best shooting glasses. ballistic safety glasses

You may think you are all suited up for the shooting range or this season’s hunting excursions, but if you lack a good pair of shooting glasses, then your gear bag leaves something to be desired. Whether you opt for shooting glasses with the highest safety standards or are looking for the right lenses to improve your marksmanship, there is a pair of shooting glasses out there just for you.

However, with so many options available across a vast range of prices,  it can be difficult to find the right pair. The styles and accessories vary greatly, too, so it can be difficult to know which specs you really need, and which are a little less necessary.  Don’t worry, though, because it is entirely possibly to find a pair of shooting glasses with a comfortable fit, top of the line safety initiative, and all the accessories your heart desires. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to weed out the less desirables and create a list of the best shooting glasses on the market, taking options from each price range and breaking down the specs, all so you don’t have to. Here are our top picks, as well as a little need-to-know information about buying the best shooting glasses for you:

 

Oakley Batwolf SunglassesOakley Batwolf Sunglasses

Starting at a higher price point, these glasses are possibly the most stylish shooting glasses on the market. Coming from a trusted brand, these sunglasses feature all the style and swagger you would expect from a pair of Oakley sunglasses, but with an added twist: top of the line protection standards. The impact-resistant lenses meet all ANSI Z87.1 safety standards and include plutonite material that provides 100% protection against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays up to 400 nanometers. An optional iridium coating provides the lens with glare reduction properties that keep your line of vision clear.

The squared “O” Oakley icons on either arm are interchangeable and snap on and off in an instant, making it easy to change your look. The wrap around style frame fits most face shapes and head sizes and includes a Three-Point Fit system that keeps the glasses secure even during strenuous activities. The frame is made from lightweight, yet durable materials that create a comfortable feel for all day wear and resist damage due to frequent use. These glasses have every bit of the fashion-forward feel you expect from Oakley along with top-notch safety features for shooting.

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BLUPOND Sports Anti Fog Polarized Shooting Safety SunglassesBLUPOND Sports Anti Fog Polarized Shooting Safety Sunglasses

These stylish safety glasses protect your eyes from harm due to impact and harmful sun exposure, so you get the best of both worlds for a very reasonably moderate price. They offer polarized lenses that will protect you against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. The lenses are made from durable polycarbonate include a scratch-resistant coating that keeps your glasses looking new and avoids obstructed vision. The second of the seven-layered lens includes anti-reflective properties that provide clear vision even in harsh light. The remaining layers are for added strength and durability. These glasses are both shatterproof and bend-resistant, so you can feel confident and secure while behind the sights of your gun.

The rimless frame is stylish and is made from a magnesium and aluminum compound that is tough and will withstand daily wear and tear. The hinges are double reinforced, so you don’t have to worry much about any accidental breaks that will leave you scrambling to purchase new safety glasses. The flexible arms make for a comfortable fit that fits most head sizes securely. The integrated noise cushioning and rubber ear guards increase comfortability even if you wear the glasses all day.

You can purchase these safety shooting glasses in one of three colors including “orange,” “yellow,” or the sleek “dark mirror” option. BLUPOND offers a package that includes these modern protective shooting glasses as well as a portable hard sports case to store and carry them, a soft carrying pouch, a microfiber cleaning cloth, small screwdriver with keyring attachment for adjustments or repairs, and a clip-on glasses holder for your car.

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Walker's Game Ear Sports Glasses with Interchangeable LensWalker’s Game Ear Sports Glasses with Interchangeable Lens

These affordable, yet durable shooting glasses give you the opportunity to customize your glasses to the environment and include interchangeable lenses appropriate for any setting or lighting. You get four interchangeable lenses of different shades, including orange, yellow, gray, and clear. The lenses are made from strong polycarbonate and exceed ANSI 287.1-2003 High Impact Requirements, so your eyes can feel protected behind these frames.

Your eyes will be safe from damaging sun rays, too, with 99% UVA and UVB protection. Adjustments are easy and lenses include ratcheting pitch, as well as an open design that allows free airflow and prevents fogging. The slim frame will allow you to comfortably wear these with hearing protective earmuffs and is flexible enough to adapt to different face shapes and sizes. This set includes a soft, zippered carry case that has microfiber pockets for storing extra lenses, so everything stays together and free of damage.

