Safety glasses


February 25, 2011, 12:16 PM
I use prescription glasses at all times. Are these sufficient protection while shooting? The guys at an indoor range told me I would be okay with my prescription glasses.
Now I only shoot at a private outdoor range where I am the only one shooting. I only shoot paper and clays for targets. Should I get some real safety glasses? I've never been hit by a ricochet by the way.

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AZ Five seveN
February 25, 2011, 12:23 PM
Safety glasses must meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1-2003 High Velocity Impact Safety & Optical Standards.

You should find out if yours do.

Edit: Wiley-X makes premium optical gear, and they will do prescription work.

W L Johnson
February 25, 2011, 12:24 PM
If they are glass, heck no, in fact they may make thing worst by becoming little sharp flying knifes when hit. There are eye glasses rated as qualifying as protection but the biggest problem I see with them is nothing covering the top. I have seen hot casings fall over the top of someone's eye-wear and become trapped between the eye-wear and the eye. Ouch!

THe Dove
February 25, 2011, 12:25 PM
I would recommend you get eye protection designed for safety and not rely on your prescription rated glasses. Look for ANSI Z87 approved eye protection. Just my recommendation. Rated eye protection is to prevent shards of glass when they shatter or break. Just my opinion.

Your eye Doctor may be able to make you some safety glasses that contain your rated prescription, may wanna check with him/her.

The Dove

February 25, 2011, 12:30 PM
If possible, get your lens made out of High Impact Resistant Polycarbonate. They are extremely strong with the frames being the limiting factor. Side shields are important to protect you from the shooter at your side.

Personally, I just wear a pair of "over glasses" in addition to my street glasses which are made of the HIRP material mentioned above. I do intend to get a pair of shooting glasses made in the near future so I can more easily focus on the front sight.

February 25, 2011, 10:12 PM
I have prescription safety glasses with glass lenses and side shields Made by American Optical. I need them for my job and they are rated for that also. I was looking for a linky but haven't found it yet. Only one style but have worn them most of my life and they have saved me from problems at least three times. I opted for glass as they do not scratch and fog up like the plastic ones do for me.

February 25, 2011, 10:28 PM
Thanks for the advice. Do I really need to worry if I'm shooting paper and clays with a dirt hill for a backstop with no one else shooting?

February 25, 2011, 10:36 PM

February 25, 2011, 10:43 PM
"...sufficient protection..." As long as the lenses are big enough to cover your whole eye, yes. All prescription lenses are impact resistant. Asked about it when I got specs.
"...Do I really need to worry if..." Yep. An errant case or one that ruptures, sending the gases into your face, doesn't care if you're alone.

February 25, 2011, 11:54 PM
Think of it this way. If one of your eyes is destroyed by a fast moving piece of metal fragment - how much would you be willing to pay to get your sight back??

We pay for insurance for cars, houses....they can be replaced with money. Your eyesight cannot!!

safety glasses are really cheap insurance.

Jesse Heywood
February 26, 2011, 12:34 AM
By all means wear safety glasses. I've had a face of burning powder more than once. And 3 eye injuries in industrial settings. Safety glasses might be an inconvenience, but are better than losing your vision.

If you are far-sighted and can shoot with a reading style bifocal lens, there are several non-prescription glasses you can use. I buy mine here

February 26, 2011, 12:50 AM
Safety glasses are worth it, I'm recovering from a non-related eye injury from a random bad-luck event, it sucks.
I ALWAYS wear safety glasses, and the prescription Wiley-X ones were expensive but they're comfortable, offer great protection without the eye cups and damn near perfect coverage with the cups, I wear them for riding my motorcycle, shooting, and at work (industrial facility) ... they've caught road rocks, brass, sprays, and lots of "what the hell was that?!" objects ... so far the only thing to damage them was a .45 casing that hit rim-first, which left a small chip in the finish.
Think on that, a .45 casing's sharp edge did more damage than road crap at 75mph does ... get some glasses with good coverage!

And bullet bounces happen with a dirt berm, there's rocks in there, there's BULLETS in there, and something will bounce back if you keep trying.

