This straightforward guide to Shooting Glasses for Hunting can help you find the right
Personal protective equipment isn’t always the first thing you think of when purchasing hunting gear. That’s largely because it’s been relegated to the mundane aspects of the hunt when there are so many other items that need to be perfect. Grabbing any old pair has worked in the past for range visits, so why not for that special hunt?
This article is about purposefully finding the right pair of shooting glasses, and bringing the humble eye protection out of the realm of the forgotten and into the daily use spectrum.
Why does eye protection matter so much? Well, it’s not just about a fashion statement – you only get two eyes, and for shooting you can always do better when both are functioning at peak capacity. With properly built and rated shooting glasses for hunting, it’s not about just having a pair to cover your bases, it can be about finding a pair that improves your outcomes in the field.
But this can be a tedious and complex subject matter to navigate. More often than not, the details that matter are written like a white paper – super technical and incredibly boring. And the glasses tend to have all the same standards anyways, right?
The goal here is to demystify the ‘shooting glasses for hunting’ subject matter, and do it in a way that helps to educate and promote better results for what ultimately matters: your hunting and performance in the field.
Here are some different aspects of this deeper dive – feel free to jump past any sections you already feel confident about:
What aspects are important when choosing a pair of hunting safety glasses?
Not all glasses are created equally. When shooting, it’s more important than ever to have the right specifications on your glasses. Yes, you can technically use a lot of different options, but the ones that will give the greatest peace of mind and the most protection are held to a specific standard.
Shooting and hunting have their own special set of safety concerns. You aren’t likely to get shot in the eye by a bullet, and shooting glasses aren’t going to offer much protection against an incident like that, but there are some key factors when evaluating the specification we are about to highlight that make it the mark you should be aiming at with protective eyewear in the field.
Impact ratings/Safety information
MIL-PRF-32432 is the impact standard you want with hunting and shooting specific eyewear. ANSI z87.1+ is great, and many top tier glasses have that rating, but you need another tier beyond that to be reasonably safe when talking about the potential for accidents when shooting firearms.
Pieces of brass, debris from cartridges; malfunctions and accidents can be dangerous. All of these concerns are far more common than most shooters may think.
The problem with shooting and hunting, is that, often enough, you won’t know there is a safety problem until it is too late. Because of the design of firearms and modern ammunition, direct hits on the eyes are quite rare, but debris, fast flying materials and powder concerns are a very common occurrence.
You want to ensure you have the right impact resistance. With the MIL-PRF-32432 rating, you are getting a rating that is sufficient for ballistic impacts. This testing to achieve the rating is intensive and places a set of variables that uses the following inputs (for impacts and simplified to aid in understanding):
MIL-PRF-32432 (Ballistic Resistance Testing)
For Class 1 (Spectacles): A projectile of 0.15 caliber that weighs 5.85 grains shaped in the T37 profile and of Rockwell hardness of C30 with a standard deviation of 2; shot at a velocity of between 700-725 ft/sec is launched into each lens once, without failure.
For Class 2 (Goggles) and Class 3: A projectile of 0.22 caliber that weighs 17 grains shaped in the T37 profile and of Rockwell hardness of C30 with a standard deviation of 2; shot at a velocity of between 580-590 ft/sec is launched into each lens once, without failure.
The entire structure must be failure free, not just the lens.
It’s important to note that the impact testing is not the only variable that goes into deciding whether a pair of lenses is sufficiently meeting this MIL SPEC Standard. The glasses need to also conform to a long list of pre-determined rules which govern lens distortion; styling; coverage standards; fitment; durability and chemical resistance, among other factors. This is not a simple set of requirements.
Additionally, in order to receive the MIL-SPEC PRF-32432 the entire package must also be in compliance with the strictest parameters of ANSI z87.1+.
Although not required for shooting glasses for hunting, if you are enlisted and would like APEL approved eyewear, see here. Keep in mind that military approved eyewear is designed as a “one size fits all” solution, so you are sacrificing style and comfort.
Brand and quality of manufacture
There are a lot of great glasses out there. Sometimes you can find a great pair for a good price too. But what really matters is this: is the pair you have chosen going to be on your face when you need them, and work the way you need them to when seconds matter?
If the glasses you choose aren’t durable and consistent in build quality and manufacturing, you won’t be able to count on them. If they aren’t comfortable you won’t be wearing them.
A great pair of shooting glasses are the ones that are so comfortable and helpful that you forget that you are even wearing them.
Forget the sales pitch, but let’s look at reality: the glasses in the GruntX lineup offer all-day-everyday comfort, and our customers find themselves wearing their glasses on the job, on the front lines and on the range or in the field going after their favorite game while hunting. The transition is seamless because the glasses fit like a glove and perform how they need to, to minimize distractions, and improve vision during a wide range of activities.