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Smith Optics Elite Aegis Arc Compact Eyeshield Field KitSmith Optics Elite Aegis Arc Compact Eyeshield Field Kit

These glasses fall into a higher price range, but definitely meet the added expectations that go along with it. These safety eyeshield field kit by Smith Optics Elite features one set of durable, comfortable frames in either standard black or the optional tan color, as well as two one-piece lenses. One lens is clear for indoor safety, while the other is tinted grey for outdoor safety while shielding eyes from intense light. The tinted lens provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

The glasses feature Tapered Lens Technology, which prevents sight distortion and produces clear, reliable vision. The frames are built for ultimate comfort and include a soft nose pad and flexible temple arms. These safety shooting glasses will fit adults with a hat size of 71/4 or less. As expected, these luxury glasses meet both US-MIL-PRF-31013 military ballistic safety standards and ANSI z87.1 safety standards.

These glasses are sleek and modern by design and this field kit includes the frame of your choice, both the clear and tinted lenses, as well as a zippered carrying case. These may be slightly pricier, but they are built to be comfortable all day long and last for years to come while still providing top-quality safety, so they are well worth the price.

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Radians Shift Interchange Shooting Glasses with Interchangeable LensesRadians Shift Interchange Shooting Glasses with Interchangeable Lenses

These glasses fall in a moderate price range and offer plenty of accessories to make them worthy of the investment. This set includes 5 different optically-enhanced lenses in different shades, including a copper lens that enhances depth perception and works in most moderate lighting, a green mirror lens to reflect light and reduce eyestrain in bright settings, and the typical amber, orange, and clear lenses. The lenses include a protective layer that blocks 99.9% of harmful UVA and UVB rays and exceed ANSI Z87.1 safety standards.

The flexible frame will fit most medium to large head sizes and feature a rubber tip on each arm for extra comfort that helps keep frames in place during outdoor activities. The soft, rubber nosepiece helps fit glasses securely to your face. This set comes with one frame, all five senses, as well as a microfiber cleaning cloth, one extra nose guard, and a carrying case that holds all the parts and pieces.

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Howard Leight Genesis Sharp-Shooter Shooting Glasses Combo KitHoward Leight Genesis Sharp-Shooter Shooting Glasses Combo Kit

This set also includes three interchangeable lenses, including shades like clear, amber, and vermillion, so you can adjust glasses for optimal vision in different lighting situations. However, these glasses are built for comfort and safety rather than fashion. Both the clear and the amber lenses meet the Military V0 Ballistic Impact Test requirements, as well as the ANSI z87.1-2010 High Impact requirements. The uni-lense feature a wraparound fit that offers ultimate protection to your eyes, including your peripheral area. The brow guard is made from a soft impact absorbing material that provides a comfortable fit to the forehead and temples, while the adjustable nose piece helps create a custom fit for adults of any size. The lenses feature a UVExtreme Anti-Fog coating that protects against 99.9% of harmful UV rays and defends glasses from clouding up during wear. The frame includes ventilation to aerate the eye sockets for increased comfort, especially for long-term wear. You can also adjust the lenses to the best position for you with the 3-position ratchet adjustments. This set comes with the three lenses, frame, hard carry case, and microfiber cleaning cloth.

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Titus Premium G Series Multi-Lens Safety Glasses BundleTitus Premium G Series Multi-Lens Safety Glasses Bundle

If the idea of interchangeable lenses appeals to you, this is the ultimate set for the middle price range. These shooting glasses include a heavy duty impact resistant frame and six shatterproof lens options in different tints. The lens shades include Orange, Vermillion, Blue, Yellow, Clear, and Mirror Coated Grey. The comfortable frame includes a six-point adjustment system to allow for a customized fit, as well as soft, adjustable nose pads that can be easily removed and replaced as needed.

Lenses are uni-lenses that include side shields for your peripheral area. The one-piece lenses are simple to change in and out. The lenses are UV 400, meaning they block 100% of harmful blue light, including UVA and UVB rays up to 400 nanometers, and the multilayer build makes them impact resistant for ultimate safety. The glasses are made from 100% hypoallergenic materials and exceed ANSI z87.1 safety standards.

