Safety Goggles for Protesting

I exercise my first amendment rights to peaceable assembly from time to time, although covid certainly makes me think twice about being anywhere in a large group these days. Nonetheless, having seen footage of recent protests, I decided I should get a pair of safety goggles for any future protests I might attend. I have three main criteria:

1. Passes MIL-PRF 32432 High Velocity Impact Standards. Should my eye have the misfortune to encounter a rubber bullet, I would like to still be able to see with that eye subsequently.

2. Doesn’t make me a target. If I’m ostentatiously covered in protective gear, that might be seen as an invitation to attack me. It also makes it easier to claim that I’m some kind of ‘agitator’. So I would like a pair of goggles that doesn’t look too different from a pair of glasses.

3. Keeps out tear gas. Should fully seal against my face, ideally with a D5 rating (resistant to fine dust).

Other features, such as anti-fog and transition (gets darker in bright light) coatings, comfort, low cost etc. are desirable, but not required.

I’ve spent a couple hours scouring the Internet for such a product, but I have yet to find something that meets more than two of the main criteria. Here are some examples:

Pyramex Safety Torser Safety Goggles: https://www.discountsafetygear.com/pyramex-safety-torser-safety-goggles.html . Does NOT meet criteria 1. Meets criteria 2. Meets criteria 3: creates a pretty good seal (rated D4 for dust, but not D5 for fine dust). Other: cheap, anti fog.

Pyramex SB7080SDT I-Force Sporty Dual Pane Anti-Fog Goggles: https://www.amazon.com/Pyramex-Strap-Temples-Indoor-Outdoor-Anti-Fog-SB7080SDT/dp/B006WPSF72?th=1 . Meets criteria 1. Meets criteria 2. Does not meet criteria 3: might kind of seal against my face if I pulled it extremely tight, has no rating for dust resistance. Other: anti fog, transition coating.

Pyramex GC504TN Capstone Safety Goggles Chemical Green Frame Clear Lens Anti-Fog: https://www.rajsupply.com/pyramex-gc504t.html . Meets criteria 1. Does NOT meet criteria 2: it would be very obvious that I was wearing industrial-grade eye protection. Meets criteria 3 (probably): makes a full seal and has vent caps although it is not specifically dust rated. Other: cheap, anti-fog.

So, does anyone know of a product that does meet all three of my criteria? I suppose if you think my criteria are wrong I’d be interested in hearing your logic. If no such product exists, does anyone have experience modifying eyewear? I’ve thought of trying to add a good seal to a product that meets criteria 1 and 2, but I’d really rather have something that’s been tested and rated.


  • Comments (9)

    • 4

      If you have special gear on and you are near an area where protests are ongoing, yes maybe that makes you a target.  However, a meta analysis in the Lancet emphasizes that eye protection is also important to protect from the novel coronovirus.  So maybe if protective eyewear becomes more widespread you won’t stick out so much.  What kind of helmet are you looking at wearing?

      • 4

        Perhaps, but I’d still rather stay as low-key looking as possible. I don’t have a protesting helmet. I’d say it’s pretty hard not to stand out if you’re wearing a rock climbing helmet (that’s what I saw recommended by Hong Kong protesters, who were facing pretty similar conditions).

      • 5

        It seems that looking like a cyclist/messenger/delivery person wearing a helmet and protective eyewear would be a low key looking as one could get aside from wearing no protective gear at all.  In any case, anyone who wants protection from droplets and aerosols for covid should wear eye protection.

    • 5

      Good thinking.  I just ordered the first two options for COVID (not protesting) protection.

      • 7

        Cool! I’d be very interested to hear what you think of them when you get them.

        Especially whether it’s possible to cinch the second one against your head tightly enough to make a seal.

    • 9

      Is there a substance you could use to help make a more complete seal against tear gas?

      • 5

        That’s an interesting idea. I would normally use Vaseline to help equipment seal against skin, but I’ve read that oil-based substances can trap the tear gas on your skin; for that reason people are advised to avoid oil-based sunscreens etc.

    • 10

      Has anyone tried the Bolle Ultim8 goggles? They are only ANSI Z87.1-2010 / ANSI Z87.1-2015 /Z87+ rated, but are D5 when worn with the retainer strap, and can take a prescription. I am wondering whether folks think wearing them under a full face respirator would provide enough protection from tear gas and projectiles.

      EDIT: prescription lenses will be ANSI and impact rated.

    • 2

      My options are fairly limited, as I already wear prescription safety lenses.

      I do have a pair of OTG goggles. They don’t seal against my face as well as I  would like.

      I have thought about swim goggles under my glasses. Haven’t thrown the money yet, I don’t usually find myself in situations where tear gas is involved, so it isn’t  a high priority issue for me.