Last updated on October 9th, 2023
Approximately 64% of adults in the United States wear prescription glasses, and that statistic reflects in our training classes. New shooters often have questions about eye protection and shooting with their prescription eyeglasses. While the shooter can simply wear their prescription glasses, that isn’t an ideal option. So, let’s discuss what a shooter who wears glasses can do for eye protection.
Why would one want to wear shooting glasses? Eye protection is an absolute must. The cynic in me, when I was a younger and dumber man than I am today, only wore shooting glasses because the range made me. I scoffed at the idea that shooting glasses would stop a bullet. I learned that’s not the point. One day in my 20’s, at a range which is now torn down, I experienced “Splashback”. That is the shooter next to me fired his 45, the bullet impacted something, likely the steel backstop, and a fragment of the copper jacket ricocheted back at me. This fragment of copper imbedded in my face about 2″ below my left eye. Removing this mangled piece of copper from my face was like removing a fish hook from my face. Take my word for it, eye protection is an absolute must when training and practicing your shooting skills.
As said, a shooter can simply wear their prescription glasses when shooting. However, this isn’t ideal for a number of reasons. First, the eyeglasses may become scratched. Eyeglasses typically cost more than eye protection, so it’s cheaper to replace scratched eye protection than it is to replace scratched prescriptions. Second, most eyeglasses that people wear in their daily lives do not offer side protection. Side protection protects you against debris flying towards your peripheral. Third many prescription glasses are not impact rated which means if the flying debris has enough force it will crack your lenses, or maybe even penetrate through the lens. These reasons are the reasons we often don’t recommend shooters shoot with only their prescriptions.
Now you may be thinking, I can’t see without my glasses! That’s pretty much the point of eyeglasses, right? But you have options. OTG eye protection is eye protection specifically designed to be worn over a pair of prescription glasses. This allows the shooter to see but also shall protect the shooter as well. OTG means Over The Glasses. OTG eye protection can be bought starting around $10, all the way into the hundreds of dollars.
One could simply add side shields to their prescription glasses. This would provide that peripheral protection. However, if the lenses are not impact-resistant this isn’t recommended. In addition, even if the lenses are impact-resistant, side shields wouldn’t protect the lenses from being scratched. On the other hand, if you have an old pair of eyeglasses, with impact-resistant lenses that you don’t much care for, side shields are a very affordable alternative.
Professional shooters may opt for prescription shooting glasses. These are actual prescription eyeglasses that provide impact resistance, wrap-around frames, and often may also be tinted your choice of color. Prescription shooting glasses are probably your best bet if you shoot often. This is something you may want to discuss with your ophthalmologist or optometrist and see if he or she recommends a specific brand or model. However, there are several well-known brands making prescription shooting glasses such as WileyX, Oakley, ArmouRX, Bobster, and several others.
There are specialty shooting products for people with aging eyes that aid in the focus and or clarity while aiming. The problem with these types of products is we are defensive shooters and it is unlikely you will have your specialty “super focus” lenses or Knonblock’s handy in a defensive situation. Practice how you’ll fight because you’ll fight as you have practiced. Our training and practice should be based on reality.
Regardless of the method that you choose to protect your eyes, please do find a method that works for you and reflects a realistic training environment. Shooting with prescription glasses doesn’t have to be a hurdle to overcome, with the numerous options available to you there’s no reason not to see what you’re shooting at, nor is there any reason to risk your vision.
Where to buy Shooting Glasses
By using the below links to purchase your shooting glasses, Alpha Koncepts receives a small percentage of the sale. These affiliate links allow us to keep our training costs down. This means when attending one of our Defensive Pistol or Concealed Carry classes, we don’t need to charge nearly as much as our competitors do!
Some of the images on this page have been provided courtesy of WileyX.