Airsoft is different from paintball in many ways, but one of the most obvious is the projectiles that are used. While paintball uses relatively large, paint-filled balls, Airsoft uses small plastic BB projectiles.
These different projectiles mean different safety considerations. With a paintball you don’t want to just shield your face from a potential paintball impact, you also want to keep the paint itself from getting in your eyes. The most effective way to do this is by using a plastic visor or goggles. This is why most paintball masks look basically the same – because of that large, clear lens that wraps around the front of the face.
Now, paintball masks can do double duty as airsoft masks, but that’s not an optimal solution. Because of their small size and hardness, Airsoft BBs have a great chance of chipping or otherwise damaging large plastic lenses. That might not be likely, but the force and impact of BBs is very different from what paintball masks were designed for.
Airsoft masks tend to favor smaller lenses that cover only the eyes. Some Airsoft masks consist of two pieces – goggles and a mesh mouth and nose cover. Some masks have mesh over the eye instead of plastic lenses. In the end you have to decide which fits your style and preferences more.
Here are some of the coolest masks on the market – any of these are going to up your look, if not your performance.
Jadedragon PJ Tactical
When Jadedragon calls this mask “tactical” they aren’t kidding. Just looking at it makes you think of elite special forces. This is really more of a helmet and mask combo, so you’ll be protected against headshots as well.
The best part about this mask is the inclusion of tactical rails. There’s one on either side that lets you attach all sorts of useful stuff, like lights. There’s also a night-vision attachment point on the forehead area, so those who like to play at night are accommodated.
The mask is split into a set of tactical glasses and a mesh face mask. That means no muffled speech or trouble with fogging lenses. The mesh part comes up high over the bridge of the nose, so I think the chances of BBs finding a gap to pass through are unlikely.
Other features I really like are the mesh ear protectors. No BBs are going to box your ears, but you should be able to hear normally. I also like the wheel used to tighten the strap around the head. It’s similar to the ones you get on welding masks and allows for one-handed operation and a comfortable fit.
Overall, people who have played with this setup seem to like it, although there are some scattered complaints about build-quality. For the price, however, this is a lot of mask with plenty of features.
Infityle Airsoft Mask
Do you look at other Airsoft players and think “man those are some over-engineered masks”? Boy, do we we have the solution for you! The Infityle masks consists of nothing but a pair of goggles and a mesh mouthpiece. The mouthpiece in question sports a skull with fangs motif, which just demonstrates to your targets that you don’t fear death – or at least getting shot in the forehead by a BB.
The mesh is made from low-carbon steel, which should stand up to BBs without issue. The main advantage of this mask setup is that you will feel less encumbered and more situationally aware. Scouts will probably like it, as will some snipers. If you are playing a role where you face a significant chance of being pummeled with fire, then look elsewhere. However, if you want to travel light then this might just be for you.
V6 Steel Net Mesh Fencing Mask
This is one of the most interesting masks I’ve seen and a very fresh approach to mask design. Instead of a hard faceplate, almost the entire construction is mesh. This means that you’ll have a visual field superior to just about everything out there.
The main complaint is that this mask doesn’t sit as tightly as others might, which means it may move around on your head. That’s a minor complaint, it seems.
The V6 comes in a variety of camo styles to suit any terrain, and while it might not look as cool as some of the other masks, it’s one of the most practical and functional designs I’ve seen.
FMA New Wire Mesh Alien Vs Predator AVP Full Face Protection
Few characters from pop culture are as associated with jungle warfare as the Predator. This alien menace stalks its prey for hours or days. Using special technologies to keep itself invisible, it pounces when least expected, taking macabre hunting trophies to adorn itself.
Who wouldn’t want to channel the spirit of this intergalactic hunter, or strike that same fear into the hearts of an opponent? OK, in all seriousness this mask is very cool and any fan of the Predator franchise is probably going to love it.
As a practical mask it should work just fine, although the profile is quite tall. It’s made of glass fiber resin, so it should stand up to any BBs without issue. Ironically, the eye shape of the predator mask promises a wider field of view than those we typically see. A novelty mask perhaps, but people who have played with it don’t have complaints. So maybe the Rule of Cool applies here, especially given that you can turn on the red LED lasers on the side. The main downside is that you don’t get any protection for the sides of your face, so keep that in mind.
Templar Mesh Mask
This Templar mask is absolutely beautiful. It looks like intricately engraved metal, like something a fantasy knight (or in this case Templar) would wear. The eye slits in particular emphasize that medieval look.
The inside of the Templar mask is well-padded, with mesh side vents on either side of the mouth. That might make speech indistinct, but there should be no issue with breathing well. I also really like the five-point strap with a beautiful golden crest where they meet. It just looks awesome all around, and I might be getting one of these in the mail sooner rather than later.