Why More Expensive Shooting Glasses Are Actually Worth It


I’m sure you know that Eye and Ear protection are super important for shooting, but a lot of people don’t realize how important the shooting glasses you where are.

In fact, I admit that I was late to the party on this and for over a year of serious training I used really crappy eye protection.

I paid for it too …


That’s because crappy eye protection — cheap safety glasses in other words — can really mess up your shooting performance. Plus, you can get injured more easily!

What You Need To Know About Shooting Glasses

James Yeager does a good job talking about what you need to know about shooting glasses.

If you where corrective lenses already, then he shares some important info here that applies to you too!

Here’s the big thing I didn’t realize for a LONG time …

Cheap Glasses Can Make You Shoot Poorly

I remember for the longest time I used the really cheap shooting/safety glasses that you can buy anywhere.

For less than $10, I figured why pay more!

It wasn’t till after I upgraded (a Christmas present from my wonderful wife!) — that I realized what I had been missing.

In short, with cheap safety glasses your vision is distorted.

I remember often that, in addition to never having really “Clear” lenses — the glasses would “Warp” the picture I was seeing through them. You get used to it after you put the glasses on and wear them a while, but it’s really noticable right when you put them on usually.

And that distortion can be a big deal.

JerkingTheTrigger.com shared this and it’s a good example of how badly this distortion can mess up your shooting (emphasis mine):

“The protection aspect of shooting glasses is often discussed but the performance aspect rarely is, so I thought I would share a story from one of my first carbine courses to illustrate.

It is common in carbine courses for the instructor to complete a zero check at the start of each day. They want to establish that the rifle is good to go so that when the student misses, they can eliminate a problem with the rifle as the cause. In this particular course, we established a zero on day one before beginning basic drills.

On day 2, the instructor started with what was supposed to be a very quick zero check. One of the shooters showed up without his normal eye protection so he grabbed a pair of disposable safety glasses and headed to the line. That quick zero check turned into an entirely too long trouble-shooting session. Every shooter on the line was crowded around trying to figure out why this rifle was still grouping well but in an entirely different place than it was yesterday. I don’t recall everything we checked but we eventually wondered if his change in eyewear was playing a role.

Sure enough, without the cheap safety glasses, the rifle would group exactly where he expected. Someone produced a better pair of glasses for him to borrow and we moved on without further issues. A shift of several inches at 50 yards was caused entirely by the distortion from cheap safety glasses.”

If cheap, disposable safety glasses cause a shift of several inches at 50 yards … that’s a BIG difference at 100, 200 and further yards. Something to think about.

(And you could no doubt miss some up close shots on really hard targets with your handgun too!)

Cheaper Glasses Don’t Protect As Well

In the James Yeager video he makes the point about hot brass being ejected and landing in between the eye and the glasses. I know that may seem unlikely, but it’s not …

The very first time I took my wife shooting — we were using cheap glasses — and she had the same thing happen to her. She had a nice scar on her eyelid for the better part of a year.

That’s why the close protection of the shooting glasses are so important.

Also, they typically come with interchangeable lenses so you can have sugnglasses, or non-tinted, clear lenses for indoors, and most come with some type of “enhanced” yellow type lenses too.

Two Good Brands Are Oakley and Wiley X

I have yet to try Oakley, so I can’t tell you which is better, but I would like to try a pair.

Myself, because I’m always looking for a deal, I picked up the Wiley X Valor sunglasses on Amazon.com. They come with three lenses and for under $100, you can’t go wrong.

It looks like the Oakley Fuel Cells that James mentions in the video are also available on Amazon for under $100.

I’m not sure of other places to buy them, but they’re both pretty popular brands so I’m sure you can find them at many sporting goods stores.

Do You Have Good Shooting Glasses?

I understand that if you’re just starting out in the shooting/gun world it may not seem like spending a good amount of money on glasses is important.

Maybe it’s not.

If you are the type that trains a lot or actually practices though–I think that it’s a worthwhile upgrade to improve your performance and protection.

If you’re just out there plinking cans in the backyard … maybe not.

How about you?

Do you have good quality shooting glasses? If so what brand and how do you like them?

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Caleb Lee is the #1 best-selling author of "Concealed Carry 101" and founder of PreparedGunOwners.com. He is a civilian (no law enforcement or military experience) who shares information about self-defense and becoming more self-reliant. He's a 1st degree black belt in Taekwondo, NRA Certified Basic Pistol & Personal Protection Inside The Home Instructor, Concealed Carry Academy Instructor certified & also a graduate of the Rangermaster firearms instructor course. He's also the author of numerous online courses including the UndergroundAssaultRifle.com course.


  1. I have Oakley wrap around sunglasses which work great for outdoor shooting. I need to get either clear or yellow for indoor and night.

  2. Found Wiley X CQC goggles on sale – they came with interchangeable smoke grey, and clear lenses – I wear them to shoot – I wear them doing landscaping work – and I wear them spraying pesticides – one of the best things I ever bought.

  3. Almost any prescription eyewear provider has or can order side shields for your rerscription glasses that will fit your frame because they make perscription safety glasses.

  4. You don’t “where” glasses you “wear” them. Since you made the same mistake twice in the article you obviously don’t know the difference. Who proof read this? In addition, “till” is totally improper, unless you are writing about tilling soil. Don’t get me started on the punctuation mistakes! Bottom line, improper use of the English language makes you sound uneducated and possibly borderline illiterate and does nothing to further the cause of proper gun safety and responsible gun ownership so maybe you should stop blogging.

    • Oh My God!

      Chris you are so much smarter than me and you’re so good at grammar!

      How about, I keep blogging and reaching hundreds of thousands of people with my bad grammar. And you go ahead and start a blog and write with your perfect English. I promise I won’t comment on your blog going forward and we’ll both live happily ever after 🙂

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