We’ve previously touted safety’s importance while playing airsoft. If you’re seeking dependable protection on the battlefield, choosing a high-quality pair of goggles is a must. These impact-resistant essentials will protect your eyes from ricochets, direct shots, and other circumstantial hazards. Perhaps best of all, they’re often widely available and budget friendly. We only have one set of eyes, and we recommend safeguarding it with these exceptional options:
ESS Profile NVG
The ESS brand is military-inspired and generally garners a lot of praise from the airsoft community. If you’re looking for goggles that’ll stand up to repeated abuse, look no further than the company’s Profile NVG. Each pair is battle rated according to U.S. military specifications; the NVG is also ANSI Z87.1+ rated. They’re constructed of 2.8mm ballistic polycarbonate. Resultantly, they’ll stand up to repeated impacts, especially sharper ones associated with projectiles. New versions of the Profile NVG
These goggles are compatible with multiple helmet models thanks to their compact frame and outrigger design. If you prefer using full-head protection, these will work nicely. ESS touts its anti-fog coating and full-perimeter ventilation, which will theoretically cut down on visual haze. However, some players have reported fog still appears after hours of play. Some users recommend applying an anti-fog solution to keep issues at bay. Though the material isn’t mentioned with existed models, players have removed foam exteriors in the past to eliminate fogging. Despite their ventilation, these goggles provide an exceptional seal for most players. ESS also offers an Asian-fit variant to widen the playing field.
Building on that, ESS has great options for all preferences. These goggles will excel at indoor and outdoor use, since ESS makes lenses in four colors: Clear, Hi-Def Yellow, Hi-Def Bronze, and Smoke Gray. These boast a visible light transmittance of 15% to 90%. Regardless of whether your environment is sunny or cloudy, dark or illuminated, the right option exists for you. All lenses include an anti-scratch coating. They provide 100% UV-A and UV-B filtration.
Heads up, milsim players! These googles are night vision compatible, allowing you to go all out with your setup. They also support Rx inserts for vision-impaired users.
Revision Desert Locust
Another crowd favorite, Revision offers another military-spec option in the Desert Locust. Sold in a kit, the goggles are a good value in spite of their higher price tag. Being a military product, the Locust is ANSI Z78.1 rated and stands up to intense impacts. Simply put, BBs are no match for these lenses. The same is true of intense sunlight and solar radiation. Each pair of Desert Locusts includes distortion-free lenses that protect users completely from UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays.
The company’s OcuMax coating supposedly lasts longer than competing coatings by a factor of 10-20 times. This coating gives the goggles their fog resistance. However, owners of the goggles often remove the foam lining to cut down on fogging during matches. Thermal lenses are also available, which should help reduce fogging. In any case, these are built to last when also considering their rugged build.
Each Revision Desert Locust kit includes two lenses: Clear and Smoke. This is unique to the U.S. Military kit. Revision offers four additional kit options with frame colors like tan, black, and foliage green. As a bonus, you can opt for a photochromic setup, which changes lens tint in response to lighting conditions. This functions much like Transitions lenses would, for glasses wearers. Speaking of which, owners say these provide ample room to accommodate prescription eyewear underneath.
Additionally, Revision touts the Locust’s field of view as a major advantage. Due to its lens profile and minimal distortion, you’ll have no problem scanning their environment. This will allow you to spot threats more proactively. These also include Rx connectors.
An awesome budget option and great value, the Pyramex I-Force provide substantial protection at a low price. They still carry an ANSI Z78.1 rating and meet Class 1 military standards. Though we wouldn’t expect these to quickly break down, you can buy multiple pairs for every single pair you’d get from other brands. As some owners point out, this allows them to bring extra pairs for themselves and teammates.
As expected, Pyramex’s build is less robust than other alternatives, but this has its advantages. These goggles are lightweight and comfortable to wear. They’re also lower profile than full-sized options. These attributes make them ideal for extended matches or those in hot conditions. Accordingly, I-Force goggles stave off fog pretty well. Some players will still prefer to remove the foam – this is a matter of preference.