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Champion Traps and Targets Over-Spec Ballistic GlassesChampion Traps and Targets Over-Spec Ballistic Glasses

If you wear prescription glasses, these safety shooting glasses may be exactly what you need. These are designed according to top safety standards with a frame that easily fits over your personal prescription glasses, providing you with security without interfering with your need for prescription lenses. The wrap around style lenses protect your eyes from all angles and are built from durable, scratch resistant materials that exceed ANSI z87.1 safety standards and meet the military ballistic safety standard MIL-PRF-31013. These are available with clear or amber lenses, so you can choose the shade that works best for you. Both lense shades have anti-glare properties to reduce obstruction to vision, even in bright environments.

The glasses are incredibly lightweight and the frames are built with rubberized slip-resistant padding that keeps the glasses in place during vigorous activities. The frames also use “fold smart” technology that avoids contact with the lenses to reduce the chance of damage. You can expect clear, sharp vision paired with ultimate safety standards and plenty of comfort, even when placed over your everyday prescription glasses from these fairly inexpensive safety shooting glasses.

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Ducks Unlimited Shooting Eyewear Kit With 5 Anti-Fog Lens OptionsDucks Unlimited Shooting Eyewear Kit With 5 Anti-Fog Lens Options

Here’s another multi-lense option from a trusted brand that combines safety glasses with sunglasses. Ducks Unlimited paired with Pyramex to create these glasses based on the incredibly popular “Pyramex Rendezvous Safety Glasses,” but with a little extra flair. This pair of shooting safety glasses is available at a fair price, along with the five lenses of different shades, each suitable for a specific lighting or environment. These shades include Clear, Amber, Vermillion, Orange, and Sunblock Bronze.

The lenses are made from an impact-resistance polycarbonate material that provides clear optical quality and maximum protection from ballistics danger. The lenses are vented and include an anti-fog coating to keep your line of vision clear.

The durable frames include an easily adjustable nose piece that will help fit glasses securely to your face, as well as ratcheting arms that will adjust to any head size. These glasses a built to be both stylish, comfortable, and practical. The set includes the Realtree Advantage MAX-4HD neoprene carrying case that features the Ducks Unlimited logo and matching breakaway cord, as well as a microfiber cleaning cloth.

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ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor 2X Deluxe KitESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor 2X Deluxe Kit

This pair of unique shooting frames is designed specifically to be worn with a protective hearing device. The slim design features Z-Bend Geometry technology that makes the frame thin and flexible and will steer clear of hearing protective earmuffs so that both may be worn simultaneously without discomfort. The lenses provide top-notch protection such as 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays and are compliant with ANSI Z87.1 safety standards as well as U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 military ballistics guidelines and U.S. Federal OSHA safety guidelines. They are made from a high-quality polycarbonate material that are bend-resistant and scratch-resistant and feature distortion-free ESSOPTICS. You can avoid fog obstructing your vision with the Clear Zone FlowCoat technology that increases airflow and creates a vented fit. The universal-fit frames are flexible to fit any adult and the lightweight glasses are comfortable even when worn over long periods of time.

This kit includes the Black Crossbow Suppressor frame, the Tri-Tech Fit Crossbow Frame, as well as multiple interchangeable lenses including the Clear lens, Hi-Def Copper lens, and Smoke Grey lens. You also receive a zippered hard case that holds both frames and all lenses, a snap-on comfortable retention strap, a scratch-free microfiber soft pouch, a flannel lens sleeve to keep extra lenses free of damage, and an instruction booklet.

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Tips for Choosing the Best Shooting Glasses:

We know, this is a lot to take in all at once. With something as important as your eye’s continued function on the line, this probably seems like a big decision. And it is, because the right pair of shooting glasses is a huge part of gun safety. If all of these options give you anxiety, these tips might help calm you down so you can make the absolute best decision for you.

