Shooting Glasses Frames: Everything You Need to Know




Polymer frame shooting glasses

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Frames are another important component of shooting glasses, so let’s look at these two frame features in more detail:

  • Lens/Frame Coverage
  • Frame Material
  • Frame Fit
shooting glasses frames

Lens/Frame Coverage

Another crucial element to consider and another reason that regular sunglasses aren’t really suitable for shooting glasses. Lens/Frame coverage could become an issue when you look at shooting glasses built on the popular “Aviator” type frames. Sunglasses built on this model typically lack proper side-eye coverage. Although the lens for these models may be excellent, their lack of total lens coverage is cause for concern.

It’s absolutely imperative that the lens adequately covers enough of the eye area to provide proper protection. This is especially important for the side areas of the eye. Look for shooting glasses with lenses that wrap around past the sides of the eye for complete coverage.

Frame Material

I’ve always recommended that you look at shooting glasses frames constructed of lightweight material like plastic, aluminum, or titanium. As weight becomes a major factor, you’ll find frames made from those materials are significantly more comfortable. The reduced weight makes a noticeable difference.

I want to point out that there’s typically a major difference in frame quality when comparing an inexpensive pair of shooting glasses (Say under $15) to a more expensive pair. With budget-friendly shooting glasses, most manufacturers cut costs through the frame material/quality and lens quality.

Polymer frame shooting glasses

While I’m a fan of lightweight frames, I also prefer frames that are beefy enough to hold up to factors like recoil, being hit by a ricochet, etc. That’s an area where you really see a difference between the less expensive shooting glasses models and the higher-priced models.

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t find a decent pair of shooting glasses on a budget, as that’s not the case. However, with shooting glasses, there is a dollar range where you somewhat get what you pay for.

Frame Fit

Adjustable frames or flexible temples – Those features will allow additional fitting adjustments for added comfort. Flexible temples may also allow you to wrap around the ear in the “cable” style to help keep the frame in place, and the tips of the temples may feature little rounded ends, or “balls,” to enhance comfort.

Nose pads – possibly adjustable so that the frame rests in the optimum position, and should be made of soft silicone material for additional comfort.


Why are shooting glasses with the wrap-around style frames so popular?

The wrap-around style frame is so popular in the shooting glasses industry because it offers protection for the sides of the eyes. The sides and peripheral area of the eyes are usually not completely covered by shooting glasses built like traditionally styled sunglasses.

Oakley Shooting Glasses

As I discovered with my own shooting related eye injury, the side protection coverage is vital with shooting glasses, and I’ll get more into my injury experience on another page.

My RayBan Aviator style sunglasses have an ANSI rating, so can I use those as shooting glasses?

Personally, I’ve always been a fan of the RayBan Aviator style of glasses as I like the lightweight frame and the ear hooks. However, even though it sounds though your RayBan model has the necessary ANSI impact rating, I don’t typically recommend that style as shooting glasses.

They are absolutely better than no eye protection at all, but that style lacks side protection, and that’s my issue. Again, it is certainly better than no eye protection, but not ideal or recommended for shooting sports.

I have a pair of safety goggles that I use when I mow the yard. Why can’t I use those when I shoot?

You certainly could wear a pair of safety goggles for shooting as long as they meet the minimum ANSI impact rating and offer side protection (which most safety goggles do). That being said, I don’t typically recommend standard safety goggles for shooting activities.

I say that because most safety googles are only designed to protect the eyes during high-risk occupations or activities, but they don’t offer any vision enhancements. In some cases, depending on the quality of the materials, they can actually adversely impact your vision by causing mirages and image refractions.

Safety goggles are more designed for activities that are focused on short-range vision. I haven’t come across a pair yet that worked well when trying to see a rifle target at 100 yards.

Are metal frame shooting glasses any good?

As long as the metal used is one of the lighter weight metal materials, metal frame shooting glasses are excellent. While they tend to be a little bit heavier than the plastic or polymer-framed models, they make up for it in terms of durability.

That being said, plastic or polymer has somewhat become the industry standard materials as far as frames are concerned.

What about frameless shooting glasses?

Frameless shooting glasses are basically models that have no top or bottom frame around the lenses. The frameless design has become very popular, so you’ll see quite a few of this style on the market today.

frameless shooting glasses

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this style, for predominately one reason:

In most cases, the lenses and frames are basically one unit, meaning most models feature a lens that is fixed and cannot be changed out for a lens with a different color tint. I personally prefer models that offer the flexibility to change the lenses.

That being said, if you like the frameless design, stick with what you like.

What about prescription shooting glasses frames?

Rather than get into the topic of prescription shooting glasses on this page, I’ve dedicated an entire page to discussing prescription shooting glasses here.

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