Eye protection is always required for our students. In most instances the purpose is to simply prevent dust and firing debris from hitting the eye. After a day at the range we always recommend you wash your face and hands before rubbing your eyes as both seem to be covered with fine particles.
In over 1500 classes taught we have never had a spontaneous disassembly of a firearm. This is when the gun fails under pressure of firing and metal and plastic fragments go flying with enough force to cause serious injury including your eyes.
Today we are awash with quality and attractive looking eyewear that meets the standards needed to deal with forceful impact. Every maker of products are trying to grab a piece of the firearms market but, you want to choose eyewear that exceeds the simple impact standard of ANSI and instead go for glasses that meet the military specification.
ANSI Z87.1 Standards
Shooting glasses that comply with ANSI 287.1 standards simply means they’ve been tested to offer impact or non-impact protection against hazardous objects such as fine dust particles, mist, optic radiation, liquid droplets and splashing.
U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 Standards
The minimum requirements of shooting glasses that meet U.S. military standards are such that the protective glasses must always be able to withstand a 5.8 grain, 0.15 caliber, projectile with a T37 shape, traveling at a velocity of between 639 and 661 feet per second.
Lenses are made of plastic which started out years ago being cheap with poor light control and easily scratched. I have an old pair of Maui Jims, not cheap at the time, which were scratced before I even got them home. Today there is new material that gives UVA/UVB protection, has great Light Transmission and with specialized coatings to minimize the risk of scratching.
Polycarbonate: Polycarbonate is the most commonly used material in shooting or tactical glasses. It is an unbreakable, lightweight lens material and is available in Clear, Tinted, Polarized or Transitions. The strength of Polycarbonate is partially derived from its flexibility.
Trivex: Trivex was originally developed by the US Military as an improvement over polycarbonate. Trivex is the most durable lens available. Trivex has a higher Abbe Value than polycarbonate, so there is less Chromatic Abrasion in a Trivex lens (less peripheral color distortion). To get a Polarized Trivex you can order SR-91 lens material.
A few of the companies today that meet the U.S. MIL-PRF-31013 Standards are listed below. Keep in mind that all make glasses that do not meet the standard so you will need to check. They meet the need for style for many and literally could be worn every day. Currently I use Wiley-X and Oakley and am very satisfied with those two products.
Failing to train IS training to fail.
Liberty Firearms Training