Best Shooting Glasses For The Money

It goes without saying that your eyesight is one of the most important assets you possess. Whether you want to read a book, take a drive to the grocery store, or shoot out to 1000+ yards, you need to make sure you preserve your vision. That’s why you want to make sure you have the best shooting glasses possible on at the range. Sure, chances are relatively low that something catastrophic would happen. But do you want to bet your ability to see for the rest of your life on it?

That’s why we here at Outdoor Optics HQ have decided to put together a list of the best shooting glasses for the money. There are a ton of cheaply made shooting glasses out there that might make you look safe, but our goal is to make sure you actually are safe. The best shooting glasses are going to provide crystal clear line of site, provide great protection, and ideally look great doing it. Whether you are out shooting trap, sporting clays, or at the rifle range, our goal is to make sure you’re safe without hindering your shooting ability.

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Comprehensive Comparison Summary

BrandModelStandardsRatingPrice
Elite AegisMIL-PRF-31013
ANSI Z87.1
EN166
$$$
M FrameMIL-PRF-31013
ANSI Z87.1
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$$
SaberMIL-PRF-31013
ANSI Z87.1
EN166
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️$$
Crossbow SuppressorMIL-PRF-31013
ANSI Z87.1
EN166
⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$
RadarANSI Z87.1*⭐️⭐️⭐️$$$
T-71ANSI Z87.1⭐️⭐️$
Genesis Sharp ShooterANSI Z87.1⭐️$

*Although Oakley glasses are typically ANSI Z87.1 compliant, the Radar glasses are not stamped

THE BEST SHOOTING GLASSES – WHAT WE LOOK FOR

A mistake that we see all too often is when shooters purchase a pair of cheap safety glasses & expect everything to be good to go. Worse yet, they’ll throw on whatever pair of sunglasses they have in their truck just so they feel a bit safer. Look, these were never intended to be shooting glasses by the manufacturer. Sure, they might keep something from hitting your eye as your buddy tosses you an empty shotgun shell, but that’s about all they are going to be good for.

We look at four main areas when we are looking for the best shooting glasses for the money. These are:

Ballistic Protection
– Fit & Comfort
– Elemental Protection
– Cost

There is a reason we are analyzing different pairs of shooting glasses for these four factors. We are able to ensure that we are covering the full spectrum of scenarios, while also making sure we protect your wallet. No one wants to have to spend $300 for the best pair of shooting glasses, so we’ll make sure we pick pairs that are reasonably priced for the protection they provide. Let’s look a bit further into each of these four factors:

BALLISTIC PROTECTION

When you think of the best shooting glasses, ballistic protection is likely the first thing that comes to mind. This is going to cover any debris from physically coming into contact with your eyes. With scenarios involving firearms, these impacts are going to be happening at very high velocities. This could come from fragmented gun parts, ejected shells/cartridges, or something else entirely. The most effective shooting glasses are going to be able to protect you against these scenarios or at least limit the damage that would be done if you hadn’t been wearing those protective shooting glasses.

FIT & COMFORT

One of the best ways to ensure a shooter won’t wear proper eye protection while shooting is to give them a pair of cumbersome & ill-fitting shooting glasses. Our goal is for the shooter to not even notice they have shooting glasses on, not be annoyed by them. The best shooting glasses need to have the best fit & comfort possible while providing protection.

Fit also means that the shooting glasses provide proper coverage & protection of the shooter’s eyes regardless of the situation. These situations include protection from not only straight-on obstacles but also from the sides. The best shooting glasses will have a proper “wrap” around the shooter’s face as to protect them from side impacts & debris. They will also have a proper grip on the shooter’s face so that they do not move from recoil or movement from the shooter themself.

ELEMENTAL PROTECTION

The best shooting glasses are going to go above and beyond ballistic protection. They are going to protect your eyes from environmental elements around you. These might be the ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight, dust particles, or anything else that could prohibit you from being 100{209bd58f90af0ceb66889e2480632d3a9918d39fd8a1f6558651adb42d8fa97c} focused on shooting effectively & safely. If you are wearing good shooting glasses, you shouldn’t have to strain your eyes while you’re shooting. This holds true for both indoor and outdoor shooting ranges, as your eyes should still be protected from these factors. Other factors could involve gun powder residue or other agents that end up in your eyes unexpectedly.

REASONABLE COST

Listen, we aren’t going to be one of those sites that focus on safety & nothing else. We like to be reasonable about our recommendations, and that means the best shooting glasses on the list will have a reasonable price. We did our best to cover a few different price points. It is important to note, however, that the more expensive shooting glasses are this way for a reason. They typically offer better clarity, scratch resistance, polarization, & protection. While we aren’t going to hesitate to recommend more expensive shooting glasses, we are fully aware that they may be out of reach for some.

