Mandy Glasses

Guest Blog by Mandy Bachman

As a competitive shooter, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been hit by bullet fragments while shooting. There isn’t a moment when I’m around shooting that I won’t be wearing eye protection.

Picking out the right shooting glasses can be a pretty detailed process. I want to make sure that the glasses I choose are not only comfortable to wear but also offer the best protection for my eyes. There are three important factors that I look at when choosing the perfect shooting glasses.             

BALLISTIC RATING

I am pretty fond of my eyes. That being said, you won’t see me on the range wearing glasses that won’t protect me from the impact of a ricochet. There are two ratings to look for when choosing a set of shooting glasses. The first is the ANSI Z87.1. This rating is used to classify most safety glasses you will see in factory and industrial facilities. Although these protect your eyes from light impacts, this is a minimum spec and I would not trust them to protect my eyes while engaging in shooting activities.

The second rating is MIL-PRF-31013, also referred to as MILSPEC. This is the rating I look for when picking out a pair of shooting glasses because glasses at this rating had to pass much more strenuous testing than the ANSI rating.

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The MILSPEC glasses will offer approximately 6 times the impact protection over the ANSI rating.

MILSPEC glasses tend to be pricier than the ANSI rated glasses, but what is your vision worth to you?

FIT

Your glasses should be comfortable but the fit should be tight enough that you can perform actions without the worry of the glasses slipping or falling off. If your favorite glasses are loose fitting, you can add an eyeglass retainer to keep them positioned properly on your head. Another factor to consider on fit is what kind of ear protection you will be wearing with your glasses. Many people do not think about the effect of wearing earmuffs on the positioning of their safety glasses. If you wear earmuffs it would be a good idea to take them with you when trying on new glasses.

Smith GlassesYou also need to consider the nose piece on your eyewear. Does the nose piece make your glasses sit too high or too low on your face? Can your nose piece be customized? My Smith Optics have an adjustable nose piece that allows me to precisely fit them to my face. Having your eye pro properly fitted on your head will also guarantee that your lenses are positioned to offer you the most protection.

CUSTOMIZATION

Occasionally, I arrive at a stage at a match where I am shooting directly into the sun. As someone who typically prefers to wear clear lenses, this can be a bit of an issue, and where customization comes into play. It is a good idea to have glasses that you can quickly and easily change lenses. This keeps you from carting around several different pairs when you go to the range. 

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Having multiple lenses also means you can play with different colors. Some colors make your sights easier to pick up and others make the targets stand out. Find the right color for where your focus needs to be.

If you have a prescription, you will also want to look into glasses that have an Rx option. There are many companies out there that offer great eye protection and allow you to customize them based on your prescription.

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Ballistic rating, fit, and customization are not the only factors to consider when choosing eye pro, but I have found that by focusing on those areas I always end up with a set that I really enjoy wearing.  But eye protection does nothing for you if you don’t actually wear it! All it takes is one shot without shooting glasses to suffer a devastating blow to your vision. Whether you shoot competitively or just send a few rounds downrange on the weekends, top quality eye protection is crucial.

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Mandy Bachman is a decorated member of the Wilson Combat Shooting Team, defensive and concealed carry tactics instructor, and Propper Brand Ambassador. For more on Mandy, visit our Partners page.

Action shot courtesy of Erinn O'Donnell.