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Rifle Competitors: Do you always wear eye protection? Login/Join 
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
posted
This question is about formal competition shooting centerfire bolt action rifles. It does not refer to shooting other types of rifles or other types of shooting situations other than competitions when one is spending the time and effort to do as well as possible.
If you meet these criteria and don’t have any choice about wearing some sort of glasses to correct your vision, please answer what you would do if glasses weren’t necessary for that purpose.

This question occurred to me (again) after watching some videos about military sniper competitions. I noted that few, if any, of the snipers representing many different countries wore protective eyeglasses while shooting. In my own experience, wearing glasses while shooting a precision rifle from the prone position is a distracting nuisance at best, and can be a real hindrance under some conditions such as when sweat is dripping onto the lenses. I assume, therefore, that’s the reason snipers in competitions don’t wear them.

I asked this same question a long time ago, but I’d like current information, and I made it a poll so no one would have to put up with criticisms if they answered the “wrong” way in some people’s opinions.

And no one has to insert any lectures about why protective eyewear is a prudent idea. I know all the reasons. I don’t personally shoot any gun without eye protection, but there are reasonably possible situations in which I might decide to not do that in the future.

Thanks for all replies.

Question:
In formal competitions shooting a bolt action rifle do you wear protective glasses?
.

Choices:
Always (100%)
Almost always (90-99%)
Most of the time (50-89%)
Sometimes (10-49%)
Very seldom (1-9%)
Never (0%)

 




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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At least where I shoot in competition eye and ear protection is mandatory. So it's not really something I am deciding on the merits.


“So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong, and strike at what is weak.”
 
Posts: 7742 | Registered: October 14, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by hrcjon:
At least where I shoot in competition eye and ear protection is mandatory.


Thank you.
That pretty much falls in the category of not having any choice just as if it was necessary for vision correction.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigless in
Indiana
Picture of IndianaBoy
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I didn't vote in your poll because the competitions I shoot are with semi-autos and not bolt actions.


In the matches that I shoot it is mandatory, and a shooter can actually be DQed for intentionally removing eye or ear protection during a course of fire.

Long range rifle of course dramatically reduces the chance of splash back from a target. But one kaboom could mean blindness. I wear eye pro every time I shoot. The few times I have been tempted to take it off on my home range I quickly get my head right when I remind myself that being able to see better for that shoot is not worth not being able to see at all if something goes wrong.



Tip for you guys competing in hot weather.

Take multiple sets of eye pro. Have one sitting on the dash of your truck, or in a black painted ammo can, at all times.

Hot eye pro doesn't fog up. Once it reaches ambient temp, it will begin to fog again and it is time to swap it back out for another hot pair.


I use this trick at 3-gun matches in August in Kentucky and I might feel some heat on my temples but I can SEE!!!
 
Posts: 13434 | Location: The Edge of the Ozarks | Registered: December 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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Thanks, IndianaBoy, for the hot glasses tip.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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It's required in matches at my club, not just for shooters, but for match observers as well. Observers covers those who are not shooters, but are in and around the shooting positions.

The only people I have seen not wearing protection are caterers while in their food carts and scorekeepers/match director while indoors doing office stuff.
 
Posts: 17586 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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If you meet these criteria (please see above) and don’t have any choice about wearing some sort of glasses to correct your vision or if wearing eye protection is mandatory, please answer what you would do if glasses weren’t required or necessary for vision correction.




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of myrottiety
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When shooting with Marzy & some of the local crew. My G27 half blowing up was a reminder on why I wear eyes. I always do.

BUT: I'm not a rifle competitor.




Train how you intend to Fight

Remember - Training is not sparring. Sparring is not fighting. Fighting is not combat.
 
Posts: 7863 | Location: Alpharetta, GA | Registered: August 04, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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This is a tricky subject.

Let me just start by saying that I have worn glasses with corrective lenses for over 50 years and they have been bifocals for the last 25 years or so.

My glasses have large lenses and they are polycarbonate, with a titanium frame. I also live in South Texas, where it gets very hot and very humid; I am now well versed in dew point. (Look it up.)

In 38 years of competition, I have never seen or experienced any failures where something was blown back in the shooter's face. A couple years ago, one of our members did have an incident at a match at another location and he got very small shards in his face. He was not wearing glasses, but he was not seriously hurt. This incident is special because it turns out that the barrel was chambered incorrectly and about 1/4 or the case was unsupported in the chamber. Also, this was the second (or more)firing for the case in that unsupported chamber. Further, the rifle was a left port, right bolt setup, one that I abhor because the port is right in the right-handed shooter's face. I am a big proponent of ports away from the face of the shooter and all decent actions come in either configuration; choose wisely.

