Black Bear Airsoft V4 Splinter Mesh Mask review by Booligan
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As we continue our largest review project to date here on Airsoft Retreat, the next mask we'll be reviewing is the Black Bear Airsoft V4 Splinter half face mesh mask. This mask is a very unique design, offering you a lot of facial coverage while still remaining low profile, due to the fabric sides. The mask also has a lot of adjustability to fit different users or different eye/head protection systems, due to the velcro fabric making up the majority of the mask, and the completely adjustable securing strap system. I'll discuss mine and others' opinions and observations about this mask in this review!
Like the rest of the masks in this review series, I obtained this directly through BBA's main distributor, ACM Gear. This mask series is available HERE, priced between $21.99 and $22.99, depending on the color chosen. It is available in three different colors, and with one custom paint job, to fit most users potential loadouts. For review purposes, they sent the Tan, OD, and black model with skull paint job.
The Splinter mask differs from other masks in BBA's lineup by featuring a relatively small mesh portion covering your nose and inner cheek area, surrounded by velcro loop side material extending back, almost covering your ears. This allows the rear securing piece to connect to the main body of the mask in a variety of positions for optimum comfort and versatility with different headgear options. It also allows you to attach patches to the mask, if you feel so inclined. This is my preferred mask for most game use, as it gives me great facial protection while still remaining flexible enough to maintain a solid cheek weld and use iron sights. It also mounts extremely securely with pretty much no chance of being knocked off. The masks are available in Black, Black with Skull design, Tan, and OD. The colors of this model are somewhat more limited than the other mask designs, as it relies on the female velcro to provide most of the main color.
Like the rest of my masks, packaging was sparse and consisted of just a plastic bag. My first impression of the mask was actually confusion, as I wasn't sure how the back strap system worked, but once I looked at a picture of the mask on ACMGear.com, I was able to figure it out. Once I determined how the mask worked, and got it put on, I was really impressed with how well it fit, and how secure it was to my face.
Like the other BBA masks that I've reviewed, this features the same high strength powdercoated steel mesh for protection, coupled with high quality fabric to form the main structure of the mask. This mask has a fairly basic rectangular shape with a protruding nose piece for full coverage. It can be adjusted to fit higher or lower using the back straps and by bending the mesh portion, allowing you to fit it either with goggles or shooting glasses. In my use, this is the most comfortable mask to wear with my Revision goggles. The mask fits extremely well with shooting glasses, as they slide underneath the nose portion quite well.
From this point on, click on the thumbnails to see the full size images.
The outer surface is pretty much entirely comprised of female velcro material. This differs a fair bit from most of BBA's mask offerings that are made mainly out of Cordura. The nose and cheek portion is covered with fabric to prevent it from chafing your face, as well as to help seal it up with your goggles. The mesh material extends down from the bridge of your nose down to your mouth, allowing unencumbered breathing and communication.
Main mask body
Inside the mask, you'll find a slightly cushioned mesh fabric to allow ventilation and prevent the mask from getting too hot while being worn for extended amounts of time. The mask is a little bit narrow in the cheek/jaw area, but it can be bent out a bit for more comfort. I've worn it at a game for a few hours without any real discomfort.
Shot inside the mask
The mask is secured using a separate back piece that attaches to the main mask portion by two straps with velcro on each end. You can place the straps on the cheek portions wherever works best for you, and in my use, I have the top straps pretty much parallel with the upper surface of the mask, and the bottom straps at a 45 degree angle coming from the bottom, towards the mouth piece. This pulls the mask tightly to the bottom of my face, taking any pressure off of my nose. The velcro main body is secured to the mesh material by glue and rivets with the BBA logo, keeping it from coming apart on you.
Rear view, showing the back piece
Cheek pieces showing one strap mounting position
The skull mask is unique in that it has a custom painted front portion for an intimidating look. The paint is on both the metal mesh as well as the velcro side pieces. Overall, it's a very cool look and will set you apart on the field.
Loads of face protection
Affordable price – Sub $25
Comes in several colors to fit most loadouts
Flexible cheek pieces allow for unencumbered aiming
Able to be adjusted to fit users of all sizes
Needs to be properly bent and adjusted to fit your face and eye protection
Velcro material tends to catch various plant material from the field
Some goggles may not work due to the higher profile cheek design
After using all of the various BBA masks sent to me, the V4 Splinter has become my go-to mask for most game use. It gives me the best protection while still being able to run my preferred goggles with my prescription glasses underneath. The mesh material allows for ventilation to prevent fogging and discomfort, and the velcro mounting system allows me to adjust it to fit my face perfectly. Plus, it kind of looks like Hannibal Lecter's mask, and that's pretty damn cool if you ask me!
Many thanks again to ACM Gear, and of course, Airsoft Retreat! Also, thanks to the entire crew at Wasteland Airsoft for their testing experiences!