7 Best Shooting Glasses [Ballistic Eyewear Review 2022]

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Did you know that over 40,000 sports-related eye injuries occur each year? And that 90% of these injuries are avoidable with the proper protective eyewear? 

So, whether you are a regular at the shooting range, a hunter, or military personnel, protecting your vision should be one of your top priorities.

Conventional sunglasses don’t protect your eyes well enough. In the worst scenario, they can break and can be a cause to hurt your eye. A good pair of shooting glasses will keep you safe from unburned gunpowder, ricochets, and oils that can fly backward. Besides, every gun range in the United States requires them for good reason.  

With the many options available for a pair of ballistics glasses that can protect your eyes, below are the list of our top 7 best shooting glasses.

  • STNGR Alpine & Ridge: Premium glasses best suited for those with a medium-sized face
  • Wiley X Saber: A comfy glasses with interchangeable lenses and 100% UV protection
  • Smith Optics Elite: Heavy-duty glasses with scratch-resistant lenses and excellent fit and integration
  • Radians Revelation: Glasses are specifically made for hunting purpose and the most low-cost durable option
  • Oakley Det Cord: Another premium glasses with advanced lenses and high definition optics
  • ESS Eyewear Ice: An eyewear with minimalist frame design and interchangeable ballistic lenses
  • Allen Company Shooting Glasses: An inexpensive eyewear with mirror smoke lenses that provide 100% UV protection

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Quick Take on Ballistic Eyewear

STNGR Industries Ballistic Shooting Glasses
STNGR Industries Ballistic Shooting Glasses

Ballistic eyewear is a type of eye protection that shields the wearer from small projectiles and broken tiny particles. 

You often see this ballistic eyewear worn by people who regularly use firearms. Military personnel may only wear approved and tested protective eyewear from the  Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL)

But not any pair of glasses are up to spec, so let’s take a look at the ballistic eyewear standards.

Understanding Ballistic Eyewear Standards

If you’re looking for the best ballistic eyewear, check that it meets U.S. civilian standards.

Below are the three standards for testing the effectiveness of ballistic eyewear.

  • U.S. civilian standard (ANSI Z87.1 – 2010): U.S. civilian standard ballistic eyewear can be labeled as impact protectors or non-impact protectors. Impact protectors must pass all high-impact testing requirements and be labeled with the letter “Z87+.” On the other hand, non-impact protectors do not meet all high-impact testing requirements and are therefore only labeled with “Z87.” These tests involve dropping a 17.6 oz pointed projectile on the eyewear and much more.
  • U.S. military standard (MIL-PRF-31013): These are ballistic eyewear that withstand a 0.15 caliber, 5.8 grain, T37 shaped projectile traveling at a velocity of 640 to 660 feet per second and meet all ballistic eyewear testing. Also includes optical clarity, nice fit, chemical resistance, UV protection and environmental stability.
  • European standard (EN166, 169, 170 & 172): The European standard identifies four levels of impact protection namely:
    • Increased robustness
    • Low energy impact
    • Medium energy impact
    • High energy impact

Even though not actually required, it is advised that all eyewear meet ANSI Z87.1. Yet military ballistic protective eyewear must meet military impact protection. The standards must be MIL-PRF-31013 (spectacles) and MIL-DTL-43511D (goggles).

Soldiers wearing ballistic eyewear/shooting glasses
Soldiers wearing ballistic eyewear/shooting glasses; Pixabay

Importance of Wearing Shooting Glasses

Wearing glasses not only makes you look cool, but they also protect you from going blind. This is why it is one of the most important gear you should not overlook when you’re out on the range.

  • Ballistic glasses can shield your eyes from a direct hit, allowing you to avoid damaging or losing your vision. That’s why you should wear them whenever you enter a firing range. 
  • Not only are shooting glasses necessary for safety, but they are also useful for improving your vision and reducing glare.
  • Additionally, wearing safety glasses shields your eyes from other potential outdoor hazards. 
  • Overall they have a significant effect on your long-term eye health. 

Give your eyes the same level of protection as the rest of the body and you’ll have a lot of fun shooting at the range for many years to come.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best Shooting Glasses

Let’s take a look at some of the key features to look for in the best shooting glasses.

Eyewear Protection Standard: Make sure your shooting glasses provide adequate protection and can withstand a beating. All shooters must get shooting glasses that adhere to standards. Seek out glasses that at least meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard. If the eyewear does not meet any of the above criteria or standards, do not purchase it.

Ballistic Glass Lenses: Some glasses featured colored and polarized lenses. They are very effective at reducing glare. Many kinds of ballistic eyewear also come with interchangeable lenses. It allows for a quick transition from dark to clear vision. Other shooting glasses feature UV protection. It allows you to spend all day shooting outdoors without damaging your eyes. 

