Just a few weeks ago I informed a student that he was going to have to supply his own shatterproof eye protection, as we were suspending loaners during COVID-19. He replied that he has prescription glasses, but wasn’t sure if they were shatterproof. Of course, most prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses are, but it got me to thinking about exactly HOW shatterproof they actually are. Truth be told, they aren’t tested to a threshold that includes bullet ricochets and some of the other hazards that are flying around the range. What about options that are truly ballistic rated and fit the comfort and style requirements for everyday wear? After all, there are two types of gun owners in this world, those who wear eye protection and those who haven’t been hit by something at the range….yet. You can directly equate how much experience somebody has by how much effort they put into wearing proper eye protection. After catching a piece of spall that landed me in the hospital I swapped out my Walmart specials with the ESS Crossbow eye shields and have found them to be outstanding in terms of clarity and comfort. However, I’m a professional firearms instructor, I always have a range bag in the car and these are always accessible to me. The most common reason people don’t eyepro at the range is simple forgetfulness followed by comfort. So with that in mind, I set out to research a few other options from the military eyewear contractor, to have better advice for my students. Here’s what I came up with:
The CDI Series
The CDI Series tops the list because they have options for as little as sixty bucks. Given that most of us will spend more than that in ammo during a single range session you have to be an absolute moron to say that you can’t afford good glasses. Although inexpensive for ballistic rated eye protection, the CDI series was packed with features. We especially liked the rubber-coated temple arms and the textured nose piece, especially in hot weather when the sweat is flowing. The smaller size of these is a perfect fit for smaller faces like those of women and children.
The 5B Series
The 5B series has a wide range of polarized options. I particularly like wearing these when I’m shooting sporting clays, as they make the target pop and reduce the glare off of any of the courses’ water bodies. These are also built with low profile temple arms that make them more comfortable when wearing muffs. Versions without polarization are available for $90 and make a great choice if you plan on viewing an LCD screen with these, as these types of lenses cause distortion with certain technologies.
The Credence Series
Of the three listed here, the Credence series has the widest frame and the lightest temple arms. We found these to fit the largest heads best but also make a great choice if you are sensitive to head tension. Truth be told both the small frames and the Credence fit just fine, but naturally one was a little snugger than the other. These are also built with thinned temple arms, so you’re out of luck if you want to use the “comfort excuse” here too. Price isn’t half bad either, aside from the polarized option these carry a reasonable price tag of $90 to $100.
Like all of their other options, these picks are built with distortion-free lenses that are treated with an anti-scratch coating to ensure years of comfortable clarity. All three are also customizable to accept any required Rx that you may need, or even just want in order to help you focus at “front-sight” distance. Each pair of eye protection from ESS includes a rigid zip-up carry case as well as a velvet pouch for lightweight storage. For more information visit esseyepro.com
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