Are Prescription Glasses OK for Shooting?

So you’re pumped to go on a hunting trip with your buddies. It’s sure to be a weekend filled with fun and excitement!

The only problem is you have poor vision. In fact, you can’t go anywhere without your trusty spectacles! What should you do about that hunting trip, then? Is it okay to wear your prescription glasses while shooting? In theory, it makes sense. After all, you need crystal clear vision to shoot with any type of accuracy. Why then would you NOT want to shoot in your prescription glasses?

Well, there are several key reasons. To start with, let’s break down what regular prescription glasses are and what they do.

Understanding Prescription Glasses

You see, prescription glasses are unique. They have to be completely flat in order to add the prescription to the lenses. That means that they won’t completely wrap around your eyes. When shooting, it’s incredibly important to wear glasses that cover your entire eye. Not only do they need to protect you from the front, but also the sides as well. Nobody likes catching a stray bullet in the side of the eye!

Let’s cover what regular prescription glasses won’t do for your shooting. They WILL NOT:

-Fully wrap around the sides of your eyes

-Offer protection from high-velocity impacts and/or ballistic impact

-Protect you from harmful UVA, UVB, and UVC rays from the sun

-Offer any strategic advantages through colored tints

-Block blue-light or glare

These are the major reasons why it’s definitely not a good idea to shoot in your everyday eyeglasses. Sure, you can see clearly, but you lack the proper safety features to avoid injury.

All right, so now you know that your trusty spectacles are a no-no for shooting. What now? Perhaps you’ve seen prescription over-glasses advertised and are considering those. After all, they’re proper safety glasses, so they should be perfect for shooting, right? While they are definitely safer than regular glasses, the answer is still no. Let’s find out why!

PRO TIP: Be sure and check with your local range on their specific regulations regarding the use of regular prescription glasses as safety glasses. Your local range might have a policy allowing their use. However, it’s not an ideal nor the safest solution for the reasons we are discussing in this article.

The Problems With Over-Glasses for Shooting

When looking for safety goggles to use with prescription lenses, some choose over-glasses. Why is that? Well, they are, in fact, proper safety goggles. They fit over the top of your prescription glasses, hence the name over-glasses. That’s handy, right? So why are they no good for shooting?

There are a few reasons. For one, they’re EXTREMELY uncomfortable and bulky to wear on the face. Since they have to fit over your existing glasses, they have to be quite large. They can end up feeling like you have a brick attached to your face. When hunting and shooting, this is a disadvantage. You definitely want glasses that are lightweight and comfortable to wear.

The second big reason is that they aren’t true shooting glasses. Sure, they’re safety glasses, but the standards aren’t the same. To illustrate, let’s briefly break down the different safety standards for lenses.

ANSI Z87.1+: The ANSI standard is what you will find on all safety glasses. They’re tested for high-impact, but not at the velocity that a bullet would travel at. These glasses are great for construction, yard work, and working with hazardous liquids. This is the standard that over-glasses have, but it’s not the best for shooting.

MIL-PRF 32432: This is the proper shooting safety standard. It’s from the military, and as such, is properly tested for ballistic impact. These glasses will offer full protection from all the hazards encountered when shooting. If you’re going to be hunting or shooting targets at the range, MIL-PRF 32432 glasses are a must.

CLICK HERE for more information on these standards and the different ratings/ testing procedures

If you do decide to use over-glasses for shooting currently the best product on the market is made by NoCry. They manufacturer a lightweight, well balanced and stylish option. Always double-check the safety requirements of your local shooting range before making any purchasing decisions.

NoCry Over-Glasses Safety Glasses

Rating 4.6 out of 5 stars
$17.99/ Pair

Okay, so now we understand why both regular prescription and over-glasses aren’t the best for shooting. So what is then? Are people with poor vision just out of luck when it comes to going shooting or hunting? Absolutely not!

The Miracle of Prescription Shooting Glasses

What’s that you said, prescription shooting glasses? Do they make such a thing? They absolutely do. They’re truly the best of both worlds, too! With prescription shooting glasses, you get:

-Crystal clear vision

-Full UV protection

-Ballistic resistance

-Wraparound protection

-Strategic advantages with colored tints

As you can see, you can do it all without having to sacrifice your eyesight! Prescription shooting glasses offer a ton of great advantages. These include:

Clear vision for accuracy. You can’t shoot a target if you can’t see it! With prescription shooting glasses, you can laser in on the target like it’s nothing. You’ll notice an improvement to your shooting right away!

Clarity for heightened awareness. You know, not all accidents that happen while shooting/hunting are because of bullets. In fact, going hunting poses many different types of hazards. There’s uneven terrain, loose branches, dropoffs, and more. You need some super clear vision to make sure you avoid all these pitfalls!

Ensuring you can reload properly. If you have poor vision, reloading can become quite the chore. After all, you need to make sure that you’re putting the right bullets into the correct gun. If you struggle to see close up, this can be next to impossible without prescription lenses. With them, you can properly read the headstamps on your rounds. That way you’ll never make a mistake reloading your weapon!

