There is nothing worse than getting smacked with airsoft BBs in an unprotected patch of skin. Well, maybe except for losing a match because your visor was fogged up and you shot your teammate.
This is what makes selecting the best airsoft mask so important. Not only does it contribute to comfort and make you look like a boss, but it can actually help you win.
There are many options out there for airsoft face protection, though, and it may be difficult to know which is the best for you. This should be a matter of careful consideration. While some products are clearly superior to others, personal preference is an issue too.
You will need to weigh your options based on multiple factors. For example, should you take the higher level of protection brought by plastic or the better ventilation brought by metal mesh?
Also, even if you know what you want conceptually, all similarly categorized masks are not created equal. Where one plastic full-face mask may be excellent, another may be terrible.
Here is a list of some of the best products out there to protect that pretty face of yours while you pump your friends full of plastic BBs.
Best Airsoft Masks
In the airsoft community, there is an ongoing debate about headshots.
Some are of the opinion that one should take any shot available, including a headshot.
Others feel that headshots should be actively avoided, and that players should even be penalized for intentionally taking them.
This debate continues simply because headshots can cause injuries if protective gear is insufficient or if it fails.
Regardless of how you feel about headshots, the fact that this debate exists at all shows just how important it is to have good protection for the head and face.
For the most ardent airsoft warriors, utility is everything. The following three face masks promise the best performance – and the best protection – for their respective niches. The question of which is the best one for you will depend on your playing style and the kind of protection you are looking for.
Best Full-Face Mask
Without a doubt, the best airsoft face mask offering full-face coverage is this metal-mesh monster made by Outgeek.
One of the main benefits that metal mesh has over goggles or visors is the matter of fogging. As anyone who has ever competed in a cold environment with goggles knows, with just a little heavy breathing, your environment quickly becomes obscured. This is not an issue with mesh.
Another benefit of metal mesh is that it does not obstruct breathing as much as many other masks, some of which only provide a few little holes.
With its highly adjustable fit and fully enclosed design, this Outgeek offering completely protects against BBs while maintaining the highest level of functionality and comfort through its simplicity.
Best Half-Face Mask
Of course, some of us note the benefits of mesh across the lower part of the face while still preferring goggles over the eyes. Despite its benefits, metal mesh over the eyes can cause some real frustration from obstructed vision. The obvious alternative is to divide these two parts, putting metal mesh over the lower face and goggles over the upper face.
With a metal mesh mask over the lower face, separated from the goggles, you can enjoy the lightweight protection of mesh while maintaining a high level of visibility.
This half-face mask by Tactical Crusader excels with its high level of protection and adjustability. With its dual elastic head straps, it promises a tight and secure fit, ensuring minimal movement. Match it with the visor or goggles of your choice.
Best Combo Face Mask
One of the problems associated with buying a half-face mask is that there is no guarantee that it will fit well with your visor or goggles. The way to ensure that there are no such problems is to purchase the goggles and mask together as a combo package.
This combo face mask from Outgeek combines visibility with lightweight protection by putting tactical goggles and a mesh mask together in one package. The goggles and mask fit together perfectly. The mask is made of low-carbon steel that users can bend to fit their faces.
Cool Airsoft Masks
Aesthetics are not just for fashion shows. In a fierce battle, psychology can play an important role in the outcome.
Warriors in tribal societies often painted their faces to make themselves look more imposing.
Japanese samurais similarly wore masks that made them look like angry gods and demons.
In Europe, the winged hussars famously charged into battle with feathered wings that made them look like avenging angels.
Following this tradition, many airsoft warriors today like to select masks that similarly project an emotional effect onto the members of the opposing team.
The following masks provide a high level of protection against airsoft BBs while simultaneously striking fear into the hearts of adversaries.
Since the First World War, the appearance of a soldier in a gas mask has been a symbol of dread and panic. The Outgeek M50 is a mask that capitalizes on the inhuman and malevolent gas-mask-soldier aesthetic.
This is not just about looks, though.
The assemblies on the lower corners of the mask contain functioning fans that force outside air into the interior. These are each powered by two AA batteries, and the air circulation that they provide ensures breathability, cools the face in hot weather, and minimizes visor fogging in cold weather.
The visor even offers two options: tinted and transparent. This allows you to adjust your equipment to deal with high or low levels of light.
Produced by Coxeer Tactical, this mask makes you look like an armed demon skeleton crashing through the world to rain down terror and vengeance upon humanity.
