Color Wheel: Shooting Lens Tints & Why They Matter

Your eye protection can also enhance your shooting experience. Here's how.

by
posted on September 22, 2021
Walker's tinted sport glasses with several lens color options

Eye protection should be visible in the range bag of anyone who takes part in the shooting sports, whether it be in competition, recreational plinking or hunting afield. As shooters, we go out of our way to customize our gear to best fit us and its intended use, but how many of us think to shine a light on our eye protection? As it turns out, your eye protection can do a lot more than just protect your eyes. Your choice of color lens can really enhance your shooting experience. I’ll be the first to admit that for the longest time I carried only the basics in my kit, and those were glasses with interchangeable black, clear and yellow lenses. Nowadays the case that I keep my eye pro has a “taste of the rainbow” with all the lens color variations now at my disposal. When testing out new lens options it is always best to go back and forth between your usual “go-to” and the new color tint you’re looking to use to truly see the difference. Check out a few of the available options below:

Yellow – Best worn on cloudy and overcast days, yellow lenses are excellent at enhancing color contrast between your target and its background. The greatest contrast can be seen on black and white targets, but you will notice it on others as well. Think of this option as your normal everyday eyesight…but in HD!

Vermilion – If you happen to find yourself target shooting in a wooded area or any other similar scenario, consider swapping to a vermilion-tinted set of eyewear. This color will enhance targets that are set up against a green background, such as foam animal decoys in a 3D archery shoot. Orange and yellow targets are highlighted better than colors closer to green on the color wheel.

Clear – A set of clear eye protection should be a staple in everyone’s range bag.  Although you won’t be wearing them outdoors on a bright sunny day, these are a must if you find yourself training in an indoor range to ensure you not only protect your eyes, but allow maximum visibility during your practice.

Amber – If your next adventure calls for a heightened sense of depth perception, then this color is highly recommended—as long as you're not shooting in low light conditions. This color also highlights any target that happens to have a green or blue background, such as a wooded tree line or horizon.

Smoke – Eye protection with a smoke or black tint is yet another staple that should be in everyone's range bag. Not only ideal for bright and sunny days on the range, these also double for many as their daily go-to sunglasses when out and about running errands!

Rose - If you enjoy shooting trap and skeet or sporting clays, be sure to test out a pair of rose-tinted lenses. The biggest benefit of this color lens is that it will enhance the orange color of the clay pigeon, making it stand out against the blue sky it is flying through, or perhaps in the case of sporting clays the green wooded background in the distance. This is best used on partly cloudy days when the sun is not too bright. 

Brown- This color lens is a go-to option for waterfowl hunters who find themselves with the rare and elusive sunny day! Cutting down on sun glare while enhancing the bird in flight is a magic recipe for a successful hunt… as long as you do your part.

Purple – Similar to the rose-tinted lenses above, purple tints (especially dark purple) will not only protect your eyes from bright and sunny conditions, but will also greatly enhance the color of the orange clay as it is launched from the thrower through the bright blue sky.

As you can see, there are many ways in which you can enhance your sight to give you an edge in competition or on your next hunt. Test out a few that appeal to you and see what you have been missing!

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