CLEAR: For indoor shooting when no
target contrast is needed. Excellent safety lens to use when handloading ammunition.
GRAY: For use on bright sunlit days.
Transmits all colors at the same level, but does not enhance targets.
PALE YELLOW: Excellent choice for
indoor shooting and for shooting at night under lights.
YELLOW: For hazy, foggy days and
late afternoon. Blocks out much of the blue light.
ORANGE: For dull, cloudy days.
Blocks blue light and enhances orange-colored clay targets.
SUNSET ORANGE: For bright but hazy
conditions. Slightly darker than true orange to absorb scattered blue light.
VERMILLION: Highlights conditions
when background is dark (like when shooting trap or skeet with dark trees in the
BRONZE: For very bright but hazy
sunlit days. Stray blue light absorbing qualities enhance clay target outline.
BROWN: Blue-blocker lens for
shooting on bright sunlit days with open background.
LIGHT PURPLE: A combination of gray
and vermillion. Dampens coloration of green foliage and enhances orange clay targets when
trees or brush are in the background.
How many colors we actually need
depends on the type of shooting we do. I probably get more use out of the clear lens than
any other. I use it for eye protection when handloading, and it is the one I most often
choose when shooting firearms equipped with scopes. I prefer clear for shotgunning on days
when light conditions are not bright enough to require a darker lens nor dull enough to
require yellow. Clear is also my choice when shooting indoors and when shotgunning
outdoors at night under lights. Contrary to what some shooters believe, a top-quality
clear lens protects the eyes with the same level of UV screening as a colored lens.
I used to use green shooting glasses
a great deal, but once I tried light brown for extremely bright sunlit days I came to
prefer it because for whatever reason, my eyes feel less fatigued at the end of the day
when I use it. Most shooters can get by with a clear lens for general purpose use and
either green or brown for bright conditions.
An orange lens causes orange-colored
clay targets to literally sparkle, so I use it a lot for skeet, trap and sporting clays. I
use dark orange or vermillion on bright sunny days and light orange (or strawberry as Ray
McKissick calls his version) under darker ambient light conditions. If I had to choose
between the two, I would go with the lighter shade. From a safety aspect, orange is also a
good lens color for some hunting applications as it makes a hunter orange vest or cap glow
I dont use the old yellow lens
as much as I used to, but it is still a good color for wingshooting on extremely dark
days. Not long back I shot ducks on an extremely dark and cloudy day in the flooded pin
oak forests of Arkansas and found yellow to be the best choice.
Frames that allow lenses to be quickly and
easily interchanged are most definitely a less expensive way to go. The Randolph Rangers I
have been using cost $100 complete with four pair of lenses and a carrying case. The same
outfit with two pair of prescription lenses runs from $200 to $280. The addresses of
companies offering top-quality shooting glasses are included at the end of this column.
Most offer lenses that fit frames made by various manufacturers.