After that incident, everyone went nuts and started enforcing safety glasses on everyone, including dogs and cows, but that has relaxed now that reality has set in. To recap, this incident was an extreme example of poor workmanship and poor attention to reloading issues. (As I said, this was not the first firing for that brass in that chamber and yet the shooter/reloader dismissed the obvious signs of imminent case failure.) And this was a left port for a right-hand shooter, and still minimal injuries. Modern actions are very strong.

What was interesting is that the blowback followed the line of the port and since the port was on the side and not open at the top, the shards went straight back and not up in the eye, which was 2+ inches above the line of the bore/port. I do not like ports that are open on top and yes there are shooters who have their actions set up that way: port on both sides and open more towards the top. They think it's easier to load once in position. They are wrong.

I did not witness the event, but I saw the aftermath a week later and the pictures. As I said, this was an extreme case of the stupid and that's usually what it takes to get to that point and even with that, nothing serious came of it; just a good story.

Now back to glasses. I wear my glasses while shooting about 50-80% of the time. I don't wear them for protection, I wear them to discern the flags. If they get wet or foggy, I take them off without hesitation. My vision has progressively gotten better for long distance, but my close up vision has gotten worse. The reticle in my scope is set that it's sharp and clear for both uncorrected and corrected vision. I just make sure not to look through the bottom half of my bifocal glasses and that's easy to do.

If my glasses are wet and/or foggy and I would be forced to wear them due to range rules, I would just pull them forward on my nose and look above them through the scope.

So, as I say, I wear them when shooting most of the time, but I do not hesitate to pull them off in bad facial conditions.

When I shoot pistols or a semi or other things, the glasses stay on, but this thread is very specific about bolt action rifle shooting, in competition. And remember that for the longest time people have been shooting without glasses and there has not been an epidemic of blind or one-eyed shooter. Stuff does happen, I totally agree, but if you're (not directed at the OP, just in general) that worried about this, perhaps it's best to use a full face mask or take up knitting. Watch out for those needles.
 
Posts: 2931 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of samnev
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by hrcjon:
At least where I shoot in competition eye and ear protection is mandatory. So it's not really something I am deciding on the merits.[/QUOTE

Same here. once at on informal shoot I did see a hooter with a old 93 Mauser have a head case rapture and blow back into his face. Fortunately he was wearing polycarbonate eye glass. he glasses saved him from getting his eyes damaged from the blowback.
 
Posts: 1778 | Location: Arizona | Registered: June 20, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of samnev
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quote:
Originally posted by samnev:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by hrcjon:
At least where I shoot in competition eye and ear protection is mandatory. So it's not really something I am deciding on the merits.[/QUOTE

Same here. Once at on informal shoot I did see a hooter with a old 93 Mauser have a head case rapture and blow back into his face. Fortunately he was wearing polycarbonate eye glass. he glasses saved him from getting his eyes damaged from the blowback.
 
Posts: 1778 | Location: Arizona | Registered: June 20, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Yeah, that M14 video guy...
Picture of benny6
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Growing up, we never used safety glasses and we never lost an eye. I joined the military and we never used safety glasses in the military on the range. I don’t know if they do now.

Eye protection was required for my aviation job, then my civilian tech job.

I only encountered safety glasses while shooting when going to public/private ranges.

I wear them on the public/private range because I have to. If I’m in the woods, I don’t.

I was a pretty adventurous kid growing up by default and desensitized by the things my dad did with us in the name of old fashioned adult fun. When I was a kid, I never wore a life jacket when we were in the ocean deep sea fishing in a 23’ boat. We only took them out of swells were really really bad.

We would go off roading and rock crawling in an old Willy’s out in the Sierra Nevadas. Had some real close calls too.

I rode a bike without a helmet and crashed all the time. Learning wheelies was painful. I ski without a helmet.

Then moms and lawyers started getting involved and I almost feel like every time I put on my glasses it’s because of them, not because it’s right.

I do wear hearing protection though because I value my hearing and I would be sure to lose my hearing if I didn’t wear it.

I’m not saying things I did in my youth were right or smart, but it shapes your habits and your convictions. I’ll probably die from some stupid thing I did in my youth that I didn’t know was bad for me like cleaning auto parts in a solvent tank with my bare hands. Is your skin supposed to tingle like that?

