I get this question asked at events and clinics: "Do different colored lens shooting glasses really make a difference"?
Simple answer: YES!
You can spend thousands of dollars on a new trap grade shotgun, hearing protection, shooting gear, top grade ammunition, and all the latest gadgets that shooters use... but I'm always reminded of one simple phrase I've been told: "You can't hit them if you can't see them".
One of our main points we talk about is consistency. When you can see the target better, you're giving yourself an advantage to be more consistent on the line.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
When you're first looking into new glasses, here's some things that I will recommend you watch for:
You want the frames being comfortable. A great option are the All-American frames from L & M Lenses. I'm all about customization to fit the individual shooter, and these frames do exactly that.
These frames wrap around my face more than conventional glasses, and they have a rubber coating that wraps behind my ears. Personally, it feels like they fit better and stay in place better while shooting than a regular frame style.
L & M Lenses has the option to customize the overall frame size & temple size. Quickly, your temples are on each side of your face just outside your eyes/eyebrows, essentially where your face starts to turn. This measurement from temple to temple will give you a much better fitting frame versus just the total size of the glasses.
If the frames are too small, you might get headaches or feel too much pressure around your head. The lenses might also have a tendency of falling out because essentially the frames are stretching larger than the posts holding the glass inserts allow for. You want the frames tailored to you, the shooter, to achieve their best fit with no worries on the lens inserts falling out.
If the frames are too large, you'll feel like they are bouncing around while wearing. Again, consistency. If you have glasses that sit differently while out shooting, this could cause inconsistencies that lead to missing targets.
I always recommend to check out the frames in person at a trap shoot (if possible). It's always easier to find the right fit when you're able to test them out first and know what you're looking for.
Check out https://lmlenses.com/sizing-chart/ for more info
2: Lens Cut
Having the correct insert is another critical component that will allow the shooter to get the most out of the shooting glasses. The All-American set from L & M Lenses wraps further around to help eliminate side light and the view of the lens edge. Another benefit is in heavy winds, the glasses will cut down on the amount of air flow or debris (clay dust, pollen, dirt, etc) passing through, which will keep your eyes from watering as much as normal glasses.
3: Insert Color
Because this is a longer topic that will be gone into greater length in our next segment, I'll just put that finding the right color for you is critical to seeing the target. Matt and I both have a large number of colors to fit the background, lighting, and cloud coverage.
4: Side Shields
Side shields are inserts that can be placed on each side of the frame. These allow for sight blocks so any movement on each side is not seen, and you can focus on what's in front of you. They also can help with shooting early mornings or late evenings when the sun is lower and potentially almost giving you a blinding effect. Last, side shields can help with windy days, giving you more protection against air passing behind the glasses.
These are a great tool for shooters, but not all shooters like them. My advice, have a set with in case they are needed, but try them out first starting on a practice to see if its something that you want to use going forward.
WHY SO MANY COLORS, AND WHAT SHOULD I START OFF WITH?
This is probably one of the most asked questions, and rightfully so.
When starting out, you want to find the right color for you to essentially blend or neutralize the background/sky together as much as possible, while "popping" the orange in the target.
The benefit with going with an All American set of glasses is that you can mix and match lens colors of your preference in your case to fit the conditions of the day. Matt and I both have a case or two full of different colors, different color intensities/shades, and backup lenses if needed.
A good recommend starting pack is the 3-Lens set. This will allow you a good set of options for clouds/sun and typical backgrounds.
At L & M, they offer about every color you can think of. Purples, reds, vermilion, bronzes, greys, yellows, oranges, etc.
The color preferences of the lenses will be different for each individual shooter..just because mom, dad, brother, sister or friend wears one color doesn't mean it will work for you, and this is why:
As google defines: "The human eye and brain together translate light into color. Light receptors within the eye transmit messages to the brain, which produces the familiar sensations of color."
Because everyone's eyes translate light and color differently, what makes a target "pop" for them, might not make the target do the same for you.
A prime example is Matt vs myself:
Matt has a slight red-green color deficiency. How he sees targets is completely different than most. (For any color deficient shooters, this might help you as well)
Yellow/Orange lenses will blend the target into the background for him. As Matt states, "everything just turns yellow with these colors".
Matt went on to say "Purple lenses will turn the any clouds/background blue, and will pop the target to a yellowish hue. This is good for either super bright days or days where its bright with white clouds in the background"
Typically, Matt will run a lot of reds/vermilion. The reason for that is because "If its a nice blue sky, it will turn it a dark blue to purple(ish), the grass will be a darker brown, and the target pops into a bright yellow..however, if there's white clouds in the background, I'll run the purple lenses"
Personally, the yellow/orange lenses will pop the orange for me. The purple lenses will tone down the blue/green and enhance the orange really well, and most of the red colors he runs will actually make the target turn white in the middle for me..which is not exactly what I'd want to run on a cloudy day.
I've found purple shades do the best for me at the locations we shoot that have more green trees and over all more green vegetation.
Here's a quick rundown of some color options, and *typically* what you'll expect to see from them: For a more detailed look at color options, check out: https://lmlenses.com/lens-color-chart/
Yellow/Orange Lenses: Yellow and orange colors tend to work great for cloudy/hazy days, or dusk or dawn shooting where there is lower light. These colors help enhance and define the orange in the low light conditions. A lot of shooters will switch to this color for "shoot offs" when shooting in the afternoon or under the lights at night.
Purple Lenses: Purple colors are very popular, they tend to give you great contrast of the orange target against green/blue backgrounds. They will enhance and pop/define the orange, while dampening the greens. Works well if shooting in an area with heavy tree lines or where you have more coastal blue sky showing.
Red/Vermilion Lenses: Red and Vermilion colors are very popular as well. These colors will dampen the greens, while popping and defining the orange. You'll see a lot of color deficiency (red-green) using these colors as they define the target the best for those shooters. Another good option for those shooting in heavy tree lines.
Brown/Bronze Lenses: These lenses are good reducing light on bright days, giving better attention to the orange on the clay target. These typically are worn when shooting with an open background. Hunters or outdoor enthusiasts will find this color as a great option, or while snowing as it relaxes the eye and doesn't give them as much "eye strain".
Grey Lenses: Grey is a great "all around" option for reducing the light around you. Grey will transmit colors on a more broad spectrum, thus you see all colors more evenly. This is good for bright conditions. However, grey does not pop or enhance the orange of the clay target. Many rifle and pistol shooters will enjoy this color.
To conclude this blog, I strongly recommend you checking out colors with a specialist at a shooting event. Typically, they have various color wheels with many of the lens options. You can look through them and see what colors and intensities work best for you.
If you cant make it to a trap shoot, give Mike at L & M Lenses a call at 802-343-0828. He's great to talk with and very knowledgeable.
Thanks for reading!
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