Professional shooters know the importance of eye protection whenever they handle a gun. After all, you can’t accurately shoot what you can’t see, and getting some hot brass on your eyes can cause permanent damage. Shooting safely is always the mission, and just like a good pair of noise-reducing earmuffs will protect your hearing, a reliable set of ballistic eyewear will keep your sight intact. But the choice might be overwhelming. A lot of the lenses come in different colors, shapes, and types. You might think that it’s a matter of preference, but it is, in fact, not as simple as that. The various lenses available on the market offer a plethora of advantages, depending on the situation. Some of these lenses give you sharper, clearer images, and a few of them even provide you with extra comfort.
But, how can you tell what each one does? Well, we did the research for you, and here is what you can expect from the different ballistic lens options available on the market.
Let’s begin with the basics. Colored ballistic glasses are marked with an “S” or a “V,” which means either tinted or clear. Some will let you know the amount of tint they have. The numbers range from 1.5 all the way to 14, and these all serve a different purpose. But this is only for the darker type lenses, so that still leaves one question unanswered. What is the deal with the color scheme on the lenses of ballistic glasses? Well, it’s rather interesting, as these all work differently, depending on their color.
The following list describes what each one does:
- Amber Lenses: These are preferred by hunters and excellent for hazy weather. You see, humidity in the atmosphere can actually scatter blue light, thus decreasing your visual acuity. This forces your eyes to strain themselves in order to see clearer, potentially causing you headaches. The amber lenses will minimize this effect and give you a better image. Basically, your targets will stand out better thanks to these.
- Yellow Lenses: These work on the same spectrum as the amber-tinted ones and can block out the “blue-light” particles scattered by the weather. You’ll find yourself with increased depth perception and noticing sharper edges without straining your eyes. Additionally, if you use computers often, they’ll help reduce the strain on your eyes.
- Brown/Copper/Tan Lenses: These lenses enhance the red color spectrum. You’ll be able to see stuff like tail lights with better clarity, and this might let you react faster to sudden stops. They also work well at magnifying any orange-colored targets, while helping your eyes adjust to bright light conditions. Furthermore, they’ll help keep your eyes on alert as they allow you to adjust to clarity quicker, which in turn helps you detect movement faster. The darker tint also helps keep your eyes safe from harmful ultraviolet rays.
- Orange Lenses: These work in the same manner as amber or yellow lenses by blocking out blue light. However, they also help you see targets faster by bringing out the color in them.
- Blue Lenses: Bringing out the contrast between the colors of orange and green, they’ll help you focus on your target. These lenses work well when hunting in the woods.
- Gray Lenses: Reduction in light helps your eyes adjust to whatever level of clarity is currently going on around you. They will help you pick up movement easier, too.
- Green Lenses: These function similarly to gray lenses.
- Clear Lenses: These are best suited for low-light conditions, as they don’t offer any particular benefits or distinct disadvantages. They are the most common type of lens available on shooting glasses.
Coatings work a bit differently, and you’d do well to keep the following in mind:
- Polarized lenses work best in bright-light conditions by reducing glare.
- Photochromic lenses can actually darken after exposure to bright light.
- Mirrored coatings reduce glare, but make things look darker.
- Hydrophobic coatings protect your lenses from water by repelling it.
- Anti-fog coatings prevent the lenses from fogging up in high-humidity environments.
- Anti-scratch coatings help to prevent scratches.
The Fit of the Glasses
The lenses on ballistic glasses should rest tight around your face. Regular eyewear (with flat lenses) does not provide the protection necessary to keep your eyes safe when debris and bullet casings fly around. Additionally, having your lenses wrap around your face prevents sunlight from coming in, while providing you with the maximum field of view possible. In addition to all of these advantages, did you know that there might be medical reasons to wear tinted (or colored) eyeglasses?
Benefits of Enhanced Glasses
Recent studies have discovered that there are further benefits to using tinted glasses, and they’re all related to reducing the amount of blue-light exposure. You see, in this day and age, we’re exposed to blue light in most of our daily activities, whether we look at computer screens at work or television screens while we relax. This large amount of exposure can actually be detrimental to your health by causing sight degeneration and even sleeping problems.
Any lenses that work in reducing or blocking the blue-light spectrum can actually mitigate these effects. You’ll sleep better, retain your vision for longer, and in people who suffer from bipolarism, they can help stabilize the mood. Just remember that these are the ones that fall into the yellow light spectrum, such as amber-colored lenses.
Still, what about physical protection and the materials they’re made of? What benefits do those provide?
The durability of each lens provides you with added safety and the ability to withstand impact without the glasses shattering. Breaking it down into simpler terms, let’s say you throw (or shoot) a ball-shaped object into the glasses, the effects would be as follows:
- Polycarbonate lenses that are around 1 mm thick can handle impacts that are as fast as 94 mph.
- Hard-resin lenses (known as CR-39) can shatter at around 55 mph.
- Hard-plastic lenses can take impacts of around 44 mph.
Ballistic eyewear in the military has to meet certain criteria before it’s authorized for use. This is known as the MilSpec standard. Basically, the instruction delineates that anything authorized to be used by the military has to withstand:
- T37 shaped projectile that is at least of a 0.15 caliber, with a grain of 5.8 that can travel at around 660 feet per second.
If it survives this test, then it is good to go.
You’ll find that most MilSpec eyewear uses polycarbonate lenses because they’re the most resistant material for eyewear available. They can take around 20 times more impact than regular lenses and offer better protection from ultraviolet light.
One last thing you should be looking for is the frame of the eyewear. Most ballistic frames are made from materials that can withstand a good amount of impact.
These can be as follows:
- Nylon: While full nylon frames are no longer a thing, today, blended nylon eyewear is commonly used due to its durability and low weight.
- Cellulose acetate: Used on designer glasses due to their color variety, it’s made from castor bean seeds. These are extremely flexible and durable.
- Metal: These can be made from materials like aluminum alloys and vary in durability (from easily broke to basically indestructible).
This might seem like a lot to take in, but it’s really simple. Ballistic eyewear comes in a plethora of styles and fashions, but you’re always looking for what provides the best protection for whatever task you have at hand. If you keep this in mind, you’ll find yourself with an amazing product that will protect your eyes from almost anything. If you’re looking for your next pair of ballistic glasses, check out the selection at US Patriot.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.