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You’re planning to get yourself your own protective gear to guard against rubber bullets, right?
Or perhaps you’ve found some, but are questioning the level of protection you’re going to get from them? Like can Airsoft Goggles Stop Rubber Bullets?
Linda Tirado, a photojournalist who was covering a protest in Minneapolis on a fateful Friday night was armed and ready with her own safety equipment.
But just minutes before the curfew, she was shot in her left eye with a rubber bullet by a police officer.
She was immediately given medical attention but her left eye was damaged and blinded for life.
Linda wasn’t short of protective gear for her eyes. As a matter of fact, she was actually wearing safety glasses when it happened.
Aside from the deadly force of the rubber bullet, the pieces from the shattered safety glasses contributed to the ultimate damage to her eyes.
What’s the takeaway?
Simply having safety glasses won’t save or protect you.
But the good news is…
… you can definitely do something about it.
You can start by choosing a safe protective gear for your eyes that can withstand even rubber bullets.
How Airsoft Goggles protect you from a rubber bullet
So now, you play airsoft and are wondering if you can also use your airsoft eye protection for other things…
…or maybe you’ve seen some cool airsoft eye protection that promises perfect security against airsoft guns that you’re wondering if it’ll be as safe for rubber bullets and more dangerous situations.
The truth is…
…not all airsoft safety goggles can give you the level of eye protection you need against common injuries caused by rubber bullets, tear gas, plastic bullets, and the like.
But with that being said, there are also very few airsoft safety goggles that you can use to keep your peepers safe from high speed projectiles.
So how can airsoft safety goggles protect you from rubber bullets?
While there are very lightweight airsoft goggles, you can also find well-made ones that have passed some standards set for safety glasses.
For one, you can pick a military standard airsoft goggle that has polycarbonate panes or lenses.
Polycarbonate lenses are made for impact resistance and aren’t supposed to break or shatter even when shot with high speed projectiles even up to 550 feet per second.
Some airsoft goggles are even considered ballistic rated safety glasses and can be used for target shooting, protection against riot control by law enforcement, plastic BB, and other potential dangers.
These airsoft goggles were made with thick and sturdy polycarbonate lenses that most probably will just sustain a scratch if shot directly with the impact energy of a rubber bullet.
Aside from these benefits…
…most well-made airsoft goggles have an airtight seal that’s good for keeping out projectiles from different directions, as well as tear gas, plastic BB, and other dangerously small fragments.
Related: Best Airsoft Goggles
How dangerous are rubber bullets?
If you’re here thinking that just because rubber bullets are supposed to be safe and harmless just because it’s coated with rubber, then you might want to read on and to protect your eyes.
Rubber bullets are projectiles coated in rubber and are mostly used by police officers for riot control, animal control, and even for self-defense and recreational purposes, as well.
But these days…
Rubber bullets are mostly used by police officers to control riots, especially violent ones.
So how serious can eye injuries caused by rubber bullets be?
In 2003, the St. John Eye Hospital in Jerusalem conducted a study to identify the levels and types of severity the eye injuries caused by rubber bullets have.
The conclusions were hair-raising.
The most common damage the studied patients had are orbital fractures.
Orbital fractures consist of bone fractures or breakage around the eyeball. The tissues surrounding these bone fractures also mostly got permanent damage.
In other words…
Not only your eyeball itself can sustain permanent damage but the surrounding bones and tissues, as well.
While more than half of the studied patients have to undergo surgery to fix the damages, over 53% of them weren’t able to fully recover their sight.
The most fatal effects of being hit with a rubber bullet- more than the common injuries- are internal organ damage, disability, and even death, especially when fired at close range.
Wonder how it feels to be shot point blank by a rubber bullet?
When the police shot another poor photojournalist named Andre Mercharles, it hit him in the right thigh and he described the experience as similar to being shot with a steel ball or an actual bullet.
Best ways to you protect yourself from rubber bullets
Projectiles lose their power the longer the distance they travel in is. A good sturdy ballistic lenses is sufficient for a shot coming from a medium range.
Ballistic rated safety glasses with ballistic lenses are always the best way to go.
But if you’re looking to secure your body from harmful rubber bullets, and hard plastic projectiles, you’d want to follow the lead of protesters to fully secure yourself and keep it in one piece at the end of the day.
A full face gas mask is the topmost recommended face protection to have, along with ballistic protection gears.
