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Updated Oct 21, 2022 12:45 AM

We’ve all had the basic gun safety rules drilled into our heads, but there are a couple of important safety items that get left out, namely eye and ear protection. Make sure you’re wearing the best shooting glasses every time you hit the range.

You can’t hit what you can’t see, and you can’t see what you’re trying to hit if you damage or lose an eye. Protecting your eyes is one of the crucial parts of shooting safely since how you treat your eyes on the range has a direct impact on how they’ll be of use to you in everyday life. Treat them right and you’ll have a lifetime of shooting fun. Neglect them and your shooting days could be over.

Proper shooting glasses are vital when it comes to putting together all your necessary gear for a day at the range or in the field. Take some time, do some research, and make sure you’ve got the best shooting glasses for you.

Things to Consider Before Buying Shooting Glasses

Just as there are a wide variety of guns on the market to choose from, so, too, are there a bunch to decide amongst. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a pair of shooting glasses:

Construction

Not all shooting glasses are made equal. Believe it or not, but your regular sunglasses or your everyday prescription glasses are not the same as shooting glasses. They’re not designed to withstand the possible impact of a mishap on the range, so don’t try to kill two birds with one stone and wear regular glasses to the range. Here are three types of glass used:

  • Crown glass: Made from actual glass, these will be the heaviest of the lens options and they can be heat treated for extra durability.
  • CR 39 plastic: Almost all prescription glasses are made with CR 39 plastic lenses.
  • Polycarbonate: These lenses are very lightweight, but they’re going to be the most expensive option.

Design

There are a ton of different designs to choose from, and no one style is better than another. There are, however, some things you should keep in mind when it comes to design. Here are some key features to look for:

  • Weight: Generally, the bigger the style of the glasses, the more they’re going to weigh. Depending on what you’re doing, this may or may not matter. Shooting only from a static position for a short period of time? Probably not an issue. Running and gunning all day long in a competition? That weight is going to start weighing heavy on your head.
  • Size: Glasses come in all different sizes, and there are tradeoffs that come with them. The bigger the lenses, the more protected surface area you’ll have. However, this can also mean more weight, so go back and reread the previous bullet point.
  • Style: Do you wear prescription glasses? If so, how’s your vision without them? If it’s still pretty good, then you can probably opt for regular shooting glasses. Those that need to wear prescription glasses have to decide if they want shooting glasses that are designed to fit over your prescription ones, or do you want custom-made prescription shooting glasses.

Price

Anyone who has shopped for glasses of any kind knows that they come in a wide variety of price points. However, just because one pair costs more than the competition doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the best on the market. Don’t let price be the final deciding factor here. Sure, you need to stick to your budget, but don’t skimp out on quality because of the price. The fact is, there are a lot of quality glasses on the market at surprisingly affordable price points.

Best for Sporting Clays: Radians Clay Pro Shooting Glasses

Best for Sporting Clays

Radians Clay Pro Shooting Glasses Radians

Radians Clay Pro Shooting Glasses Radians

Why It Made the Cut: As the name implies, the Radians Clay Shooting Glasses were designed specifically with clay shooters in mind. The red color of the lenses is designed to help make the orange color of the clays pop.

Key Features 

  • Red lens for target contrast
  • No frame
  • Lightweight

Pros

  • Unobstructed field of view
  • Lenses designed for sporting clays
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Mission specific in design

Sporting clays are a ton of fun because of the unique challenge that the sport presents. It’s not always easy to keep your eye on the clay as it soars through the air, so any extra help you can get is always welcome. In this instance, it means picking shooting glasses with colored lenses. My choice for the best shooting glasses for sporting clays is the Radians Clay Pro Shooting Glasses.

The Radians Clay Pro are specifically designed. With their tinted lenses that are designed to make the color of the clays pop, you’ll have an easier time tracking the target. While the lenses offer a curved, wraparound design for extra protection, there’s no actual frame what would obstruct view or add weight. This style can also be ordered with clear lenses or yellow lenses for more diversity, but the lenses are not interchangeable, so you’ll need three separate pairs if you want all of the color advantages.

