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Goggles protect your eyes. Damage to your eyes is permanent.
During a game you risk impact to your eyes from nearly every conceivable direction as players try to hit you and some of their misses ricochet around. Since predicting the exact trajectory is nearly impossible, most facilities prefer goggles that seal against your face to limit tangential shots intruding into the eye. We permit only goggles which seal to your face inside our game play areas because losing an eye seriously limits your enjoyment of the game.
We play at both paintball and airsoft facilities, so you will need to have both paintball approved and ballistic goggles:
- Use paintball-approved (ASTM F1776-12) eye protection only at paintball facilities (North Vancouver, Richmond Indoor, Maple Ridge Paintball in the paintball areas)
- Use fully sealed ballistic goggles (ANSI Z87.1-2003 or EN166) or paintball-approved eye protection at airsoft facilities (Bigfoot, Burma Road Event Site, Maple Ridge Paintball in the airsoft area)
We also recommend you wear durable impact resistant protection for your lower face (teeth). We have had players lose teeth and it's a major change and expense.
ASTM is working on a new goggle standard for airsoft which should be published in 2014 based on the current progress. The committee working on it (Committee F08.27) has a few items to review and some comments that require addressing to complete the development process.
Mike Lukas, technical specialist on the F08.27 committee, recommends the following guidelines:
- Non Play Conditions - target range or weapons testing
- Non-sealed eye chamber safety glasses or goggles meeting US MIL-DTL-43511D, or ANSI Z87.1-2003 (high impact)
- European equivalent is EN166 with a medium or high impact rating
- Any Tactical Conditions - any person on any playing field
- Sealed eye chamber safety glasses or goggles meeting US MIL-DTL-43511D, or ANSI Z87.1-2003 (high impact)
- European equivalent is EN166 (Medium Impact)
- The sealed eye chamber should be of a design to prevent a BB from entering through any ventilation ports in the goggle frame that are around or access the eye chamber
- Watch for goggles that have foam barriers glued to the outer part of the goggle to cover ventilation opening - avoid goggles with openings under the foam large enough to allow the entry of an airsoft BB
- Joint Paintball and Airsoft Fields
- Paintball Goggles meeting ASTM F1776-12
- Generally recommended by operators of both paintball and airsoft activities
- Removal of the face protection is considered safe as long as no large openings exist after this is done to the goggle system
- Periodic Checks - All units should be checked by the end user prior to use each day and preferably before each game for:
- Cracking of the frame or lens - should be no longer used if this is evident
- Strap or other retention device to fit to the head - goggles must fit securely and provide a full seal around the eye area when worn
- Gaps or openings - any opening or gap between the lens and frame or face and protector that will allow the entry of a 6 mm BB will make the unit unsafe
- Scratching or marks on the lens surface - this is discretionary as this reduces the field of view of the goggle. If the lens is all scratched up or marked the chance of a player removing them on the field is higher. Encourage replacement.
- Any modification or additions to the goggle should be reviewed to ensure they do not allow entry of a 6 mm BB to the eye compartment.
Reading Mike's recommendations seems to indicate that ballistic goggles with full seal to the face are favoured -- but we'll see!
Notes from his article:
- The American Society for Testing and Standards (ASTM.org) is currently developing standards for Airsoft which will require a minimum of full-seal goggles consistent with ANSI Z87.1 level of protection. Do not compromise on this requirement.
- I encourage you to listen to our podcast (http://feeds.feedburner.com/airsoftmedicine) titled, "bang kill," for more discussion on this topic. The ASTM is going to set a standard of no shot closer than five feet (300 feet per second 0.20 g BB), and no closer than 10 feet with a gun firing 350 feet per second.
Managing Fogging and Moisture
Moisture will get into your sealed goggles from breath or sweat. You will need to manage it, or keep going back to the safe zone to wipe it off the condensation.
Most players use thermal lenses in their JT goggles and supplement that with electric fan systems. JT and ESS have their own systems and you can also get aftermarket kits or make your own for very little money. Some players will even make them for you, just ask around.
Your other alternative is some kind of coating on the inside of the goggle lens to repel moisture. You can by sprays and wipes that are safe to use. You could also wipe on a film of bar soap on the inner surface of the lens and polish the lens till it looks "clean", some players have found success with this simple coating. But coatings can involve a delicate balance between just enough and so much the coating distorts your vision.
As a player, you may find one or two of these techniques helpful. Experiment to find one that works for you, because you might have difficulties with many of the techniques.
Many players have removed or modified the stock face protection on their goggles to allow better aim and limit goggle fogging. Op-For recommends you use some form of face protection to protect your teeth. Damage to your teeth is permanent, replacing your natural teeth with prosthetics.
Advice from a doctor who plays airsoft:
(eventually we will put the quotes in wiki format - links are dead as we have downed the old server, but the data is archived so eventually....)
Type A - Paintball
- JT (Pro-Flex allews most flexible configuration)
- Save Phace
- Brass Eagle
- Extreme Rage
Type B - Ballistic
- Eye Safety Systems
- Wiley X Patriot
- JT Spectra Thermal
- JT Flex 8 Pro
- any JT paintball goggle (Flex 8, Flex Flex 8 Pro, etc)
- any dual pane (thermal) paintball goggle with removable face mask
- Scott Voltage XP - http://www.pbreview.com/products/reviews/3092/
- ESS Striker (good with glasses)
- ESS Profile
- Revision Sawfly
- Wiley X Patriot
Airsoft Safety recommendations:
Some of Dr. Airsoft's practical testing videos:
- 520 ft/s rifle:
- Wire Goggles:
American Society for Testing and Materials has a committee working on this: http://www.popularairsoft.com/news/astm-airsoft-eye-protection-news
The eye protection standard is currently marked ASTM WK27246. The committee also has standards for BBs and barrel blocking devices ( http://www.astm.org/DATABASE.CART/WORKITEMS/WK42700.htm ).
Their standards are listed here: http://www.astm.org/COMMIT/SUBCOMMIT/F0827.htm .