Target shooting with Glasses versus Contacts?


July 2, 2003, 03:05 PM
I have pretty bad vision (near sighted), in the 20/300 range, and I wear pretty strong contacts. When looking out to a target at 100 yards with open sights, the 1" bull is just a spec and hard for me to focus on. I'm not that old (31 yrs), so I should still have some life left in these eyes. I shoot open sights with many rifles, my C&R mausers, mosins, Garands, and my FAL. It is hard for me to consistently focus clearly on that bull at 100 yards, however, so my groups are larger than I think they should be. Whenever I scope a rifle, my group size at 100 yards shrinks in half.

I'm thinking about buying a pair of perscription glasses because I would expect them to give me a sharper image than my contacts. Does anyone else have experience with shooting at longer ranges with poor eyesight, and the difference in ability that contacts and glasses provide for focusing on the target?

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July 2, 2003, 03:17 PM
Well, FWIW, your 100 yrd. bullseye SHOULD be a blurred dot when using open sights, 'cause you're supposed to focus on the front sight!;)

Having said that, I, too, am very near-sighted. In fact, a LOT worse than you! Almost all of my rifles wear glass, and I've talked with my optometrist (and opthamologist, too). Just switched my contacts from one reading and one full distance correction to both full distance corrected to see if that helps with my rifle iron sights. Haven't had much chance to test the theory yet, but I'll let you know when I do.


July 2, 2003, 03:31 PM
id stick to the glasses an have em do double duty. good safety for your eyes an helps out on the shooting. plus you can wipe off your glasses. what happens if you get oil, carbon, god forbid brass on your contacts

July 2, 2003, 05:02 PM
I just made the switch to contacts last week and have been debating this as well. I have astigimatism in my right eye (also my dominant) which complicates things a tad. After two range sessions I've determined that closing my left eye for most of the time irritates it due to the contact. I do get a bit more blur at 100 yards as well. Scopes present a partial problem as well as I'm looking out the "top" of my eye and get a bit more blur from the contact.

I'd like to avoid the cost of new frames and lenses personally. However, are there good shooting frames available that will take prescription lenses? Talk about an extravagant range toy. Kind of like driving gloves. :>

In the mean time I invested in some inexpensive protective shooting glasses.... HIGHLY recommend this if you are shooting with contacts!!!! My AR sprays CLP, and at my local range it's not uncommon to get beaned in the head with flying brass. These really helped with the irritation I was experiencing.

July 2, 2003, 05:21 PM
Oops! As several other posters have already stated, shooting glasses are a must! I wear them always, so that's probably why I forgot to mention them with respect to this contacts vs. glasses issue.

Protect those eyes, no matter how bad they are!


July 2, 2003, 05:22 PM
I know you know that but I had to say it.

My eyes are 47 years old. I have an older pair of Rx sunglasses that work much better for me for shooting than my current prescription. They are graduated bifocals, allowing the focus to be shifted by tilting the head. I consider this a big plus--you can see anything from the front sight out to the target clearly with almost no movement.

I think glasses alone are better than contacts plus eye protection.

I have read and agree that having your doctor set you up with a special graduated bifocal prescription for shooting is the best thing going.

Good luck and good shooting.

July 2, 2003, 06:41 PM
I was wondering about this since I just last week got new glasses after just wearing contacts for years. Does anyone just wear their regular glasses with no shooting glasses when at the range? That's what I would like to do, but it seems like some hot brass could still find its way down into a pair of regular glasses. Would be difficult but not impossible....

July 2, 2003, 08:25 PM
Ask around at the shooting ranges and competition shooters-find an optometrist who's also a shooter. This person will understand what you want and have experience fitting lenses and frames to shooters. You will want to get large frames, to allow you the most freedom in using the glasses for different positions when you shoot, and check to confirm the safety rating of the lenses.

July 2, 2003, 08:52 PM
That's what I would like to do, but it seems like some hot brass could still find its way down into a pair of regular glasses. Would be difficult but not impossible....

Definitely not impossible, especially at an indoor range with narrow shooting stations. I had a toasty hot .45acp shell fall behind my glasses a few months ago. This was most unpleasant. Started wearing real eye protection after that.

Standing Wolf
July 2, 2003, 09:03 PM
Glasses for me, thanks all the same. I can't stand the thought of putting anything in my eyes.

July 3, 2003, 09:13 AM
I was in your shoes until last week.

But found that with my high prescription and astigmatism that I saw
better with contacts (and shooting glasses at the range) than with glasses.

BUT that all changed last week when I had Lasik, and I haven't had a chance to shoot since. :D


July 3, 2003, 12:15 PM
Took the eye guy 5+ minutes to get the contacts in my eyes. He had to tie me down to keep me from moving.