Other Eyewear Features: There are glasses that are anti-fog. When saturated with moisture, these glasses can remain fog-free for at least 8 seconds. There are also glasses that are splash and dust resistant, can filter light, and do other things. Whatever your requirements are, there will be something for you!

Shooting Glasses Fitment: The glasses should have a perfect fit for your face. Not too small or too large. Consider the shape and the size, it has a big impact on comfort. For overall confidence, choose eyewear that matches your style and fashion.

Pricing: Don’t think that spending more money can give you more protection. As long as the shooting glasses meet the APEL, ANSI, or American military standard, they are acceptable and will outperform any “normal” pair of glasses or sunglasses. You can get excellent ballistic glasses starting at $50.

7 Shooting Glasses at Their Finest

These glasses have a myriad of features, are all up to standard, and will be a true improvement if you don’t already have proper shooting glasses.

1. STNGR Alpine & Ridge

Durability: STNGR Alpine and Ridge glasses meet the civilian standard ANSI Z87.1 and have a shatterproof lens. Lenses are also fully polarized, scratch-resistant, and made using polycarbonate materials. Plus, 110 degrees hinge technology provides flexibility and movement. These glasses are hard to beat in terms of durability.

Performance: The STNGR Alpine is best suited for those with a medium-sized face. They improve your range performance by providing a clear vision and reducing glare. You can achieve a custom fit by adjusting the nosepiece, which is very comfy. The STNGR Ridge offers the same, but is slightly larger and has a fixed nosepiece. 

To get a comfortable pair of glasses, all you have to do is choose between the Alpine and the Ridge. These shooting glasses also come in four lens colors to choose from: blue, red, green, and smoke. STNGR eyewear will set you back for around $95 and is one of the premium options.

What we say: STNGR Alpine & Ridge offers high-quality shooting glasses that are comfortable and provide options for the best possible eye protection.

  • Meets the US Civilian: ANSI Z87+ ballistic eyewear standard
  • Comes in four lens color
  • Shatterproof
  • Scratch resistant
  • Fully-polarized
  • A bit expensive

2. Wiley X Saber

Durability: This pair of shooting glasses outshines many others on this list. Wiley X Saber exceeds the US Military’s MIL-RF-31013 standard for impact resistance, optical clarity, and UV protection. This glasses frame is thick but lightweight, and it does not have a cheap feel to it.

Performance: A pair of Wiley X Saber shooting glasses provide 100% UV protection. It also includes a convertible temple strap for added comfort. The Wiley X Saber has it all in terms of protection, coverage, and appearance. Lenses are interchangeable with a variety of tints that provide distortion-free clarity. Though these lenses may be difficult to change, it isn’t a big deal as you will not change lenses often.

In addition, the foam brow bar keeps debris and sweat from interfering with your vision. These shooting glasses are stylish and functional. They appeal to everyone, from novice shooters to real professionals.

What we say: The Wiley X Saber is the best in style, coverage, and protection. It is comfortable to wear, inexpensive, and US Military MIL-RF-31013 certified.

  • US Military MIL-RF-31013 standard
  • 100% UV protection
  • Impact resistant
  • Comes with interchangeable temple strap
  • Affordable
  • Hard to change lenses

3. Smith Optics Elite

Durability: These shooting glasses are ANSI certified and impact-rated to MIL-PRF-31013. Smith Optics Elite’s target market is military and law enforcement. As a result, these glasses meet all of the high-impact testing requirements for ballistic eyewear. The eyewear can also withstand small projectile strikes, which is a plus. Despite the fact that some users reported that the coatings peel fairly quickly due to the plastic frames, these glasses are still superior to others.

Performance: Smith Optics creates the most technologically advanced and user-friendly protective eyewear available. They use Tapered Lens Technology to correct distortion. These glasses have heavy-duty scratch-resistant lenses and these glasses are stylish. To counteract the prism effect, the eyewear employs precise geometry, allowing the user to maintain an accurate view of the environment. It also has Megol temples and a soft nose to keep the eyeshield securely in place. Smith Optics’ decades of experience have enabled them to create eyewear that is well-fitting. They provide a perfect fit and a variety of styles to choose from.

What we say: You can’t go wrong with Smith Optics Elite glasses, which feature heavy-duty, scratch-resistant lenses and are comfortable to wear.

  • ANSI certified and MIL-PRF-31013 impact rated
  • Great fit and integration
  • Scratch -resistant
  • Megol temples and soft nose for a comfortable fit
  • Plastic frame

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4. Radians Revelation

Durability: Radians Revelation shooting glasses are a low-cost, durable option. These glasses meet the US Civilian: ANSI Z87.1 standard for high velocity impact, ensuring that your eyes are adequately protected. It also has thin frames that can be bent to multiple angles, allowing it to fit the majority of face shapes.