Comfort. Prescription shooting glasses are lightweight and comfortable to wear. This is a stark contrast to over-glasses, which are incredibly bulky and cumbersome. When shooting, you need to be able to react to changing situations in an instant. That’s hard to do when you feel like you have two giant coke bottles on your face!

Stylish. Let’s face it, big clunky safety goggles aren’t sexy, like at all. You’re a suave and savvy shooting expert, and your glasses should help you look the part. There’s no law that says you can’t look cool and tough while doing what you love!

In short, you can’t shoot without being able to see! There are many hazards involved in doing so, both gun-related and not. With the help of some snazzy prescription shooting glasses, nothing can stop you!

But wait, there’s more to know! There are two main types of prescription shooting lenses to choose from. They are:



How do you know which to choose? Let’s take a detailed look at each to find out.

Polycarbonate vs. Trivex Lenses


To start, let’s look at polycarbonate. Polycarbonate is actually the material used to construct the first-ever space shuttle! Aeronautic engineers created it, but optical engineers would take note several years later. They discovered that it also worked incredibly well in prescription sunglasses!

Polycarbonate offers a lot of advantages over traditional lenses. For one, they’re extremely durable. They can withstand tough impacts without a scratch! Polycarbonate also offers complete UV protection from UVA, UVB, and UVC rays from the sun.

Fun fact, polycarbonate lenses are the active standard for sports sunglasses. That’s because they’re 20% thinner and 30% lighter than traditional lenses. That means they offer superior comfort and versatility than your standard sunglasses. Polycarbonate lenses also have a high optical clarity rating. As such, that translates into crystal clear vision for accurate shooting!

CLICK HERE for a more in-depth look at Polycarbonate lenses.

Let's break down the advantages of polycarbonate:

-Super durable


-High optical clarity rating

-Full UV-ray protection

-Comfortable, stylish, and lightweight

Sounds great, right? So polycarbonate must be the ultimate when it comes to prescription shooting glasses. Hold your horses! We haven’t gotten to the benefits of the amazing Trivex lenses.

The origins of Trivex are very similar to that of polycarbonate. That’s because Trivex was also developed by NASA and the military for use in aeronautics. However, Trivex is a far newer technology than polycarbonate. In fact, Trivex is the latest and greatest in state-of-the-art high tech lens material. Why’s that? Plenty of reasons.

First off, let’s tackle the durability. Remember how we said that polycarbonate was super durable? While Trivex claims to be even more durable than Polycarbonate, various studies have proven that they are very similar in impact resistance. The results of the testing vary depending on who completed the study and how the tests were conducted. So for our purposes, we will conclude both Trivex and Polycarbonate are super tough lens material and suitable for prescription safety lenses.

So what are the benefits of Trivex?. If you recall, polycarbonate lenses are 30% lighter than traditional lenses. However, Trivex is even lighter than that! To be specific, Trivex lenses are a full 10% lighter than polycarbonate. That means they’re a full 40% lighter than your standard shades! Trivex lenses offer the ultimate in lightweight comfort. You won’t even feel like you’re wearing glasses at all!

We’re not done yet! Remember how polycarbonate had a high optical clarity rating? Well, you guessed it, Trivex has an even higher one. In particular, Trivex lenses share the same clarity as to the human eye. You read that right, Trivex lenses are just as clear as your eyes are! Polycarbonate lenses are not. Like polycarbonate, Trivex also offers full UV protection.

Let's recap the benefits of Trivex lenses:

-Extremely durable

-Higher optical clarity rating than polycarbonate. In fact, they have the same clarity as your actual eyes.

-40% clearer and lighter than traditional sunglasses

-Full UV protection

-High-velocity impact resistant

-Super comfortable and stylish

In conclusion, both are great, but is Trivex worth the extra money? If you notice a difference in weight and optical clarity using the Trivex lenses they are definitely worth it. Before making a decision, head to your optometrist and do a head to head comparison. If after directly comparing both lenses you do not notice much of a difference you are probably better off saving the extra cash and going with Polycarbonate. 

Summing it Up

Okay, so we’ve taken in a lot so far. Let’s back up and summarize. First, you do NOT want to shoot in your regular eyeglasses. Although they do offer some protection,  that protection is not adequate for shooting sports. Next, over-glasses can be handy for lighter tasks, but they aren’t optimal for shooting or long days in the field.

Finally, you should definitely get a quality pair of prescription shooting glasses. They should be:

-At least ANSI Z87.1+ rated, preferably MIL-PRF 32432

-Offer wraparound protection


-Trivex lenses for optimal clarity, weight, and comfort (If you can notice the difference)

-Stylish and badass looking!

Also, it’s important to practice shooting with what you will have on when you need your gun. If you need prescription shooting glasses, you should ALWAYS practice in them. That way your eyes will stay sharp when you’re out hunting with your buddies! Have fun, stay safe, and happy shooting!

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