In this article, we'll be talking about helmets in airsoft and whether or not you need one to play airsoft.
A little warning about helmets before we proceed: airsoft helmets are for novelty only. They do not go through the mandatory testing required of helmets used as safety equipment, therefore you should NOT use an airsoft grade helmet in place of a rated helmet from a trusted manufacturer for activities that require a helmet for safety and protection.
If you play night games or CQB, an LED light might be helpful.
Are Vests & Helmets Required?
The first gear question we get especially from new players or parents of new players is: are vests and helmets required to play airsoft? These items are absolutely NOT required. The bare minimum for protective gear will always be fully sealed impact-rated goggles.
Depending upon the fields you intend to visit, there will be variations to these requirements. Some places may require full facial coverage such as that offered from a paintball mask which most protection, or something that fully covers your eyes and mouth area.
You will typically see this at indoor fields where engagement distances are very short. At some places, it is acceptable to run impact-rated goggles and a lower mesh face mask. At our own field, FAF Airsoft, everyone over 18 is required full seal Z87 ANSI rated eyewear with a retention strap, with lower face protection is optional (but highly recommended anyway).
Players under 18 need full-face protection so a paintball mask or goggle plus lower mask combo would be acceptable. Be mindful if a place only requires shooting glasses. Though shooting glasses are impact rated, the lack of full seal means a BB can easily compromise the whole setup and injure you.
Remember that any space between your face and your eyewear means that there is a gap present that a BB can go through, and if there's a will there's a way. We don't like to say this but if a field or event lacks the understanding to still allow shooting glasses as acceptable protection, avoid that place at all costs. You will get hurt. With that being said, that's all the safety gear you need to play!
So helmets and vests... what are they good for? Getting geared up for airsoft is another fun aspect of the sport, whether it be for function or aesthetics. For function, you can get geared up to carry more ammo or other accessories that enhance your experience. For aesthetics, you can use it to capture a look that you saw and wanted to emulate or customize your gear to be unique from everyone else.
You can personalize and customize numerous aspects of your helmet. You can record your gameplay by mounting a camera to it, you can use night vision, hearing protection, or just show off some style with your head gear.
So with a helmet, you can get some form of protection against direct hits to your head (which sting like crazy). As far accessories go, modern helmets come equipped with provisions that allow you to mount many things on them. You can put morale patches, lights, headsets, strobes, night vision, goggles, or action cameras such as GoPros. Out of all those aforementioned accessories, the cameras are probably the most popular one. Who doesn't love capturing those awesome moments of you killing it on the field?
Morale Patches & Helmet Covers
Morale patches are a way to add some personalization and flare, as do helmet covers. You can add lights so you can navigate better, headsets to protect your ears or to integrate your communications setups, and strobes for identifying yourself to your team.
You could also integrate your goggle system into your helmet with some of these setups which have special clips that you retrofit to your goggles. Then, of course, there is night vision. These are something you find in the hands of hardcore milsim players and training enthusiasts who want to enhance their experience as much as possible.
You could take it further with some craft skills to enhance your helmet's look. You could add a bit of camo net or even spray paint it so it is not a solid color. Breaking up the shape and colors in a helmet goes a long way to help avoid detection. This is a great way to show some creativity in kit building which many players take pride in doing.
If you decide that you want to get your own helmet, check out our selection which includes popular bump helmet styles from Defcon Gear and Lancer Tactical. If you're looking at getting a more complete setup, we do have gear starter kits that feature these helmets along with some choices for chest rigs to get you started and save you some money at the same time.