Through the Shooting Glass

Color makes a difference in what you see--and hit.

Field & Stream Online Editors

There are two kinds of people who don't wear shooting glasses: fools, and those who have a spare pair of eyes lying around somewhere. Hang around gun clubs and you'll hear enough stories of freak ricochets and razor-sharp, blood-drawing chunks of clay targets to scare you straight into a pair of shooting glasses. Glasses protect your eyes while hunting, too, shielding you from errant pellets in the dove field and the proverbial sharp stick in the eye in the grouse woods. And even if you're blessed with 20/10 vision, shooting glasses will help you hit more and miss less.

Materials and Design Yesterday's heavy, shatterable glass has given way to polycarbonate and CR-39 plastic. The thinner and tougher of the two, polycarbonate lenses-in a pair of Gargoyles (800-426-6396; www.gargoylesinc.com), for instance-will withstand the impact of a .22 bullet at 10 feet. CR-39, the mainstay of the eyewear industry, isn't quite so bullet resistant, but it will protect your eyes from stray pellets and thorns.

If you need prescription lenses, traditional glasses work best. But one-piece shields provide better peripheral protection. In theory, glasses with two lenses offer superior optical quality, but in practice, well-made shields are so good the difference is negligible. If sporting clays champs Andy Duffy and Deann Massey couldn't get a good look at the target through the lenses of their Wiley X shields (800-776-7842; www.wileyx.com), then they wouldn't put them on.

Decot Hy-Wyd Sport Glasses Inc. (800-528-1901; www.sportglasses.com) has been around forever and can solve about any optical problem a shooter might have.

Whichever style you go with, be sure it sits up high on your face. When you bring your head down onto the gunstock, you don't want to be looking at the top of the frame. Some glasses, like the Zeiss Scopz (800-441-3005; www.zeiss.com) that I use, feature adjustable bridges that allow you to raise them up for shooting and lower them for normal wear.