Shooting Glasses Vs. Regular Sun Glasses

Shooting glasses and regular sun glasses are both meant to protect the eyes from damage. However, there are some key differences between the two.

Shooting Safety Glasses Vs. Regular Sun Glasses

Shooting glasses and sun glasses share many of the same characteristics. Both are eyewear meant to protect your eyes from the sun and both are typically worn outdoors. However, there are a few key differences between shooting glasses and sun glasses that you should be aware of before making a purchase.

The most obvious difference between shooting glasses and sun glasses is the type of protection they offer.


  • They share similar shaped frames and lenses.
  • They use the same or similar materials (titanium, polycarbonate, rubber, etc.)
  • Both have UV protection.
  • Both have polarization for reduced glare.
  • Both can have a range of similar lens tints.
  • Both can have wrap-around frames.
  • Both can have prescription lenses.
  • Both are similarly priced.


  • Shooting glasses are meant solely for eye protection.
  • Shooting glasses must meet certain safety requirements (ANSI, ballistic testing, etc.)
  • Sun glasses are meant for eye protection and fashion.
  • Shooting glasses can be be used indoors where sun glasses are not needed.

Shooting Glasses Interchangeable Lenses

Both shooting glasses and sun glasses can have interchangeable lenses.

For shooting glasses, this is beneficial where the lens become so scratched you cannot use them, or have a different color shade for different light conditions. Interchangeable lenses allow changing according to weather and light conditions, allowing a person to use the same pair instead of purchasing multiple glasses.

Using Shooting Glasses As Cycling Glasses?

Yes, shooting glasses and sun glasses can be used as cycling glasses. Shooting glasses are designed to withstand impacts from gun pellets, shrapnel, or debris and also have UV protection and polarization.

Which is better, shooting glasses or sun glasses for cycling? Well, dedicated cycling glasses will have better aerodynamics because they are designed specifically for cycling. However, sun glasses and shooting glasses can help protect the eyes while riding. Sun glasses may have an edge here because of their comfortable fit, stylish look, along with anti-glare and UV protection.

Shooting Range Targets

Shooting Glass Cases

Shooting glasses are a specialized type of protective eyewear, which means they require special ballistic cases for storage. Sun glasses, also can also use protective storage cases, but cheaper versions may not be worth putting in the extra effort.

Shooting Glasses Frames

Shooting glasses have a wide variety of frame shapes. They are also made of certain materials, for strength, flexibility, and comfort. These include polymer, Polycarbonate-TPR Mix, titanium, stainless steel, and others. These can also be found in regular sun glasses.

Polarized Shooting Glasses

Shooting glasses benefit from being polarized. Why is this so? The sun emits polarized light as well as non-polarized light. Polarized sunglasses can be advantageous in keeping out junk light (i.e., glare), which can affect the ability to see far away targets. Both shooting glasses and sun glasses can have polarized lenses.

How To Store Shooting Glasses

Storing shooting glasses is important to keep them protected from breaking or being damaged. When storing your glasses, you need to make sure they’re a safe distance away from any hard or abrasive surface. A hard pointed surface can damage the lenses and frame of your shooting glasses if they fall against them.

Shooting Glasses Side Blinders

Side blinders on shooting glasses help protect from side impacts and light glare as well as helping to focus vision. Extra side blinders securely wrap around the temple area of the glass frame. They help with target shooting by eliminating visual distractions.

Shooting Glasses With Side Shields

Shooting glasses can include built-in side shields which help protect the temple region from debris that could enter the eye.

Quality Shooting Glasses

Shooting glasses need to be high enough quality to protect you while shooting. Shooting glasses need to be ANSI Z87.1 safety certified to be considered safe to wear at the range.

Recommended Shooting Glasses

OXG Safety Glasses Scratch Resistant, Protective Eyewear ANSI Z87.1 Safety Shooting Glasses

Allen Company Keen Shooting Safety Glasses, Yellow Lenses, ANSI Z87.1+ & CE Rated

Amazon Basics Anti-Fog Shooting Safety Glasses Eye Protection, Clear Lens

Expensive Shooting Glasses

Expensive shooting glasses are not necessarily of better quality. The difference between shooting glasses and sun glasses is that shooting glasses have a higher level of optical clarity. This is because they are designed to protect the shooter’s eyes from recoil and debris.