You need to know you can count on your glasses to be durable and consistently able to meet your demands in all your endeavors while wearing them.
Real world performance metrics and concerns
It depends on the type of hunting that you do, but almost all of colors of lenses can have some effect on your use outdoors. We highlight some concepts below. You might also consider reading Our Buyer’s Guide. It will give you a good overall feel for how different aspects of choosing shooting or hunting glasses can impact your performance.
It’s important to choose a low profile shape and opt for the most durable and comfortable glasses you can find. In designing tactical and shooting glasses, GruntX knew this would be a huge factor. You don’t want shifting and discomfort as you go to take a once in a lifetime shot on a huge Buck in dusk and not be able to bag the trophy because of unintended consequences of poor eyewear choices.
Something that fits your face and wraps closely enough to the contours of it, to allow your vision to remain unimpeded during crucial moments, is a game changer.
Shouldering a weapon will put pressure on your face and anything you are wearing. It can be immediately jarring to have glasses shift or twist when you go to the cheek rest. Having a pair of glasses that work in harmony with your face placement and the optics you might be using, is a huge benefit.
Simple, one-size fits all lenses with a huge surface area just can’t compete in this scenario. Having a pair that prioritizes the contours of your cheeks and minimizes the size of the lens to cover your eyes closely, but also offers the best safety standards is an absolute must.
Style and comfort considerations
Fit and comfort are crucial when considering a pair of shooting glasses. This is even more true when hunting. You aren’t going to be removing your glasses often when in the field on a hunt whether it’s for big game or waterfowl or any other target, because your focus is on the hunt. Knowing you can count on all day comfort is an important factor.
But it’s not just about looking good. You need to know that you can count on your glasses for more than just a style statement. When hunting, having a wrap around, full coverage set of shooting glasses, rated at the right specification and which are comfortable enough to shoot under extraneous circumstances means you need to know what these glasses are capable of. All of the sudden, shooting glasses seem a lot more of a focal point than they may have been in the past.
The basics on colors for hunting eyewear
We have articles focused on colors of lenses and what they can do for you that go much further in-depth than this article does. We invite you to view that information.
Colored lenses can have a dramatic impact on how you view a target, or the surroundings while hunting. What is not always so clear is that until you know what the different colors do, or how that relates to the real world it may not be so obvious.
Here is a basic overview in terms of being in the field on a hunt.
A clear colored lens will be the most distortion-free and distraction-free lens of all, but it doesn’t offer any enhancements with regards to environmental lighting and ambient conditions, other than that it is unobtrusive and distortion-free. That can mean a lot in the field though, so it can be a solid option.
Polarized Lenses will remove a large percentage of glare and it’s immediately effective. You can use this a lot in outdoor environments. Take for example as the morning starts to break and you need to avoid the background which includes the rising sun, the polarized lens will be quite helpful.
Less helpful as dusk starts to set in, it can still be helpful if you are in an awkward position where the sun is in the background or could be adding unnecessary nuisance to your target area, even as it starts to get dark in the evening.
Smoked Gray Lenses
Smoked Gray lenses offer help in cutting harsh full sun exposure. This is particularly helpful as you look to pick up birds in a bright sky background where it may be uncomfortable to look into the sky without some help from your shooting glasses.
Amber lenses will help with clarity and will make sure that bright colors on the orange spectrum get picked up easily and with great edge detailing. It’s great for clay pigeon shooting, or for safety in the field during a hunt, with hunter’s orange blaze clothing being a popular choice.
The green lens spectrum will offer enhanced color accuracy. For those who are on a scope all day and trying to pick out subtle movement like with big game in heavily wooded or brush filled areas, the green lenses will generally offer a quicker target acquisition, and true color spectrum.
Brown lenses tend to help with outline differences in the field. You can generally expect good help with regards to bright sun and surrounding ambient light, but also a good edge clarity on different textured objects in your field of vision. It’s a multi-purpose color and offers a good range of benefits.
Yellow Lenses can help with clarity and low light conditions to reduce flares and increase visual acuity during dusk settings. Here you can learn more about why Yellow Lenses are an important option.
As you can tell, finding the right solution for hunting and shooting glasses can be a bit more focused than just grabbing a pair from the workbench before you leave on a Friday night. There are legitimate needs for a user who wants proper protection and is seeking the best performance possible while engaged in the sport of hunting or shooting.
While we are partial to our own offerings, we think it’s more important to make the decision that is right for you from a comfort, safety, and performance perspective. We look forward to answering questions to see if we might be able to fill those needs for you.