When it comes to shooting, your eyes are of the utmost importance. Not only are they critical to your ability to shoot accurately, but they are also very easy to damage and impossible to replace. Catastrophic failures are not uncommon in the shooting world and even routine target practice has the chance of ejecting hot brass and particulates rearward into your eyes. For these reasons, premium eye protection is paramount when it comes to shooting. Fortunately, good quality eye protection is both affordable and easy to find, and the market is practically flooded with excellent choices. To find out more about the best shooting glasses on the market, keep reading! There are so many good choices, in fact, that often it will come down to which pair you think look the best on you. There are, however, certain models with different features that you may find desirable, and those will be discussed in this article. Features such as ANSI rating, lens color, lens replacements, sealing mechanism, and lens treatments will all factor into your decision of which pair of shooting glasses are for you.
Short On Time? Here Is The Bullet List
- Budget Glasses: Ultimate UV protection, scratch resistant clear lenses safety glasses, pack of 12
- Glasses for Outdoor Shooters: 3M Outdoor Safety Eyewear
- Multipurpose Glasses: Edge Eyewear SW119 Dakura Safety Glasses
- Low Light Glasses: Pyramex Zteck Safety Eyewear
- Replaceable Lens Glasses: KastKing Coso Sport Sunglasses
- Safety Glasses With Foam: UVEX by Honeywell S2600XP
- All-Around Choice: 3m Fuel Sport High-Performance Safety Eyewear
**Below are our more detailed reviews. Click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
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What are Z87 Safety Glasses?
The first and most important feature to consider when buying a pair of shooting glasses will be the ANSI rating. ANSI, or American National Standards Institute, has developed strict safety standards for products that receive their rating. For a good pair of shooting or safety glasses, you will want to look for something with some variation of the “Z87” rating. In the shooting world, you are going to want something that will stand up to impact. Safety glasses with a rating of “Z87” are rated to stand up to basic impact, and “Z87+” means that the lenses can withstand impacts at a higher velocity. This safety rating is available in all lens tints, and can even be found in prescription glasses as well.
Additionally, shooters should look for a pair of glasses that will provide adequate protection from all angles, which includes wrap around protection to prevent debris from entering the eye from the sides of the glasses. These safety features will provide you not only with a good pair of safety glasses to use at the range but also for general use as well. The gun range is not the only place to be concerned about the safety of your eyes!
Types of Lenses
Now that we have established the proper safety requirements for your shooting glasses, it’s time to look for some additional benefits we can get apart from the basic eye protection. Different lens tints will filter out and enhance certain colors of light, which may be beneficial depending on the type of shooting you are doing.
The first, and probably most common type of lens color will be the clear lens. This is the first lens color that you probably thought of when you decided to look for a good pair of safety or shooting glasses. A clear lens allows the shooter to perceive things the same as they would with no glasses on, and is usually an excellent choice if you are going to be shooting at an indoor range, or when your target is very easily identified and stands out well from its background.
I wear my clear shooting glasses when I shoot competitions at an indoor range, and when I am performing maintenance and cleaning on my guns at home. Getting cleaning solvent flung into your eyes is something to avoid! If you do most of your shooting at an indoor range or are just looking for a good general use pair of glasses, then a clear lens may be the best option for you.
“Looking at life through rose-colored glasses” is a phrase used to describe somebody with a positive outlook on life, but a pink or red tint to your glasses may improve your shooting in certain scenarios. These glasses are popular with sporting clay shooters, as it allows you to see orange (the color of the clay targets) much better. It also helps brighten a target that is against a dark colored background like a thick grove of evergreen trees, which makes this tint a good choice for sportsmen shooting at a deer or coyote that has just come out of the trees and into the field.
A rose tint will also cut down on glare that may come from a computer screen or the sun reflecting off the snow, as well as providing the largest amount of contrast out of all the available tints. You may choose to go with this tint for hunting or shooting in the winter time, or for general use such as driving or daily wear.
Another popular lens color among shooters is the yellow or orange shade. These lens colors filter out the blue light, which increases the sharpness and brightness of the scene. A bright yellow tint is most commonly used in dark or dreary conditions such as heavy fog or later in the evening. This makes them a popular choice for hunters trying to bag a deer at last light, or the motorist driving in a heavy fog. Additionally, people who enjoy nighttime activities may find the increased brightness beneficial. I usually wear my yellow tinted glasses when I am performing tasks in low light that require sharp vision without the aid of a flashlight.
