Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Being safe, period

One of the things in cowboy shooting that "breaks the reality" is the shooting glasses. You can get the most period clothing and leather, guns and ammo, but if you're wearing a pair of Oakleys, what does it matter? Should it matter?

The first picture I've posted shows a genuine pair of period correct sharpshooter glasses. See anything wrong with them? There are several things "wrong" with them, first, if they are truly from the period, the glass won't be up to the task of stopping much and could fragment causing more damage. Not good. Next up is the lenses are too small to fully protect the eyes and finally, there is no side protection to prevent a fragment from damaging the eye when you're looking away from the action. Additionallly, these glasses don't have nose pads and the lenses are frosted except at the center of the lens. No, these clearly won't do.

So what are we to do then?

First, I don't know of anyone who makes a set of period glasses with enough protection for shooting. So assume you'll be shooting with something that's less than perfect because you should NEVER compromise your eyes for looking the part, NEVER. If you're willing to do that, you probably aren't reading this blog, because, well you can't.

Well, you can minimize the effect your eyewear has on your appearance by purchasing some glasses that approximate the old look. I've been using a pair of the Peltor XF5 glasses for a while and they look more period than a modern wrap-around uni-lens type pair. No, they aren't really even close if you look carefully, but at a distance, they'll do. I just wish they came in something other than smoke or blue.

Another thing a motivated shooter could do is to find a pair of wire frames with sufficient lens surface and have safety lenses installed. This would allow you to have a prescription put in them as well. Any optometrist can do this or even Wal-Mart or Sam's Club. The only thing you'd have to do then is worry about the sides, the optometrist should have plastic side shields available, but they may not fit the frames, especially the thin wire frames. There are leather side shields available for purchase that will slip on, providing the protection and period look. You could also find some "glacier" sunglasses, they usually have the leather side shields to totally block light and either get or make sure they have safety lenses or rob them of the leather shield.


Judge Mint Day said...

I always thought a guy could make a nice little profit by offering a period correct safety glass with leather side shields...maybe I'll work on that one day for my retirement gig.

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