“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid” is the most recognized line from the film A Christmas Story (1983) and, arguably, one of the most recognized lines of any of the Christmas classics. This tale of Ralphie’s first Red Ryder BB gun is a cautionary one. Had it not been for the boy’s glasses, he would have, in fact, shot his eye out. Who could forget this memorable scene?
I’ve needed glasses since the third grade, so I’ve relied on them for protection at the range. However, from roughly the age of 25 to 40, I switched to contact lenses. During that time period, I utilized inexpensive shooting glasses or sunglasses. These days, I don’t wear “shooting glasses” since my eyes have now lost their close-range effectiveness, making progressive trifocal glasses a must in order to see the sights. I didn’t really have an interest in adding a pair of shooting glasses to my range bag — at least until I came across the Smith & Wesson M&P Harrier Interchangeable Shooting Glasses last June.
The M&P line by Smith & Wesson has become extensive since it was first introduced, and it doesn’t just include handguns and rifles. “M&P” stands for “Military and Police.” This was first applied to the full-sized .38 Special revolver that later became the famed Model 10. Now the line encompasses a wide range of accessories and tools — among which are no less than eight different and stylish pairs of shooting glasses.
Had it not been for the interchangeable lenses of these shooting glasses, I would not be making a report. If American Outdoor Brand, Inc. had provided me with a pair of shooting glasses that only came with clear lenses, all I could have used them for was eye protection while cutting the grass. However, these shooting glasses comes with four easily interchangeable polycarbonate lenses — Vermillion, Clear Mirror, Smoke and Amber.
The lenses are designed for impact resistance and UV-light protection, making them useful as shooting glasses or sun/fog glasses. When I realized that, I knew I could give them a fair evaluation.
The impact resistance of the lenses is rated as being high-impact (ANSI Z87+). The lenses will shield the eyes from small flying objects or fragments. The UV rating for the lenses (all four of them) is UV400, which means that each will block 100 percent of UV rays. The lenses are also fog-resistant, which comes in handy when moving in and out of high-humidity environments.
A heavy-duty M&P labeled zippered case is included with the glasses. Each set of lenses comes in soft, zippered draw-string pouch to shield them from scratches and nicks. All the lenses fit in the top half of the pouch. A directions slip is included that conveniently fits inside the case too.
The glasses come with the Clear Mirror lenses in place. I decided the best way for me to test out the glasses would be to set them up as sunglasses using the Smoke lenses. Changing the lenses out is easy if you follow the directions. The lenses are released from and secured to the frame by a sliding button located on the temples.
The frames are nicely crafted. They are extremely comfortable and hold the glasses firmly against the head. The rubberized nosepiece is also comfortable, and horizontal ridges on them help to prevent the glasses from slipping down on the face.
Worthy Range Addition
I had my first opportunity to test the glasses during a seven-hour drive to northern Michigan on a clear, sunny day. The wraparound feature of the Smoke lenses prevented light and glare from entering through the sides. The field of view was sharp and clear, unlike with cheap safety glasses. There are no imperfections visible in the front or sides of the lenses. I found I didn’t need to constantly readjust the glasses on my face. For fog driving, as well as shooting, the Amber lenses would work very well. I know some shooters favor vermillion-colored shooting lenses these days for less-vivid light amplification.
The Smith & Wesson M&P Harrier Interchangeable Shooting Glasses are outstanding as sunglasses and should be just as good as shooting or safety glasses. They’ve found a permanent home in my truck. With an MSRP of only $25.99, these are a real bargain considering their quality and versatility.
Smith & Wesson: Store.Smith-Wesson.com
About Scott W. Wagner
After working undercover in narcotics and liquor investigations, Scott W. Wagner settled down to be a criminal justice professor and police academy commander. He was also a SWAT team member, sniper and assistant team leader before his current position as patrol sergeant with the Village of Baltimore, Ohio, Police Department. Scott is a police firearms instructor certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun.