority, especially if you’re a new gun owner.
Guns are devices that contain miniature explosions to propel a piece of metal beyond the speed of sound. Dangerous failures can occur. This can involve a round that’s overloaded, or you may end up with a squib load. This can cause a firearm to explode. In slightly less dangerous situations, you’ll have to deal with splatter and ricochets.
A ricochet involves a round that strikes a surface and instead of being absorbed it redirects. When it’s redirected, a round can fly in any direction. Ricochets can cause death, but in most cases, it leads to injuries. An injury to the eyes is a serious possibility.
Splatter is when a round hits a surface, splitting into several pieces that then fly outward. This will send fragments of metal in many directions.
Eye protection is also worn to prevent any blowback from a firearm from hitting the eyes. Some firearms have gas blowback which can lead to severe discomfort.
Other firearms can eject unburnt powder, carbon, and oil. As you can imagine, these types of materials can cause severe pain if they make it into your eyes.
Wearing a regular pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses will not provide the type of protection you need. What you really need is a pair of glasses that meets a recognized and established standard for firearm eye protection.
Before I go over what features you should look for in a new pair of ballistic glasses, let’s learn more about the many different benefits these glasses have to offer.
Benefits of Shooting Glasses
- Shooting sports are designed to help gun enthusiasts to improve their shooting skills. However, if you’re practicing at the local range or hunting, it’s important to wear shooting eyewear. Hunting accidents can occur at any time due to ricochets and birdshots. Additionally, excessive powder can blow back when a firearm is discharged. This can severely burn the eyes.
- Wearing glasses is the best way to protect the eyes against hazards and mishaps. They will also protect the eyes when cartridges are ejected from a gun or rifle and can ensure your eyesight will remain intact when inclement weather hits you unexpectedly.
- Ballistic eyewear can also protect the eyes from other types of hazards, such as twigs, leaves, and other types of falling debris, especially when you’re practicing or hunting in a heavily wooded area. You should wear these glasses whenever you’re cleaning your firearms as well. Doing so will protect the eyes from gusty winds, cleaning solvents, and any other issues that can arise.
- The right pair of ballistic glasses will offer excellent contrast when target shooting.
- These glasses can help a shooter to improve their accuracy when they’re practicing at the local range. Some glasses can be worn over reading glasses.
- Most hunters prefer to wear ballistic glasses at all times because they provide the highest level of protection and improved vision.
- Ballistic eyewear offers shatterproof and impact resistance benefits.
- Models that are equipped with polycarbonate lenses provide both UVB and UVA protection. They’re also shatterproof, which will help you maintain your vision when you’re practicing in the field or hunting.
Now, I’ll go over the important features to look for in order to find a pair of shooting glasses that offer the level of protection you need when you’re in the field or at the range.
There are a few recognized standards that you should look for when you’re shopping for protective eyewear.
Glasses with this certification will guarantee that the glasses are safe for use when operating a firearm. This rating also includes protection from liquid droplets, mist, and dust particles.
Basically, this means your eyes will also be protected from burning gun oil and hot carbon. Glasses with this type of rating have been ballistically tested against impacts.
This rating is the U.S. military’s seal of approval for ballistic eyewear. Glasses that have this rating will be able to withstand a 5.8 grain 0.15 caliber projectile that has a t37 shape. These glasses can also protect the eyes from chemicals and UV rays.
Eyewear that offers this level of protection is perfect for firearm use.
This is a European rating system that you’ll find on some types of higher-priced shooting glasses produced in Europe. These glasses are designed to provide protection from a six-millimeter steel ball that weighs .86 grams that’s flying at over six hundred feet per second.
Some gun enthusiasts recommend choosing protective eyewear based on the type of shooting you do.
Target Practice and Plinking
Target practice and plinking involve a square range with not much movement. In cases such as these, the shooter can use almost any type of range glasses. There’s not too much to worry about in terms of target choices and dynamic movement.
Trap and Skeet
The goal of trap and skeet is to hit an orange, small target that’s flying through the air. The eyewear you use should allow you to easily see orange clay. Certain lens colors can make seeing the orange flying disk much easier. Clear lenses can work well on overcast days, while yellow lenses can help to highlight the disk in low light conditions. Red lenses will help to highlight the clay over a green background, such as a heavily wooded area. Purple lenses will work well in terms of allowing you to easily view the disk flying against a blue sky.
