A gun is but a tool and for every job, there exists its perfect tool. If you have been around the firearm universe for any length of time, you know that gun enthusiasts love nothing more than a good gun debate. Internet forums are full of them and the 1911 vs. Glock rivalry is right up there with the Ohio State vs. Michigan football classic. Sadly, we’ll not be engaging in any debate today. Choosing the right tactical lens color is a little more objective as the science really doesn’t change from one shooter to the next. However, shooter preference still weighs heavy and you will always be the ultimate judge and jury for which tactical lens color is right for you. We are simply going to drop some cold hard truths about tactical shooting lenses and let that truth take you where it may. We believe that shooting is a very personal affair and without question, the best gun and gear for you are the ones with which you feel the most comfortable. However, to arrive at the decision you need to know the facts. So let’s jump right into this little slice of the pew universe.
Objections to Tactical Shooting Glasses
Before we get into the lenses, let’s address some of the objections to using tactical shooting glasses. There are not too many people who object, but when they do, the conversation is usually around the mantra “train like you fight.” Now, in any other setting than personal safety, we would agree with you. Training like you would fight is great advice so that you do not develop bad habits that show up on your worst day when you actually have to fight. However, when it comes to safety, we draw the line.
The same people who say you should not wear training glasses are the same ones who shoot without hearing protection because “you won’t have time to put in earplugs during a gunfight.” Unfortunately, those are the same people with tinnitus and hearing aides down the road. If you are truly training with the frequency that you should, then you are far more at risk for a ricochet and hearing loss than you are to get into an actual gunfight. We all recently watched a Texas firearm instructor in a Texas church drop an active shooter with one shot from 50 meters out. Sure, we were jealous, but the reality is that days like those are remarkably rare. Meanwhile, firearm injuries on the range or in the field are far more common. Wear your eye protection my friends, because not everyone can pull off a suave eye patch look.
Tactical Shooting Glass Basics
Now that we all agree that tactical eye protection is a good idea, let’s break it down. There are a couple of standards that you need to familiarize yourself with when it comes to tactical shooting glasses. There is the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Z87 which states that it can withstand a .25 steel ball traveling at 150 fps. If you are unfamiliar with ballistics, that will stop your average ricochet. There is a higher military standard known as the MIL-PF-31013. This handles a .15 diameter metal ball traveling at 650 fps. Not to brag, but our Tactical Shooting Glasses meet both.
The lenses themselves are typically made of polycarbonate or another form of plastic. If you are looking for better protection, polycarbonate is the way to go. No reason to be a cheapskate on your way to becoming One-Eyed Willy. Again, I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t point out that our changeable polycarbonate lenses offer both anti-fog features and UV400 protection. However, most questions that shooters have about tactical shooting glasses revolve around the color of the lenses and their various effects on shooting.
Picking Out the Proper Shooting Lens Color
Once again, as with any shooting gear we are going to remind you that the best option is the one with which you are most comfortable. However, the different lens colors typically have different effects on the shooting experience. So we’ll run through the typical results and offer some suggestions, but at the end of the day you get to choose.
Clear Lenses - If you have no idea what color lenses to get, you really can’t go wrong with clear lenses. It offers you essential protection without any of the added effects of a color tint. Many shooters enjoy the clean look and natural view through clear lenses. There is also less glare from the clear lenses and if you know you are going to be shooting in low-light or dark situations, clear is definitely the way to go.
Yellow Lenses - Because a gun is just a tool and for every job there exists its perfect tool, adding color modifies the tool just a bit. Yellow-tinted tactical shooting glasses do an excellent job of blocking out “blue light.” Picture a hazy morning or an early fog with the perfect buck in front of you. The yellow can allow for a more defined and detailed edge on objects while also offering better depth perception in hazy conditions. You can still shoot with them on a clear day if you want, but this is their best utility.
Grey Lenses - When you add grey lenses to the tactical shooting glasses, you are essentially offering some of the same benefits as traditional sunglasses. The grey tint will reduce the amount of light that passes through and your eyes can better adjust as a result. Just like it is hard to throw a football or baseball with one hand up blocking the sun on a sunny day, it is just as difficult to hit center mass. So why not just wear regular sunglasses on the range? Remember that sunglasses are not required to offer the same level of protection as shooting glasses.
Mirror Lenses- Beyond just looking generally cool, mirror lenses are ideal for long days at the range in the sun. The mirror coating reflects the light that hits the lens. which offers a brighter worldview considering the protection it offers. Truckers who spend long days staring into the road and outdoor workers will often embrace a mirror lens because it helps with the constant fatigue the sun puts on your eyes. Just remember, if they are not shooting glasses, then all the light reflection in the world will not save you from a ricochet. Do not risk your vision because you grabbed a wicked set of mirror glasses at the gas station.
A Tactical Shooting Glass for All Seasons
As we mentioned earlier, the choice is yours. Yet, with Hackett, you do not actually have to choose. Our Hackett Tactical Shooting Glasses come with all four lenses. There are a few other color lense variations out there, but they simply mildly modify the view based on the above principles. So if you are still not sure what to pick, just grab them all and test them out on the range or in the field yourself. We’ll also throw in a hard case, plastic case, cleaning cloth, and a loop to put around your neck.
We should also point out that we have sleekly designed our tactical shooting glasses so that they look chic for every occasion. They are great for long motorcycle rides, a day on the lake, or even just mowing the yard. They will offer great protection from debris and should a bad guy try to throw a little malice your way, you’ll already be ready to gift him a little violence back.
This gun life we live is more of a lifestyle than a hobby. We offer plenty of options to the great American shooter and truthfully, we do not mind how you choose to pew, pew, pew, just so long as you pew. We offer premium leather gun belts, range kits, tactical shooting glasses and more so that you can live this 2A lifestyle the way it was meant to be lived. So check out the rest of our tactical offerings today and hit the range tomorrow with confidence.