by Tony Kirk
This month I’m going to be talking about the safety gear of paintball. As you probably know already, SAFETY is one of the most important parts of the game. In this article we will take a look at four different aspects of safety and protection to yourself and others around you.
Lets start at the top with face masks. A face mask is one of the few pieces of safety equipment that is required to play. The idea is to protect your eyes and ears from paintballs. A face mask is the most important piece. It should fit your head in such a way that you completely forget that you are wearing it in combat. You should try several masks until you find one that fits just right. One that “almost” fits can give you blisters and improper protection.
Masks come with 3 popular add-ons. The first and most common would be a visor. I would never buy a mask without one, or at least wear a baseball cap with it. The visor keeps glare off of the plastic lens of your goggles and allows for clearer vision. You should also get a mask that the goggles allow for a lot of peripheral vision. If you have tunnel vision while paintballing, you’ll get shot. Some masks also come with fans or fan add-ons. Fans are a great addition to your mask. They keep your face cool and fog off your lens.
Masks come in a few varieties: soft, semi-soft, and hard. I use a soft mask because I’m a really big guy and it is hard for me to find a hard mask that is tall and wide enough for me to use. Semi-soft masks are the best of both worlds. They have the protection that hard masks give, but also flex a little bit with your movements. Also, many masks come with a thermal lens option. These lenses fog up less than normal lenses and they are usually tinted slightly to help with glare.
Moving on to neck and chest protectors. I myself wear a neck protector because I’ve seen what happens when someone gets shot in the neck. Nasty stuff. As for chest protectors, I find that they restrict your movement a little too much. It’s worth the tradeoff though, if you bruise easily.
Knee and shin protection. I wear industrial knee pads when I play because I play a lot in gravel. But If your the kind of person to kneel down on one knee and fire away using your other as support, you may want to invest in some knee/shin protectors. A shot there is taken directly on the bone and can cause some major bruising.
Now to the gun, and possibly the second most important piece of safety gear. The barrel plug/barrel condom. This little piece of equipment can stop somebody from getting shot when they’re the most vulnerable: off the field. You really need to have one and you need to keep it on at all times you’re not on the field. It’s just safer that way.
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