Having a good set of protective eyewear is one of those things that should not be skimped out on. You've got a few different options for shooting glasses, as follows:
There are cheap shooting glasses, like the 10 dollar ones from Walmart. These cheaper glasses tend to distort your view and are sure to be totally scratched up by the third trip to the range. Then there are glasses from the top of the line companies like Oakley, which are quality sunglasses and shooting glasses but cost a lot of money.
Finally, there are a lot of companies making glasses along the spectrum in between. About year or so ago, I purchased a pair of $13 dollar shooting glasses from a company called SSP Eyewear.
I was pleasantly satisfied with the quality of the glasses, and how much nicer they were than all other the 10-20 dollar shooting glasses I had used before. So much so, that I ended up getting a couple more pairs for my wife and I and a spare in case a shooting buddy forgot his.
When SSP Eyewear offered to send me a shooting glasses kit to evaluate, of course, I said I would.
The Methow kit comes with a frame that is semi-rimless as well as six different colored ANSI & OSHA rated lenses which are easily swapped out without needing any tools. Also in the kit are two different nose pieces, a lanyard, and everything comes stored securely in a really nice foam case.
Each of the 6 anti-fog lenses is a different color, and each has its own slot in the case to ensure they stay scratch-free. Each lens color is designed to enhance certain colors, making them stand out against a specific color background. The colors of lenses included and their intended purposes are:
- Clear Anti-Fog lenses (92% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion. Low light, rainy, overcast and nighttime use
- Yellow Anti-Fog lenses (85% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion. Increases the visibility of orange targets allowing more light to reach the eye and reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Low light, overcast conditions
- Orange Anti-Fog lenses (51% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion, brightens orange targets with sharper contrast, blocks haze. Reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Medium to low light conditions
- Purple Anti-Fog lenses (36% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion, superior contrast, increased definition. Used to view orange targets against sky blue and green backgrounds. Excellent for reduced snow glare. Medium to bright light conditions
- Pink Anti-Fog (35% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion, designed to enhance orange targets against green backgrounds. Reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Medium-light conditions
- Brown Anti-Fog (28% light transmission) Optically correct de-centered lens provides zero distortion, brightens orange targets and reduces eye fatigue with proprietary blue-blocking technology. Bright conditions
The kit is best suited if you're a sporting clay, trap shooter, or hunter. But what about for the average shooter who heads to the range to shoot paper targets?
Sure you can get away with all clear, but the ability to use the different colored lenses are a plus even on a pistol range. For example, in a 3-day, defensive handgun class I taught last month, I ended up using 3 of the 6 lenses throughout the three days.
Early morning day one, it was cloudy and a bit too dark for dark sunglasses. I ended up swapping out the dark lenses, for clear lenses. Later on in the day, when the sun came out, I switched them out to the dark ones. If you have ever worn clear shooting glasses on a sunny day, after several hours at the range your eyes become fatigued from squinting.
Having the dark lenses definitely helped.
The next morning I decided to see how the yellow lenses would work as it was supposed to rain and be overcast all day. I ended up wearing the yellow lenses all day and didn't realize how gloomy it really was until I took them off to go to lunch.
The yellow lenses brightened the targets up and just made some colors seem a little crisper for me. I wasn't doing anything where making specific colors stand out gave me an advantage, but I personally preferred the yellow lenses to the clear lenses under those conditions.
I also found that it did not change the way I was able to pick up my green front sight dot. And while I likely wouldn't have a need for the other color lenses, none of them significantly affected the way the front sight looked. Check out my video review:
If you wear prescription glasses, you're going to love these. I have seen too many people forego safety because of their prescription glasses. They end up wearing their daily glasses which have no ballistic protection or protection around the sides.
If you do try and put safety glasses over your prescription glasses, they don't fit comfortably or the two lenses distort and disrupt the field of view. I have a slight prescription for distance that I know helps me on the range, yet I don't wear my glasses because I can see ‘well enough,' and I don't want to wear glasses under my shooting glasses.
You can purchase a $20.00 adapter that your eye doctor can place lenses into. Then you can pop the adapter with your lenses onto the nose piece. This sets your prescription lenses in the perfect spot behind the protective lenses. This is wonderful because now you can see your sights and the target without having blind spots or distortion.
I wasn't aware of the prescription inserts until I started doing the review, so I don't have personal experience with the them. I didn't want to hold up the review for you all, so I will likely update this review once I purchase the Rx Adapter and use it for a while.
I know shooting glasses aren't a piece of gear that people typically get excited about, but I really like these. SSP Eyewear's glasses are not the very top of the industry, but they are certainly not junk. The most important thing is they are affordable and do their job.
I am not looking for what is most expensive, or really the cheapest for that matter. I am trying to get the best value for my money. The Methow Kit I evaluated is SSP's most expensive model and costs $130.00. But I still have my $13.00 glasses and bring them to the range as a backup.