It can be agreed upon by many people that airsoft is a very fun sport. But, it can be agreed upon by many people that airsoft can be dangerous to certain body parts, namely the eyes. All the airsofters that agree that airsoft is fun also agree that quality eye protection (or eye pro) is just as essential as your gun.
Today, in this article, we'll be testing some standard eye pro seen in airsoft. This will include:
-A JT Paintball mask
-Walmart/Crosman full-seal goggles
-Impact rated shooter's sunglasses
-Regular, non-rated sunglasses
So, without further ado, let's begin.
This test was done from a range of 50 feet, using a JG S-System (Rated at ~350 FPS) and a Marushin Five-seveN (Rated at ~275).
The first eye pro tested was the Walmart/Crosman branded, airsoft specific full-seal goggles. After a few shots from both my Five-seveN and S-System, it became apparent that these goggles were actually going to stand up to airsoft projectiles without a doubt. The only notable thing observed was that upon impact, the BBs left a small white imprint on the goggles. These small imprints, however, were purely superficial and were easily wiped off.
The next eye pro tested was the regular, non-rated sunglasses. After a few shots from both my Five-seveN and S-System, this pair of glasses was an absolute goner. My S-System actually managed to knock them off the flowerpot and break both lenses. One lens was actually missing entirely after the test, and the other was about 40% destroyed.
The next eye pro tested was the impact rated shooter's glasses. First, I will say that these are my eye pro of choice since it is very sunny where I play, and my field will allow them. I will also take this chance to say that full-seal goggles or glasses are miles safer than these are. However, as a matter of personal preference and ability to use them, these are a good choice. After a few shots from my S-System (my Five-seveN began malfunctioning), it appears that these glasses are made very well. Closer inspection revealed that they are actually made to or exceed ANSI Z87.1 specifications, and therefore, are safe to use against 6mm or 8mm projectiles.
The last eye pro tested was the JT paintball facemask. I've also used this before, so I knew the results before it was official. Upon taking several rounds from my S-System, the facemask passed the test with flying colors. Most airsofters who play CQB will want a full facemask like this one, but some younger players may be required to wear them at certain fields as well.
So, in closing, eye patches are cool and all, but nobody really wants one, especially to cover a wound that was easily avoided. Before playing with these replicas, be sure to purchase some quality eye pro. Regular sunglasses will not work; you'll shoot your eye out, kid! Always be sure to check that specifications meet or exceed ANSI Z87.1 (the provisions of which can be viewed here). Always be sure to wear eye protection when handling replicas, and never treat one as if it is a simple toy. Airsoft replicas can and will hurt people, so be courteous, be careful, and be safe with them all.
Now that you know how to avoid grievous bodily harm, get out and play! And as always, stay frosty.