Manufacturer: X Factor / TMC
Package: 1x Metal Mesh Half Mask.
Type: Gear / Protection
Cost: $20 @ Airsoft Extreme
I have never been one for face protection outside of the CQB environment. Paintball masks make me feel very claustrophobic and fogging was always an issue due to my heavy breathing being recycled into the poorly ventilated lower part of the mask. Eventually I gave up and started wrapping a shemagh around my head and biting the knot when I knew contact was eminent. Not really 100% safe by any stretch of the imagination. Fast forward to July 2011 when AEX had their big 4th of July sale going on and I found the X Factor V2 Metal Mesh Half Mask while surfing their online store for random items (which I do more often than I’d like to admit).
I instantly fell in love with the soft, cordura covered foam lower half of the mask which greatly adds to the comfort during movement. The ear protection does limit and event restricts which radio headset I can use, one of the major con’s of the mask. The cut of the mask can rub on the bridge of your nose if your straps are not secured correctly, a mistake I did that literally rubbed me raw during field tests.
I field tested on two games, one being in a high-humidity environment, the other in a very normal, 80F day. During the high-humidity game, I noticed a considerable amount of either sweat or condensation (couldn’t really tell) forming on the wire mesh portion of the mask. This really didn’t hinder the masks operation, just seemed a little odd. No rusting or staining occurred from sweating through the cordura. At 98% humidity, the masked performed great. During the 2nd field trial nothing really exceptional happened. The mask performed as designed and I actually got zapped in the lower face at approximately 25 feet. The mask rang with every BB strike, letting me know there was no doubt that I was hit. I had no problem sighting in on my AEG using iron sights and red dots respectively.
In conclusion, for $20 you can’t get better face protection. Comfortable, light and durable, the X Factor V2 Metal Mesh Half Mask is the protection you need at a price point that won’t break the bank. After all, a trip to the dentist to replace that chipped/broken tooth is going to cost a hell of a lot more than $20 no matter how good of insurance you have!