Having a good set of protective eyewear is one of those things that you should not skimp out on. You've got a few different options for shooting glasses, as follows:
What Kind of Shooting Glasses do You Use?
There are cheap shooting glasses, like the 10 dollar ones from Walmart. Unfortunately, these cheaper glasses tend to distort your view and are sure to be totally scratched up on your first 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, many companies sell 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. These glasses are much nicer than 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 me; 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.
SSP Shooting Glasses-Methow Kit:
The Methow kit comes with a semi-rimless frame as well as six different colored ANSI & OSHA-rated lenses. You can swap out the lenses without using any tools. Also in the kit are two different nose pieces and a lanyard. Everything comes packaged securely in a really nice foam case.
Each of the 6 anti-fog lenses is a different color, and each has an individual slot in the case to ensure they stay scratch-free. Each lens color enhances 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. These lenses reduce 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. These lenses reduce 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 the average shooter who heads to the range to shoot paper targets?
Do You Really Need Different Lense Colors?
Sure, you can get away with all clear, or dark lenses. However, the ability to use the different colored lenses is 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. So I ended up swapping out the dark lenses for clear lenses. Then, later in the day, when the sun came out, I switched them out to the dark ones. After several hours at the range, your eyes can become fatigued from squinting if you're wearing clear lenses with lots of sunlight.
Having the dark lenses definitely helped.
The following day 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 to 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 how I was able to see my green front sight dot. And while I personally wouldn't likely use the other color lenses, none of them significantly affected the way the front sight looked. Check out my video review:
Shooting Glasses with Perscription Lenses?
If you wear prescription glasses, you're going to love these. Unfortunately, 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. It may seem that any glasses are better than nothing, but that isn't necessarily the case. If the glasses or lenses shatter, bits of your glasses can injure your eye instead of whatever caused them to break in the first place.
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. For example, I have a slight prescription for distance viewing 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 prescription lenses into. Then you can pop the adapter with your lenses onto the nose piece. The adapter puts your prescription lenses in the perfect spot behind the protective lenses.
I wasn't aware of the prescription inserts until I started reviewing them, so I don't have personal experience using 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.