Gas masks provide full face protection against BBs kinetic energy, as well as rubber projectiles, sponge bullets, and of course tear gas.
It will also help to dress in thick clothes. While fabrics may not be able to keep the bullets from harming you, the heavy cloth will lessen the damage done and will keep the bullet from penetrating your body and bare skin even further.
Or you can also make your own improvised body shield.
Protesters use sturdy tape to attach together layers of sheet metal, very thick and hard plastic, cardboard, leather, or even a sturdy kevlar to put with their clothes so no projectile- lethal or not- can penetrate and hurt them.
You might also want to use head and face protection such as motorcycle helmets and even a half face respirator along with harder safety gear.
Can goggles protect from pepper spray and tear gas?
While we were talking about rubber bullets and BBs earlier, tear gas and pepper sprays are a different thing altogether.
That’s because they are not solid objects that you can watch as they fly towards you and you can avoid with an agile move.
These things, unlike bullets from guns, can mix in with your surrounding air, thus penetrating your respiratory system and other organs, causing complications, diseases, and even permanent damages.
So can goggles protect you from pepper spray, water cannons, and tear gas?
Goggles can protect you from these elements only if they have an airtight seal or lend your eyes a full seal when worn.
A full seal feature is important because your goal is to not let these elements seep into your eye or face protection and get into your eyes.
It’s just the same as how you wear goggles when diving underwater so that the water won’t be able to penetrate your eyes and you can see even when diving down under.
…you might also want to consider bringing gloves along as a protection for your hands, as well as water to wash your face, eyes, and mouth with water being exposed to pepper spray or harmful gases.
And remember this:
Never wear contact lenses if you’re going to a place where you might be exposed to tear gas.
Contact lenses can trap the poisonous gas which can double the harm and damage that can be done to your eyes.
Some people also advise mixing Campden tablets with water as a rinse. The sanitizer is said to reduce the burning sensation caused by pepper spray.
…because other goggles have vented carriages, which are sometimes covered by foams, to let the skin and eyes breath, to avoid fogging.
For a last resort, you can also use an N95 mask or the like underneath your gas masks.
So choose your goggles vigilantly.
But of course, the good old gas mask is one of your best bets.
What are the best goggles to protect against rubber bullets?
In choosing the best goggles to protect your eyes from rubber bullet shooting from the police or any other dangerous situations, you need a strong attention to details, vigilance, and knowledge of the goggle’s materials and specifications.
As mentioned earlier, goggles with polycarbonate lenses are great options as they’re made to be shatter-proof or at least have very minimal scratches when shot with high-velocity bullets or BBs.
You might also want to look for military-grade goggles as they’re higher in safety standard than common airsoft goggles.
Clear lenses are also more preferable, especially if they have anti-fog properties (but again, it’s a different matter when it comes to gasses and pepper sprays).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What Types Of Injuries Do Rubber Bullets Cause?
Rubber bullets can cause bruises, broken skin or tissues, lacerations, fractures, blindness, organ and muscle injuries, and even brain damage.
Will airsoft goggles stop rubber bullets?
It depends on the quality and material of the airsoft goggles. If they’re made to be shatter resistant, then they can be good eye protection.
Can plywood stop rubber bullets?
Yes, they can.
Our Top Eye Protection Recommendation
If we were to recommend a good airsoft goggle for eye equipment against rubber bullets, it would be the Pyramex I-Force Slim Safety Goggle.
Why this airsoft mask, you say?
It may look a bit lightweight, but let me tell you this: it passed the MIL-PRF 32432 High Velocity Impact Standards.
And in case you’re wondering…
It’s a level higher than an ANSI rating, making it safer against stronger projectiles.
For an idea, the MIL-PRF-31013 standard can protect you from BBs as strong as 480 FPS.
A level higher, in turn, can protect you to up to 500 FPS.
Aside from airsoft goggles…
… you can just simply look for ballistic-rated goggles or safety glasses such as the military-grade ESS goggles, which were made especially for bullets. But they may come in much higher prices.
CONCLUSION: Can airsoft goggles stop rubber bullets
While being in a situation where you have to protect yourself from a supposedly non-lethal projectile can be inevitable, you can always have control of the outcome and your safety.
Make sure to never forget to do your thorough research and even listen to customer reviews because they’ve been through it before.
It all lies in your vigilance and careful research and preparation at the end of the day.