Airsoft Face Mask
AIRSOFT FACE MASK
Airsoft is amazing fun but it's not so fun when you end up with a broken tooth, split lip, bleeding face, or worst yet, an injured eye. While it may seem stylish to enter a battle with a set of flashy sunglasses instead of a full Airsoft mask, you may live to regret it after getting hit hard in the face, which can leave a lasting mark. So after getting an Airsoft gun, make sure you invest in a good Airsoft mask for proper protection. Eyes are only just part of that equation.
Eye and face protection often not the first thing new recruits think of, who instead rush onward and upward in search of that first gun only to settle for any old thing for basic protection. Indeed, any basic Airsoft mask or pair of goggles is effective enough but a pause for thought is worth your time and money all the same. After all, the new guys wear those distinctive plastic masks whereas the older players will have traded up to either tactical goggles, more expensive masks or the daredevil operators choice of ballistic spectacles so there must be something to it.
Airsoft masks stop pellets from obliterating eyes and wrecking teeth which is the most important thing so as long as you have any kind of protection then you are good to go. If you push the thinking a little harder however then you will find a few more questions; many players do not think about it until after they have been playing a while or even until the discover the problems that arise in the field.
One of the biggest tactical FUBARs that pop up when using Airsoft masks can often occur after you have bought your first gun and have started using your first mounted optic. When holding a weapon correctly, one should achieve a proper cheek-weld and whilst this is critical when shooting real rifles which actually buck, in Airsoft its more about establishing good habits to maintain a cool, realistic aesthetic to your play behavior. In Airsoft, a proper cheek weld is not actually necessary so often the position of the new player's head while firing is a balance between getting his head low behind the sights as easy as possible but kept away from the stock by the bulky airsoft mask.
Without even realizing it, a new player may be establishing a bad habit of an incorrect cheek weld due to the mask he is wearing and right off the bat, no one bothers to correct him because it does not matter all that much. Having established this basic habit, the new player then purchases and begins using his first optic (often a simple red dot sight) and when he proceeds to use it he now finds it damn fiddly to line his eye up with the scope with his mask getting in the way. New players become frustrated and so start looking at higher mounts or changing their masks.
So, our main point in this article is to stop and consider this point. Arclight and many of his teamsters, along with countless players around the world, prefer the choice of ballistic specs. They offer no more physical presence than a pair of shades and so this option allows the proper cheek-weld position allowing comfortable lining behind an optic even when mounted low on the weapon. Specs have the added advantage of being more comfortable then masks with the minimal contact with the face allowing for less irritation and superior airflow. The clearance also allows sighting right down to low mounts and iron sights which means you do not have to compromise your aiming setup by using a higher mount bracket.
That said, at the price of freedom comes exposure. Specs protect the eyes great but they offer nothing for the rest of your face. Face shots hurt a whole lot and unlucky shots to the mouth can crack and even knock out teeth. This is rare enough that many players operate with specs as they consider it's worth it but still there are cases of spec wearers taking that one in a million shot, breaking a tooth. Some spec wearers combat this by adding face coverage like a shemagh or a half-face mask (and even gumshields) but of course, this begins to combat the comfort and freedom issue and partial Airsoft masks begin to cause positional issues again. This combination is probably the most popular by far because it is the best balance in both protection and freedom.
If you want nothing to get through, then invest in a proper full-face Airsoft mask that won't give away the fact that you were playing Airsoft over the weekend by leaving any marks or permanent damage on your face. Full-face Airsoft masks come in many different shapes and sizes, some with plastic lenses or mesh lenses. Some look basic and functional while others offer superior styling that sets you apart from the crowd. Full-face Airsoft masks share a problem with goggles in that they may be subject to fogging, so some even come with a ventilation fan to keep things clear even when you breathing heavily and fogging everything up. For some players in hot humid climates, resorting to a mesh mask may eliminate fogging but it's definitely harder to see clearly out of a mesh, so it's a tradeoff. There are many paintball masks that are perfectly suited to be used as an Airsoft mask, as long as the ventilation holes are small enough to prevent an airsoft BB from getting through.
But the ultimate form of protection comes in the form of a full helmet integrated with a full-face Airsoft mask. These are increasingly becoming popular and allow players to take on an alter ego identity. But beware that many of these full Airsoft helmets prioritize style over comfort or even safety. While they are made from varying grades of plastic, they may not offer the same ballistic protection as a properly engineered set of goggles or Airsoft mask. Wearing a full helmet may also give the player a false sense of security in taking extra risks when navigating rocky terrain of jumping off ledges. The reality is that Airsoft helmets offer little to no ballistic protection in most cases, and should be considered more for novelty or cosplay applications. And lastly a fully integrated helmet mask can be quite hot to wear.