Lastly, these goggles feature quick-release temples (for replacements) and an elastic strap. This makes adjustments simple and promotes extended wear.
Bollé Tactical X800
Yet another military-inspired option, the Bollé X800 is loved for its impact resistance and field of view. The X800 has a panoramic lens, providing enhanced visibility. This is useful outdoors and while corner checking in CQB environments. These are ballistic goggles designed to survive repeated impacts. It’s 3mm lens can withstand an impact from a 6mm, 0.86g ball at 393 FPS. Considering that max-weight BBs reside in the 0.45g range, this protection is ample. They’re also STANAG 2920 rated. These lenses are made of polycarbonate.
The X800s are comfortable and provide a full seal. These still ventilate extremely well and combat fog. This is bolstered with an anti-fog coating, as part of Bollé’s Platinum technology. This provides scratch resistance, chemical resistance, and wear protection. Visibility is key during matches, and Bollé has your back. They also provide 99.9% UV-A and UV-B protection.
A 35mm band is wide and accommodates a plethora of helmet designs. Users can easily swap lenses and even insert optical lenses as needed. The X800 comes in a black frame with clear lenses.
ESS Profile TurboFan
Similar to the Profile NVG, the ESS Profile TurboFan bakes in technology that actively fights fogging. If you play in high temperature or high-humidity environments, these will be a godsend. In fact, ESS claims this fan will reduce fog for over 150 continuous hours on its low setting. This fan can cycle at a rate of 13,000 RPM on its high setting. This draws heat and moisture through the unit on top of the goggles.
An automatic timer helps preserve battery life, especially when accidentally leaving your TurboFans running. The power pack is encased in a weatherproof composite, allowing for use in all conditions. No matter where you’re fighting, the TurboFan is battle ready.
Like other ESS options, these are ANSI Z87.1+ rated, Rx ready, and support quick lens replacement. They also have an Asian-fit option. It’s nice knowing those added features won’t hamper durability and functionality. However, these come at a hefty price – costing twice as much as premium goggles lacking fans.
How to Choose Your Goggles
We’ve touched on what makes a pair of goggles excellent already, but there are more factors to consider. Keeping these tips in mind will ensure you make the best possible purchase in the future:
Where to Buy
As with many products, certain vendors lend themselves best to airsoft products. Goggles are similar, those there’s some crossover. Your usual suspects like Airsoft Station, Evike, and Amazon are reputable marketplaces for Goggles. The latter begets a higher degree of skepticism, however, for two reasons. Amazon offers products from multiple sellers and marketplaces, some of which are more reputable than others. Buying from third-party sellers can introduce risk.
Additionally, goggles are commonly counterfeited. It may be enticing to grab a pair of excellent goggles for 1/3 the regular price, but there may be reasons behind that price reduction. Inspect physical details and specifications as best you can. Always read reviews carefully to make sure listings pass the gut check. The same applies for eBay and Facebook Marketplace. These can be great outlets for finding new and used gear, but we don’t officially recommend them.
Since many goggles are military-inspired or issued, you’ll find many pairs turn up in surplus shops. Be sure to check these out when available, as they typically offer authentic gear at reduced prices.
Lenses and Fogging
Protection and performance are both key. Impact resistance is your chief motivation behind buying goggles, so seek those that are highly ANSI rated. These will provide exceptional resistance to focused and blunt force. Buyers in Canada, Europe, and elsewhere will want to observe their respective impacts-ratings systems.
Consider your playing conditions when choosing between tints. Consider your field of view and whether or not it’ll be encumbered. Take into account complimentary accessories, like helmets and face masks. A compatible pair of goggles will truly bolster your setup and can help you fight more effectively. Fog reduction and resistance are key. You may be protected, but that won’t aid you or your teammates completely if you can’t see well.
With most things, budget will be a determining factor with your purchase. That said, don’t choose the cheapest goggles you can find. These will routinely lack key safety and usability features that make goggles essential. As seen with our Pyramex example, great goggles can be had without emptying your wallet. Whatever you route you take, always keep in mind that your eyes are not something to gamble with.