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Bite The Bullet

Choosing Eye Protection (2009-04-09)

The primary concern for every wargame should be first and foremost the safety of the players. And we cant stress this enough but your eyes must be protected at all times.

Buying eye protection is the first thing you should do when looking to get into airsoft. Here we will discuss different types of eye protection and their advantages and disadvantages.

Mesh Masks are the most basic type of protection, generally the cheapest too. Most are made from a soft flexible green plastic that covers the face as well as protecting the eyes completely by creating a seal with the side of the head. This offers complete protection from all sides. However many people find the feel of the plastic against their head to be uncomfortable and must use their own foam padding bought separately to make the mask more comfortable. For people with glasses the mesh provides good ventilation but on hot or humid days the lack of good breathing ventilation on many masks (not all) may cause fogging. If you can wear contacts instead of glasses, consider it while wearing a mesh mask. It must be said that there are many good mesh masks out there that have good ventilation and offer good protection. However it must also be mentioned that there are several reports of cheap mesh masks being penetrated by some higher powered guns and broken bb shards from impact, so choose wisely when picking a mesh mask.

Paintball Masks are similar to mesh masks in that they protect the entire face and make a good seal from the sides offering complete protection. The clear screen protecting your face offers a better field of view than most mesh masks and doesn't darken your view like a mesh mask. However over time it will accumulate scratches and marks which will make it less convenient to use. Also the ventilation offered by paintball masks isn't as good as mesh masks making them more prone to fogging. Some masks now come with battery powered fans in them to provide ventilation and make the mask more comfortable but remember to consider the noise it makes and the masking on your hearing senses that it would cause.

Goggles are the next on the list and they provide excellent eye protection by creating a full seal with your face from the sides of the goggles, eliminating any risk of ricochets or odd angles from entering your face. However fogging may be a problem. If your goggles are vented, ensure the vents are small enough not to let a BB through. Some goggles come with frames for corrective lenses to be fitted allowing comfortable use for those who require it.

Ballistic glasses offer the least protection to the face, only covering the eyes and having no seal against the sides of your face. They are a favorite of airsoft veterans but remember, when choosing glasses ensure that the fit against your face is tight. Glasses, that are likely to fall or or have large gaps between your skin and the lens are not protective enough for such a sport like airsoft.

And we cannot stress this enough: never remove your eye protection on the field.