Airsoft is a sport that uses replica guns that fire plastic pellets, and although it’s an activity designed for fun, there’s still the potential for injury.
Airsoft protective gear encompasses many things including masks and goggles, but there are specific features that make this gear effective for the sport, so it’s not always best to rely on paintball masks or ski goggles for protection.
So, is a paintball mask suitable protection for a game of airsoft?
Protecting your face is essential when you’re shooting an airsoft gun, just like during a paintball match, so if you’re in a bind or just starting out it’s probably okay to wear a paintball mask but not recommended. For the best coverage, you’ll need to invest in in a dedicated airsoft mask that has all of the ideal features to protect against fast and furious BB pellets that will come your way.
Airsoft players require a few different pieces of protective gear and many people wonder if these can be substituted from other sports or activities.
We’re going to check out other safety gear used in snow sports and paintball to see if they can be used in airsoft, or why you might need to upgrade to something made for this purpose.
Can You Use a Paintball Mask for Airsoft?
As sports that involve the use of replica weaponry that can deliver genuine physical damage to its players, protective gear like masks are always required and not something you’d want to risk being without.
If you already own a paintball mask and want to interchange and use this for airsoft, you’ll be able to do so in a bind, but it’s generally recommended to purchase one made just for this combat sport.
A paintball mask is typically a full faced design that covers you with one single piece of material and it’s made to withstand quite an impact.
For first time players or people who haven’t upgraded all of their gear yet, using a paintball mask for airsoft will usually provide you with adequate protection for one game. However, because it wasn’t designed for the specifics of this game, it can’t do everything that an airsoft mask can.
Airsoft masks come in two different styles, full face or half face. As a personal preference every player has, you’ll have to decide which is right for you.
The difference that these masks have compared to paintball ones, is they can be limited in their vision range and not as comfortable to wear.
This will impact your performance in a match and your ability to fire with accuracy.
The most important part to keep protected during an airsoft game is your eyes which is why most masks will make this their priority.
Some players might choose just to wear goggles and others will want the full face protection, but again it’s a personal preference that everyone has to decide for themselves.
Can You Use Safety Goggles For Airsoft?
Considering that eye protection is the biggest safety concern for the airsofter, would it not be okay to just wear safety goggles instead?
Safety goggles are usually designed for other purposes like on a worksite, and not designed to withstand the speed and ferocity of a BB pellet coming at you with full force, so it’s not recommended.
Choosing eye protection for airsoft needs to go far beyond just substituting with a product made for another purpose. There is the very real potential to do damage to your eye, and possibly even lose your sight in the worst-case scenario, so it’s not something that should be taken by chance.
Safety goggles might be ideal for situations like welding or construction sites, but airsoft goggles are designed for this sport specifically. Airsoft goggles should be certified and categorized by their strength and capabilities and should be easy to find this certification.
Ideally, you’ll want something capable of withstanding impact from a small object traveling up to 620fps to be protected to cover you for all types of airsoft guns.
Can You Use Ski or Snowboard Goggles For Airsoft?
You might be tempted to pull out your snow gear and attempt to use ski or snowboard goggles for airsoft in an attempt to save some time and money.
When it comes to the type of protection required for this sport though, these snow-related eye protection products simply won’t provide you with enough coverage.
Ski masks and has a few different features that make it perfect for hitting the slopes, but when you’re using it to protect your eyes and face against an airsoft BB, none of them will do you any good. They feature a thin lens that won’t protect from a fired BB, are tinted for cold weather conditions, and might even have a restricted field of view.
Snow gear isn’t made to be a piece of safety protective gear and shouldn’t be treated that way. It can be tempting if you’re new to the sport or stuck in a bind without any eyewear to take to a match, but ti simply won’t cut it.
When you’re dealing with fast-firing pellets and need the freedom to move your head and a clear line of sight, choosing a mask or goggles made for airsoft is going to offer you that.
