Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guide to Buying Eye Protection/Shooting Glasses

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A beginner shooter needs to have some very basic equipment to start shooting. Shooting glasses and hearing protection are second to ammo and a gun! Outdoor and indoor ranges absolutely require you to wear both. Even if you are shooting on your own land, you should not go without ear or eye protection.

A good place to start is to look for glasses that meet ANSI Z87 +1 standards. The American National Standards Institute defines those as:

  1. Provide protection
  2. Be comfortable
  3. Fit securely
  4. Be capable of being disinfected
  5. Be durable
  6. Fit over prescription eyewear

Further, there are extra features you should look for in quality eye protection. The glasses should have side shields. The frames should be made of nylon, rubber or propionate to hold their shape and will not break. To make the frames even more durable, look for a frame that has spring hinges. Wraparound temples keep your glasses in place during recoil and most importantly the lenses should be impact-resistant plastic or polycarbonate which is less likely to break and be more scratch-resistant.

Lens color is another important factor to look at when choosing your glasses. Each lens color has pros and cons for each different shooting condition. Therefore, you might want to choose a pair with interchangeable lenses or pick out a few different pairs, depending on where you shoot most often. Don’t forget to check to see if the lenses you are buying provide UV protection, especially if you shoot outside.

Smoke/gray lenses are most effective in bright sunlight because they block glare. However, they are not effective in the woods or other shady areas. These are best suited for outdoor range shooting. Example: 93324

Vermilion lenses (red) give you a better view of light-colored targets against a dark background. These would be best for hunting. Example: 51969

Amber/brown lenses block blue light which are good for a cloudy day. Example: 51965

Yellow/orange lenses contrast, block haze and blue light, and enhance the color orange. The brighter yellow the lenses are, the better for shooting at night time. These lenses are best for outdoor shooting. Example: 46185; 46187

Ice lenses show true color. Example: 93354

Copper lenses are a good all-purpose choice. They are good for use during cloudy conditions or in bright sunshine. Example: 48179

Mirror and Polarized lenses reduce glare. Polarized lenses are better than mirrored lenses and they are especially good for dawn or dusk shooting. Example: 93358

Indoor/Outdoor lenses are clear with mirror-coating. The coating reflects light and reduces glare. Example: 18461

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