I will say that if I’m testing a new rifle or testing a hot load, I do willingly and eagerly put on safety glasses as I calculate the risk and decide the need for eye protection is warranted.

Tony.


Owner, TonyBen, LLC, Type-01 FFL
www.tonybenm14.com (Site under construction).
e-mail: tonyben@tonybenm14.com
 
Posts: 3190 | Location: USA | Registered: February 13, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Sigless in
Indiana
Picture of IndianaBoy
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I started my competitive shooting in the world of USPSA.


Bullet splash from pistol bullets on steel is absolutely a real thing. I have seen mildly broken skin. Similar to a bee sting in terms of pain level. In the eye it could have been catastrophic.


I do not wear eye pro to squirrel hunt so I am not trying to assert some ALL SAFETY GLASSES ALL THE TIME mantra.


If you are shooting at anything other than paper, or game, I recommend eye pro.

Under no circumstances should you shoot bird shot at bowling pins without eye pro. Those things throw bird shot back at you like it is designed to do it.
 
Posts: 13434 | Location: The Edge of the Ozarks | Registered: December 04, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Only dead fish
go with the flow
Picture of pessimist
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If glasses were optional at a rifle match, I would opt not to wear them.

I’m all for safety as long as it’s based on a realistic risk and not just a default due to fear of attorneys. Unfortunately, many people take it a little too far. It’s sort of become a mechanism for people to demonstrate to others how much of an “expert” they are. Pretty soon, we’ll have to wear something akin to a welders mask to shoot a gun.

About a week ago, I went to the range to shoot one of my father’s rifles. I had put the glasses on out of habit but they came right off after the first shot. I was at the range alone, thankfully, so I didn’t get a lecture from any of the experts. Had someone seen me, they likely would have injured themselves to get to me or to report me.
 
Posts: 1309 | Registered: March 25, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by NikonUser:
If my glasses are wet and/or foggy and I would be forced to wear them due to range rules, I would just pull them forward on my nose and look above them through the scope.


Although I appreciate all the discussion, that tip alone was worth this thread.
I just tried that technique and found it was easy to position my glasses so that I could see over the top through the scope while the glasses lenses are still between my eyes and the rifle itself.

Thank you!




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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PRS Competition recently just had a kaboom of a bolt rifle in the shooters face. Destroyed an impact action and split the chassis/stock. Best info was that the chambered round was a hang fire that resulted in the bolt being manipulated to chamber another round. When it was pulled rearward - the hang fire ignited finally. Photos of the shooter shows minor injuries to his face and powder residue outlining his safety glasses.

In the world of firearms this mantra remains always true..... It's not a matter of if, it's when.

Andrew


Duty is the sublimest word in the English Language - Gen Robert E Lee.
 
Posts: 562 | Registered: May 01, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by El Cid 92:
PRS Competition recently just had a kaboom of a bolt rifle in the shooters face. Destroyed an impact action and split the chassis/stock. Best info was that the chambered round was a hang fire that resulted in the bolt being manipulated to chamber another round. When it was pulled rearward - the hang fire ignited finally. Photos of the shooter shows minor injuries to his face and powder residue outlining his safety glasses.

In the world of firearms this mantra remains always true..... It's not a matter of if, it's when.

Andrew


Yep, I've heard of those. But this was not during actual firing, this was during action cycling. If I pull the trigger and it goes click and I know there is a live cartridge in there, I roll away from the rifle and I wait for at least 10 seconds. Then I just up and down the bolt and try again. If still no satisfying bang, then I'm half up and I have to remove the cheek piece to pull the action out to take the cartridge out. This is a special situation and needs to be treated as such.
 
Posts: 2931 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 20, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by El Cid 92:
a hang fire


Any information about the ammunition available?




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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[I stated above that our matches require eye protection.]

I would always wear eye protection during a match, even if match rules did not require it. 'Been hit by spalling in the forehead, never found the piece but I'm guessing it was a separated jacket off steel plate.

I only have two eyes and I need the both.
 
Posts: 17586 | Registered: August 12, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Freethinker
Picture of sigfreund
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quote:
Originally posted by LDD:
I'm guessing it was a separated jacket off steel plate.


Can you tell us the firearm, caliber, and target distance?




“I can’t give you brains, but I can give you a diploma.”
— The Wizard of Oz
 
Posts: 39736 | Location: 10,150 Feet Above Sea Level in Colorado | Registered: April 04, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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