The thick plastic body of the mask covers the entire face of an adult, and it is highly protective against airsoft BBs. The metal mesh over the eyes will not fog over in cold weather.
One of the most important advantages of this mask is not immediately evident, though. That is the matter of fit and comfort. It has multiple straps that allow for excellent adjustment to fit any face, and inner pads provide cushioning at the most vital points.
If that is something you aspire for (and why would you not?), this mask by FMA is just the thing for you.
Not only does this mask bear an uncanny resemblance to a certain extraterrestrial warrior-monster from the movies, but it provides first-rate protection against airsoft BBs. Behind the disquieting visage, the mask has highly adjustable straps and soft padding that give it a comfortable and secure fit.
To top it off, the mask even comes with a malevolent red LED. This is reminiscent of the laser weapons used by the Predator in film.
The coloration of the mask even goes well with camo. This is yet another nod to its tree-lurking alien inspiration.
In the comics, Deathstroke is a villain on par with even Batman when it comes to combat skills and strategic genius. For the airsoft warrior who draws his inspiration from Deathstroke, we have the perfect mask right here.
True to its inspiration, this Deathstroke-themed mask is rugged and tough, being able to withstand airsoft rounds of over 400 fps. It also sports soft internal cushioning, and it is designed to channel breathing in a way that minimizes fogging on the goggles.
This mask is hand-crafted and of the highest quality.
Not to be outdone, this Deadpool-themed airsoft mask by Invader King will protect against airsoft rounds going at over 600 fps. It is of course adjustable, and it has internal padding to ensure comfort. If you like the construction but want a different design, the manufacturer will even put a custom design on it.
Like the Deathstroke mask, this mask is hand-crafted.
(Sorry, but it does not come with chimichangas.)
This hard-black airsoft mask is adjustable and protects the upper face and sides of the head. With its mesh covering on the eyes, it will not fog. And let’s be honest: if you are going for the scary good guy look, there is pretty much nothing better than Batman.
The only drawback to this mask is that it does not cover the lower face. (Because if it did, it would not be Batman’s cowl.) That can easily be remedied with the addition of a half-face mask to protect the mouth and chin.
Airsoft Mask Buying Guide
As any war historian will tell you, technology is often one of the most decisive factors in determining the winner of a battle. That applies not only to weapons, but to other items as well, such as equipment that improves communication and visibility or equipment that provides protection.
The wrong equipment can make even the best combatant defeat himself.
An example of this would be numerous occasions in Medieval times in which heavily armored soldiers, thinking themselves well equipped, ventured into muddy terrain and found themselves stuck and at the mercy of more lightly armored enemies.
Your airsoft mask is something that is going to protect important parts of your body and help you have the visibility and movement you need for victory. It is an important purchase decision that should consider numerous factors.
Full-Face vs. Half-Face
The debate between full-face masks and half-face masks exists because each approach has its strengths and weaknesses. You will need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages based on your personal preferences and playing style.
Here are the things to consider when choosing between full-face and half-face airsoft masks:
- Price. Let’s be honest. Price is a big determinant in people’s buying decisions. There is no absolute correlation between full-face or half-face masks and price, but generally, full-face masks are going to be more expensive.
- Visibility. When masks use goggles or visors, fogging is a problem. Half-face masks tend to have fewer fogging problems than full-face masks because the goggles are separated from your mouth and nose. However, a full-face mask with a fan will usually handle fogging well.
- Adjustability and comfort. No one wants to wear a mask that hurts his or her face. Half-face masks usually offer a higher level of adjustability and comfort. This is because, being in two pieces instead of one, they can better fit the specific dimensions of someone’s head and face. However, there will still be specific cases in which a full-face mask may be more adjustable and comfortable than a half-face mask.
- Breathability. Breathing is often easier with half-face masks, as they tend to have more holes for air to flow through. However, some full-face masks will have better breathability than some half-face masks. This depends largely on the material used and whether or not the full-face mask has a fan.
- Protection. If protection is your primary concern, your best option is probably going to be a full-face airsoft mask. Even when combined with goggles or a visor, a half-face mask usually covers less area than a full-face mask. In many cases, a half-face mask and goggles will leave the upper forehead, cheeks, ears, rear jaw, and throat uncovered, while full-face masks tend to cover these areas.
In general, airsoft warriors go with full-face masks when they want better protection, and they go with half-face masks when they want better agility.
When it comes to the materials that compose your mask, the debate is mostly between metal mesh and plastic.
