Paintball is a fun sport. It can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be. Playing a limited paint style with a pump, or magfed marker helps reduce the cost of having to buy paintballs. If you have a bigger budget than playing with an electronic marker and throwing 10 balls per second might sound more appealing. Regardless of your play style one thing all play styles require….VISION. Being able to see your target is the most important part of paintball. It doesn’t matter what brand or quality of paintball you’re shooting, if you can’t see your target you might as well call your self out. I mentioned paintball can be as expensive or as cheap as you want, however one thing is clear, when it comes to paintball masks, you usually get what you pay for.
Before buying a mask most people resort to asking questions on facebook groups, message boards, or even asking other players at the field. These are all good ways to get an idea of what people like, and the pros and cons on each mask. When it comes down to it we all experience each mask differently. It’s important to take everyones opinion with a grain of salt. The best way to pick a mask is by putting it on, and getting a feel for it. Look in the mirror, make sure it is protecting your face sufficiently. Not every mask will fit the same, some will feel heavier, others will be lighter. The lens a mask has can also make a world of difference, and changing the lens is as equally important. A dark lens on a cloudy day in the woods can hinder your ability to see the opponent. This would be a time when a clear or HD lens would be ideal. On sunny days, you would want to have a darker lens to prevent the sun from blinding you.
Being able to change a lens can become a daunting task depending on the mask. Most new masks have come with quick change systems, making a lens change much easier than past mask designs. Having a spare lens is a requirement in my gear bag. When your mask takes a direct shot to the lens it impact the future durability of that lens. If you start to see small cracks, or notice that your mask is fogging when it never used to than those are signs that lens change is needed. You don’t want to be out on the field playing, and your lens breaks while playing. This can cause a serious or even permanent injury.
Inspecting your lens after taking a hit will be the best way to guarantee you’re not putting your self in danger. Keeping a spare lens for those situations is crucial and will also keep you playing in the event a mask hit cracks your current lens.
The paintball mask is the equivalent to the basketball sneaker. They are heavily used, and players like a variety in colors, designs, and styles. Once you purchase your first mask, you will play with it for a season, and find your self looking at different ones. Not that anything is wrong with your current mask. Manufactures are always coming up with new color ways, designs, and different features. For example a new mask brand just launched call Push, the nose bridge on the mask is adjustable. The Dye i5’s being worn by me in the first picture feature a ratchet strap making tightening and loosening of the mask very easy only requires one hand. Others like the EVS claim to have the widest vision available.
When it comes down to it you want to try on the mask, and live in it for a few minutes before buying it. Most paintball stores will let you put them on, and walk around for a bit. As long as you do that you should be able to pick a mask that fits your unique requirements.