Looking at firearms in use, it’s pretty evident that plenty of gas, unburned powder, and oil droplets are in the air at once. Add to that ejected empties from your own weapon and those of people around you, plus possible ricochets…it’s a bit of a wonder that many shooters make it to old age with intact vision. The relative infrequency of eye injuries comes from the widespread use of protective glasses. Unfortunately, those of us who require corrective lenses have long faced an awkward dilemma — we could either wear prescription glasses or ballistic eye protection, but not both. Contact lenses plus shatterproof glasses provide a solution to some, but not everyone likes those. Fortunately, recently several companies have offered projectile-proof ballistic eyewear.
One of them, TacticalRx, makes multiple styles. Their optical clarity is superb, and the photogray lenses will lighten or darken in response to the ambient light levels. The more fashionable curved variant works best in low strength prescriptions. At minus 5 diopters or so, the fishbowl effect at the edges becomes disconcerting for action, though it remains perfectly usable for precision shooting. The less curved variant works equally well for low or high strength prescriptions and adds side shields for better protection from casings bouncing off range lane dividers.
In actual use, these two styles work equally well. I found the optical quality to be so clear as to make them also well-suited for driving.
What can these stop? We tested a pair with steel BBs at 1400fps from a shotgun at ten feet.
The result: no penetration, no spalling, and no separation from the frame.
Now, consider what the result would have been without the ballistic protection. Glasses obviously don’t protect the rest of the face. Eyes are by far the most vulnerable part of the head, and can be badly hurt by gas from suppressor blowback, fragments of bullet jackets or lead splash, other relatively minor projectiles. With or without prescription lenses, these glasses are a worthwhile investment in personal safety, not to mention a good gift.
What’s your favorite pair of eye protection, and why… Tell us in the comment section!