While many people laugh about airsoft guns being toys, you’ll find out pretty quickly that competitive equipment can do some real damage.
Behind your primary gun, the most important thing you’ll need when you’re out in the field is definitely eye and face protection. While a hit on the torso or limbs is just going to leave a welt, there’s a lot of stuff vital to your senses, and your looks, above your shoulders and it’s a good idea to protect it.
There’s a ton of different masks on the market, and we recommend going with a full face one for the most part. We’re here to show you how to pick the one which is right for you, and then show off some of the best ones around in a little bit more detail.
Compare: The 10 Top Rated Air Soft Guns of 2016
|DYE Precision i4 Goggle System||Plastic||Full Face||5|
|HK Army Paintball KLR Thermal Anti-Fog Mask||Plastic||Full Face||4.8|
|Virtue VIO Contour Thermal Paintball||Plastic||Full Face||4.8|
|Outdoormaster Full Face Airsoft Mask||Plastic and Steel Mesh||Full Face||4.5|
|Valken V-TAC Sierra Airsoft Goggles||Plastic||Eyes||4.5|
|Mesh Half Face Skull Mask||Steel Mesh||Lower Face||4.4|
|Empire E-Flex Paintball Goggle System||Plastic||Full Face||4.2|
What is an Airsoft Full Face Mask?
A full face mask is intended to protect all of that stuff rattling around at the top of your neck. While airsoft pellets aren’t going to put you in danger of catastrophic head trauma, they can do some pretty nasty stuff to the softer bits as well as result in some minor facial scars.
Masks come in quite a few different varieties and you’re sure to find one which provides the level of comfort and protection that you’re definitely wanting.
What is the Advantage of an Airsoft Full Face Mask?
Do you think your face could be improved with some scarring? Don’t wear a mask. Want an eyepatch and some chipped teeth to impress the opposite gender? Same deal. Ever wanted to experience the life of the blind? No mask for you.
In all seriousness, they’re pretty much an essential part and most actual parks won’t let you play without at least eye protection. Protection to your lower face is important as well when that concealed sniper knocks off a chunk of one of your chompers you’re not going to be having a good time.
Wear a mask, preferably a full face, and the worst you’ll be left with are welts. Don’t and you risk losing an eye, chipping your teeth, scarring over the bony areas of your face, and a multitude of other problems.
What Types of Airsoft Masks Are There?
As a general rule, these are preferred by most players, they’re simple to use and don’t require you to set up your own “system” in order to make the most of things. There’s not a lot of differentiation in these types of masks, mostly it’ll come down to personal preference on the venting system.
A lot of more experienced players opt to go with two piece facial protection as it allows for more customizability. Novices might want to stick with a single piece full-face in order to ensure they have adequate protection but you can actually achieve pretty much the same level of armor with a two piece set up as you can with a full face if you’re smart about it.
Plastic is a good choice for most players and offers superior protection from Airsoft projectiles. It’s generally lightweight but doesn’t breathe all that well so it needs to be adequately ventilated in order to ensure that you aren’t uncomfortable.
It will generally provide complete protection, even a BB shattering against it is unlikely to actually touch your face. As far as full face armor goes it offers a pretty surprising amount of protection, and it’s been a long favorite of paintball players who have to deal with larger projectiles for exactly that reason.
If you’re playing with high-powered guns, then plastic is definitely the way to go. Airsoft pellets might not do too much damage if they hit a non-vital spot but catching a half dozen .20g pellets at 300+fps with your face isn’t going to feel good. With a good plastic mask, you’ll be able to just laugh it off once the tinkling sounds stop.
Steel mesh offers great protection from individual hits, although there’s some risk of fragmenting upon impact when hit with a powerful airsoft gun. The fragments will be traveling at a lower velocity after impact, however, and shouldn’t cause too much damage underneath.
The other main advantage of steel mesh comes from the fact that it’s light and breathable so you won’t have to worry about your face getting hot during longer games in warm weather.
Mesh is generally considered to be inferior in protection to plastic, however. Very high velocity hits at point blank can bend cheap mesh and a sustained burst might break through, which isn’t good for you. For the most part, however, it’s still a solid choice.
In general, you’ll be looking at one of two ways of protecting your face and eyes during simulations. The first of these, and the most common is a single full face system which will include eye protection. In other cases, people will choose to use ballistic glasses or goggles along with a separate piece for the lower half of their face.
The only real disadvantage to using a full face mask over a half-mask is that it can be hard to align properly along your weapon’s stock. In CQB type situations this isn’t as necessary, in those confined quarters shooting from the hip and reflexively point shooting aren’t exactly uncommon but at longer distances, it can be something of a chore.
There’re a few other things to keep an eye out for, however, in order to ensure you get exactly what you need.
Strap systems will determine how adjustable the mask is. The human face is rather variable, so it simply doesn’t do to have only one strap holding things together. At the very least you’ll want to have a couple of straps in order to ensure a proper fit.
Some masks will offer up to six straps, which will allow you to ensure the best fit possible.
Elastic bands will work for most people, but pull-through straps are the best choice in a lot of circumstances and are more likely to keep the mask in place even if you have to dive to the ground or move extremely suddenly.
Venting is pretty much necessary for a full face mask with goggles. It will keep the lenses from fogging up quite a bit and combined with anti-fogging sprays can keep your vision clear the whole time you’re at it.
It’ll also help keep your face from getting too hot, which is a big concern in some areas.
When you’re selecting a mask with venting, it’s important to make sure that the vents are smaller than the typical 6mm of airsoft projectiles to prevent them from getting under the mask where they can still cause harm with a lucky shot.
