Shooting Glasses with Interchangeable lenses
The idea that a single pair of well-loved glasses can serve multiple purposes is one of the founding principles of the GruntX company. The purpose of this article isn’t necessarily to sell you on our glasses. Instead, we’d like to explore some of the concepts behind the idea of the interchangeable lens shooting glasses.
In this article we will cover why safety specifications matter. We will also cover how to overcome shortcomings on the market in the brand offerings available to consumers. We will also extol the benefits (or lack thereof?) for interchangeable lenses. Read on to see what we think about the concept and how you can benefit from the idea, or how you can get the idea out of your head.
Interchangeable lenses – are they an exercise in customization and utility or an idea that needs to be forgotten?
Everyone likes the idea of finding one very good product and customizing it for daily use. That’s as true about the AR-15 as it is about the Jeep Wrangler or Toyota Landcruiser. You could go so far as to include gaming PC’s or our front yards and landscaping. Shooting glasses are no different.
The idea that once we have a solid basic concept laid out, that we can further enhance usability and accessorize it to optimize for conditions, is great.
But when it comes to glasses there are three types of people:
- People who lose every pair they have ever bought
- Those who wear their glasses everywhere, including indoors sometimes
- The people who hate putting anything on, and take them off as soon as humanly possible
If you are type 1, it’s a hard problem to counteract. We wish you luck!
For person type 2, we hear stories all the time about how much our users love the styling and comfort of our glasses, so this is a real market segment. Some of the stories we hear have people transitioning from work to commute to home in their glasses. And repeat the next day. On the weekends, they are shooting in the same glasses. Or boating or doing projects around the house, while wearing GruntX glasses.
For person type 3, for practical reasons, they may not be interested in interchangeable lens concepts because they are sometimes a lot more expensive. They also require a lot of use to justify costs and investment in research. Furthermore, many of the styles may not be conducive to that type of behavior. For instance, Googles (more on them later), may not be very comfortable to begin with, let alone for those who hate glasses.
General safety information about Interchangeable lens shooting glasses
ANSI Z87.1+ specifications are great for some day-to-day safety needs. Namely, where you are not at high risk of fast moving, fragmenting objects you may not need the same tough to achieve standard covered by MIL-SPEC PRF-32432.
Some real-world cases where you might want to opt for better protection than ANSI Z87.1+:
- When you frequently use abrasive cutting or grinding wheels without a full-face shield
- If you are in an environment with compressed air that also deals in particulate matter
- When you have a profession that requires standard safety equipment like a hard hat or earplugs
- When you utilize power tools often, particularly nailguns/screw-guns; Hilti’s or other powder driven fasteners
- While engaged in shooting or hunting or in the proximity of others; doing so as an observer
- During paintball, airsoft or compressed chalk simunition simulations
- Driving on a motorcycle or even in an open-air cockpit while flying, or a convertible vehicle
- While driving off-road or in the desert
If you’re reading this, you are likely to be engaged in one or more of these activities on a weekly basis. Settling for the lower of the two generally recognized market standards for eye protection may not make sense.
Some incredibly important notes about safety with shooting glasses that have interchangeable lenses.
MIL-SPEC PRF-32432 is unbelievably hard to obtain. It is an indicator that the entire structure of the glasses is capable of withstanding ballistic fragmentation.
The class one certification alone is brutal. The terms for this testing specification can be found in section 4.8.4 of the MIL-PRF-32432A guidelines.
To summarize: Not only is a .15 caliber projectile shot at the lens, and a pass/fail measured from that outcome, but the frames and other infrastructure is judged at pass/fail. In the case of class 1: a 5.85 grain weight, T37 shaped projectile is fired at 700-725 ft/sec. The impact must be withstood from not only the lenses, but there must not be a frame failure. These frames and lenses must also meet rigorous longevity and chemical standards. There are even conditions that assess structural flex/rigidity. All of these and dozens more requirements are needed to pass, in order for that specification to be issued.