Action shooting like SASS, USPSA, IDPA, and 3-gun will require both rapid firing and movement. Faster movements will mean that the eyewear you use has to stay securely in place when you’re shooting and running. Because of this, glasses with arms that are made out of flexible polymer will be a good choice since they can cling tight and will feel very supportive. You’ll also need a clear full view, so choosing a wraparound style is the best choice. In 3-gun, if you’re using optics, then you’ll need glasses that are slightly recessed, which will allow you to use your optics easily and comfortably.
If you’re conducting military or police work, or you’re training for defensive shooting, then you’ll want eyewear that offers a variety of lenses, such as a clear and dark set. You’ll also need lenses with military specs. Lenses that offer UV protection and are fog-proof will ensure you’re comfortable and safe as you shoot.
Just like with action shooting, you can anticipate plenty of moving as you shoot. Because of this, you may also want a pair of glasses that feature flexible arms, in addition to a retention strap, which can help them remain securely in place.
Comfort and Fit
If your glasses don’t fit comfortably, you’re going to hate wearing them. Measure your head and research sizes before you buy. Most of the sizes are measured in centimeters, ranging from small to large. Before you hit that buy now button, do a little research and pay attention if buyers mention that the glasses run a size large or small.
Protection from the Elements
Imagine you’re outdoors shooting, and the wind picks up, throwing dirt into your eyes. Aside from protection against wind, you’ll also need protection from the sun, since bright sunlight can make hitting your target a big challenge. You’ll also need to account for wind and rain blowing smoke and carbon into your face.
If you have bad eyesight and must wear glasses at all times, it’s possible to wear ballistic glasses over your regular glasses. For some, this won’t exactly feel very comfortable. Fortunately, there are prescription glasses available. These glasses will allow you to enjoy perfect vision, with the added benefits that standard ballistic glasses have to offer. If you purchase a high-quality pair, speak with your optometrist and inquire about having the lenses switched over to prescription. Some ballistic eyewear manufacturers offer this service, but they’ll request a copy of your prescription when you order, so have this available if this is something you’re interested in. Keep in mind, in most cases, prescription ballistic glasses will be more expensive compared to a standard pair.
Shatterproof lenses are one of the most important features these glasses have to offer. Never purchase a pair of ballistic glasses that don’t clearly state that the lenses are shatterproof. Lenses that aren’t can cause severe damage to the eye if the lenses break during use.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need Shooting Glasses if I Wear Glasses?
Yes. Even if you wear prescription glasses, you still need to wear ballistic glasses. Reading glasses do not offer the same level of protection that shooting glasses can, nor are they as durable. Always wear ballistic shooting glasses when firing a weapon. In some cases, you can wear shooting glasses over reading glasses, or you can purchase prescription shooting glasses.
What is the Best Color for Shooting Glasses?
Many shooters prefer wearing glasses with orange or yellow lenses. Lenses in these colors will work to block blue light and haze and can also enhance the contrast between the background and the target. A bright yellow lens color is a great choice for low light conditions.
Why are Shooting Glasses Orange?
Orange glasses are designed to block out blue light, such as the light on a cloudy day. The color also brings out the orange color of a practice target. This color will increase the shooter’s depth perception and contrast, which can improve their shooting accuracy.
What Color Lens is Best for Overcast Days?
For overcast days, rose-colored, green, amber, or gold lenses are the best choices. This is because less light will pass through the lens, improving the wearer’s vision on overcast days or in low light conditions.
Do Yellow Shooting Glasses Block Blue Light?
Yes. Brown and yellow lenses can. Both types of colored lenses do a great job of blocking out blue light and can be a great solution for some shooters, depending on light conditions.
The best shooting glasses will come equipped with durable, shatterproof lenses that provide the type of protection you need, based on where you shoot and the type of shooting you often find yourself doing. This can include glasses that come with a more secure frame that will remain in place if you’re running and shooting at the same time, light colored lenses if you’re shooting clay pigeons, or protection from the elements if you’re wearing them while you hunt or you’re practicing outdoors. This buyer’s guide and the products that landed on my list are designed to help you choose the perfect pair of ballistic glasses that can help improve your shooting performance and accuracy. With a little research on your part, you should have no trouble finding a pair that will take your shooting skills and accuracy to a whole new level, while providing the type of safety and protection you need, whether you’re training for a competition or heading out for a hunting adventure.