Hey everyone! Today I want to introduce you to an underappreciated accessory: lens protectors. For players that run optics of any sort, a lens protector can save your glass from getting shot out. If you don't think you need it, you'd be surprised. I have on an occasion or two had my red dot sight shot out when I thought "oh I can go one day without it" just because I was excited to play. I thought wrong. If your optic is not expensive or not that valuable to you, then don't worry about it because it would be hard to justify a $15 or $20 sight protector especially if your sight or scope cost that much. Or you might be a keep-it-simple kind of player and don't use or care for optical sights at all, then this might not be relevant to you.
Not all lens protectors are created equally though. The more expensive ones are rated to take multiple hits and run materials that are more resilient than just a simple plastic screen. That is why you may see the price range widely for something so simple. Some even include extra lenses as replacements just in case so you might see where the added cost comes from. We will leave that to you to decide if a more resilient lens protector is justified or not. For players who engage in CQB in heavy BB slinging environments, these lens protectors will prove their worth. Actually when you look at CQB specialized players, you might even see lens protectors on their flashlights too. The flashlights give them a tremendous advantage at low-lit indoor fields and a good performing light is an investment they want to protect, just like their optic.
Action Sport Games makes a really nice one here that is capable of taking multiple hits at a very high FPS even up close. Our demo one here was shot with a 500fps DMR at point blank and the best that it could do was deform. There were no cracks or chips which is amazing. And should you want to replace the lens there are a couple more included with the package.
Speed Airsoft also makes ones that are very slick and being they specialize in CNC and manufacturing of nice parts these tend to look very sleek too. I cut mine down a little here just to match the height of another optic I was running.
The ASG and Speed Airsoft lens protectors are some of the most robust lens protectors that we carry.
If you are someone who likes to record gameplay or make videos you may want to protect your expensive action cameras with these too. The bodies on these cameras might be rugged but the lens is not intended for a direct impact.
Another lesser known option that is a carry over from real world application would be a kill flash. These are usually steel wire mesh/honeycomb pattern protectors that offer limited protection but moreover prevent scope glare from giving you away. The protection value is not really good though as steel mesh has proven to be not safe for eye use in airsoft for the velocities we run in the US and your typical Bio BB will just get shredded on impact and the debris will bypass the screen altogether.
And the last type of cover is something you might get when you purchase a scope, and those are the see-thru bikini style covers. They offer some form of protection so that is good, though they are usually just a plastic lens so hard or repeated hits will ruin it. One lens sometimes is an amber/yellowy color to improve your image definition in sunlight conditions and some players may or may not like that and prefer a neutral picture. It's better than nothing to use it and can possibly save your optic so why not run it.
The type of scope you use, your mounting space, and mounting options will dictate what kind of lens protector you can use. Guns with more picatinnty rail space have the advantage for more flexible mounting. If you run a magnified optic on a gun with very little rail space, you might have to stick to bikini covers.
A random question that I got asked once was if one or two protectors are needed? Typically players run just a front one. The back of the optic is often obscured and hidden behind the body and I've heard of almost no one getting a random hit on the ocular side of the scope. That being said, the possibility of you being snuck behind could come up so you can decide if that's something you want to do. The front-facing impact is the highest likely scenario.
What do you run for your optics setups? Do you keep a protector or kill flash on it just in case? Let us know in the comments how you like it!