Want to know what safety gear you need to get started in airsoft?
You’re in the right place! We talk a lot about safety around here, but that’s because we think it’s super important to not only have fun, but to be safe while doing it.
So, anyways… let’s talk safety gear, why you need it, and what you should have.
Why Do I Need Safety Gear?
So, you may have heard that all you need to play airsoft is a gun, some BBs, and a way to power it all. While it’s true your backyard springer gun games may not require much in the way of body armor… you’re still going to need a bit of safety gear.
After all, teeth and eyes are expensive and hard to fix, so we want to make sure they’re well protected, and we don’t have to later explain to people why we’re rocking the pirate look.
Not to mention, airsoft BBs can sting! Even if you’re not worried about a few bruises and welts, a little extra protection can keep you from coming home with sore fingers after getting shot in the knuckles.
Essential Safety Gear for Airsoft
Some of the stuff on this list may not be critical for the way you play, but we want to cover our bases, so we’ll also get into some of the more advanced safety gear, too.
Let’s start with the must-haves and work our way down to the stuff that’s nice to have.
At the bare minimum, you need to wear eye protection.
We recommend that you get something rated at least ANSI z87+, which is the standard for impact-rated eye protection, according to the American National Safety Institute. It means that the eye protection in question has been tested and found to protect against ballistic impacts.
Beyond that, the type of eye protection that you get is up to you.
Some people prefer safety glasses, while others like full-seal goggles. Goggles do provide a little extra protection by making sure nothing can get behind them, but they can be less comfortable to wear, especially in hot weather.
You can even find different lens colors, which can help you when shooting in various light conditions.
Eyes aren’t the only thing you need to protect. BBs can cause damage to your teeth, but also, they’re just super uncomfortable to be shot in the face with. Face protection can help mitigate the sting and protect your beautiful face.
You can find full masks that incorporate eye protection for an all-in-on deal, but half masks are also popular and offer more versatility. They can even be layered under other protections for better theming.
Recon wraps, balaclavas, and helmets are some other forms of face and head protection you’ll see. These are especially popular in the milsim world, but they can be used pretty much anywhere. They’ll help take the sting out of rounds, but you still may feel them.
Ever get something stuck in your ear as a kid? Not only is it not a fun experience, but it can also cause damage or lead to an ear infection.
It turns out, teeny 6mm BBs are just the right size to end up in your ear canal, but they can be pretty hard to get out (not to mention painful going in!).
Protect your earholes from errant BBs with a set of ear protection. You can get super fancy with a pair of electronic earmuffs that amplify voices and environmental sounds but limit dangerously loud noises, go middle of the road with standard earmuffs, or even go super basic with a pair of foamie earplugs.
Choose what is comfortable and fits your budget, but be warned–covering your ears with earmuffs will also protect you from painful shots to the outer ear, while foam plugs will only stop BBs from getting in your ear.
Hands are amazing things, chock full of nerve endings that let you feel your environment… and every one of those nerves is screaming about that BB that just bounced off your knuckle.
We guarantee you won’t realize just how dang bad it hurt to be shot in the hand until it happens, but you can be preemptive and buy a pair of sturdy gloves.
Gloves also can protect your fingers and palms from getting all buggered up on rough obstacles or the ground when you slip and fall–you’re going to thank us later, you’ll see.
Knee and Elbow Pads
Same idea as gloves–BBs hitting joints hurts a lot, but banging joints on corners or the ground also hurts, and you will bang your elbows or knees up in a game.
Wearing knee and elbow protection can keep you in the game longer, especially when the alternative is cursing a blue streak after whacking your funny bone on a barrier or taking a knee right on top of a little pebble and temporarily crippling yourself.
While torso protection isn’t strictly necessary to stay safe in airsoft, it does come in handy. You may prefer to just pile on some thick clothing to soften the blows, but tactical vests, plate carriers, and chest rigs also offer you a lot of options for carrying additional gear, such as gas canisters, batteries, spare magazines, etc.
They make our list of essential safety gear only because they do offer you a way to carry all your stuff, saving you trips back to base, and because they can support the next piece of equipment.
What else is there to say besides you’re going to want to protect all your tender spots. Groin protectors can be attached to a belt or to your torso protection, but you may find that you prefer a sports cup or something else.
Regardless of your sex, you should definitely consider groin protection.
Playing outside? Guess what–you’re at risk of a nasty sunburn. You may not realize how much sun you’re soaking up during a game, but you’ll regret it as soon as you step into that nice, hot post-game shower.
Not to mention, playing airsoft with a sunburn sucks big time, so preventing burns will get you back out in the field faster.
First Aid Kit
Depending on where you play, there may be first aid supplies available, but to be safe–don’t count on it. Even a basic pre-made kit is a good idea to toss in your kit, since you don’t want to let little cuts and scratches slow you down.
Playing It Safe
Whether you’re looking for the bare minimum or going bougie to the max, there’s plenty of protection options out there for you.
Keep an eye out for our upcoming articles looking into the best of the best when it comes to eye protection, tactical vests, face masks, and more!
What safety gear do you consider essential? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments. Learn more about airsoft safety with these 10 safety tips.