EYE PROTECTION STANDARDS – UNDERSTANDING WHAT’S IMPORTANT

It would be nearly impossible to verify that each pair of shooting glasses are prepared without having standards in place. Standards are set in various industries to ensure that competitors are held in check. This is especially true within the shooting industry. With so many moving parts, pressures, & high velocities it is absolutely critical that only shooting glasses passing these standards are worn.

Obviously, ballistic protection is at the forefront of the considerations for these standards. This isn’t only for civilian shooting glasses though, it also holds true for the U.S. military & law enforcement. This probably goes without saying, but the endorsement of the U.S. military, special forces, & law enforcement is a massive factor in the success of shooting glasses manufacturers.

As a result, the Army created the Authorized Protective Eyewear List (APEL). This actually lists eye protection products that have proven they can meet the ballistic protection requirements for use in the U.S. military. Many civilian shooters reference the APEL when purchasing the best shooting glasses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only thing you should look at. There are three main quality standards commonly used to test the effectiveness of ballistic shooting glasses. These include:

  • The S. MIL-PRF-31013 (Military Ballistic Impact) Standard
  • ANSI Z87.1-2010 (U.S Civilian Standard), and
  • EN166, 169, 170 & 172 (European) Standard

The most common standard that you’ll see shooting glasses manufacturers referencing is the ANSIZ87.1 standard. However, it should be noted that this standard is more geared towards overall safety glasses than it is shooting glasses. The MIL-PRF-31013 military standard is what is used to get the ballistic protection required from the best shooting glasses.

Check out this manufacturer-specific video explaining the difference between standard ratings:

BREAKING DOWN THE STANDARDS

Let’s go ahead and take a deeper dive into each of the three standards we discussed above. We’ll break down how they test for each standard, as well as what it means for the integrity of shooting glasses. It should be noted that just because a pair of shooting glasses say that they meet a certain standard doesn’t mean they don’t meet others.

For example, many pairs of Oakley shooting glasses state that they meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard right on the glasses. They don’t state any other standard, but they do meet the requirements of the U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 standard as well.

U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 STANDARDS

These are the minimum requirements for shooting glasses to meet United States military standards. In order to pass, the shooting glasses must be able to withstand a 5.8 grain, 0.15 caliber projectile with a T37 shape at a velocity of between 639 & 661 feet per second.

To add to that, the shooting glasses have to offer protection from UV rays from sunlight, offer a good fit, withstand varying temperatures & also be resistant to chemical wear. To sum it up, if you’re looking for the best shooting glasses the MIL-PRF-31013 standard is the one to look for.

ANSI Z87.1 STANDARDS

Most pairs of shooting glasses show that they meet the ANSI Z87.1 standard. This simply means that they offer either impact or non-impact protection against hazardous objects. These can include liquid droplets, splashing, optic radiation, mist, & fine dust particles.

Furthermore, if the shooting glasses are marked with being Z87+ complaint it means it has passed all the high impact test requirements. Without the “+”, it only states that the glasses have passed the non-impact testing.

With this in mind it is quite easy to see why shooting glasses with only the ANSI Z87.1 rating might not be properly suited as such. These are commonly low-cost safety glasses for workplaces, not for high-impact situations like shooting.

EN166 STANDARDS

Standards for shooting glasses certainly aren’t only for the American markets. Europeans often reference the EN166 standard as a relatively decent indicator of a good pair of shooting glasses. This standard involves testing according to ballistic protection levels. These include Increased Robustness, Low Energy Impact, Medium Energy Impact, & High Energy Impact.

If you are looking for the best shooting glasses under the EN166 standard, you would look for those that pass the High Energy Impact test. This includes the shooting glasses showing protection against a 0.86g, 6mm steel ball hitting the glasses at a velocity of 190m/s. If the shooting glasses pass this test, they will display it by being marked with the letter “A”.

BUYER’S GUIDE: FINDING THE BEST SHOOTING GLASSES

Much like the safety features on a car, you never know for sure what you’re getting with safety glasses & you hope you never need to find out. That doesn’t make them any less important, but it is definitely a reality. While you can’t necessarily test these shooting glasses without destroying them, you can absolutely trust the rigorous testing that they go through prior to getting into your hands.

CHECKING COMFORT & FIT

Aside from testing the ballistic protection, there are a few things that you can actually check out. The most obvious is fit & comfort. Even if you order your shooting glasses online, return policies allow you to order a few different styles, try them on, and return the ones you don’t want. The best shooting glasses should be sturdy on your head without feeling like they’re squeezing it. You also want to make sure that they don’t irritate your skin. Remember, the best way to ensure someone doesn’t wear their safety glasses is to give them a product that is uncomfortable & easily scratched.

