I have a confession to make. I’m quite ashamed to admit this considering how highly I regard firearms safety. I’m publicly admitting this in the hopes that other shooters can learn from my major faux pas.
I used to wear cheap sunglasses at the shooting range. Not cheap safety glasses. No, I’d been wearing $10 fashion sunglasses from the drugstore. After all, my cute over sized sunglasses looked much better than the hideous shooting glasses that sat unused in my range bag. Then I found the solution, Bella Ballistica shooting glasses.
I do the vast majority of my shooting outdoors because I really dislike shooting in dark confined spaces with sketchy ventilation systems, so I needed safety sunglasses. Every pair of safety sunglasses I’d purchased made me look like the Terminator or very masculine, and to a fashionista like myself, I found that unacceptable. My vanity could have cost me my eyesight.
The Dangers of Cheap Shooting Glasses
I recently took a trip to Arizona where I visited the Joe Foss shooting range. While there, I spoke with a highly regarded instructor who recounted a scary situation he had witnessed. A gentleman came to the range to shoot a newly acquired bolt action rifle. Just after the man took his first shot, he turned to the instructor looking a bit confused. That’s when the blood began pouring from his forehead. They immediately got the injured man medical attention, and in the end he was okay. Later they found the bolt had become separated and hit the shooter square in the eye. Had he not been wearing good eye protection, he most certainly would have lost his eye.
It’s possible this instructor noticed my inadequate eye protection and decided to share this story with me. Whatever the case, I’m truly grateful for the wake-up call. This story hit me like a ton of bricks! I went home and began my search for eye pro I would love to wear.
Between the small explosions happening close to my face, the occasional ricochets from neighboring shooters hitting steel, and the many spent casings sent flying in my direction, I knew it was important to wear eye protection. Shooting is an inherently dangerous activity. Every year, approximately 30,000 people incur firearm related eye injuries. I used to believe that any eye-wear would be fine…Luckily I saw the error of my way before I lost an eye.
Regular plastic lenses can shatter on impact, sending shards into the face and causing damage and/or vision loss. Shooting glasses, however, have lenses which are typically made out of polycarbonate, a lightweight, durable, and impact resistant material. To be considered true shooting glasses, they must have an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) rating of Z87.1+. Another key feature is ballistic resistance. Shooters need glasses that provide maximum bounce back protection, shielding the eyes from projectiles. Wrap around styles are preferable to the aviator style, since they keep the eyes protected from the sides as well.
Looks, Affordability & Safety
I really struggled to find shooting glasses I could afford, and actually wanted to wear. I couldn’t bear the expense of the beautiful $125 Smith Optics Elite Prospect glasses or the awesome $160 Oakley SI Holbrook American Heritage glasses I so desperately wanted.
Then I stumbled upon the Bella Ballistica Shooting Glasses by Champion Eyes & Ears for $24.95. These women’s fashion/safety glasses are just awesome, I finally found the glasses I was looking for, great safety, great looks and a great price. Bella Ballistica have a tortoise colored frame, they are a full framed, wrap around style, offering protection from all sides. The company claims that despite their good looks, Bella Ballistica glasses have four times the impact protection of ANSI Z87+, and have hard coated scratch resistant polycarbonate lenses. They fit my face really well, are very comfortable to wear, and they look like sunglasses that I would actually wear on a daily basis.
All that adds up to a pair of glasses that suits my needs and my desire to look good on the range, so until someone is generous enough to get me a pair of Smith’s or Oakley’s, I’m quite pleased with my Bella Ballisticas!
As a a rape, domestic violence, and stabbing survivor Autumn promotes and advocates for self-defense training, concealed carry, firearm safety, and continued firearms training. She hopes that by sharing her experiences, she will help change the public’s perception of who a gun owner is, and why the Second Amendment is so important for all Americans, especially women.
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