Airsoft is a shooting game that has grown wildly popular over the years. It began as a viable alternative to teaching target practice. The game allows you to use a gun that resembles the real thing without some of its risks. It is an effective way to learn and improve shooting skills. Gamers use it to simulate real-life action of particular video games. For the military, the game helps craft simulation exercises. The shooting game has also become a competitive sport with some people training to play professionally. Whatever your goal is to get into the game, make certain to understand the safety requirements involved. The gun used in this activity shoots pellets called BBs, which can cause injuries to various body parts, especially the eyes. It is why tactical eye protection is necessary.
The Need for Protection
The BBs shot during this sport are not lethal. However, they have the potential to inflict physical injury. The firearms used shoot at velocities of between 100 to 400 FPS. At this speed, a rubber pellet can break the skin, hurt an eye, or chip a tooth. Eye injuries are some of the most prevalent in this sport. You are at risk even if you are only taking target shots. Direct shots and ricocheting BBs are responsible for injuries also. Whether the gaming is recreational or for mil-sim purposes, you cannot be sure that a projectile won't end up in your face.
Depending on the speed, a BB in your eye can cause severe problems such as temporary or permanent blindness. If you are lucky, you only get a painful welt. Imagine the repercussions that a permanent injury would have. Besides the costs of treatments, factors in how it might affect your quality of life. Eye protection is a small price to have the proper protection. Never get on the battlefield without the right safety gear. In fact, shooting centers make it mandatory. Regardless of how careful you are at shooting or whether you are practicing alone, wearing protective equipment reduces the risk of injury. Face masks, goggles, and helmets are some of the standard eye protection solutions in place.
Settling on the Right Eye Protection
The popularity of the game has seen a surge in the manufacture of protective gear. When looking for eye equipment to protect yourself against airsoft BBs, the available options are virtually limitless. Not every face mask out there will provide you with the safety you need when shooting. It is why you must be keen on the gear you choose. It would be wasteful to spend money on a pair of goggles or mask only to find out it's the wrong fit, fogs too much, or cracks after a single-use. Take the time on the selection process. Here are the critical components to consider.
Half or Full Face Mask
One decision to make regarding your tactical eye protection is whether to get a mask covering only part of the face or all of it. The distinction between the two types of masks is the degree of protection they provide. A full-face mask covers your whole face while the half type protects the lower section. With a full face mask, the goggles are built-in complete with the visor. The exact features vary across products. A half-face mask requires you to get separate goggles. Due to their design, full-face protection masks cost more than the partial model. However, you don't get the same customization flexibility with full-face masks as you do with the half-face. The option of buying protective glasses separately means that you can personalize your mask according to need.
Comfort is of profound importance when it comes to choosing a paintball face mask. As much as you want the equipment to shield you from airsoft BBs, it must be comfortable. A good fit should not feel too tight, rub against the nose bridge, or chafe the ears. Imagine the frustration of having to stop mid-game to adjust your eye protection because it is too loose or tight. A perfect fit should close around the eyes in a tight seal for adequate protection.
Consider the straps of your helmet, face-mask, or goggles. People have different faces, and that determines the ideal strap size and length of your eye safety equipment. Factor in the material of the straps as well. It should be able to hold the gear in place for a prolonged period without coming loose.
If you have a half-face mask and need to buy goggles, ensure that they align well to avoid discomfort while playing. A person with prescription glasses should consider the extras space that a protective mask has to provide. A well-fitting mask should fit over your glasses without affecting visibility.
Fogging is a common issue with eyewear. It occurs when there is a big temperature shift between the outside and inside of the lenses. If your eye protection fogs up too much, it clouds the lenses thus, blurring your vision. One way that manufacturers prevent this is with double-pane thermal lenses. This is a design where the eyewear contains two layers of glasses with an air gap between them that lowers the temperature change. Manufacturers also have unique technologies for anti-fog properties, which you should consider. Various anti-fog products on the market allow you to coat your protective eyewear to decrease clouding.
Indoors or Outdoors
Whether you play airsoft indoors or outdoors will determine the type of lenses that are most suitable for your eye protection. If you are gaming outside, then you want lenses that increase visibility. A dark tint ensures that you can see clearly even with a bright sun out. Yellow tinted lenses improve the visibility of targets and other objects around the course. Indoor eyewear might not need special qualities unless you are shooting in unique surroundings.
Standards for Tactical Eye Protection
Whether you are buying goggles, face masks, or helmets, Ensure that the product adheres to industry safety regulations. Eye protection gear should achieve ANSI standards, specifically ANSI Z87. Proper safety gear should provide a full seam around the eyes. Ballistic lenses are also industry standard for eye safety gear. If the face mask is for mil-sim, then it must be appropriately certified. MIL-V-43511C is the standard for safety equipment for military applications. Although a shooting range will require clients to wear basic protection equipment, the rules of what is acceptable are not consistent. So take it on yourself to check the industry certification of a product.
Of course, you must find eye protection equipment that suits your budget. Face masks range on a broad spectrum in terms of price. Some of the elements that affect price are material type and grade, design, protection level, durability, and patent technology. If you intend to splurge, high-end helmets, face masks, and goggles are available. The same goes for budget alternatives. Expect to spend a considerable amount for branded protective gear. Although your budget matters, don't compromise the quality of your safety gear to save a few bucks.