Safety Glasses vs Sunglasses
The second most popular, and my personal favorite, is the tinted lens. You may also see these marketed as “gray” or “smoke” lens, which can indicate various shades of tint. These are commonly referred to as sunglasses, but any normal pair from the dollar store or the gas station will not do. Since sunglasses are so common, it is very important to make sure that they have the “Z87” ANSI safety rating before you trust them to protect your eyes. Much like the clear lens, the tinted lens does not filter out or enhance any wavelength of light, but rather it decreases the intensity and dulls the scene. This is ideal for those who shoot primarily at outdoor ranges, hunters chasing
Much like the clear lens, the tinted lens does not filter out or enhance any wavelength of light, but rather it decreases the intensity and dulls the scene. This is ideal for those who shoot primarily at outdoor ranges, hunters chasing game in the afternoon, or even just mowing the lawn in the evening after work. I wear my tinted lens shooting glasses more than any other color, and it is my go-to shade for my outdoor 3-gun matches or general target practice at the range.
Another thing to consider when purchasing a pair of shooting glasses is how easy it is to replace the lens. This may or may not be a concern to you, depending on how much you are planning to spend on your glasses. For example, many of the cheaper brands of glasses are designed to be disposable, or worn until they become too scratched up to see clearly out of. If you are wanting to spend a little bit more on your shooting glasses though, replaceable lenses are something to consider. This will not only allow you to put in a fresh lens if the old one becomes scratched or damaged, but it will allow you to quickly change lens shades while keeping the same pair of glasses. If you anticipate that you will frequently damage lenses or will need to change lens shades often, then changeable lenses may be something you should consider.
How to Keep Safety Glasses From Fogging Up
There are a few different lens treatments that are available on shooting and safety glasses. The most common of these are anti-fog and anti-scratch coatings. This does not mean that your lenses will never fog or scratch, but rather reduced the possibility of it happening. Low humidity and proper air flow will go a long way to making sure your glasses do not fog while you are shooting, but those factors are not always able to be controlled. A good anti-fog coating on your glasses can aid in scenarios like these. If you elect not to go with this coating, there are many aftermarket products such as wipes and sprays that claim to reduce the amount of fogging on your lenses. While the effectiveness of such coatings and products is debatable and varies widely by brand, a pair of glasses that contain the coating is certainly better than a pair that does not.
Safety Glasses for Dust
The final feature to consider when purchasing a pair of shooting glasses is the sealing. A pair of sealed safety glasses will have a small strip of foam around the edge of the glasses which will press up against your face while you are wearing them. While not 100% effective, this sealing mechanism goes a long way to decrease the amount of dust and fine particulates that may enter the eye from around the edge of the glasses. A downside to this, however, is that the sealing decreases airflow around the lenses which can lead to excessive fogging. Most of the time, sealed safety glasses are not needed. But if you work or shoot in an area that has excessive dust, you have sensitive eyes, or just simply want an extra layer of protection, then you may want to consider a pair of sealed safety glasses.
Best Shooting Glasses on the Market in 2021
Best Budget Glasses:
The best pair of safety glasses are the pair that you will wear, and for that, they need to be available and comfortable. These glasses are not only cheap but come in a package of 12, so you can always have a pair handy wherever you are. These are clear lens safety glasses that have the ANSI Z87 rating and are also rated for UV protection as well. The slim frame of these glasses makes them comfortable to wear underneath a hat or earmuffs, and the different colored frames make them easy to distinguish whose pair is whose. These do have a scratch-resistant coating but do not have an anti-fog coating. This makes them ideal for use in dry areas where fogging would not be an issue. These are the safety glasses that I use when I am shooting at an indoor range. While these are not the best glasses that money can buy, they meet all the safety requirements and are very budget friendly. If you have deep pockets and are looking for the best that money can buy, you are best to look elsewhere. But if you are just looking for a good pair of glasses that will not break the bank, then these glasses may be for you.
- Lower quality
Best Glasses for Outdoor Shooters:
Much like the clear glasses mentioned previously, these 3M tinted glasses are cheap and come in a 4 pack. This allows you to have several pairs to keep in multiple locations so that they are always there when you need them. These glasses meet the Z87 standard and have an anti-scratch lens coating. Weighing in at less than 1 ounce, these glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods. Additionally, the low-profile temple makes them comfortable to wear with ear muffs. These glasses are cheap, however, and that shows in the overall quality. These glasses will protect your eyes and get the job done adequately, but don’t expect any of the bells and whistles found on the more expensive pairs. If you are a person who frequently loses or breaks sunglasses, or simply just want a few pairs to lay around, then these may be a good choice.