UV Protection

Good shooting glasses will include some level of UV protection and the best will block 99-100 percent of UVA and UVB rays. Naked eye exposure to UV rays can cause serious damage to the eye and skin of the eyelid and may result in macular degeneration. If you often shoot at an outside range or hunt outdoors, then it is imperative that you find a pair of shooting glasses that includes high UV protection.  Look for a rating of UV 400, which means the glasses block all UV rays up to 400 nanometers. Wrap around lenses will help provide full UV coverage, even the peripheral vision.

Safety Standards

As we mentioned earlier, purchasing shooting glasses that meet certain safety standards is imperative to the wellbeing of your eye everytime you are behind the gun. However, if you haven’t bought shooting glasses before, you may have no idea what those safety standards may be. If you are looking for the safest glasses, the most important thing to look for is a pair that meets the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Z87.1 standards. On top of the ANSI standards, you may also find glasses that meet certain military standards, such as MIL-PRF-3103 standards or OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines. There are plenty of other safety guidelines out there, but these are often the standard and give you a reliable set of standards that you can feel confident in trusting with your eye health. If you intend to purchase your shooting glasses from a manufacturer in another country, be sure to do your research and find out which safety guidelines are standard in that county and check to make sure your glasses meet those guidelines.

Prescription Needs

If you wear prescription glasses (and don’t like to swap out for contacts) then you have a whole different detail to consider. If you’ve ever stacked sunglasses on top of your everyday glasses, you know that you don’t always get the most cooperative fit. However, many shooting glasses are made specifically for shooters that wear prescription glasses, so you’ll be able to easily find a pair that you can wear comfortably with your everyday glasses. Generally, the shooting glasses will specify that they are built for wearing in tandem with prescription glasses.

Another option is to find shooting glasses that tailor lenses to your prescription needs. These with often be much pricier, but it may be a small price to pay to include your prescription lenses in a great pair of shooting glasses with outstanding safety standards. If you opt to wear contacts, this might not be an issue you face, but you should ensure that you purchase shooting glasses with efficient ventilation. While wearing contacts, you should get continuous air flow to the eye. Otherwise, you run the risk of the eye drying out, which can cause the contacts to stick or irritate the eye, causing serious discomfort and sometimes permanent damage.

Comfortable Fit

Ensuring that you have the right size glasses is important since you will likely be wearing them for long periods of time. Even if you only plan to wear them for short durations, a secure, comfortable fit ensures that the safety features work as designed. Glasses that are too big may have a hard time staying in place, while glasses that are too small may not give adequate coverage to protect the eye. Plus, you will not want to have to continuously adjust your glasses while trying to see down the sights of your gun, and tight glasses can easily give you a headache that cuts your shooting trip short.

You may be thinking that you can’t possibly do enough vigorous activity to knock your glasses off your head, especially if you frequently shoot in a gun range where you are mostly standing in one location. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when deciding if you have the right fit. First, glasses should be able to remain in place even if your body is jolted by the recoil of your gun. If the glasses slip or move, even for an instant, it leaves your eye open to potential damage. Second, if the glasses are too large or too loose, they will interfere with your ability to look down the sights of your gun, or may even make contact with the gun when you are lining up a shot. If you don’t have the right glasses, this could warp the lenses slightly enough that it may distort your vision, causing you to misaim.

To ensure that you find glasses that fit well, look for glasses with a flexible or adjustable frame, as well as qualities like an adjustable, well-cushioned nose guard and tilting lenses. Some shooting glasses may even include grips around the nose piece, padding around the brow area for increased comfort, and grips around the earpieces.

Accessory Compatibility

Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses, you may have other accessories to worry about. One common concern while purchasing shooting glasses is whether or not they will work with your protective hearing device. If you use protective hearing earmuffs, you will need to select a pair of glasses that fit slim and close to the head. You don’t want the frame of your glasses to create any separation in your ear and the muff of the protective hearing device, or else it may make them ineffective. Many shooting glasses are designed to be worn with protective hear earmuffs, and some brands even have a line of products that include both the protective hearing muffs and protective shooting glasses that are built specifically to be worn together.

Remember, if your shooting glasses and protective hearing device don’t work well together, it may be the earmuffs that don’t work well with the glasses and not the other way around. Some noise canceling earmuffs are simply not designed to be worn with glasses and do not leave enough clearance, or you may have the wrong fit.