If the expensive goggles are too much, pick out some nerdy-looking glasses with sturdy rims and z87-rated polycarbonate lenses, and add side shields ... coupled with a cap that will offer decent coverage. I'm probably not cool enough for the Wiley-X goggles, and I admit they were expensive (adding transitions lenses was worth it, though!) ... but they're about as safe as it gets with a single layer of coverage.

February 26, 2011, 09:33 AM
Maybe someone could recommend some of safety glasses that are made to slip on over the perscription glasses. The problem I see with them is their optical resolution. Have not found a pair yet that you can see clearly thorgh them when wearing over perscription glasses. But lots are available from the safey type product dealers via the internet. It is just a question as to "which one" is best?????

February 26, 2011, 10:00 AM
Depends upon how much you value your eyesight.

Odds of a "KABOOM" are low, but the consequences are catastrophic so I wear Z97+ prescription safety glasses to shoot. You decide what your vision is worth.

February 26, 2011, 10:00 AM
And once you have your shooting safety glasses, you can wear them when you are working in the shop, using the chainsaw, etc, etc, etc. Safety glasses are never a bad idea.

February 26, 2011, 10:02 AM
thanks guys i feel like an idiot not using eye protection last time, i will get some for sure. Surprising how no one was using it at the outdoor range, reminders like this thread are a good thing, i like being able to see..

February 26, 2011, 10:08 AM
Jesse, thanks for the link to the bifocal safety glasses. Those will be most helpful.

February 26, 2011, 10:09 AM
I wear these in my shop over my regular prescription glasses. They're cheap and they work. There may be better ones out there....and if there are, someone should post a link.,42207,42216&ap=1

You can see in the photo the extra protection in areas not covered by ordinary glasses.

I keep mine inside a sock in the range bag. Keeps them from getting scrratched up as they are not coated.

February 26, 2011, 03:51 PM
If your glasses are prescription safety glasses, than sure....but ONLY when the matching sideshields are in place.

I have a set of prescription safety glasses I wear nearly 24/7 (I do sleep in them). When I go to the range, I pull my sideshields out of the range bag and clip them on before I got into the range area.

Wolverine makes a fine line of safety frames that can be found at most's a link to their lineup (it was the first hit on Google):

February 26, 2011, 04:23 PM
I never recommend over the glasses safety glasses when an inexpensive pair of Z87.2 high impact rated prescription bifocals can be had for around $90 (Wiley X Romer or Uvex XCs ( OTGs are going to never fit as well as your own glasses and won't provide as clear a view. I make endless managers have fits when I tell them they need to pay for prescription safety glasses instead of cheap OTGs, but when I lay out the cost of replacing the OTGs, poor compliance with using them, reduction in productivity resorting to them it turns out to actually help them save money to pay the higher capital cost of prescription glasses vs. the endless cost of replacing disposable OTGs.

If you just need some simple reading glasses magnification you can get them for under $10 (

The Lone Haranguer
February 26, 2011, 07:28 PM
When I shot at Scottsdale Gun Club, they told me prescription glasses met the letter of the rules as long as the lenses were plastic and not glass. But even most safety glasses, prescription or not, unless they are a "goggle" style that closely follows or seals against your forehead and cheekbones, will not stop everything under all conditions, e.g., hot cases that fall between your glasses and skin.

February 26, 2011, 07:29 PM
Maybe someone could recommend some of safety glasses that are made to slip on over the perscription glasses.
Two problems:
1 - you'll have to find a set that fits over YOUR glasses
2 - over-glasses often have gaps because of their design

So you really need to go try on a bunch, this isn't somehting you can order off the 'net until you have a working set.

I ofund sets that worked in the past, my current everyday glasses don't fit under any safety goggles though, because of frame shape. Trust me, once you make the switch from glasses + goggles to a set of Rx safety glasses you'll never go back, it is more useful and more comfortable, plus offering much better safety.

And to the idiot at the range with safety glasses sitting in front of Rx glasses and offering no actual protection ... quit it, you'll look even dumber with an eyepatch.

February 26, 2011, 08:16 PM
If you get proper prescription safety glasses, you'll have very high levels of protection, but only when the side shields are in use.

