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Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

Posted August 17, 2016 10:10 AM by HUSH

Last time I went shooting at my friend’s fish and game club, I wasn’t a great shot. It’s likely due to general inexperience. Perhaps if I had the advanced eyewear of Olympic sharpshooters, my aim would have been more dead shot than dead sh!t.

Wired recently ran a story about the technology that goes into shooting eyewear. Shooting events do not allow any optical enhancements on the gun itself, as they are only allowed to have open sights. One might think that shooting eyewear is a simple zoom lens that enables the shooter to better focus on the bullseye, but in fact it provides a larger depth of field. Hitting the target requires precise alignment of the two sights on the gun with the center of the bullseye. Without an optical aid, this would require the eye to constantly refocus between two depths.

While they are complicated instruments that can cost a fair amount (this pair starting at €210, with other models’ pricing quickly doubling or more), the important, functional parts of the glasses are just three components: a lens, mechanical iris, and blinders.

The lens is typically ground to a low diopter, such as .5 D. The iris is placed between the lens and the shooter’s eye and allows the shooter to control how much light is perceived. Lower light levels result in longer depths of field, similar to how pinhole cameras operate. Along with the blinders that reduce light in the non-dominant eye, this allows the shooter to accurately view both gunsights and the bullseye. The blinders also serve to block out any potential ambient distractions. Many contestants in air pistol and rifle events choose to wear ear protection to also eliminate distracting noise, despite compressed air firearms being relatively quiet.

Shooting glasses are highly adjustable and customizable. They must be able to meet a wide variety of facial geometries. This Russian competitor engraved symbols from her favorite video games. Some competitors also compete in the three-position .22 caliber rifle event, where their accuracy is tested in kneeling, prone and standing positions. Quick-change shooting eyewear has been developed especially for this event.

Shooting may be one of the less appealing sports at the summer Olympics (hello, beach volleyball) but there is a considerable amount of design and manufacturing that go into its equipment.

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#1

Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/17/2016 10:52 AM

I would think the simpleist solution would be a contact lens, opaque except for a small clear aperture in the center large enough to let in enough light to see but as small as possible to provide the maximum depth of field.

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#2
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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/17/2016 7:13 PM

My guess is that contact lenses have been tried and discarded.

I used to have a .22 with a peep sight and, for target shooting, they are fine.

Not worth a hoot for hunting small game though.

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/17/2016 8:35 PM

I'd never thought about the depth of focus effect of a peep sight before, not having done much shooting. Of course, it's the same principle as stopping down the f-stop on the camera, and a peep sight essentially does that if it's close to the eye.

I see your point, small game probably doesn't stay in one place long enough to make much use of a peep sight.

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/17/2016 8:46 PM

I used to squirrel hunt with a single shot .22 with open sights.

Even if the squirrel's still, going from both eyes to one and a peep sight is very difficult.

I'm more of a traditionalist anyway. Open sights even when pig hunting in AZ. with a pistol.

Javelina are good if properly field dressed and cooked. (BBQ or Pit roasted)

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#5

Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 5:59 AM

"compressed air firearms" that's a new one on me... A good set of target eye wear with peep sights works well, for target shooting, but the iris and minimising light isn't the whole story, with a well set up rifle the rear sight should be a blur not sharply defined, only the fore sight and target spot should be sharp. The eye will naturally find the centre of the rear sight, the US Army IIRC trialled various rear sights including some with concentric rings of holes, as long as the shooters normal eye sight is ok they always found the centre of the sight, the larger ghost ring sights for fast target acquisition are no less accurate than iris peep sights.

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#6
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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 10:06 AM

Does that rear sight blurring effect be true Only when both eyes are open as one aims at the target?

Or it can also be expected to experience during or when using only an eye while sighting a target?

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 10:20 AM

Shooters are trained to always keep both eyes open.

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 12:00 PM

Lyn,

I always put an effort doing just as you and many suggested, to use both eyes...somehow always with very poor results for me! I cannot even account for all spent ammo...at least on the target paper?

I am a right handed with left eye dominant shooter, and with a very pronounced tremors on my shooting hand..

