Eye Protection in Airsoft – Don’t Take Risks

Eye protection is by far the most important (and mandatory) piece of safety equipment you need at an airsoft game. While your skin may bruise or cut, it generally heals without long term effects – the same cannot be said for your eyes.

 

Most players spend so much on rifles but skimp on this basic protection. Spending that extra money for proven eye and face pro far outweighs the risk (and cost) of losing an eye or tooth.

 

Airsoft YouTuber Cleanshot recently uploaded a video that stresses the importance of good quality eye-pro, after a taking a shot which caused a player’s glass to literally POP OUT of his eye-pro.  The following weekend we had a similar event happen in Norfolk with an AEG.

 

While in both incidents the players were unharmed, things could of gone really badly. Watch below as you see the moment it falls out.

Safety Standards:

When looking for good eye-pro it is important to do your research. Ask friends and sites what they recommend, don’t just buy a pair of glasses on the internet because they state they’re safe for airsoft.

 

Some of these are untested and not designed for the speed and impact of BBs

Always buy from a reputable airsoft retailer

So, how can you tell what is good and bad? The first thing to identify is whether the you can see a European Standard Stamp on them. This is known as the EN166.

 

 

All manufacturers of eye protection are required by law to have their products tested. This is for both the frame and lens, to identify this test you should see a EN166 or CE on the frame arms. If EN166/CE is not stamped on the side of the frame then it is advisable to look somewhere else for the eye protection.

 

Within the CE symbol you should see numbers and a letter. You can ignore the number as this relates to water/dust particle protection, what is important is the letter. This states how strong the frame or lens can withstand impact. For Airsoft where we shoot a maximum of 2.5 joules, you must be looking for the letter A.

 

F – withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 45 meters per second – 150 fps

B – withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 120 meters per second – 390 fps

A – withstand impacts against small objects travelling up to 190 meters per second – 620fps

 

Technically, you could get away B rating in a CQB environment however I really wouldn’t risk it. Especially since CO2 pistols can fluctuate throughout the year.

 

It’s also worth saying if you are buying higher end googles that have ballistic ratings, then the classification rating you require for over 2.5j is MIL-DTL-43511D.

Safety Eye Protection Markings

Types of Eye Protection

Now we’ve discussed the standard safety rating, let’s look at the different styles of eye protection.

I’m sure you noticed there are many designs and styles of eye pro, each having a set of pros and cons. What matters most is what you find comfortable and is still safe to play in.

Glasses

The Pros:

  • Good low light visibility
  • Changeable lenses to suit conditions
  • Protect eyes from all sizes of projectiles
  • Don’t cover up a large part of your face
  • Can be used for other everyday uses.
  • Less prone to fogging vs full seal goggles

Goggles

The Pros:

  • Good low light visibility
  • Changeable lenses to suit conditions
  • Protect eyes from all sizes of projectiles
  • Cover up all areas around the eyes
  • Comfortable to wear
  • All sites accept full seal

Mesh

The Pros:

  • No fogging
  • Reduces sweating around the eyes
  • Can withstand higher temperatures
  • Scratching does not affect visibility
  • Does not need replacing often 

The Cons:

  • Prone to scratching
  • Fog up easily (not as much as goggles, but they can still fog)
  • Need constant cleaning
  • Unsealed areas surrounding the lenses
  • Lenses are standalone and can be detached from the frame individually (weak spot)
  • Some sites do not allow glasses

The Cons:

  • Prone to scratching
  • Fog up easily of the 3
  • Need constant cleaning
  • Potentially need replacing more often due to wear
  • Can be rather hot during the summer

The Cons:

  • Poor visibility in low light conditions
  • Shattered bbs can get between the mesh
  • No protection from the sun or snow glare

Face Protection:

At this point it would be silly not to mention the lower part of our face, something that is expensive to replace and happens more often than we’d like – teeth protection.

 

Playing without a lower face mask is never recommended although the risk is yours to take (unless you’re under 18 on most sites).

 

There are plenty of options available to buy and we won’t cover them in this article, but if you are looking a good set of googles you may want to consider looking at the Paintball style masks – like the Dye i4 Mask

 

 

 

Alternatively you can buy separate lower mesh masks, masks that clip on helmets, or play with a scrim/gum shield combination.

Our Recommended Brands:

We’re not going to recommend a specific set of eye protection because there are so many great ones available. Instead, we’re going to provide a list of recommended brands so you can find a set you like.

 

-Wiley

-Bolle

– ESS

-Dye Masks

-Nuprol

-Sirmi

-Save Phace

Get Safe, Reliable Eye Pro:

TheRealUtorak on reddit got a BB under his glasses

it’s important to stay safe while playing Airsoft as you only get one pair of eyes. Don’t take these risks and invest in a set of comfortable and safe eye protection.

 

The choice of Glasses, Goggles and Mesh is yours to make and there are a lot of great brands out there that have variety and design differences – just keep an eye (haha!) out for the EN166 markings.

 

 

Anyway, I hope you found this helpful. Let me know what you’re using and recommendations in the comments below

4 thoughts on “Eye Protection in Airsoft – Don’t Take Risks

  1. agire

    I would like to point out a small error in this article, the B rated googles are for 120 mps but that’s with a 0.86g steel 6mm bb not a regular 0.2g meaning the googles can withstand over 6j, if you have a field allowing over 6j CO2 pistols I would be very worried, where as A rated can withstand up to over 15j. While I appreciate the author airing on the side of caution, there is no doubt that EN 166 B rated googles are perfectly safe for any sort of airsofting you’d do in the UK.

  2. miastalker

    After reading this article, i was looking at http://www.bolle-tactical.com website and I noticed that the tactical eyepro has the following text under each per of tactical eye pro.

    Ballistic Resistance STANAG 2920.
    The ballisitic resistance STANAG defined by NATO ensures compliance with standards ballistic protection for military of Bollé Tactical eyewear. Each lens and each screen suffer the impact of a steel cylinder equivalent to a 0.22 caliber” of up to more than 275 m / s or 990 km / h.

    The STANAG standards are recognized in all member countries of NATO.

    Mechanical risk – Low energy impact – F
    Low energy impact, resists a 6 mm, 0.86 g ball at 45 m/s

    However it mentions both ‘up to more that 275m/s’ and ‘6 mm, 0.86 g ball at 45 m/s’ now the second one i believe would be inadequate for airsoft, unless its a steel ball as mentioned above, but that is not stated, so some clarification please guys.

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