Most sun glasses will not provide adequate protection from flying debris or recoil. For this reason, it is important to buy shooting glasses that meet the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) impact protection ratings.

Cheap Shooting Glasses

Cheap shooting glasses are exactly that, less expensive. However, this does not mean that they are of inferior quality. In fact, most shooters feel that shooting glasses are worth the investment and should be treated as an essential piece of shooting gear. Even the cheapest shooting glasses can provide protection for the eyes.

Types Of Shooting Glasses Lenses

Types of shooting glasses lenses include the following:

Clear Lenses – these are the most common type of lens as they allow plenty of light into both eyes, so you can see your target clearly and aim precisely. They are great for indoor shooting and general use.

Colored lenses – different colored tints allow for making certain background colors more visible by filtering out certain lighting. This can help with eye strain and spotting details needed to see the target more clearly.

What Color Lens Is Best For Indoor Shooting?

Indoor shooting ranges are a different type of environment than outdoor ranges. The biggest difference is lighting. Indoor shooting ranges do not have sun glare. However, guns produce muzzle flash which can affect the shooters eyesight. Especially when the lighting is dimmed, muzzle flash can be very pronounced. Even so, the best lenses for indoor shooting may be clear (no tint).

What Color Lenses Are Best For Shooting?

There is no single color that is best for shooting glass lenses. Before purchasing shooting glasses, the wearer should consider what type of lighting conditions and backgrounds they will face while target shooting or hunting. Different colored tints help with making certain colors more visible than others, which can help the wearer spot the target.

Should Shooting Glasses Be Yellow?

Shooting glasses do not need to be yellow, though it would help. The yellow tint does provide better clarity when the wearer is faced with UV rays, especially blue ultraviolet light. This helps to make vision clearer while shooting.

Why Do Navy SEALs Wear Sunglasses?

Navy seals wear sunglasses because they often operate in hot and dry conditions or in bright sunlight. They need to be able to see the environment without too much glare. They also use sunglasses to protect their eyes from dust and wind that could affect their vision.

Shooting Glasses Accessories

Shooting glasses accessories are available. These include shooting glasses lens cleaners, cleaning cloths and anti-fog wipes.

Anti-Fog Wipes are a great accessory to have when shooting outdoors. These wipes keep your lenses fog free in all weather conditions. Available in a 30 wipe packs, these wipes can be used again and again.

If you intend to use your shooting glasses regularly, having a wiping cloth is necessary. Just touching the lenses by accident can cause smudges which will alter the ability to see the target.

Brands of Shooting Glasses

There are many brands of shooting glasses on the market, but not all of them are created equal. Each brand has its own unique features that make it a good choice for shooting enthusiasts. Some of them include:

  • Junkers
  • Glock
  • Gatorz
  • Ghost
  • Oakley
  • Bolle
  • Wiley X
  • Huntersky

Some of these brands also make regular sunglasses.

Oakley Shooting Glasses

Oakley is a well-known and highly regarded sun glass brand. It also prides itself on being able to provide quality, affordable shooting glasses. Those who are looking for the same level of quality and performance from their sun glasses may find that Oakley shooting glasses are an excellent choice for them. Many target shooters and even military personnel attest to the extra safety oakley sunglasses have provided them.

Junkers Shooting Glasses

Junkers shooting glasses are Swiss-made and have prescription lenses. They are useful for both rifle and pistol shooting. These have round lenses and large ear hooks and are very easy to use.

Shooting Glasses Kit

Shooting glasses often come in kits that include a number of interchangeable lenses, including clear lenses for indoor use and darker lenses for outdoor shooting. This way you can wear your shooting glasses without making them look like standard sunglasses.???

Cost Of Shooting Glasses And Sunglasses

Both shooting glasses and sunglasses can be inexpensive to purchase. This, however depends largely on the brand. Basic shooting glasses can be found online for $10 USD, while more expensive versions can run up to over $100 each. Sunglasses follow the same pricing range.

In Closing

Shooting glasses are designed specifically to protect the eyes from flying debris when shooting a gun. Sun glasses also help protect the eyes, while making a fashion statement. Regardless of when you wear either of them, the key is safety and protecting the eyes from damage.

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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