Tactical & Shooting Sunglasses Buyers Guide

Our Tactical & Shooting Sunglasses Buyer's Guide is designed to provide all the information you need to make an informed decision about your next pair of shooting glasses. If you are already well versed on the subject, skip to the bottom to find links to shop all our tactical and shooting glasses by prescription, or non-prescription.

Smith Optics and Wiley X both have impressive designs that are durable and lightweight in frames that are ANSI Z87.1 Certified.  Prescription lenses made by ADS Sports Eyewear for these tactical shooting glasses will exceed the frame certifications.  Many other manufacturers such as Kaenon Polarized and Oakley offer frames that are popular with military, law enforcement, and first responders. Both of these companies have their own patented lens technology for these unbreakable lenses.

The Navy Seal in the image below is wearing the Kaenon Hard Kore.

Video: Tactical and Shooting Glasses Buyer's Guide
Improve your shooting accuracy and keep your eyes safe with the right shooting/tactical glasses...

Lens Materials:

Animations below show how each lens material will hold up when a 500 gram missile (about 1.1 lb.) is fired into a lens. The CR-39 lens (standard plastic) is easily shattered. The Polycarbonate lens bounces right back into shape, but sustains irreparable damage in the center.  The Trivex lens bounces back and shows almost no evidence of impact.

CR-39 (Plastic):CR-39 is the most commonly used lens material, but it is not approved for use in tactical eyewear. CR-39 provides acceptable optics, but the material is not unbreakable.  This makes using CR-39 lenses extremely unsafe in a tactical environment.

Polycarbonate:  Polycarbonate is the most commonly used material in shooting or tactical glasses. It is an unbreakable, lightweight lens material and is available in Clear, Tinted, Polarized or Transitions. The strength of Polycarbonate is partially derived from its flexibility.

*Trivex:  When making prescription sunglasses for shooting, we recommend using Trivex. Trivex was originally developed by the US Military as an improvement over polycarbonate. Trivex is the most durable lens available.  Trivex has a higher Abbe Value than polycarbonate, so there is less Chromatic Abrasion in a Trivex lens (less peripheral color distortion). Trivex is available as a Tinted, Transitions, or Clear. To get a Polarized Trivex you can order SR-91 lens material.

Polycarbonate, Trivex and SR-91 are the only lens options you will find on our prescription tactical eyewear pages.

CR-39(Plastic) Lens Material TestPolycarbonate Lens Material TestTrivex Lens Durability Test
CR-39 PlasticPolycarbonateTrivex


About Tactical & Shooting Lens Colors

 Lens ColorVisible
SummaryIdeal For
Grey LensGrey12-15% VLTProvides the truest color. Ideal for people who are light sensitive, or shooting in bright sunlight conditions.Grey is best used in bright lighting conditions.
Brown LensBrown/
12-15% VLTLight reducing, high contrast lens.Great all-around color. Provides lots of contrast. For medium to bright light conditions.
Rose LensRose28-32% VLTMaximizes an objects definition and enhances depth and perception.Amber or Rose lenses are ideal for low light or cloudy days.
Yellow LensYellow68% VLTBlock out blue light, such as light on a cloudy day.  Help to create a more detailed line of vision.  Enhances greens and yellows.Best suited for low-light conditions.
Persimmon LensPersimmon 55% VLTCombines the advantages of Light Copper & Yellow lenses. Copper sharpens contrast, yellow brightens the field of vision.For low to medium lighting conditions or indoor shooting.
Brown LensClear 98% VLTProvides 100% protection from harmful UVA/B/C rays.  Provides no contrast.Clear lenses are best worn at night, in poor lighting conditions and indoor shooting ranges.