Most shooting glasses will fit fine with a hat, but some may be designed to fit better with thermal protective gear, like a face mask. Other accessories you may want to consider are a lanyard or retention cord or some type of marked float device, especially if you will be using your shooting glasses around water. Shooting glasses will generally come with some type of carrying case, or you can purchase one individually to hold your glasses. This is important and should not be overlooked because the glasses and their interchangeable lenses should be stored safely so as to avoid scratching or warping. Any imperfections or damages done to the lens can cause distorted vision, which can ruin your shooting experience altogether.

Quality Lenses

Aside from the safety qualities, perhaps the most important thing to consider when purchasing shooting glasses is the quality of your lens. We aren’t talking about how well they will stand up to collateral damage, either. Instead, you should make sure your lenses are durable, scratch resistant, and bend resistant. Weak lenses will eventually get warped, scratched, or begin to lose their protective coatings. This can result in obstructed or distorted vision, which, as you can imagine, is no good for aiming a gun.

Replacement Parts and Warranties

Purchasing shooting glasses from manufacturers that offer replacement parts can be a huge lifesaver for your wallet. If you damage your glasses, it is generally much cheaper to replace a part than to purchase an entirely new set. Better shooting glasses will offer at least some of their parts sold separately, such as extra nose guards, spare hinges, and screws, or replacement grip tips for the arms of the frame. Other companies may allow you to purchase the frame or lenses separately so that you can pay only for the part you need instead of the entire pair of glasses.

A better idea is to search for a manufacturer that offers a lengthy warranty on your shooting glasses. Chances are you are going to spend a pretty penny on these glasses, so in the event that they get damaged, you’re going to want to have your (potential) losses covered.

Style vs Safety: Know the Difference

The most important reason to wear shooting glasses while operating your gun or while in the range of someone else operating a gun is to protect your eyes from harm. However, not all shooting glasses are created equally. Often, the more inexpensive glasses will have lower safety ratings or be made with cheaper materials that are likely to provide less eye protection, especially against heavy fragments at high speeds. Price is not a definitive guide to the safest shooting glasses, though, and sometimes even the most expensive glasses may not meet safety standards.

In some cases, glasses are marketed at a higher price or with better ratings due to their design. Fashion forward glasses may seem like the way to go, but it is important that you do thorough research into the shooting glasses’ safety standards before choosing a pair to purchase. Neglecting to wear glasses following the right safety guidelines can result in injury to the eye, blindness, or even more serious damage during an accident.

Understanding Safety Standards

Each set of glasses listed have been tested by a strict set of safety guidelines. There are many different industries and associations that have created their own set of guidelines, but we have outlined two of the most popular and reliable below. If glasses are not marked with any safety standards, chances are they have not been tested or did not pass minimal safety requirements, so you should probably backtrack and consider another pair. Two popular and consistently reliable sets of safety standard guidelines include:

ANSI Z87.1 Standards

ANSI stands for American National Standards Institute and they create a set of testing standards for various products and devices used by businesses nationwide. The z87.1 guidelines are created specifically to test the efficiency of the safety qualities in protective eyewear, mainly for industrial use. However, ANSI standards are rigorous, and their standards for protective eyewear is no different. These standards revolve around testing whether or not the glasses will withstand (and protect the eyes from) the typical dangers associated with an industrial environment, such as radiation, dust particles, splashes, and of course, blunt impact.

The testing includes things like blunt impact at different levels of force, exposure to flammable and corrosive material, and exposure to certain dangerous radiation and chemicals. The ANSI Z*&.1 standards require glasses to be marked with simple and efficient markings to label defining qualities. Some of those markings are as follows:

  • High impact glasses are marked with “Z87+” while basic impact glasses are just marked with “Z87.”
  • UV levels will be parked with the letter “U” followed by the scale number.
  • Prescription lenses are marked with the label “Z87-2.”
  • The label “H” is used to signify that the glasses are made to fit someone with a smaller head.

U.S. MIL-PRF-3103 Standards

This set of safety standards is similar to the ANSI standards, except set by the U.S. Military and used to test glasses against ballistics. This means the testing is much more rigorous and any glasses that pass the MIL-PRF-3103 standards are automatically high impact resistant and tested against guns, unlike glasses tested according to ANSI guidelines, which are only tested against industrial hazards. Safety shooting glasses that meet these military guidelines can be held to a higher standard than glasses tested according to most other guidelines.