Best for Prescription Glasses: Allen Over Shooting Glasses

Best for Prescription Glasses

Allen Over Shooting Glasses Walmart

Allen Over Shooting Glasses Walmart

Why It Made the Cut: To put it simply, the Allen Over Shooting Glasses just work. You’re not going to win any beauty contests while wearing them, but you also won’t win any if you’re missing an eye or disfigured from a range accident. These do exactly what they’re supposed to do: protect your eyes while wearing prescription glasses.

Key Features 

  • UV and impact rated
  • Rubber guard for proper fit
  • Available in multiple lens colors

Pros

  • Work exactly as designed
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Not what you’d consider “fashion-forward”

A whopping 64% of all American adults wear glasses, so the need for eye protection that doesn’t interfere with the basic ability to see clearly is an absolute necessity. For most people, this means picking up a pair of the best shooting glasses to wear over prescription glasses. For this purpose, I recommend the Allen Over Shooting Glasses.

The Allen Over Shooting Glasses are a no-muss, no-fuss pair designed to work perfectly in conjunction with your prescription glasses. The oversized design not only protects your eyes but also protects your prescription lenses, which are also an expensive investment. The wraparound design also protects the arms of your glasses, which are often prone to bending or breaking.

Most Appealing: Oakley Radar EV Path

Most Appealing

Oakley Radar EV Path Shooting Glasses Oakley

Oakley Radar EV Path Shooting Glasses Oakley

Why It Made the Cut: The Oakley Radar has been around for a while, but these new ones — the Oakley Radar EV Path — are an improvement on a great design. These glasses have taller lenses for an extended range of view. Plus, with all the customization options, no one will ever guess that you’re wearing glasses that are also designed to protect your eyes at the range.

Key Features 

  • Stylish
  • Lots of custom options and combinations

Pros

  • 21 different color and lens combinations
  • Comes with a hard case
  • Can be fit with prescription lenses

Cons

  • Expensive

It can be tempting to wear your regular sunglasses to the range because they look better than the safety glasses you wore in high school chemistry class. Unfortunately, those won’t protect your eyes, but there is another option: Oakley Radar EV Path, the best shooting glasses that don’t look like shooting glasses.

The Oakley Radar EV Path are the next generation of an already great pair of glasses. They can be outfitted with standard, prism, photochromatic, and polarized lenses – or even your own prescription lenses. They offer fantastic protection and look great, too. What else would you expect from a pair of Oakleys?

Methodology

There are a lot of different shooting glasses on the market. The ones on this list were chosen with a variety of criteria in mind, including:

  • Cost: Whether you’re on a budget or money is no object, there are models to fit all price points here.
  • Comfort: If the glasses aren’t comfortable, you won’t wear them. It’s as simple as that.
  • Style: Some people just have to look good at all times, and so how the glasses look was taken into consideration.
  • Performance: Regardless of any other aspect, they have to offer adequate protection when used for the shooting sports.

FAQs

Q: Are Oakleys safe for shooting?

Oakleys are not safe for shooting if they’re just regular sunglasses. They may be great sunglasses, but they’re designed to shield your eyes from the sun, not incoming projectiles on the range. However, Oakley does make shooting glasses. So, if you really need to sport your Oakleys at the range, then make sure to get a pair of their glasses that are specifically made for shooting.

Q: Are yellow shooting glasses better?

Yellow shooting glasses can be better in certain circumstances. They provide better clarity and reduce eye strain, making them ideal in low-light scenarios or when shooting on an indoor range. Whether you choose clear, red, yellow, or smoke-tinted glasses is completely up to you, and most shooters own multiple pairs of glasses in different colors.

Q

: Should I wear reading glasses when shooting?

Yes and no. If you need reading glasses to properly see at certain distances in order to perform some of the shooting functions safely, then yes, you should wear reading glasses. However, you should not wear reading glasses in place of proper shooting glasses. Either get prescription shooting glasses that match the strength of your reading glasses or get a pair of shooting glasses that are designed to fit over reading glasses.

Final Thoughts on the Best Shooting Glasses

There really is no one best pair of shooting glasses. Whether it’s Oakley, Allen, Smith, Radians, yellow-tinted, wraparound, polarized, or prescription glasses, the choice is up to you. The best shooting glasses are the ones that meet your specific needs. Thankfully, the market is full of options to choose from, so there’s no excuse not to have a great pair of shooting glasses with you whenever you’re at the range or in the field.