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I would be very surprised if there are any clay shooters who are not fully aware of the crucial importance of wearing Shooting Safety Glasses when they are clay shooting or present when others are clay shooting.
More and more game shooters are becoming aware of the need to be wearing shooting glasses in the field; and further comment about that later.
Assuming you started your clay shooting lessons at the shooting school, you would of course have been provided with shooting safety glasses before you started your very first lesson. Your coach would have explained how these shooting glasses are essential for protecting your eyes from falling/flying fragments of clay targets. A constant source of potential danger. He would also have advised you about the potential danger from burnt cordite particles and also about the very unlikely, but never the less, possibility of ricocheting pellets:
All professionally run shooting grounds/schools insist on all attendees wearing shooting safety glasses. They are of course a mandatory requirement at all registered clay shooting competitions.
Choosing the shooting glasses to best suit you.
Your shooting coach and retailing specialists will best advise you; but you need to carry out quite a lot of research yourself before you make that all important purchase.
This is actually quite difficult because you can hardly walk into your local friendly gun shop and ask to borrow half a dozen different types for a few weeks at various clay shoots.
Just like choosing your first gun, you will need to take advantage of the kindness and generosity of your new experienced clay shooting friends, who will lend you their different types of glasses for you to experiment with in a variety of light conditions and topographies.
Budget is naturally an important consideration factor, but there are other serious considerations:
You may well be wearing your glasses for a few hours and do not want to be distracted by discomfort. Your glasses need to sit firmly but snugly around your face and over your ears. A very common discomfort factor is chafing from the frames on your ears and side of your head, commonly caused by ill-fitting ear defender head bands. Well-fitting glasses will sit comfortably on the bridge of the nose, will have lenses large enough to completely cover your eyes and will not move when you fire your gun. The rigorously tested polycarbonate U.V. lenses are very lightweight, but you need to experiment with frames to find the lightest and most comfortable to you.
The best quality shooting glasses all have a range of colours to provide the best clarity of vision for different light conditions in various topographies. Darker lenses for bright sunlight or lighter for dull or misty conditions. Many shooters find that red lenses improve their vision in very green topographies, but this is not universal. Everyone’s eyes are different and can react in varying degrees to different light conditions. Some people have great difficulty with focusing on orange clays which are used increasingly throughout all clay shooting disciplines. This group has to choose their lens colouring very carefully.
Your shooting glasses can cost you from as little as £25.00 to as much as £300.00. You may need to shoot wearing prescription spectacles or contact lenses. Your budget will need to allow you to buy glasses that work effectively when you are wearing your contact lenses or have frames and lenses that facilitate your prescription eye pieces being clipped in them.
When you do go to buy your new shooting glasses, make sure that you have your ear defenders and shooting hat with you to ensure a final comfort check.
Like clay shooting, game shooting has its own rigid set of safety rules; but it is never possible to ensure for 100% safety.
Allow me to relate to a sad incident that will highlight this; before doing so, I must stress that no one involved had broken any safety rules or behaved dangerously.
On an exceptionally cold January day after a very long period of extreme frosts, two Guns were stood peg distance apart either side of a hedge with a Hardwood tree directly between them.
A Cock Pheasant broke from a game crop and flew between them at a good sporting height above the tree. Both Guns fired one shot each simultaneously. The pheasant flew on.
One of the Guns was seen to have placed his unloaded gun on the ground and was covering one of his eyes with his hands. He later explained that immediately after firing his gun he heard something ‘ping’ off his barrels and felt a severe pain in an eye.
A shot gun pellet was removed from this person’s eye during the ensuing hospital visit. He tragically lost his vision from that eye.
The pellet was a No.6 shot. The shot size that both Guns were using at the time of this incident. It can only be assumed that a ‘Flier’ from the pattern of either of the shotguns that were fired simultaneously (The very common phenomena where by the odd pellet flies well away from the main pellet pattern) had struck either an icy branch of the hardwood tree or possibly the hard bony part of the pheasant’s leg; and had then ricochet off the gun barrel:
I am pleased to see more and more game shots wearing shooting glasses.
Offering advice or an opinion on which brand of shooting glasses to buy is impractical and too subjective; however five very popular makes are listed here in no particular order of priority:
Napier System 7000 Multisport (RRP £73.48)
Very light weight, including a set of 4 different coloured ‘quick change/lock’ polycarbonate lenses. Napier Proudly boasts that these are the most efficient quick lens change shooting glasses that they have produced to date.
The rubber grip inserts on the frame arms and soft non slip nose piece make them fit snugly and comfortably. These glasses are supplied in a secure carrying case which includes a sports retaining band and lens cleaning cloth.
You can buy a pair with just one colour lenses for £24.61.
Peltor Maxim Ballistic (RRP£64.00)
Another very popular brand presented in a protective carrying pouch including 4 different coloured interchangeable lenses plus adjustable headband. Prescription eye piece inserts are also included at no extra cost.
Optilab Top Gun (RRP £39.99)
Presented in a handy zip up case containing 5 different coloured 100% U.V.protective light weight polycarbonate lenses. This set is also available with a prescription lens clip in system at the higher price of £99.95
Optilab Ziess (RRP £144.94)
As for the Optilab Top Gun with the additional comfort factor of adjustable frames and nose pad. The makers also stress the benefit of the anti- mist layer. Prescription inserts available at an additional cost.
Wiley X Saber Advanced (RRP 54.95)
Described as extra strong and durable with 3.00mm scratch-resistant shatterproof selenite polycarbonate lenses. These shooting glasses also have an ultra-foam brow bar, designed to keep sweat and debris from the wearers face.
Like Ear defenders do for your ears; Shooting Safety Glasses will protect the only pair of eyes that you have!!!