I can't even do eyedrops without fidgeting :uhoh:

Ian Sean
July 3, 2003, 12:20 PM
Same here with contacts, hate them.

I am lucky, I work in an industrial environment and the company pays for the prescription safety glasses.:D

Dave Markowitz
July 3, 2003, 12:25 PM
Does anyone just wear their regular glasses with no shooting glasses when at the range? That's what I would like to do, but it seems like some hot brass could still find its way down into a pair of regular glasses. Would be difficult but not impossible....

That's what I do. To keep flying brass out from between my glasses and my face, I always wear a hat with a brim.

Re the contacts: I wore contacts for a few years and found that my vision was much better with them, including while shooting. YMMV.

July 3, 2003, 01:33 PM
I'd stick the the glasses while shooting. You dont have to worry about a foriegn object "sticking" to the contacts and hurting your eyes. If you decide to continue wearing contacts to the range have a bottle of solution or water to flush out the eyes in case you get something on them.

July 3, 2003, 07:48 PM
For one, I wear contacts, but I still wear shooting glasses, I think they're S&W brand.. no eye protection = ignorance. For another, when I was shooting w/ my regular glasses, I picked up some side shields that fit over the earpiece and cover the openings around the side of your eyes. Very handy.

July 3, 2003, 08:35 PM
The only problem I have with my contacts is they shift a bit now and then. I wear Toric lenses for astigmatism. These are weighted on the bottom, they only work in a certain position on your eye. A slight shift of the lense and stuff gets fuzzy. Regular contacts might not have this problem

All that said, I see better with glasses for shooting, but I actually feel safer with contacts and real eye protection instead of just eyeglasses. Maybe one day I'll spring for perscription safety glasses like I used to have at work.

July 3, 2003, 09:33 PM
I'm nearsighted and I've tried just about everything mentioned here including weighted lenses (the worst for me), Rx glasses, Rx glasses inside the shooting glasses, Rx shooting glasses and all kinds of contacts, and ended up with the lightest 1-day throw away lenses (with shooting glasses of course) and they seem to give me much better vision - and I don't even know their in my eyes - and I have very bad astigmatism.

Usually optometrists will let you have some 'trial pairs' of contacts in your Rx if you ask them.
There are also lenses that are Rx on the perimiter and clear in the center that allow you to easily focus in or out of the Rx. I tried them and they worked ok but are expensive.

July 4, 2003, 10:08 AM
I've worn bifocals since I was a young child.

My ophthalmologist is also a target shooter. He recommended shooting glasses that are a modified bifocal. The dividing line between the two corrections is higher that normal on the lens (by about 1 mm, according to my optician, another shooter.) The upper correction is my normal distance correction. The lower correction splits the difference between my normal distance correction and my normal reading correction. (That is, if your reading correction is +2.00, this correction is +1.00; your opthalmologist or optometrist will understand this.) This correction is fine for looking at the front sight at full arm extension. I drop my head just a bit to see the target.

As a bonus, you can select a frame that comes with clip-on sunglasses, and have the optician remove the lens for your dominant eye and place an opaque lens on the other side, and you have a very convenient, comfortable eyepatch.

It does mean buying an extra pair of glasses, but it was worth it to me. The shooting glasses are also great for working at a computer, which is also at a distance intermediate between distant and close vision.

July 4, 2003, 10:52 AM
I had better vision w/ contacts than w/ my glasses while shooting. The next variable tho is to wear quality shooting glasses w/ those contacts! Now tho, I can't wear contacts any more so my glasses have been doing the job.

July 4, 2003, 12:18 PM
I get much better vision out of contacts than glasses, even with sweaty, beat up safety glasses on top of them.

I guess it's an individual thing.

I've gone to the range to practice with my specs, though, to make sure I could do it, and also with my abyssmally poor natural vision, which shrinks my range down to less than 10 yards.

July 4, 2003, 12:35 PM
That's a good point - if some goblin breaks in at 3:00 AM, I'm not gonna put my contacts in, I'm going to reach for my glasses. Which is somewhat of a reason to practice with them.

Another thought I just had is that say I only had an old, 3-times-out-of-date-prescription pair of specs (cause I wear contacts 24/7 except for stuff like getting a drink of water at 2:00 AM), and someone broke in, dontcha think the fact that out-of-date glasses were worn by the homeowner would come up in the civil suit? ("How could he see poor little Tater? He couldn't possibly tell that Tater had a gun {which wasn't his, by the way, it belonged to a friend and Tater was on his way to return it and got the address wrong}).

And here in Maryland probably in the grand jury hearing too? So I'm even happier I got new glasses last week!

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