Even more difficult to obtain than that, are the ballistic fragmentation protection Class 2 and Class 3. The terms for this testing specification can be found in section 4.8.5 of the MIL-PRF-32432A guidelines.
To summarize: The standard is the same for Class 2 and 3, except there is a larger heavier projectile used. The infrastructure must still meet the exacting standards to be included in the specification certification process. In a class 2/3 test, the projectile weighs 17 grains, is .22 caliber in diameter and is fired at 580-590 ft/sec.
So, what’s the point here? Why does MIL-SPEC PRF-32432 matter for interchangeable lens glasses?
Here’s the answer: infrastructure matters.
It’s not just about the lenses anymore. To meet this exacting standard the lenses need an unbelievable amount of support. In a vast majority of shooting glasses that offer interchangeable lenses, the infrastructure doesn’t exist. It cannot. To make the lens easily changed, you need to make a system that de-prioritizes lens support.
Alternatively, some makers over emphasize support to counteract this. One such example might be a tactical goggle. Which may suit a shooter’s needs just fine. But for many users who want to purchase glasses with interchangeable lenses, the total delivered value falls short. Googles take a lot more time to outfit and are too bulky for certain activities.
Goggles might be too unwieldy for daily use. While they are great in certain buildouts in war zones, many operators in special forces and general military operations don’t like them. You’ll see the internet flooded with pictures taken by these warfighters in hot zones, wearing sunglasses, not goggles. Sometimes the best remedy is the remedy that you always have available and are comfortable using.
A lot of people don’t want to wear a google. Many also, do not want to wear an ugly pair of glasses.
With available interchangeable lens options on the market:
- Glasses may not have styles that users enjoy aesthetically due to structure or safety requirements
- Glasses may in fact be Googles, in order to meet the safety standards – which may prove to be too bulky or too easily fogged up
- Overall user intuitiveness and ease of wear are compromised in order to meet safety requirements
- Systems start to get expensive and almost never have the right mix of value and wearability with interchangeable lenses. This is particularly true of those that exceed the highest safety standard and are available in the broader market.
What’s the solution? There are generally three schools of thought:
- Sacrifice on quality and safety in order to get the ease of interchangeability of lenses. This is not a recommended path.
- Pay a premium, while taking an aesthetics hit on the glasses – for instance, by opting for goggles, etc. This seems to still be a compromise. Though we think some of these builds are of top quality and deserve some consideration where appropriate.
- Buy multiple pairs of glasses that exceed specifications and have different colored/purpose lenses. This is likely to be the most ideal solution. We offer a solution at GruntX for this methodology – we believe it offers exceptional value.
Some conclusions about interchangeable lens glasses
The best fit for a safety google is a user of Rx Glasses. HERE is our pick for such an option.
Users with the habit of wearing the same glasses for everything and who want peace of mind: we exist. Have a look at our shooting and safety glasses HERE. They are very stylish and comfortable. They meet all the strictest standards generally accepted in the market. GruntX glasses are affordable – especially In the two packs with cases.
For those who need both the safety specifications to be existent and the ability to change lenses, there are a couple of options.
We suggest these. We cannot vouch for certain brands, other than to say that they meet specifications that some users want.
It’s not unreasonable to suggest that the most obvious choice is to buy multiple pairs of glasses. GruntX makes reasonably priced pairs that make sense from a practical perspective.
This will extend the wearable life of all pairs you buy; optimize your performance with each pair and give you options. It will also keep you looking good and allow you to wear the glasses you like to wear, without unnecessary expense. You will tick all the boxes except one (quick change of color), rather than having to sacrifice safety for ease of use, or looks for safety, etc.
In the end, there are some very good glasses on the market that can help you accomplish your goals with shooting or safety. There isn’t just one company to choose from. What we hope is that we have shed some light on the value of understanding the concept of interchangeable lenses. This discussion definitely a more complex, multi-faceted discussion that doesn’t end at having to sacrifice to find value.