Andrew Tuohy at Vuurwapenblog did a fairly comprehensive test of eye protection. I'm pretty far from a safety nazi when it comes to training, but eye and ear pro are a must. Here's a few YouTube videos showing why you need your eyes and ears. Enjoy.
A "kaboom" can be caused by numerous things, but the most common are firing out of battery, and poorly made handloads. In any case, if you want to keep your eyes, you'll need MIL-PRF-31013 rated glasses. Gloves probably aren't a bad idea either if you're testing a new AR build or getting data on a new handload.
Have fun, but keep all your bits and pieces.