Performance: These shooting glasses provide 99.9% UV protection, making them ideal for anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors. These glasses could well protect your eyes from shrapnel and sun damage. Yet, these glasses are specifically made for hunting purposes. Though the design is simple, there are a variety of colors available to suit the environment you’ll be hunting in. A ventilation channel located between the safety lens and frame also provides extra fog control.

What we say: The Radians Revelation shooting glasses is our Best Budget Pick, thanks to a slew of useful features at a low price.

  • US Civilian: ANSI Z87.1 standard
  • Super affordable
  • Extra fog control feature
  • 99.9% UV protection
  • Simple design

5. Oakley Det Cord

Durability: These advanced lenses meet military ballistic standards and are safe and protective. Beyond that, they are extremely popular to military personnel because of their unique, patriotic design. Furthermore, the Oakley’s USA Flag Collection prioritizes safety, meeting or exceeding the ANSI Z87.1-2015 high velocity and high mass impact standards, as well as the MIL-SPEC MIL PRF 32432 ballistic standards.

Performance: Oakley Det Cord sunglasses are available in both standard and prescription versions. It features High Definition Optics and distortion-free clarity. These glasses have an anti-fog coating that adds an extra layer of security. It eliminates the need to choose between eye protection and clear vision.  The frame is so comfortable that you almost won’t even notice you’re wearing them. There are four frame colors to choose from, as well as clear or gray lenses. The Det Cord’s lenses are not polarized, but the other features make it a good choice.

What we say: Oakley Det Cord shooting glasses will undoubtedly provide you with complete protection while shooting at the range!

  • ANSI Z871 stamped with MIL-PRF3243 ballistic resistance
  • Feature High Definition Optics
  • Anti-fog feature and distortion-free clarity
  • Variety of colors to choose from
  • Not polarized
  • A bit pricey

6. ESS Eyewear Ice

Durability: ESS Eyewear Ice exceeded ANSI Z87.1-2010 and the US Military’s MIL-PRF-31013.15 caliber ballistic impact test. Thus, you could trust that this eyeglass can give you excellent eye protection. These glasses also come in a black frame and the lens material is plastic. 

Performance: ESS Eyewear has single-lens with minimalist frame designs. You have an unrestricted field of view with the frameless ICE (Interchangeable Component Eyeshield) system. Adjustable telescoping temples and earbends are meant to provide a secure fit. They fit snugly on the face and should not be worn over regular glasses. The eyeglass features 100% UVA/UVB protection. These glasses also will fit comfortably under helmets and around other headgear. It also has interchangeable clear and smoke ballistic lenses and an adjustable nylon strap for a better fit.

What we say: Whatever your quest, ESS Eyewear Ice ballistic glasses are ready to provide superior protection and a comfortable fit.

  • ANSI Z87.1-2010, US Military’s MIL-PRF-31013.15 standard
  • Features Interchangeable Component Eyeshield System (ICE)
  • 100% UVA/UVB protection
  • Adjustable temples and earbends
  • Inexpensive option
  • Minimalist frame design

7. Allen Company Shooting Glasses

Durability: Allen Company Shooting Glasses meet US Civilian: ANSI Z87.1 standards.  These glasses are ANSI Z87 impact resistant and are slightly heavier than some of the other prescription shooting glasses on the market. The lenses are polycarbonate. Its metallic coating on lenses also provides 100% UV protection. 

Performance: Wrap-around frames on these shooting glasses provide extra protection and coverage, ensuring your eyes are protected from all angles. Mirror smoke lenses are also useful for bright lighting conditions.  When you’re out, this eyewear provides protection from UV rays. Shooting indoors and outdoors under bright lights is possible with the right smoke color. 

What we say: Allen Company Shooting Glasses are yet another low-cost option that provides much more than just eye protection.

  • US Civilian: ANSI Z87.1 standard
  • Impact-resistant
  • Mirror smoke lenses ideal for use in bright lighting conditions
  • Wrap around frames for added security and coverage
  • 100% UV protection
  • A little heavy

Wrap Up

You can’t go wrong with any of our top 7 best shooting glasses. As you can see they all are up to the ANSI or Military standards. That is one of the most significant factors you should consider. 

Wiley X Saber is my top pick because it has everything I need in protective eyewear and costs around $40. If you want to try a little bit of everything, consider the STNGR Alpine and Ridge shooting glasses. Despite being slightly more expensive, at $95, these shooting glasses are a good investment. You are unlikely to need to replace them anytime soon.

Looking for more shooting gears? Read our articles on the Best Shooting Gloves, the Best Ear Protection for Shooting, and the 6 Best Tactical Pants With Knee Pads.

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