Why Should You Always Wear Eye Goggles in Airsoft?
Those new to the sport of airsoft might wonder if protective gear is all that necessary, but it’s something you’ll realize the answer to when you’re just a few minutes into your first match.
Airsoft guns might be replicas but they have the very real potential for doing serious harm, and especially when it comes to your eyes.
According to statistics compiled by the National Institute of Health, around 2.4 million cases of eye injuries present to emergency departments each year. Airsoft guns are a leading cause of these injuries, especially within children, but they can be easily prevented with the right protective gear on the eyes.
Any cuts or bruises to the skin can be easily healed, but receiving damage to the eye from an airsoft BB can cause serious and lifelong consequences.
Therefore, eye protection should be the number one priority of the airsoft gamer and a piece of equipment that is taken very seriously. A good pair of airsoft goggles should have the following features:
- A minimum single front system that protects the eyes;
- Viewing area that gives clear visibility and a full field of vision;
- Anti-fog properties to prevent condensation;
- Durable and safety certified plastic shield for the eyes;
- Possible two pieces with the second part to cover the bottom half of face;
There are varying models of airsoft goggles to suit the specific needs of the player, but in general, they will meet all of these recommendations.
Avoid the temptation to cheap out and use ski goggles or your snowboard mask from last winter because when it comes to protection against a fast and powerful BB, it won’t be any help.
Is Airsoft More Dangerous Than Paintball and Why?
You might be considering a venture into airsoft sports and wondering if it comes with more or less dangers than paintball.
While we could label both an extreme sport, airsoft is probably more intimidating for the player due to the increased FPS the BBs travel at and the lifelike look of the guns you’re using.
The standard FPS of an airsoft BB is between 300 – 450FPS versus paintball which can only reach up to 300 FPS as a restricted standard.
The design of what’s being fired also has an impact on their injuries. A BB pellet is small and has the potential to pierce the skin if hit correctly. Paintballs are wider and with more surface area so when they hit the body, they may leave a bruise, but won’t usually pierce the skin.
Both sports come with their own potential threats and injuries, which is why such emphasis is put on protective gear. Airsoft pellets are designed to deliver a bit of a punch but they should never harm anyone seriously.
With the right protective gear on you’ll feel the hit but not be affected by it, so not only is it crucial for your safety but also your performance in the game.
To be a proficient and safe airsoft player, it’s important to be knowledgable of all aspects of the game.
These are some common questions you might come across as you learn about the sport and how to be most prepared for a match.
What Types of Airsoft Masks Are There?
There are a few options when choosing an airsoft mask and your preference will depend on comfort and practicality.
- Half face: These masks protect just the eye area and could be either a mask or goggles.
- Full face: Either a single or two-piece full face mask with protection from head to neck.
- Steel mesh: Offering more breathability, a steel mesh mask is lightweight but may not protect from shattered BBs.
- Plastic: A durable plastic is used for these masks as it’s designed to be impenetrable from airsoft BBs and won’t be affected by shattered pellets.
When Should You Wear Your Mask?
People might feel a little odd walking around in their airsoft mask waiting for a match to start, but it’s a safety measure you should be mindful of. Check the rules of your local airsoft field or facility for what’s recommended.
Some places will require all players to wear protection upon entry and keep their mask on for the entirety of the match.
What Other Safety Gear is Required For Airsoft?
Good eyewear is just the beginning when it comes to safety gear used for airsoft. Players could go as detailed or as simple as they felt comfortable with, and depending on how much protection they want.
Other items designed for protection include:
- Gloves: Thick but flexible gloves like armored gloves, fingerless gloves, and half finger gloves are all worn for airsoft.
- Helmets: Durable helmets to cover the entire head and take away the impact of being shot.
- Pads: Kneepads and shoulder pads can protect you during a skirmish or match when you’re kneeling or crawling.
- Barrel blocker: If your gun has no safety features built in, a barrel blocker can prevent it from firing unintended shots.