I have to make a confession... while I have a fairly expensive set of Oakley Radar shooting safety glasses... and a couple of other more costly brands too... more often than not, you'll find me wearing a set of Walmart's Safety Vu Bifocal Safety Glasses.
Yep, that's right... most of the time on the shooting range, in the shop, working around the barns, weed-wacking, grinding, drilling, chainsawing, mowinig, hunting, woodworking, walking through the woods... I'm wearing $5.97 safety glasses. Go ahead... don't read another word... jump straight to the comments and fire away... it won't likely change what we do around here.
The gals and I have been using the Walmart Safety Vu's for years and maybe I can summarize why:
- They're inexpensive, so you can have multiple sets all over the place and so there's no excuse for not wearing some eye-pro. There's clear ones and tinted ones ready to go... the car, the suv, the truck, the barns, the tractor, the motorcycles, the workbench, the mower... you'll find them all over around here.
- We've tested them ourselves and have used them for years.
- The wrap-around styling protects the eyes from objects coming in at angles other than straight on to the face.
- They're comfortable with soft-rubber nose and ear-pieces. They rest easy on your nose and don't cut into your ears or hurt the sides of your head when wearing hearing protection like our 3M Peltor Sport-Tac's.
- Even after being dropped on the gravel drive and on the concrete barn floors multiple times, they've proven themselves to be fairly scratch resistant, something I can't say for my prescription eye-wear in the past.
- You can get them with bi-focals! Sometimes they're called magnifiers or readers. Yes, for those of us in the second half of our first century... having those "helper" lenses built-in work great for seeing those tiny screws on guns and many other things.
- They can be had in clear, tinted, and amber (yellow)... with and without the readers... and the reader bifocal lenses can be found in several magnification powers... we've seen +1.50 up to +3.50.
We shot a set of our Walmart clear Safety Vu glasses with #8 lead bird shot from a 12 gauge shotgun seven or eight years ago just to test them for ourselves. I repeated that test with a new set purchased this weekend just for this blog post.
The results of multiple pellet hits to the protective lenses were the same as years ago. Nothing penetrated the lenses, the glasses and frames remained intact.
There are dimples to the inside of the lenses from the shot pellets' impacts, but they did not crack or penetrate the lenses. You can also see the very comfortable nose pieces in this photo.
We also keep a couple of boxes of the ULINE ICE Wraparound safety glasses on hand for folks that forget their eye protection. I also included a set of those for this test since it's been a couple of years since we purchased and tested the ULINE safety glasses.
The ULINE Ice Wraparound performed just as well as they did a couple of years ago when we shot them. Dimples, but no penetration, cracks, or frame failures. They are not as comfortable as the Walmart Safety Vu's, but you can buy a box of twelve in a number of tints and colors or clear for $2.50 each!
If you're interested, Lucky Gunner had a great review of eye-pro a few years back that tested a lot of eye protection over a variety of price ranges. By the way... you notice that in their review... some of the most expensive eye-protection was good, but not the best performing when compared to others when tested.
Now, will the eye-pro I mentioned stop a bullet... like even a small .22 long rifle... no... but from my time in law enforcement years back... I've personally witnessed two different dead dudes whose skulls didn't stop a .22 long rifle... eye protection isn't a big factor with a direct hit to the head from any caliber bullet fired from a gun.
Our recommendation... if you are buying cheap eye-protection... get two and test one... who knows... you might be just like ZZ Top and... Go get yourself some cheap (safety) sunglasses...