If you are under age 40, and you laughed at the title of this essay, you should think again. If you manage to survive the next decade or two, you will want to have learned this lesson early, while reading glasses can be picked up at any dollar store by the handful. Or, after the SHTF, you can try to build your own from scratch, lenses and all. Good luck with that, by the way!
Why do reading glasses matter? Because even in a hunting, camping, or boogaloo survival situation, you will occasionally need to focus on small but critical things, like the windage and elevation knobs on your rifle scope, or the laughably named “instruction manual” printed in tiny font that came with it. This is what an exposed scope knob looks like in the field when an old guy forgets his reading glasses:
And if you still have the tiny instruction sheet that came with it, this is what it looks like. (Or the sheet that came with your ChiCom tactical radio, etc.)
Good luck making sense out of that!
Old guys can be great operators. They have a lot of advantages over young guys. For example, we don’t whine about aches and pains, we get by just fine on almost no sleep, and since we’re up taking a leak a few times a night anyway, we’re perfect for standing watch while the young ones are getting their deep beauty rest.
And with modern rifle scopes, we’re still in the tactical game at all ranges. With the right scope, we have no problem hitting anything a kid can hit at any distance. Trust me on that. Good scopes make ALL the difference!
But when it comes to our eyes, most of us can’t focus worth a damn on tiny print, or the little carved markings on that great scope’s elevation and windage knobs. Let me tell you, it’s a BIG problem when you just can’t make out which way that little arrow is pointing for right-left or up-down. If you just make a guess, you will probably make your problem worse. Sometimes you just have to focus on tiny stuff. There is no other option. And calling over a young kid to help out “grandpa” just makes your shit look weak. Eff that noise! Not to mention, there is not always a sharp-eyed young kid around when you need one.
Today, most old guys already go into the field with some reading glasses. But in the heat of the moment, as when taking your rifle sling off and you forget you parked your readers on top of your head, you stand a great chance of flinging them unnoticed off into the underbrush, never to be seen again, or busting off the hinged ear piece, leaving you with an awkward one-legged POS that won’t stay put on your face. And even if they are always secured in a case in your pocket, it’s a PITA to get them out, use them, and put them back, while your hands should be on your carbine. And sooner or later, you’ll lose or break them anyway.
So here is the solution I came up with, when I tried to salvage a decent pair of readers after the ear pieces broke off at their hinges. I used black bootlace string to replace the ear pieces, and glued the ends of the strings to the broken hinges with a drop of Gorilla Glue. Other glues or epoxies would also work, but the original GG has held up for a year. The string has no adjustment, they fit just snugly enough that the sides act as earpieces and the glasses stay in place. Just yank them down over your nose and shove them under your shirt to get them safely out of the way, but ready for another use.
I have done tactical courses and weekend outings (remember Camp Boogaloo?) and they have served me better in the field than any other readers I’ve ever owned. In the field, I never take them off. Sleeping, they are under my t-shirt, no bother at all, but always ready when you need them. Normally I’d bust a pair of hinged reading glasses in a day or two of training, but these have held up for months and are still going strong.
If you are a young guy and have great eyesight for all distances, that’s great, but trust me, your perfect eyeballs won’t stay that way forever. Go out and buy a bunch of cheap readers now from 1.25X to about 2.5X. Or, when the time comes and you can’t buy a pair of readers for love or money, you can just make a guess, from memory, about which way is R or L or UP on your scope knob. You’ll guess wrong, and you won’t hit anything worth a damn. Then you’ll be making all kinds of piss-poor excuses about why “the old guy” can’t even get a basic damn zero on his rifle, or figure out his tactical radio. No way, dude! No excuses!
Instead, get some tactical prepper survivalist SHTF boogaloo reading glasses that will never let you down, that you can’t break, and you can’t lose.