Eye protection is built into almost any full face mask, pretty much by definition. This will usually come in the form of a visor or goggles attached to the mask.
Ideally, these will seal tightly against your face in order to prevent hits from your sides penetrating by accident. This is why goggles are generally preferred over glasses.
There are also wire mesh eye protectors which come with some masks. While these prevent fogging, there’s some question as to their safety in circumstances where high-powered airsoft guns are being used. A pellet fragment can be just as dangerous as the whole thing and there’s a little bit of risk of one of it happening upon contact with the mesh, particularly at close range.
They do, however, offer the benefit of never fogging up which is a big draw for a lot of people. Fogged glasses can cause missed shots during play, prevent you from seeing an opponent trying to outflank you, and generally hinder your combat effectiveness in the field.
If you do choose to use wire mesh eye protection, it’s not a bad idea to not rely solely on it and to figure out a way to fit some full protection goggles over or under it. Not getting shot in the eyes simply isn’t a reliable way to do things, particularly in CQB types of play where getting hit with twenty or more pellets coming around a corner is a real possibility.
While it’s pretty obvious that the look of your gear doesn’t affect its functionality, if you’re going to cover up that pretty face to protect it you may want something with some sort of visual appeal.
Most of us won’t admit it, but it plays a much larger role in our mask decisions than you’d think, so do take it into consideration but don’t allow yourself to compromise your safety just because you found a really good looking mask.
The Top 3 Best Airsoft Full Face Masks
With all of that in mind, let’s take a look at our picks for the top three masks to keep an eye out for.
Best Cheap Airsoft Mask
Valken V-TAC Sierra Airsoft Goggles
While technically not a full mask, these goggles will keep your eyes intact while you’re playing and offer an amazing amount of protection at an amazing price.
The goggles offer wraparound protection so you won’t have to worry about penetration from the sides like you would with glasses and the lenses come in three different colors which will allow you to pick the one that you feel is best.
While they’re fog-resistant, you’ll also want to get some defogging spray with them just in case. It doesn’t do you much good to not be able to see out of your goggles when the action gets hot, after all, but you should be in good hands when you combine the innate resistance with a spray to prevent condensation.
The vents are a little bit small, but they’re discreet and at this price point you’re definitely going to end up disappointed with the quality. Even better, they offer a rather impressive amount of protection which meets ANSI high-impact standards so you know that they’ll hold up to the hits they’ll inevitably take.
The rubber around the eyes is soft and comfortable, an important thing to keep in mind when you’re planning on wearing them for an extended period of time as well.
There are better goggles available on the market, but you’re going to be spending a lot more to get them and these are more than suitable for the vast majority of players. If you combine them with a half mask, you’ll have a remarkable amount of protection at a super low cost.
Best Airsoft Half Face Mask
Mesh Half Face Skull Mask Airsoft Mask
If you’re looking for a cool and easy to use half-face mask to pair with your favorite set of goggles, then you need to look no further. This mesh half-mask provides you with both an amazing amount of protection and a grinning skull look which is sure to impress.
The mask itself is highly breathable and lightweight so it won’t hinder you while you’re playing and it’ll help keep your goggles from fogging up.
The straps are elastic and come up over your head in order to ensure a snug fit and also to prevent it from moving while you’re performing strenuous activities which is a great improvement over some of the lesser masks on the market.
The only real issue is that you may have some trouble getting your eyewear to fit over the mask. While most pairs of goggles should fit fine with a little bit of effort applied the mask comes quite far up and over your nose which makes using ballistic glasses almost impossible even if you have a strap.
It also doesn’t cover the ears, but a little bit of ingenuity can make sure they stay protected.
Overall this is a fantastic half mask which will keep your teeth from getting chipped and your face from getting busted. As part of a system of facial gear in the field, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you’re not going to come out of the field looking more busted up than when you went in.
Coolest Airsoft Mask
Outdoormaster Full Face Airsoft Mask with Metal Mesh Eye Protection
This mask from Outdoormaster offers a large amount of protection, unfoggable mesh eye protection, and an intimidating look on the field.
The main draw of this mask is definitely the scary looking, skull-like aesthetic that comes in a wide variety of different designs. Whether you want to rock a flag, or just a scarred, ballistic mask look you’re covered when it comes to looks on this mask.
As we mentioned earlier, mesh isn’t necessarily the best material for eye protection. It’s certainly adequate in most situations, but if a BB fragments when it strikes the mesh you’re not going to be in for a good time. Keep this in mind if you plan on using it in close or on a field with a lot of high-powered sniper rifles around.
The mask itself is made of a high-quality resin which will be able to take a hit like a champ, it’s also covered by a six-month warranty so you’ll be able to return it if something is wrong and it cracks under a hit.
The mask straps on with six straps to allow for an optimal fit and the padding behind it is quite comfortable which will keep you from getting taxed while wearing it during longer games. The adjustability is great, but it’s really mostly suited for average sized adults and people past their mid-teens. Younger or very small players will most likely want to look somewhere else.
You’ll most likely want to pair it with something to cover your ears, but it will provide a great amount of protection otherwise.
If it fits you, however, you end up with one badass mask that will provide a surprising amount of protection. Who said that form and function have to be mutually exclusive?
When it comes to Airsoft it’s a good idea to not only have protection but also to know exactly what it will protect and how. With a good mask or two-piece set you can avoid the worst injuries that might occur while you’re playing which allows you to focus on the fun of the simulation instead of just keeping yourself under enough cover to protect your face.