- No extra features
Best Multipurpose Glasses:
If you are looking for a pair of glasses that would be great for many things other than shooting, then you may want to consider a pair of glasses with a rose tint like these Edge Eyewear glasses. These glasses cut down on the glare from snow and fluorescent lights, making them ideal for somebody who works in a factory or does a considerable amount of driving. The soft and flexible temple tips give these glasses an increased comfort level, making them suitable for wearing all day. Additionally, these glasses are rated to the Z87+ standard, meaning they can withstand higher velocity impacts. If you are an avid sporting clay shooter, or simply want a good pair of glasses for everyday use, then this is a good pair to consider.
- Good for many uses
- Not the best for shooting
- No anti-fog coating
Best Low Light Glasses:
These Pyramex amber colored glasses are not only effective but budget friendly as well. While I don’t find myself wearing my amber glasses very often, they sure are handy to have when I need them, which makes this pair an excellent option. The low price point makes them economical to purchase and leave lying around for when you need them. The flexible rubber temple provides a good, comfortable fit, but the frames are thicker than other brands, which makes them uncomfortable to wear with earmuffs. These glasses are Z87 rated and have a scratch-resistant coating. This would be a good option for somebody who does the occasional shooting in low light conditions, or sportsmen who frequently hunt in the evenings. However, somebody who does primarily low light shooting may want to consider investing in a better pair.
- Excellent low-light performance
- No anti-fog coating
- Not good to use with adequate lighting
Best Replaceable Lens Glasses:
If you regularly do a wide range of outdoor activities and do not want to have 5 different pairs of glasses, then you should consider getting a single pair with several interchangeable lenses. These KastKing glasses are both strong and lightweight, which makes them not only comfortable but durable as well. I personally do not find these glasses to be very stylish, and the thick frames make it uncomfortable to wear with earmuffs, but the comfort and functionality offered with these glasses are adequate. All the lenses that come in this set are polarized, which makes them ideal for fishermen or wearing on the water. The lenses can be a touch difficult to change, however, so if you think that you would need to be switching lenses often, it might be best to find a pair that will allow for a quicker lens change. If you are a person who wants to shoot targets in the morning, fish in the afternoon, and ride your motorcycle in the evening, then this just may be the product that can do it all.
- Good selection of lens tints
- High-quality frame
- Difficult to swap out lenses
- Uncomfortable to wear with ear muffs
Best Safety Glasses With Foam:
If you are looking for an extra level of eye protection, or consistently work in extremely dusty or dirty environments, then the Honeywell sealed safety glasses may be a good option. These glasses come with both temples and a headband, meaning they can be worn either like glasses or goggles. The temples are thin, which makes them comfortable to wear with earmuffs. These glasses are vented and do have an anti-fog coating, which helps with fog but does not always eliminate it. As with all sealed safety glasses, these are much more prone to fogging than regular unsealed glasses. If you work in areas with heavy humidity or sweat a lot, then you will probably want to avoid this pair. But if you are a stickler for safety, and want to go above and beyond the basic requirements, then this could be a good pair to choose.
- Comes with both temples and a strap
Provides increased safety
- Prone to fogging
- Bulky and uncomfortable
Best All-Around Choice:
These are the glasses that I wear most of the time when I am shooting. The 3M glasses are Z87 rated and provide adequate wrap-around protection. While they do not have an anti-fog coating, the temples of the glasses contain vents to help with airflow. In my experience, this has been more than adequate to control fogging. These glasses are not only stylish but comfortable as well, due to the soft coating on the frame and the adjustable nose piece. These glasses are durable, and make an excellent choice for not only outdoor shooters, but motorcycle riders, runners, fisherman, hunters, or anybody else who wants a quality, comfortable pair of tinted glasses. I personally wear these glasses every single day, and they have saved my eyes on more than one occasion. If I could only have one pair of glasses, these would be it. I would highly recommend these glasses to anybody who is considering a good pair of tinted glasses.
- High quality
- Bulky frame
Best Shooting Glasses Final Thoughts
I hope that this guide has helped you become more informed about the different shades and features of shooting glasses. Whether you are wanting a pair of glasses for shooting, fishing, hunting, or any other outdoor sport, you should be able to find the answer in this guide. However, most of the time you will probably find yourself shooting or working outdoors in the afternoon. Because of the intensity and the glare caused by having the sun directly overhead, a good dark tinted pair of sunglasses is going to be the best way to go, which is why I highly recommend the 3M Fuel sunglasses. I have worn this brand of glasses for over six years and couldn’t be more pleased with the quality, comfort, and performance of these glasses. In my mind, that makes these the very clear winner of the best shooting glasses in 2021.
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