Although getting shot at the range is highly unlikely, other hazards do indeed exist. About 10 years ago I found myself getting rushed to a hospital that was more than 40 miles away due to an errant piece of lead from an improperly hung steel target. We got the bleeding controlled in a matter of minutes and after I was able to think about anything other than my next of kin, this fleeting thought went through my mind- “What if that were my eye?” I’d like to sit here and write about how since day one I was adamant about wearing eye protection and that I scold folks who don’t, but I would be a liar.
No, it took that very incident to drive into my thick skull (its thickness amply proven that day) that eye protection is a must whenever on the range. So, what were my apprehensions? Well, for starters, availability. Yes, I can go to any sporting goods or hardware store and pick up a pair of glasses but they don’t do me any good when I leave them on my workbench, in “the other” car, or in a range bag that didn’t make it to the range. The other time I wouldn’t wear eyepro is when they had even the most superficial scratches on them, citing how “distracting” they were.
Today, companies like Epoch Eyewear eliminate those excuses by offering eye protection that is so affordable that I can keep a pair nearly everywhere and replace them the instant that I deem them unserviceable. This veteran-owned company is home to dozens of different styles of eyewear with most having the options for different colored lenses. Furthermore, its offerings aren’t limited to just those who enjoy shooting either. Between the four product categories, there is something for everyday wear, sporting use, even motorcycle riding. Each style is built to accommodate different facial features, lighting conditions, and of course personal style preferences.
I had the opportunity to wear a few of the different types during my day-to-day grind and I deeply appreciated the variety that Epoch brings to the table. Naturally, I spent a lot of time wearing the “Grunt” model, as these were built specifically with the shooter in mind. The ANSI Z87.1 Safety Rated lenses meet the resistance requirements to protect against common “workplace” projectiles and are available in clear, smoke, or yellow depending on which side of the argument you subscribe to. I loved that they swoop as low as possible but are contoured around your cheek to maximize protection without rubbing against your face.
After work I spent many afternoons wearing the “Delta” model, as the polarized lenses were a dream when out on the open water, and the oversized frame covered as much of that sunburn-prone skin as possible without looking making me look ridiculous. While the two purpose-built styles that I sampled were excellent, I found myself drawn to designs like the “Midway” as they walked the line between edgy-cool and tactical. In other words, they provided appropriate protection for range work but they don’t transform you into Mr. Tactical Toolbar when you step off the firing line.
The samples that I tested only made up a fraction of the Epoch catalog and that in itself is attractive, as I get to mix things up at will. Best of all, the most expensive of the ones I tested were only $29.95. That being said you have no reason to not have eye-pro around or to try to stretch out a gouged-up pair for the rest of your days. So go ahead, toss those beat-up frames, and while you’re at it grab an extra set to put in your glovebox. For more information visit epocheyewear.com
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