Another note is that you should try your shooting glasses on while wearing whatever ear protection you typically wear. You’re buying these for actual shooting situations, which means you’re going to be wearing them with your ear protection as well. They shouldn’t be uncomfortable while wearing your ear protection.

PRACTICAL SHOOTING GLASSES FOR PRACTICAL SITUATIONS

Like we mentioned above, we want this to be a practical guide for buying shooting glasses. This isn’t meant to be a “scare you into buying something expensive” type guide. We want you to feel good about buying the best shooting glasses months & years after you bought them.

With that being said, always take your actual shooting situations into consideration. If you always shoot in the daylight, consider getting a pair that is polarized. Most long range rifle shooters end up buying polarized shooting glasses, or at the very least getting a pair that can have the lenses changed.

Other things you want to consider are:

  • How would they handle the recoil of a shotgun or rifle?
  • Can you properly get to your anchor point without them getting in the way?
  • If you need prescription glasses, will your shooting glasses fit over top of them?

CHOOSING THE RIGHT LENS COLOR

Without getting into too much detail here, certain lens colors can enhance your ability to pick up your target. You commonly see this with trap, skeet, and sporting clays shooters to help them pick up the clay target more quickly. A quick rundown of our recommended lens colors are:

  • Best lens color for Shooting Trap: Yellow or Orange
  • The best lens color for shooting sporting clays: Yellow or Orange
  • Best lens color for shooting skeet: Yellow or Orange
  • The best lens color for rifle shooting: Clear or Polarized
  • Best lens color for pistol shooting: Clear or Polarized

LESS PARTS, LESS POTENTIAL PROBLEMS

Going back to the car reference, less gadgets in your vehicle is typically going to equal less potential issues with it. The same can be said about shooting glasses. Most of the shooting glasses passing the standards listed above are going to be of a single piece lens construction. This means that there aren’t going to be individual lenses for each of your eyes. The best shooting glasses are almost always going to have one continuous lens across your face.

Without getting into the engineering behind it, this single piece lens construction is going to provide the most strength. The “wrap” of the single piece lens ends up giving increased structural strength to help prevent the lens from folding in towards your face when impacted. Multiple piece lenses might be strong, but they don’t have the added strength from the “wrap” like the single piece design.

THEY DON’T LAST FOREVER

Something to keep in mind is that if you do have a catastrophic incident involving your pair of shooting glasses, it’s time to throw them away. Much like motorcycle helmets, these are meant to protect against a single, large impact. After that impact, they have done their job & they weaken considerably.

Some manufacturers will even replace your shooting glasses free of charge after a major incident. They care about their eyesight, and the fact that their product helped protect you speaks volumes to them. They might even ask you for a testimonial about your incident & how glad you are that you were wearing their glasses!

If you want to keep the shooting glasses as a reminder or a bit of a trophy, that’s fine. Just don’t make the mistake of trusting them to perform as well again. You would be asking more of your shooting glasses than they were ever designed to do. Get another new pair that is exactly the same, and hope you never have to test them again!

TOP 7 SHOOTING GLASSES REVIEWS

SMITH OPTICS SHOOTING GLASSES – ELITE AEGIS

When it comes to the best shooting glasses, Smith Optics nailed it with their Elite Aegis Compact product. These shooting glasses fit nice & tight to your head without Best Shooting Glasses - Smitch Optics Elite Aegis Reviewsqueezing too much. For a very reasonable price, you actually get both a clear lens & a tinted one.

One of our favorite parts of these shooting glasses is how easy it is to swap out lenses. Smith Optics managed to design a nice little hinge system to quickly and easily change out lenses. Typically we’d be skeptical about the ballistic strength of shooting glasses with a feature like this. However, these shooting glasses still pass all the standards that we look at.

The Elite Aegis Compact shooting glasses are compliant with the ANSI Z87.1, CE EN 166 and U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 standards. The combination of price, fit, comfort, and protection give us that warm & fuzzy feeling! This is easily one of the best shooting glasses for the money today.

OAKLEY SHOOTING GLASSES – M FRAME

There obviously wasn’t going to be a list of the best eyewear without Oakley showing up on the list! They have made a name for themselves within the military over the years. Oakley shooting glasses have developed a reputation of providing a good fit while also offering a great amount of protection.

 

Oakley Shooting Glasses - Best Shooting Glasses

The M Frame line (and also the M2 Frames) from Oakley is an instantly recognizable set of shooting glasses. They offer a nice, snug fit without being too tight, and are almost unnoticeable while experiencing recoil.

I’ve personally owned a pair of Oakley M-Frames for a few years now, and love how easy it is to swap lenses in and out. I commonly wear the polarized lenses while I am upland hunting during the day, and I’ll switch to a clear lens while I’m shooting trap (under lights) in our evening league.