Tactical & Shooting Lens Standards

 Certification SummaryImpact
ANSI Z87.1
Industrial Safety Glasses & Goggles
Standard safety/shooting glasses; Civilian Standard1/4" Steel Ball
150-300 Feet per Second
Clause 3.5.11 Spectacles
Ballistic eyewear; Military Standard.15 Caliber, 5.8 Grain, T37 Shaped Projectile
640-660 Feet per Second
Clause 3.5.10 Goggles
 Ballistic eyewear; Military Standard.22 Caliber, 17.0+.5 Grain, T37 Shaped Projectile
550-560 Feet per Second

Some of Our Favorite Tactical & Shooting Glasses:

Wiley X Guard (Black, Grey)Wiley X Guard: The Wiley X Guard features easily interchangeable lenses in a semi-rimless, sleek frame.  (Lenses for the Prescription Wiley-X Guard are not as interchangeable as the non-prescription lenses.) The Guard meets GL-PD 10-12 MCEP Standard, which surpasses MIL-PRF-31013 Ballistic Standard and exceeds ANSI Z87.1 2003+ Safety.  Each frame includes two to three lenses to provide all-day protection, and a large case with separated pouches designed to hold the spare lenses.  The Wiley X Guard fits Medium to Large faces.


Smith Hideout Tactical (Realtree MAX 4, Polarized Brown)
Smith Hideout Tactical: 
The Smith Hideout Tactical has a modern profile with wide temples to provide large coverage made of lightweight, impact-resistant materials.  It includes proprietary high impact lenses that meet ANSI Z87.1 Standard for both optics and MIL-PRF-31013 Standard for impact.  The tapered lens technology eliminates distortion in this 8-base frame and provides 100% protection from harmful UVA/UVB/UVC rays.  The Smith Hideout Tactical is designed for Medium faces and provides large coverage.


Wiley X Saint (Matte Black, Grey Smoke)Wiley X Saint:  The Wiley X Saint has easily interchangeable lenses to allow maximum light condition versatility. (Lenses for the Prescription Wiley-X Saint are not as interchangeable as the non-prescription lenses.) Rubber temple socks ensure the frame stays put on your face.  This frame has shatterproof lenses that block 100% of harmful UV rays in frame that is certified to ANSI Z87.1 High Impact and Optical Performance Standard.  The Saint meets both GL-PD 10-12 MCEP Standard and is rated as OSHA Grade Occupational Protective Eyewear.  This frame is designed for Small to Medium faces.


Kaenon Hard Kore SunglassesKaenon Hard Kore The Kaenon Hard Kore features a comfortable, 8.25-base frame made from a lightweight and flexible, but extremely durable material.  Both plano and Prescription Kaenon Sunglasses are made with SR-91 Polarized lens material, which is very similar to heavy-duty Trivex.  The SR-91 lenses protect the eyes from harmful UV rays. The nose pads and ear grips offer comfort while ensuring the frames stay put on the face.  The Kaenon Hard Kore is designed for Medium to Large faces.


Smith Pivlock V2 Max Tactical:  The Smith Pivlock V2 Max Tactical and the Smith Pivlock V2 Tactical are both lightweight frames with lenses that offer increased coverage and up vision while protecting the eyes.  Each frame comes with two to three easily interchangeable lenses. The lenses include superiorballistic impact protection per US MIL-PRF-31013 Standard and provide uncompromised optics and coverage per ANSI Z87.1.  This semi-rimless, shield frame includes adjustable nose pads, tapered lens technology to correct distortion and anti-fog and scratch resistant coatings.  The megol nose and temple pads ensure that the frame stays put on the face.  Because this is a shield lens, the Prescription Smith Pivlock V2 Max Tactical includes a prescription insert that sits behind the frame.  This way you have one prescription insert and are able to switch out the lenses based on the time of day.  The Smith Pivlock V2 Max Tactical is designed for Large faces and provides large coverage.

Smith Pivlock V2 Max Tactical (Tan 499, Grey & Clear)


Wiley X AirRage: The Wiley X AirRage features a removable foam eye seal with Wiley X AirRage (Gloss Black, Light Adjusting Grey)symmetrical venting to allow cool air to enter naturally, as well as an adjustable temple strap to ensure the glasses stay snug on the face.  This keeps dust, debris and wind out of the eyes without the lens fogging.  The AirRage exceeds ANSI Z87.1 High Velocity Safety Standard.  This frame is designed for Small to Medium faces.



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