Eye protection in airsoft are the most important and mandatory pieces of safety equipment required. When skin is cut or bruised, it will heal with no long-term effects, but your eyes won’t. Spending the extra money on your eye protection, as you would to get a top range airsoft rifle can help improve the most basic protection you need.
When wearing cheap eye protection, you could still be harmed by a pellet in your eye, as there have been instances - some even caught on video - of airsoft players’ eye protection being hit and popping out or shattering. Investing in quality protection can help save your sight, and you should research before you buy. Read on to see our tips on buying the right eye protection.
Don’t just buy a pair of glasses or goggles you see online because they mention being safe for airsoft. Talking to fellow airsofters, you’ll no doubt be told to buy from a reputable retailer such as ourselves.
Being able to identify if the eye protection is of good quality is the next step, and you can do this by locating a European Standard stamp on this. This is the EN166, the European Standard relating specifically to safety glasses. As manufacturers are required to have their products tested by law, for both the lens and frame, you should be able to see an EN166 or CE on the frame arms. If it is not stamped, we advise looking elsewhere.
By the CE mark, you should also look for a number and a letter. The number refers to water/dust protection, but the letter is to state how strong the lens or frame can withstand impact. In airsoft, the maximum we shoot is 2.5 joules, so look for a ‘B’ or an ‘A’. ‘B’ means the product can withstand a 0.86g 6mm steel BB travelling at almost 400 feet per second, ‘A’ ups the ante to almost 630 feet per second. You can go one step better than this though, the Wiley-X range that we carry have been certified as meeting the US military standard for ballistic protection, they’re not expensive eye wear and they look awesome! (The Wiley Saint model is as seen in the movie American Sniper).
Once you know what safety standard your eye protection must adhere to, you can consider the type of eye protection you will need when playing airsoft. You need to make sure what you wear is comfortable, safe to play in and does not restrict your view in any way.
Goggles offer low-light visibility and lenses can be changed. They can cover all areas around your eyes, and some even have face coverings too, which means you are protected from all sizes of projectiles. Goggles are also comfortable to wear as the seal forms to the shape of your face (this is known as ‘full seal’ eye protection which also means that BBs can’t get in the side as there are no gaps) and tend to be one of the most popular types of airsoft eye protection. The cons of goggles include the fact they fog easily and are prone to scratching. They also need regular cleaning and can get hot in summer. If you’re set on using goggles for airsoft, we’d recommend picking up some anti fog gel, which can help keep your visibility at a high level.
Glasses have good low-light visibility, and you can also change the lenses to suit various conditions and are less likely to fog than goggles do. Glasses will protect your eyes from various projectiles, and you can also use them for things other than airsoft. However, glasses don’t cover much of your face and can leave gaps at the side of your eyes; there is also a weak spot where they detach from the frame. Glasses can also get scratched and need regular cleaning, and you may find that some airsoft sites will also not allow glasses.
Mesh eye protection doesn’t have fog and reduces the sweat around your eyes. Scratching on the lens is not a problem for mesh eye protection, and also means they don’t need to be regularly replaced. However, mesh protection has poor visibility in low light, and shattered bb pellets can get between the mesh and potentially get into your eye. They also don’t offer protection from the sun or glare.
In addition to eye protection, another part of our face that is expensive to heal are teeth, so full face protection might be something to consider also. Playing with a lower face mask is recommended, but the risk is yours. There are plenty of options available, but if you want good goggles as part of the full face protection, looking to a paintball mask is a good idea. You can also play around with it, using separate lower mesh masks or gum shields.
There are loads of great sets of eye protection available, so we aren’t going to recommend just one. We do, however, stock Nuprol and Wiley brands of mesh and glasses eye protection. Other quality brands to look out for include Dye Masks, Sirmi and Bolle. When it comes to choosing between glasses, mesh or goggles, the choice is yours; just make sure they meet the required safety standards, are comfortable, and you will get many uses out of them playing airsoft. You might be surprised how in-expensive some of them are, for the quality performance they provide.
Take a look at our online shop for airsoft clothing, rifles such as the Silverback SRS sniper rifle and air gun accessories to get yourself fully kitted out for your airsoft games.