Saturday, April 3, 2010

Eyes And Ears

I've seen plenty of photos of ballistic eyeglass lenses that were intentionally shot with various projectiles for reasons of testing or demonstration. As I cleaned my prescription shooting glasses* after a range session, it occurred to me that showing people the actual damage they've sustained might be informative.

So here they are. The lenses are clean, so except for one highlight to the right of the nosepiece, every mark is impact damage.

Every gouge and divot in those ballistic-grade polycarbonate lenses could have cost me my eyesight had I not been wearing them.

You'd think hits like those would get my attention, but I honestly cannot remember a single one. When concentrating on my shooting, I don't notice crap bouncing off my glasses any more than hammer bite, blisters, or hot brass. Once I had a hot rifle casing land on my bare arm and stick there. No flinching, no jumping, I just peeled it off and kept on going. The burn scar took over a year to fade.

After severe ear infections as a child, my hearing is slightly compromised. Since I really want to keep what's left, I double-plug. I have several pairs of E.A.R. Inc. Insta-Mold custom ear plugs that I use under Gentex Wolf Ears.

I ordered the Wolf Ears from Massad Ayoob's online store about five years ago. For normal practice, I leave the electronic amplification turned off. For training or other situations where I need to hear range commands, it's indispensable. The directionality of their hearing enhancement is excellent, great for zeroing in on the noise in the bushes that might be a rabid raccoon.

I chose Wolf Ears based on Massad Ayoob's recommendation, but they are now discontinued. I know mine won't last forever, so any recommendations for a potential equivalent-quality replacement would be greatly appreciated.

Impact isn't the only risk to vision for shooters.

I call this one "Gun Scrubber Backsplash Meets Anti-Reflective Coating." Sigh.

* The right (dominant eye) lens is single-vision focused on my handgun front sight. The left lens is my normal no-line progressive prescription. The progressive gradients on my normal glasses are set to favor handgun shooting. Thank you, Dr. William Schlichtemeier, opthalmologist and Olympic shooter extraordinaire.


Kevin said...

I use Peltor comtacs, but they are overkill. I wanted an ipod feed and that was the first solution I found way back when. I know lots of people who like the Peltor tactical 6s and 7s. However Peltor's site really sucks at telling you what does what. But there are lots of other good electronic earmuffs out there.

Chuck said...

Without endorsing a product, what is "ballistics grade polycarbonate?" My recently purchased shooting glasses refer to "ANSI Z87.1-2003 High Impact Requirements." Is that the same material as your "ballistics grade?"

Hecate said...

The lenses in my glasses are made by Carl Zeiss Vision. The material is a Zeiss proprietary polycarbonate that exceeds ISO, ANSI, and MIL-STD 622 impact resistance standards. The 622E standard requires the material as used must be able to stop a .22 round from 20 feet.

I have no problem endorsing products I bought and use. I refuse all requests to review products on my blog, especially if the requesters offer payment or other consideration.

Particia said...


Sherry Lebrun said...

Oh my! Can you imagine the damage your eyes can get if you don't have safety glasses or if you don't have proper safety glasses?

My brother a hunter always sees to it that his gears are as strong as an ox! He selects them carefully. He even study thoroughly the materials, he is really into safety, just like my Dad. Dad used to wear Wiley safety glasses during his shooting sessions with Uncle Bob. That was years ago when they both can held their grip tightly. Now that they are old, they just stay at home and always remind my brother to always be cautious as they were.

Ted, my brother loves to wear Titmus prescription safety glasses during hunting season. That keeps his eyes protected from any accidents along the woods.