Why use an airsoft helmet?
Anyone who things the only reason to wear an airsoft helmet is to protect you from BB’s hitting your head, is dead wrong. As many airsofters can attest, you bump your head way more often than that you get hit in the head by a BB. Fact: the most common -relatively serious- airsoft injuries are bumped heads and twisted ancles. It can be a concrete beam, a window- or doorframe or a big branch, but in the heat of the moment many airsofter is reminded by a big thump, that wearing a helmet was a very smart move. Often, airsoft helmets aren’t mandatory, but as said above, wearing one is sensible. Besides that, an airsoft helmet is the ideal platform for a multitude of tactical gear. And yes, it can also take the occasional stray BB.
This is what you can use on your airsoft helmet
An airsoft helmet offers a perfect base for multiple tactical accessories. With rails and Velcro (hook and loop), you can fully gear up your airsoft helmet. You can -for instance- mount an action cam or even night vision optics. But remember to mount a counterweight or something equally heavy like a battery pack to keep the balance. It really is the difference between comfort and annoyance.
Often a headset is attached to the airsoft helmet, in order to keep in contact with your teammates. And when talking about extremely useful tactical gear, lots of airsofters use a lamp mounted on their airsoft helmet. A very logical place, as it will automatically will be pointing to the direction you’re looking at.
What's the best airsoft helmet?
Ah, that’s an impossible question to answer, as it depends on many variables, the main one being in what situation you want to use the airsoft helmet. But what we can tell you is that the so-called Fast helmets are the airsoft helmets that are used most in airsoft. It’s a light and often quite well-ventilated tactical airsoft helmet that is worn in combination with face protection, such as a mask, and airsoft safety glasses or goggles. A Fast airsoft helmet has a modern, tactical look and is quite comfortable, as it’s relatively light and is usually very well ventilated too. It’s also one of the best airsoft helmets for carrying your tactical gadgets.
Another option are full-face airsoft helmets, where a solid chin piece is incorporated into the construction. Often, there’s also a visor mounted. Full-face airsoft helmets can weigh a bit more than their open face counterparts and, of course, ventilation is reduced, but they do offer the best possible protection. Regarding BB’s, there normally aren’t any holes or slits where they could enter accidentally. Airsoft helmets like these do look quite futuristic and let’s be honest, they can also look seriously intimidating.
If you prefer to go old skool or are very serious in your re-enactment, a ballistic airsoft helmet is exactly what you need. These old-fashioned army helmets often look very authentic and regarding protection, they’re on par with the modern Fast airsoft helmets. They do tend to have less ventilation openings, if any.
More often than not, an airsoft helmet isn’t really chosen for the amount of protection it can offer. Instead, the ‘cool factor’ is often leading. You can take ‘cool’ both figuratively and literary by the way. Of course, it’s important to consider what look you’re aiming for and what you feel comfortable with to be seen in. But as airsoft is a very physical activity where you can get hot quite quickly, it is equally important to make a wise decision regarding the amount of ventilation you’ll probably be needing.
Personalise an airsoft helmet
Just like you do with your airsoft replica and every other part of your airsoft gear and outfit, the airsoft helmet is also regularly subject to personalisation. Of course, this already starts when you mount your tactical gear onto it, but an airsoft helmet is also very often the place where airsoft patches seem to gather like flies. The weirder, the better it seems. And that’s a good thing, as laughing is healthy, right?
What you can also do, is using a helmet cover. These airsoft helmet covers often are kept in place with Velcro and there are many camouflage patterns to choose from. With a helmet cover, you can match your airsoft helmet perfectly with the rest of your outfit.
How to choose the right airsoft helmet
Firstly, you need to decide for yourself what kind of airsoft helmet will suit your needs best, as described under the header ‘What’s the best airsoft helmet’ above. The choice made here, consists of two considerations: style and ventilation. As taste is personal and style depends on gameplay, universal advice is senseless. Just go with what you like or what suits your style of airsofting best.
Heat dissipation however, is something we can actually tell you a thing or two about. The more an airsoft helmet encloses your head, the more heat it will hold. A full-face airsoft helmet is definitely warmer than -for example- a Fast airsoft helmet. What can make a lot of difference is how many ventilation slots an airsoft helmet has. Some airsoft helmets have open slots, others have slots covered with mesh. There are even airsoft helmets where a large part of the construction is made of mesh, which offers superior ventilation and even an excellent protection against incoming BB’s, but when bumping your head hard, mesh isn’t as strong as a normal helmet shell.
The most important thing to consider though, is the fit of an airsoft helmet. A loose airsoft helmet will annoy you. It will slide and your tactical accessories won’t function like you want them to. They will be all over the place, wobbling around with your helmet. That won’t happen when your airsoft helmet is too tight, but you don’t want to end your day of airsofting with sore irritation marks and a blinding headache. It’s crucial to know there is a lot of difference in head shapes. For instance, European heads tend to be longer and pointier on the front than Asian head that tend to be rounder. The former category is more likely to encounter excessive pressure on the forehead when wearing a helmet with a bad fit, while the latter will feel a bad fitting helmet clamping on the sides of the head.
Sizing regretfully differs a lot between manufacturers. Where one will use letters like S, M, L, et cetera, others might use the head circumference in centimetres or inches. But lots of airsoft helmets are universal in size and most of them are adjustable for a good fit, which often works a treat. But even then, it’s important to try an airsoft helmet before you buy one, to see if the fit is right for the shape of your head. We cannot stress the importance of a good fit enough, as an airsoft helmet that will rattle loosely on your head or one that will press painfully on your head is an airsoft helmet that simply isn’t usable. Rule of thumb is that an airsoft helmet should be tight enough that when somebody holds it, you shouldn’t be able to turn or nod your head. It’s shouldn’t be so tight that it’s painful though.