These Oakley shooting glasses are scratch resistant and can take an absolute beating over the years before needing to replace the lens. The only issue I’ve ever had with them is when I lost the nose piece, but quite frankly that’s my own fault. A quick call to Oakley & my M Frame shooting glasses are right back in business.

WILEY X SHOOTING GLASSES – SABER

Wiley X shooting glasses are some of the most sought-after shooting glasses in the industry. Their very reasonable price point & high-quality construction make them a top contender in our search for the best shooting glasses.

Wiley X actually manufactures shooting glasses for major brands, including Harley Davidson, Remington, John Deere, and more. This speaks volumes to the confidenceBest Shooting Glasses - Wiley X Shooting Glasses - Saber & quality of the brand, and customers have shown to appreciate it.

The Saber shooting glasses from Wiley X provide a similar look to the Oakley shooting glasses we mention in this article. However, they have a bit more of a “wrap” around the back of your head. Depending on your preferences this could be considered a good or bad thing.

These Wiley X shooting glasses exceed the U.S. military’s MIL-PRF-31013 standards for impact resistance, UV protection and optical clarity. This, along with the great price point make the Saber shooting glasses from Wiley X one of the top choices on our list.

ESS EYEWEAR SHOOTING GLASSES – CROSSBOW SUPPRESSOR

Continuing our list of the best shooting glasses, the ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor shooting glasses are a great choice. These shooting glasses fit incredibly well and feature that single-piece lens construction that we are always looking for.

ESS Eyewear has been serving the shooting industry for quite some time now, and they have the product selection to prove it. They also even offer eye protection to Best Shooting Glasses - ESS Eyewear Shooting Glasseswildland fire/rescue teams, which is certainly pretty cool!

Perhaps the best way of talking up these ESS shooting glasses is to show off their range of standards that they pass. The ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor shooting glasses pass all the  tests we looked at. They are compliant with U.S. Federal OSHA, ANSI Z87.1+, CE EN 166 and U.S. MIL-PRF-31013. This goes to show a few things. The first is that they actually care about the shooters wearing their glasses. The second is that they’re willing to put in the extra work that comes along with developing shooting glasses that pass the full spectrum of tests.

If you’re looking for the best shooting glasses for the money, the ESS Eyewear Crossbow Suppressor is definitely a solid choice.

OAKLEY SHOOTING GLASSES – RADAR

Popping up again on our list, Oakley shooting glasses showcase their Radar line here. While there are a ton of variations of this product line, the general review remains the same. These are some incredible shooting glasses for sure.

Oakley does offer different lens colors for the Radar shooting glasses, which is quite nice. We like being able to switch out lenses for different shooting situations, as we Oakley Shooting Glasses - Radar Pathcertainly don’t want to have to wear polarized shooting glasses at an indoor range.

I have a bit smaller head, so I actually prefer the M-Frames over the Radar line when it comes to Oakley shooting glasses. That’s just a personal preference though, and you’ll see a ton of military operators wearing the Radars in all sorts of situations, from the shooting range to actual combat. 

These Oakley shooting glasses are scratch resistant and can take a beating over the years before needing to replace the lens. Like the M-Frames, I can certainly see how you might lose the nose piece of the Radar Oakley shooting glasses. Luckily Oakley’s customer service seems to be pretty good at getting a new one on the way quickly.

REMINGTON T-71 SHOOTING GLASSES

If you’re going to be talking about the best products for shooting, Remington is going to show up sooner or later. Remington has a reasonably priced pair of shooting glasses in their T-71 product. At the time of writing this article, we’re talking about a price point Remington T-71under $25 for a pretty solid set of shooting glasses.

As we mentioned briefly before, Remington actually gets their shooting glasses made by Wiley X. While some people might see this as “lazy”, we actually love it. What better way to ensure that you have a quality product than to put an industry leader in charge?

These safety glasses, unfortunately, feature a two-lens system, which is the main reason why they didn’t show up higher on our list. They don’t quite meet the U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 standard because of this, but they are ANSI Z87+ certified. All things considered, these are good shooting glasses for the money. If you can afford to spend a bit more, we’d highly recommend going with one of the other single lens systems above.

BEST CHEAP SHOOTING GLASSES – HOWARD LEIGHT GENESIS SHARP SHOOTER

If you’re looking for the best cheap shooting glasses, you’ve found your answer. The Howard Leight Genesis Sharp Shooter glasses by Honeywell are super inexpensive & pretty decent shooting glasses.Best Cheap Shooting Glasses

Although the term “shooting glasses” might not truly be the right term for these. They’re better suited as overall safety glasses than dedicated shooting glasses. For under $15 it’s hard to argue with the price of these. They don’t boast the certifications that other, higher priced shooting glasses hold. However, at this price point you likely aren’t actually looking for shooting glasses that pass a particular standard.

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