As an NRA Instructor we don’t emphasize one thing enough in my opinion, the benefits of safety glasses. We mention the safety rules over and over, but only gloss over hearing protection and safety glasses. I was looking at a forum recently and a link was provided to yet another forum where a gentleman discussed a freak accident which happened with his semi-automatic pistol. The slide separated while shooting and one half went downrange while the other came back and hit him in the safety glasses, deflected off hitting his face, nose and top lip. I believe his stitch count was 25 for the injury and had he not been wearing glasses he would have lost his eye. Here is a photo of that broken slide and the glasses with the blood still on them. I’ll save you the photo of his face, but if you are interested it was originally posted on BladeForums.
Another reason for the eyewear is to keep brass from spent rounds from being ejected into your eye. I’ve been hit my brass from my own pistol as well as from those shooting nearby. Most of the time it does not hit the glasses, but having safety glasses on helps protect my eyes and I only have two. I’ve also been hit by a ricochet, but admittedly that was in the hand. Again, the glasses help protect my eyes since anything an happen. Also if you clean you glasses you can often find residue on them and they are protecting your eye from that residue.
Norm Abram said it best each week on The New Yankee Workshop, “there is no more important safety rule than to wear these — safety glasses.”