Why So Many Lenses?

You may have noticed that many of these options come with interchangeable lenses. Before you write off extra lenses (or the bright colors)as unnecessary, you should understand the reason for them. Lenses of different shades work better in different environments. Some lenses are built specifically for indoor, well-lit conditions, while others are built for dim-light mornings outside. Some lenses are effective at dimming bright sunlight to allow you to see your mark better. Long story short: the colored lenses can improve your vision in different environments, therefore improving your marksmanship. Here is a guide to help you choose which lens is best for each setting:

  • Green Lenses: Green lenses work great on bright days where natural lighting is blinding. The green contrasts with the seemingly “yellow” reflective properties of natural light to calm tones and allow the eye to relax, which makes focusing easier.
  • Blue/Purple Lenses: Blue lenses or purple lenses are great for target shooting because they reduce all contrasting colors to allow orange target marks to stand out. They also work well for hunting in areas that are predominantly green by “fading out” the background and allowing you to maintain focus on the forefront or target.
  • Yellow Lenses: Yellow lenses can help produce high definition vision in foggy conditions. A yellow lens improves depth perception and creates crisp lines and edges in environments that would otherwise be hazy.
  • Orange Lenses: Orange lenses will help reduce blue light and, like yellow lenses, will help create crisp lines in foggy conditions. Most notably, orange lenses help make orange target markings and orange clay skeets more easily visible.
  • Copper/Brown Lenses: Copper lenses or brown lenses are made to be used in environments with bright lighting. They help reduce the strain of the light on the eyes to help avoid eye fatigue. By avoiding fatigue and allowing the eye to remain focused in bright lighting, brown or copper lenses help the eye stay “fresh” and track movement that could otherwise be missed.
  • Amber Lenses: Amber lenses will block out some blue light and are most efficiently used in low lighting or on cloudy days. The amber shade creates contrast in conditions that may not have balanced lighting otherwise.
  • Clear Lenses: Clear lenses are generally the standard option, and if you prefer the look, then they are perfectly suitable for shooting in low to moderate light. Some shooters prefer the look of clear lenses because it is neutral and professional, but clear lenses provide no special vision enhancement properties.
  • Grey Lenses: Grey lenses are standard for sunglasses and have the same effect on shooting glasses. The grey lens will block out sunlight or artificial light in bright conditions, allowing your eyes to adjust more easily and avoiding the temporary “light blindness” you get when moving from a brightly lit area to a more dim one.

Some sets may come with all of these lenses, while others may only come with one. You should determine which lenses you need the most by considering the conditions you shoot in most often. If you find that you need more than one (or quite a few) you may want to opt for a pair of shooting glasses with interchangeable lenses. Remember that colored lenses are not synonymous with UV protective lenses, and you should always confirm that lenses have UV protection properties regardless of their color.

If you do opt for a set of interchangeable lenses, don’t forget to purchase a carrying case with adequate space for all of your parts, including lenses, cleaning cloths, and whatever tools are required in order to change the lens in your frames. Extra lenses should be stored in soft, secure compartments lined with non-abrasive material, like flannel or microfiber.

Keep Your Eyes Protected

There’s a lot to it–choosing the best pair of shooting glasses. However, the importance of the task shouldn’t be underestimated. The difference in good protective shooting glasses and a cheap pair of shooting glasses or sunglasses can be the difference in avoiding serious damage during an accident or sustaining serious injuries that could negatively affect your vision or physical appearance. In some cases, the right pair of shooting glasses may even save your life. For this reason, it is important that you take all things into account, including UV protection, safety standard ratings, and finding a comfortable and secure fit. Once you’ve found your perfect set of shooting glasses, you may be amazed how much it improves your marksmanship or very, very thankful next time you witness a dangerous shooting related accident. There are plenty of incredibly safe and very stylish options on the market, with plenty of cool features and optional lenses. However, when you are choosing the best glasses for your shooting excursions, make sure you consider safety first and fashion second.

 

 

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