Do I need a paintball mask?
If you reduce paintball to its basics, the paintball mask is the ONLY piece of equipment in the paintball pantheon that you cannot be without. For instance, you can play paintball without having a gun - by making a run for the flag and hoping you don't get hit before taking it. You can play paintball without balls - as even the sound of your gun firing without paintballs can fool your opponent. But a paintball mask, otherwise known as goggles, is something you simply cannot be without.
But before you go out and buy a paintball mask, you need to keep some things in mind. Firstly, you need to get a mask made especially for paintball. You can't wear ski goggles, you cannot wear safety goggles, you cannot wear shooting glasses, or sunglasses, it must be a paintball masks made to strict industry standards - capable of withstanding something hitting it at more than 270 mph.
The lenses on a paintball mask are larger than normal and offer peripheral vision, which means that you can see out of your eye's corner. This can save you from a sniper attack during a game. You also need to be able to look comfortably through your gun sights when you have the mask on. Should you be wearing glasses, the mask will need to comfortably fit over them.
The lenses on your paintball mask also need to be thermal, to make sure that your lenses don't fog up so much when you are playing a game. Paintball will make you breath very hard. Even if you are buying a used paintball mask you should find it easy to come across anti-fogging technology. By the way, you should always clean the lenses with water as many cleaning agents can damage the anti-fog film.
Whilst a paintball in the eye can blind you, a paintball in the ear can be just as bad. So the mask that you buy must completely and comfortably cover your ears. But you shouldn't let safety also get in the way of sound quality. When you put the mask on, you should rub your index finger and thumb next to the ear flap. Should you not be able to hear anything, you should carry on looking for the paintball mask for you.
It is critical to get a good face shield. The mask must have a face shield that is flexible and large, able to protect your chin, mouth and nose whilst still being able to talk and breathe clearly. Incidentally, whatever your face mask covers, you may still get some paint in your mouth, but don't worry, it is safe, even though it tastes terrible.
Finally, make sure it fits well, with padding and an adjustable strap.