Playing paintball with your friends or family is a great way to improve on teamwork and coordination. When you are involved in a game of paintball, you need special tools and protective gear in order to protect yourself from hurt and bruises that you can get when performing tactical maneuvers which sometimes involve rolling on the ground or going through thick bushes.
The helmet protects your head from injuries by covering your head with padded material all round. The helmet is held in place by straps that are fastened and can be tightened under your chin or behind your head.
In this article, we take a deeper look into the construction of different paintball helmets that are available for purchase in the market, compare them and advise buyers on what they need to consider when they are in the market for a paintball helmet.
What you need to know about the paintball helmet
The rudimentary function of having a paintball helmet during a game of paintball is for protecting your head, eyes, and nose from possible damage. While paintball is relatively a safe sport, accidents can occur and you need to do your best in order to protect your face. Paintballs shatter when they land on a surface and cause the dye in them to splash. Splashing the paintball dye in your open face can lead to some of the paint finding its way into your eyes and ears. This is a situation that any paint baller should avoid. By donning a helmet that fits well over the face, you can protect your ears, nose, and eyes from the paintballs that land on you.
The paintball helmet basically consists of a spherical shaped top that fits the size of most peoples head. The inner space where your head goes has padding made of soft materials that protect your head from hitting hard surfaces should there be any incident where you crash into a hard surface.
The bottom part has straps that are used to fasten the helmet and hold it in place on your head. Some helmets come with straps that attach below the chin, while some have straps that attach behind the head. Others combine both straps that can be fastened below the chin as well as behind the head for a more secure fit.
The front of the helmet has a viewing space that goes over the eyes when the helmet is worn. Depending on the helmet brand you have, the viewing angle on the eyes can be wide or limited. Helmets with limited vision angles need one to turn their whole head to look at different angles.
Helmets that have a wider viewing space enable the paintballer view large angles without having to turn the head. Some helmets come with no cover over the eyes, but have a gap that fits protective goggles. This enables the paintballer donning the helmet wear goggles with the helmet.
Below the viewing space, there are breathable protective covers that go over the mouth. The material used to make the mouth protection covers on most helmets have mesh design fabric that enables air to pass through easily enabling the wearer of the helmet easy breathing even after wearing the helmet for a long time. The same breathable fabric that is used to make the mouth protection cover is also used on protective pads that go over the ears. The mesh design on the fabric enables air circulation in the interior parts of the helmet thereby allowing heat dissipation.
Some helmets have a solid metal structure and instead of the mesh fabric, they have metallic mesh covers that protect the mouth and ears while at the same time allowing airflow into the interior of the helmet.
Common Features on a Paintball Helmet
The helmets come in variety of shape and sizes. Some come with accompanying accessories and have features that are more advanced than others. The features on more advanced models of paintball helmets make them a bit pricier than paintball helmets that have only the basic features. We have discussed some of the features common on paintball helmets in the section below.
Interior cushion padding
Paintball helmets have interior padding on the interior that is mostly made of cushion material. The padding absorbs impact when the exterior of the helmet is hit and avoids transfer of the energy to the head of the person who is wearing the helmet. The padding on some helmets is removable and replaceable which allows the user to use the helmet for longer by replacing the padding pieces as soon as they get worn out.
The straps that hold the helmet in place for most helmets are adjustable in length and allow for varying the tightness or looseness of how the helmet fits. The adjustable straps allow the use of the paintball helmet by people who have different sized heads. Occipital dial adjustments on high end helmets allow varying of the size of the spherical top part of the mask making it fit over any size of head.
Accessory attachment ports
High end paintball helmets have ports either on the front or back of the helmet that fit compatible accessories. The sides of the helmet above the ears on some masks also feature straps that can be used to hold accessories such as torchlights, digital cameras, precision lasers, and night vision goggles.
Detachable mouth and ear protection covers
Some Paintball helmets also come with detachable mouth and ear covers that have impact absorbing metal mesh covers on the exterior and soft padded mesh fabric on the interior. The detachable mouth and ear covers allow the user to use the helmet separately when they are in practice mode and attach the covers only when they want to go full combat mode.
There are paintball helmets that have a solid structure with a seamless design that combines the top part and the bottom mouth protection cover that is not detachable. This type of paintball helmets has replaceable viewing lenses. The viewing lenses protect the users eyes and allow the user have wide viewing angle without having to turn their heads. A good helmet should have 180O viewing angle.
Helmets that only cover the head and the other kind of paintball helmets that have a detachable mouth cover should be used with accompanying protective goggles to protect the paint baller's eyes.
Buyers Guide to buying the best paintball helmet
Seasoned paintballers know the importance of having proper protective gear during a game of paintball. The helmet gives you and your teammates the confidence to attack the opponent team knowing that your delicate facial body parts are fully protected. By having the proper helmet, you can participate in the paintball game more confidently and shoot for long hours without getting the fatigue or discomfort that comes with an ill-fitting mask. Our buyer's guide lists has some of the considerations that are important to look for when you are in the market for a paintball helmet.
Fitting size of the helmet
The l helmet you buy will be on your head and cover part of your face for hours throughout the paintball session. You, therefore, want a helmet that fits tightly over your head. A loose-fitting helmet causes distraction and interferes with your line of vision. You have to keep adjusting it and such distractions can give your opponent a chance to shoot at you.
Some helmets like the ATAIRSOFT PJ Type Tactical Paintball helmet have a fixed head size that they can fit over. It is very important that you try on such a kind of helmet and feel how it fits over your head. Helmets from other brands like the Jadedragon PJ Tactical Fast Helmet have adjustable straps and an adjustable occipital knob at the rear. Such kind of masks can be adjusted to fit over both small and large heads making them suitable for all ages of paintballers.
Materials used to make the helmet are mostly lightweight. However, the weight that paint ballers' heads can support differs from one person to the other. Due to this, it is important to try the helmet on and let it remain on your head for a few minutes. A good helmet for you should not cause you any discomfort for the short time you try it on. If the helmet feels too heavy, consider purchasing a lighter helmet. Remember that during the paintball game, the helmet will be on your head as you move around. Due to this, a helmet that feels light on your head will enable you protects yourself and allows you to shoot without causing you any discomfort.
Compatibility with additional accessories
High-end paintball helmets have ports that allow fitting of accessories that enable the paintballer increase their aim and shoot even in extreme conditions. A helmet as the QZY Tactical Helmet has holding ports on the front and rear that allow attaching of flashlights, a digital camera or lasers. Detachable mouth and ear protective pads are also available and attach to the making it a full face and head protective equipment.
Ease of donning and removal
Having the helmet on for long periods can be tough for some people. They require taking a short break to catch their breath from time to time. For such paintballers, the FAST Helmet Coyote that comes with a detachable face mask accessory that can be easily lifted when one wants to catch their breath, is a very good choice for a paintballing helmet.
Paint ballers that can have their helmets on for longer hours without having trouble can opt for the compact LEJUNJIE Airsoft Tactical Military Full Face Mask that comes as one complete helmet that covers both the head and mouth.
When going for a paintballing session, it is important that you observe safety regulations. Helmets are just but one of the safety requirements at the paintballing field. Helmets that don't have face shields should be used with safety goggles to prevent paint from splashing into the paint baller's eyes and mouth.
Ensure that you check the exterior of the paintball helmet for cracks or small fissures after every game of paintball and replace the helmet if the exterior surface is damaged.