For a semi automatic, At 15 yards I find It a lot easier to hit, although not bullseye but being able to put my shots inside the 10X10 inch sheet of paper target by just using only my left eye to sight!

You may have some suggestion(s) for me / others to improve and better myself?

victor

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 5:58 PM

No, do what's best for you.

When I shoot a rifle, it is shouldered to the right and I shoot right eye dominant.

When pistol shooting, I rest my right cheek against my right shoulder for stability and shoot left eye dominant.

That's what works best for me.

Actually, I don't shoot much at all any more.

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#10
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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/18/2016 10:47 PM

Correct. You should always shoot with both eyes open. But you must train your eyes over a period of time in order to obtain the desired results,and that takes many hours of practice on the range or wherever.

That's how the U.S. Army teaches basic marksmanship during Basic Military Training.

During a firefight, you want both eyes open for situational awareness.

I know I know, I'm OT mentioning this.

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#11

Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/19/2016 10:28 AM

Okay - I suppose I am tainted by being a fan of UCI bicycle racing events, where technology has historically crept in, but this is my problem with Olympic sports - new technology. It is fine when it is ubiquitous enough, and cost has come down to reasonable so that ALL can have access to it, but there is a distinct advantage for large prosperous countries for at least one Olympics and many times two for totally new technology that is expensive. Is this fair?

Did you catch the track bikes the USA had this year - custom built by Felt for the riders. If, let's say, Namibia decided to field a track bike team, would they have been able to afford this? (I picked that country because it did have 1 cyclist in road and time trial events, I suspect self funded)

Away from the bikes for another example. Note that most auto racing sanctioning bodies in the USA have some very strict rules to force competitors to use similar equipment. Indy type cars used to be run what you brung - now they're all very similar. These groups have learned not to let technology get in the way of competition.

To be a fair sporting event, all entrants should be issued similar gear, or have equal access to similar gear. This is to be about the athlete, not his/her available technology.

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#12
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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/21/2016 11:57 AM

You are tainted by having an unrealistic and idealistic view of sports competition today. I could also debate each of your examples, but won't.

If you really want to see how money enters into competitions, look no farther than the America's Cup races.

"It is estimated that Oracle Team USA spent $250-$300 million for the defense of the Cup and another $200 million for the event, ACTV and other sundry items. With their two-boat program, the 130 member team was both deep in sailing and support talent and the largest in numbers."

If we went back to the original Olympics, the all male competitors would all be nude and 90% of the events would not exist.

But I agree that money/technology has overshadowed the human factor in most modern competitions.

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/22/2016 8:35 AM

The America's Cup is about technology, not sport, and is a past time of the rich. I would expect tremendous amount of cash input in that "sport", if it really is that. The Olympics are to be basically about human competition. No one ever expected the technology to go so far as the design of the swim wear. Really? Come on - let the poor countries have a chance.

I'll stay with my favorite sport and say cycling, for instance, where the current competitive cycle costs at least $12000, if you buy one from a store, and not pay an additional $15000 to have it tailor fit to your body. The rules should require the cycle be of the steel frame, 2 ring front cranks on the old internal bearing set bottom bracket driving a 7 speed freewheel to turn 32 spoke wheels - no more technology than a standard man off the street could afford. Go to a weekend yard/ garage sale and you'll find a used one for $25. We see millions of these every year coming from the factories in S E Asia for a price that, corrected for inflation, is about 1/8 th the prices of the early 1980's. The technology is very cheap and still quite usable, as I have a collection of 1980's cycles, I still ride occasionally, which this requirement would mimic. The competitive cycle would then be available for around $200. Then the better rider would be determined - not the better spender of millions of dollars. Unfortunately that would be met with very stiff objections, not from the riders, but from the cycling industry as their high priced bikes could not then be featured in ads touting their Olympic results. It's about money these days - not sport. Despite what Lance said - it is about the bike.

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Re: Olympic Sharpshooting Eyewear

08/22/2016 12:17 PM

If the present day Olympics is a big business venture by itself....then putting a $$ limit to anything related to it, spirit-wise will be counter productive for the business....isn't it?

just saying....although not really related to the OP?

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