Seeing Clearly: Learn to Fight Without Glasses or Contacts

During an attack, your glasses could easily get knocked away, causing your vision to become significantly impaired.

During an attack, your glasses could easily get knocked away, causing your vision to become significantly impaired.

Can you effectively shoot at, and hit, a moving target if your glasses fall off?

Can you defend yourself against a fast-moving grab or punch if your contacts pop out? Thousands of gun owners and practitioners of self-defense wear contact lenses or glasses. Whatever the vision challenge–nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism–these issues can degrade one’s sight if those essential devices are gone. Yet many of these people never train with their firearm or martial art in methods of self-defense without their glasses or contacts.

Tactical training: Aiming with glasses on.

Aiming with glasses on.

For simplicity, I will only refer to the circumstance of glasses falling off or being knocked off, but everything mentioned will be the same as someone’s contacts coming out or becoming fogged. During an attack, your glasses could easily get knocked away, causing your vision to become slightly or significantly impaired, depending upon how bad your uncorrected eyesight is. As you can imagine, this can prove to be extremely dangerous for a number of reasons, not being able to clearly see your intended target being one of the most important of all.

Tactical training: Aiming with glasses off.

Aiming with glasses off.

When it comes to defensive handgunning, there is an ongoing disagreement in the training community about sighted fire and point shooting. One could argue that point shooting would come in extremely handy if your vision is not up to par. The argument over the two shooting styles would take up another article, so I will not get into it here.

However, in a situation where your glasses are knocked off or become useless, point shooting can prove to be better for the obvious reason that you might become unable to accurately use your sights. So how does anyone know what their reaction will be if they lose their glasses? It is simple: participate in any of the firearms training that you normally do now, but without the use of your glasses or contacts. You may realize that this exercise is much harder than anticipated.

Of course, your first priority of any training is to do so safely and in a safe environment. I’m not here to give you a sermon in firearm safety, so I’ll skip over the whole safety lecture—you know the drill. But do remember to wear nonprescription safety glasses even after removing your prescription lenses.

[Editor note: If you suffer from particularly severe vision loss, be sure to have adequate supervision and safety checks  in place.]

If your standard practice of handgun training is shooting at single or multiple targets, try shooting with your glasses on for a few rounds, then try it the same way without your glasses. Hopefully after doing this time after time, your body motions will be fixed to the target whether you are wearing glasses or not.

This, however, proves to be a bit more difficult with training exercises such as shooting on the run, shooting from behind cover, loading drills, and related exercises. After a while, you will get the hang of it, and it will prove to sharpen your skills in many different ways. This type of training, like any other valuable training, should stay with you and benefit you in the event of a violent encounter. If you are caught in a situation where your glasses fall off or are obstructed, you will be that much more aware of how you will react.

Tactical training: Some sights, like these 24/7 Big Dot Express tritium sights by XS Sights, provide a sight picture to aid the vision impaired.

Some sights, like these 24/7 Big Dot Express tritium sights by XS Sights, provide a sight picture to aid the vision impaired.

Even if you have your glasses on or your contacts in, there are other vision-related hazards you might need to consider. Weather, for one, can play a part in obstructing your vision. Glasses can and will become impaired by falling rain or blowing snow or dust. Heat or extreme cold can make your glasses fog up, and contacts could be affected by blowing dust or dirt. Any firearms or self-defense training can be amped up by emulating the elements of bad weather to help determine how you will react to these factors.

Glasses fitted with transition lenses, which darken while in the sun but go back to normal when you go inside, are something else to be aware of. Unfortunately, sometimes those lenses are still very dark when you enter a room. This could hinder your vision if you are entering a dark building. It may take a while for those lenses to adjust. This could prove to be just as dangerous as losing your glasses. Shooting at night or in very low light situations will also show you that your vision and reactions will be different, with or without glasses.

 

Get out there and practice as much as you can on the topics mentioned, because you don’t want to find out that you cannot function properly when your sight is hindered.

 

After doing any type of firearms training or self-defense type physical training without the use of your glasses or contacts, you will likely realize that it is possible to thwart an attack, hit an intended target, stop a threat, and survive an incident even if your glasses come off or contacts are hindered in some way.

Get out there and practice as much as you can on the topics mentioned, because you don’t want to find out that you cannot function properly when your sight is hindered.

 

[ Jerrod S. Smelker is the owner and senior instructor for Edge Advantage Consultants, a Michigan based business which conducts seminars and courses for law abiding citizens in the subjects of crime prevention, firearms, safety and security. Smelker is also an instructor with the Online Police Academy’s Officer Safety, Security and Survival course for law enforcement and security personnel. He can be reached at jsmelker@hotmail.com ]

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