Are Shooting Glasses Bulletproof?

Shooting glasses are extremely useful safety glasses to wear while shooting fireams. But are they bulletproof? Find out in this post.

Can Shooting Glasses Stop A Bullet?

Shooting glasses are also called ballistic eyewear. The term “ballistic” refers to the motion, behavior, and resulting effects of projectiles, including firearm ammunition. Ballistic eyewear is not bulletproof, but can protect the eyes from shrapnel or flying debris that can otherise injure the eyes.

Bullets are made to peirce flesh, clothing, animal hides, bone, and other hard materials. So, the answer to the question is, quite simply, no. Shooting glasses cannot stop a bullet. However, they can provide significant protection against smaller objects, such as flying debris or fragments from a ricochet.

Most shooting glasses are extensively tested for ballistic and high-velocity impact, such as ejected shell casings or shrapnel.

To understand why shooting glasses are not bulletproof, we need to understand how bullets can impact the lense of shooting glasses.

How Fast Do Bullets Fly?

In other words, how fast is a “speeding bullet?”

Bullet speed, or muzzle velocity, depends on the size of the bullet, or its caliber. Here is a brief rundown on different sized bullet speeds:

  • .22 – 1200 to 1800 feet per second, or 800 to1200 mph.
  • 9mm – 1200 fps, or 820 mph.
  • .50 – 2800 to 3200 fps, or 1900 to 2100 mph.
  • Boeing 747 jet – 600-700 mph

As you can see above, bullets can fly faster than even the fastest civilian aircraft!

Speeding Bullet

Bullets are often pointed at the tip, which focuses all the energy of the bullet into a small point which allows it to pierce through material while flying at high speeds.

How Much Do Bullets Weigh?

This depends on the size or grain of the bullet, the tip material, and whether it has a hollowpoint. One grain of a bullet is equal to 1/7000th of a pound, 1/437.5 of an ounce, or 0.06479891 grams.

Bullet grains are converted to grams.

Here is a short breakdown of bullet weights:

Pistol Rounds:

  • 9 mm – 6 to 10 grams
  • .357 – 10 to 14 grams
  • .44 Magnum – 14 to 16 grams

Rifle Rounds:

  • .22 – 2 to grams
  • AR15 – 3 to 4 grams
  • .30-30 – 9 to 11 grams
  • .50 – 30 to 45 grams

What Material Are Bullets Made Of?

The bullet itself is made of the following materials:

  • Lead – most bullets are made of lead
  • Copper
  • Lead and tin – for high speed bullets
  • Depleted uranium – specific military rounds only
  • Rubber – police anti-riot rounds

Most Bullets today are partly or entirely made of lead. Lead is very dense and this creates a high amount of kinetic energy, or energy it has while in motion. Lead is also very inexpensive, abundant, and easy to melt and shape.

How Strong Is Shooting Glass Lens Material?

Shooting glasses lenses are usually made of polycarbonate. This is a very strong and light material that excels at impact resistance. We go more in depth into polycarbonate lenses in our post Materials Used In Shooting Glasses.

How Thick Is Shooting Glass Lens Material?

Shooting glass lenses are fairly thin. Lenses made of polycarbonate are usually 1.5 millimeters thick. However, if they are prescription lenses, they may be up to 3.5 mm thick. Since polycarbonate is more impact resistant than other lens materials, it tends to be thinner.

Are Shooting Glasses Impact Proof?

Impacts can happen while shooting from the scope of the rifle, flying shell casings, or just the recoil of the gun. All of these can cause injury to your eyes. This is why it’s important to have a good pair of shooting glasses that will protect your eyes from these impacts.

There are many different types of shooting glasses on the market, and most or all of them are impact proof. It is important to check the safety specs of the glasses before buying them to make sure.

For more information about shooting glasses impact ratings, see our post Shooting Eye Protection: Shooting Glasses Safety Standards.

Are Shooting Glasses Explosion Proof?

An explosion while shooting is not likely to happen, but the gun or barrel could malfunction, causing shrapnel to fly. If you use old style black powder rifles, there is a chance the flare of black powder could burn your eyes.

So, can shooting glasses help protect against explosions? The answer is yes.