Most of the more decorative or imaginative mask designs are made of plastic because that is what is easiest to work with. The main practical advantage of a plastic mask is that it is strong. A good plastic mask can take a point-blank shot from just about any airsoft gun without cracking or shattering.
The main practical disadvantage of plastic is that breathability can be a problem. This is especially true for highly imaginative designs that sacrifice utility for appearance. Another issue is that full-face plastic masks with plastic goggles have a high tendency of fogging.
Many of the more utilitarian airsoft masks tend to be based on metal mesh. Metal mesh is advantageous in that it is slightly lighter than plastic. It also tends to allow for better breathing, as more air can flow through a mesh screen than through a few holes in a piece of plastic.
In many cases, the mesh is actually bendable, allowing users to adjust it to the contours of their faces.
The main disadvantage of metal mesh is that it can sometimes shatter or bend under impact, especially with point-blank shots. Also, visibility through full-face metal mesh masks and plastic masks with mesh eye holes is not as good as it is for goggles. That is, unless the goggles are getting foggy, in which case metal mesh has better visibility.
When considering a particular mask, make sure to take all of its features into account. Do not fall in love with one feature and let that cause you to forget the importance of the others.
Eye protection is the most important aspect of airsoft safety. The eyes are vital organs that are highly vulnerable to projectiles and debris. If you are not adequately protecting your eyes, what are you doing?
The three main options for eye protection are visors, goggles, and metal mesh, all of which may or may not be built into a full-face mask. Of these, metal mesh provides the least protection.
While metal mesh usually protects adequately against airsoft BBs, as mentioned above, a point-blank shot may sometimes cause the mesh to shatter, putting your eyes in jeopardy. On top of that, even if the metal mesh holds, BBs sometimes come apart upon hitting it. When this happens, pieces can fly through the mesh and hit your eyes.
Despite the danger, some airsoft warriors still prefer metal mesh. Even then, though, they will often wear glasses under the mask as double protection. This will usually be enough to ensure that your eyes are still protected if the mesh fails.
Ventilation is a vital aspect of any airsoft face protection because it affects both breathing and visibility.
A poorly ventilated mask will result in foggy goggles, shortness of breath, and even effusive sweating.
Poor ventilation is most common among plastic masks with few breathing holes in them. Some plastic masks do not even have ventilation ducts over the mouth at all, but instead have them around the eyes. This is not advisable.
The simplest solution to ventilation for breathing purposes is to use a half-face mask of metal mesh. Your mouth, nose, and chin will be safe enough against BBs, and you will be able to breathe fine.
A more advanced solution would be to use a mask with powered fans that force air through the interior. Not only does this ensure that you can breathe well, but it also helps to counteract fogging.
There are at least two disadvantages to having powered ventilation, however.
The first disadvantage is the matter of sound. If you like to compete in dark settings in which stealth is an important factor to winning, the sound of the ventilation fans may give away your position.
The second disadvantage is that masks with fans are heavier, and this may weigh you down and tire you out.
One of the biggest mistakes people make leading to the purchase of a sub-par airsoft mask is to disregard the straps. The straps of your mask are very important because, lo and behold, they keep that thing on your face!
It is easy pay so much attention to the design of a mask that you do not take note of the straps. A quality airsoft mask should have multiple adjustable straps. Some have as many as six.
The material used in the straps is also important. Some airsoft masks come with elastic straps. These are nice because they help to ensure a firm and secure fit with minimal movement. The disadvantage of elastic straps is that they have more of a tendency to wear out and break.
The alternative to elastic straps would be straps made of material similar to the seatbelt in your car. These straps may not provide the same snugness as elastic straps, but some airsoft warriors actually prefer this, as it puts less pressure on their bodies. Tight elastic straps can have a tendency of causing headaches.
Many airsoft face masks available for purchase online offer photographs from various angles. If the description does not specify the type or number of straps used, you may be able to get a good idea by looking at photographs from different angles.
When it comes to airsoft face protection, do not take the matter lightly. You are about to engage in a sport that involves projectiles flying at hundreds of feet per second. The result of a poorly informed purchase can be painful and even hazardous.
So, weigh your options. Decide on the kind of airsoft warrior you want to be.
Are you going to be a skirmisher trading shots on the front line?
Are you going to be an advancer, braving the fire of opponents while your teammates cover you?
Or are you going to be a sniper, picking off opponents at a distance?
Once you know the kind of performance you are looking for, you can consider how the available options fit your needs and make your decision based on that.