Those side shields are impact rated as well, and provide a near full coverage. With my shields on, the only place for debris to reach my eyes from is below the lens, which due to angles is more likely to hit around the eye than hit the lower eyelid. Brass doesn't find it's way behind the lens at all...although I have had one sit on top of the frame, but a tilt of the head fixes that.

The key there is going to a qualified optometrist to get prescription safety glasses that fit you.

February 26, 2011, 08:21 PM
Don't, (obviously) know what sort of glasses you wear, but all prescriptive lenses do offer a degree of eye protection from impact. Trouble is, it isn't enough to meet standards for your activities ! That's the "downside". The "upside" is, for some sacrifice in weight, you can get hardened lenses in prescription. (Most of the weight gan will be in the form of increased lens thickness.) You can also get such features as photoresponsiveness, bi/tri focal grinds as well. Even "progressive lenses"........Got one such myself....even though I normally wear contacts, which leaves the field wide open to choose protective lenses designed for the activity in mind. >MW

February 27, 2011, 09:50 AM
I use an inexpensive fit over glasses model like shown on this site. If all you want is the basics you can spend less than $8. While the fit over models are bulky, you don't need to spend big bucks for prescription shooting glasses if you don't want to.

February 27, 2011, 07:33 PM
Adding good safety glasses is quite an upgrade for the user of the HEV suit for all your crowbar and firearms needs, Gordon ... or did you get the one with a helmet?

February 27, 2011, 08:45 PM
I was wondering if anyone recognized me here. I should probably ask the advice of Alyx and Eli Vance, Isaac Kleiner, Barney Calhoun, and Dog.
I was not expecting this many responses to this thread. Thanks for all the advice fellas.

February 27, 2011, 08:50 PM
Maybe someone could recommend some of safety glasses that are made to slip on over the perscription glasses. The problem I see with them is their optical resolution.
I know you can spend a lot more, but these are ANSI rated, fit over my glasses just fine and are clear enough that I forget I have them on. I buy them in bulk, so if I loan them, lose them, or mess them up it's not a big deal.

February 28, 2011, 05:01 PM
Apparently, an alternative point of view ...

I've fired thousands and thousands of rounds over nearly four decades, never wearing anything more protective than my prescription eye glasses. This includes seven years in the U.S. Army as well as a variety of hunting, active shooting practice and other shooting activities. It also includes nearly every type of firearm on the planet - pistols, rifles, shotguns, full auto, 50 caliber, light anti-tank weapons, multiple-launch rocket systems ... you get the picture.

I've had numerous eye "incidents" while working in my garage with metal and wood but not a single one while shooting.

I'm not telling anyone not to wear safety glasses. I'm just saying the chances of actually needing them are pretty remote. To me it's a little bit like bicycle helmets. I did all kinds of crazy things as a kid on a bicycle without a helmet. Now, it seems to be the end of the world if someone is riding a bicycle and not wearing a helmet.

February 28, 2011, 05:13 PM
Well all I can say is that I could have bought everyone of you a pair of the best shooting glasses out there for what it cost me to have a .40 sw case shrapnel removed from my cornea in november. It isn't worth it guys. It funny while your laying on a table and you can watch a surgeon sew up your eyeball, you think, man those safety glasses sure are cheap! A little over 5000.00 is what getting my eyesight back cost me! Don't be like me I WAS STUPID!

March 1, 2011, 11:58 AM
Thanks for the advice. Do I really need to worry if I'm shooting paper and clays with a dirt hill for a backstop with no one else shooting?
Yep, you do.

Before I got contacts (which make safety glasses much easier to wear), I used to slip safety glasses over my prescription glasses. Occasionally I would be lax about it, but tried to always wear them.

One time at an indoor range, sure enough, a piece of brass ejected weird and came right back at me and hit my safety glasses, putting a scrape in them. Had those been my prescription glasses, i'm not sure if they would have cracked, or whatever, but I certainly would have had a nasty scrape on some expensive glasses if nothing else. Instead, I bought another cheap pair of safety glasses and relegated the old ones to garage shop use.

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