Shooting glasses are flame and chemical resistant, along with being impact resistant. So, they may not be explosion-proof, but they can help protect the eyes in the event of an explosion.

Explosions are not likely to happen at the shooting range. However, military operations can see explosions in the field. For this reason, shooting glasses may be bulletproof and explosion proof. The extent to which they can protect your eyes from shrapnel and other debris will depend on the specific glasses you choose.

So, Do Bullet Proof Eye Glasses Exist?

No, bullet proof eye glasses do not exist. However, shooting glasses are highly impact-resistant.

Shooting glasses are eyeglasses that have been designed to protect the wearer’s eyes from debris and flying objects that may be created when a firearm is discharged.

Bullet proof eyes glasses would be potent safety gear. It would be great if they existed and could stop a bullet in its tracks. However, as far as science knows, no such thing exists. There are glasses that claim to be able to protect your eyes from flying debris, but they will not withstand a direct bullet hit.

Military Grade Shooting Glasses

Those in the military face the most dangerous situations under fire from enemies. The military seeks the best protection for its members. You can see images of soldiers wearing sun glasses and safety glasses while out on patrol.

The military has specific requirements for safety gear to meet. Ballistic shooting glasses are one example of gear that needs to meet certain specs. Most military shooting glasses also offer UV protection, which is needed while out on patrol in sunny conditions.

For more information about shooting glasses safety ratings, see our post Shooting Eye Protection: Shooting Glasses Safety Standards.

What Shooting Glasses Do Navy Seals Wear?

Navy Seals are a highly specialized and effective group of soldiers. They are given the best equipment, and this includes safety gear.

What type of shooting glasses do Navy Seals wear? The answer may surprise you. They don’t wear the typical sunglasses style shooting glasses. Instead, they wear special ballistic shooting glasses.

Navy seals face a wide variety of environments that can cause eye problems. This includes wet, cold, wind, dust, and sand. They transition from high altitude, or sea-based operations to desert operations where sand and grit can easily penetrate the eyes.

They also face unrelenting sun and UV rays. They may need to swap their safety glasses for goggles in these situations. Basically, Navy Seals and other special operators wear a variety of special eye protection.

One example of navy seal capable shooting glasses are the Wiley X Romer 3. These meet the MIL-PRF-32432 ballistic safety standards required by the U.S. military.

What Shooting Glasses Do Police Wear?

Police face all sorts of challenging and dangerous situations in the line of duty. This includes arrests, crowd control, prisoner transport, and of course, firearm use. While police are expected to be able to handle any situation that comes their way, they also need to be as safe as possible.

Police need to wear safety gear in their daily work. One of the most popular safety gears is shooting glasses. Police wear shooting glasses because it protects them from dangerous substances and any debris that may be thrown their way.

Police also wear face sheilds during crowd control situations or SWAT activities.

Shooting Glasses Safety Certified

Its important to make sure shooting glasses are safety certified. Shooting glasses that are not certified could be constructed from low-quality or harmful materials that might break when shot or contain sharp metal pieces. Shooting glasses should also feature a label with the ANSI Z87.1 stamp of approval, which ensures safe levels of eye protection from flying debris and objects in motion, such as a gunshot.

So how can you tell if a pair of shooting glasses is really safety certified? Make sure they have the specific safety standards they meet posted on the advertisement or packaging. Also, make sure to only buy quality shooting glasses from reputable brands.

For more information, see our post Shooting Eye Protection: Shooting Glasses Safety Standards.

Are Shooting Glasses Impact Proof?

Yes, properly certified shooting glasses are impact-proof.

Impacts can happen during shooting or anytime while walking around the range. That is why having a pair of glasses that can withstand impacts, such as one made from polycarbonate materials, is the perfect choice for shooters and other sportsmen alike.

In Closing

Shooting glasses are specially designed to withstand high-impact scenarios, but it’s important to note that most will not take a bullet head-on. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely solely on shooting glasses for eye protection. Instead, you must exercise extreme caution whenever you or those around you are using firearms. Practicing safety, taking preventive measures, and wearing shooting glasses are the best methods for protecting yourself from potentially dangerous firearm activity.

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Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium

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