It is your second game of airsoft ever. You are providing cover fire for a small unit to push into the woods towards the objective. Adrenaline is coursing through your veins, and all you can hear are the guns going off in your ear. You pop out from a corner at the wrong moment. You taste something funny; it feels like glass in your mouth. You spit out the shards and call hit, but you sound funny.
Because you just had your tooth shot out.
Me, missing a tooth after my second airsoft game. (above)
Three hours of dental work, $500, and a weekend of pain was all it took to make my teeth look normal again, but I was lucky. I am sure you are thinking something along the lines of "mmm, I wish I had me a sexy broken tooth like that." Well guess what, unless they are bullet holes, scars do not attract women (or at least the ones you would want to attract).
By now you are probably squirming in fear of an incident like this, thinking something along the lines of "dude, will you please share your infinite wisdom of how to protect our faces from BB ****?"
Fear not horrified children, for Chip has the answer to your worries.
Full Face Masks
The day after my tooth was repaired; I decided to do some research that I will share with you now. For starters, if you happen to have a face that has yet to be molested by the fury of life, get a full facemask. These facemasks are usually one piece with a removable lens, so they offer the most protection for your face, but they have their drawbacks. Yes, they were made for paintball. Yes, they look stupid. Yes, they are uncomfortable as two rats screwing in your sock right now, but it will save you from permanent damage to your ugly mug. Thankfully for those of us who decide to not wear full facemasks (although I recommend one) there are other options. You can buy a mask similar to the one above for $80. They start around $25-30 a unit
For us unlucky few who have already had our face damaged, but do not wish to damage it more, a mesh mask is probably the best option. They are pretty light, cool, cheap, and offer the protection of the full face mask. The only drawback is fact that you must buy separate goggle to pair with the masks. They sell for ~10-15 dollars, but you have the ability to cheap out (not recommended) or splurge on your goggles. I personally run a TSD half face mask paired with Arena Flakjak 2s. You can find them at any local airsoft store, or a quick google search should turn up some viable results. (Disclaimer) Do not use the full face masks with mesh over the eyes unless you are wearing prescription lenses underneath!
Shemaghs, Balaclavas, and Neoprene Masks
Finally we arrive at the least protective piece of headgear. The face wrap. They vary in material and color, from OD shemaghs like the one seen above, to neoprene masks with your favorite call of duty pattern on it. They started as an item to cover your face in a sandstorm, and now they are used my various military and police forces around the world. They do not offer much in the way of protection, but are better than going into battle with nothing. They sell for anywhere between $8.00 for a neoprene mask all the way to a shemagh that was made by one of Bin Laden's cousins in Pakistan for $20.
That is all the information I have time to squeeze in right now, but if you want some more information, go check out the gear threads in the forum!
Author Steven 'Chip' Statzer's "A Chip off the Block" is an upcoming weekly column dedicated to helping beginner airsoft players become better, and giving veteran players a place to go to brush up on their skills.