PDT Tech Safety Gear Review by Booligan
Force 1 Helmet
PDT Technologies specializes in protective gear for force on force training, normally with Simunitions type weapons. Their products are designed for extreme protection from extremely high impact forces, so I'll preface this entire review by saying that most of their product line is overkill for the airsoft market, however, some of their products are very well suited for CQB or high FPS games. Today, we'll be looking at a few of their products, specifically the ones that they market for the airsoft industry. I'll be going over each item in its own section, so keep reading for more info on this whole lineup!
I was sent this pack directly through PDT Tech, who has their entire airsoft line on that link for easy perusing. I'll go over the price of each item in their own sections below. I will say, the items are a little pricey compared to some of the other options, but they are very high quality and as I said before, are extremely over-engineered for most airsoft scenarios.
The gear that we're looking at today is the Force 1 helmet, neck protector, padded hood, and hand armor. These items aren't designed to meet any sort of specific loadout or anything like that, they're purely function over form. That being said, some of the gear can work quite well either under your normal gear or if you're not looking for any sort of milsim loadout.
Force 1 Helmet:
The Force 1 Helmet is essentially a paintball mask with modifications to prevent penetration from small caliber projectiles. It has a dual pane lens to prevent fogging even under extreme temperature conditions. It appears to be based on a JT mask, so you're dealing with something high quality to start with. The mask comes in at $57.50 at the time of this review.
A fine mesh is applied at the bottom to prevent penetration from airsoft BBs and Simunitions. It is secured to the mask using rivets and extends from the bottom of the mask nearly to your neck line for enhanced protection. Inside the mask, you'll find an additional strap to help secure the mask to your face.
Extends down for better coverage
Secondary strap to help hold it to your face
The back strap has a large padded portion to help keep the back of your head safe from high velocity hits. It also does a good job spreading out the force of the strap across the back of your head to keep it comfortable for extended games.
Since this is based on a paintball mask, you will have issues getting a good cheek weld with most guns. Unfortunately, this kind of comes with the territory, however, PDT is working on other designs for a better cheek weld.
Getting shot in the neck sucks. It's seriously terrible and the thin skin over your jugular vein can be a major hazard with high velocity projectiles. Neck protectors are a common item in paintball, but you generally don't seen them in airsoft very often. The PDT neck protector is fairly comfortable unit and is secured with velcro. It has an extended bib that covers the front of your neck and offers extra protection from those high velocity shots. The neck protector is priced at $21.50.
Back of the neck protector, showing the velcro attachment
Balaclavas are pretty common on the airsoft field, but most of them are very basic and are made of thin fabric. They offer a bit of protection, but aren't really designed for high velocity hits. The PDT hood is padded at the back for protection from shots from behind, however, the shape of the foam does look a little funky when it's on your head. The front material is pretty thin and breathable and keeps the whole thing very comfortable. The hood is one of the least expensive parts of this kit at $14.00.
Plenty of padding
This all brings us to my personal favorite part of this whole kit, the “Hand Armor”. As someone who has been shot several times in the fingers and knuckles, I never hit the field without a pair of gloves. I've tested a lot of gloves in the last few years, and I can say with no reservations that these offer the best protection of any I've had on my hands. They feature flexible padding on pretty much the entire back portion, including split padding on the trigger finger for ease of use while shooting. The padding is thick enough that it will absorb anything an airsoft gun can throw at it, and I've personally tested it with a 500 FPS gun point blank without pain or injury. These are very reasonably priced at $25.00.
Plenty of padding
Split padding on trigger finger
The palm has a great surface material with helps you keep a grip on your gun. The only real complaint I have about the gloves is that the finger web is a little more shallow than I like and at full hand extension, does rub against the web of my fingers.
Extremely well built
Able to protect against pretty much any impact you'll encounter on an airsoft field
Mask has a great lens system to prevent fogging
Neck protector is great for CQB use
The gloves are seriously some of the best I've ever tested
The gloves and neck protector could easily mesh with most loadouts
The full set can get a little expensive
Mask design makes it hard to get a cheek weld
Finger web is a little shallow on the gloves with my long monkey fingers
The whole set isn't particularly milsim
When I first saw the PDT gear, I knew that it was going to be overkill for most airsoft scenarios. The stuff really is overbuilt for our uses, however, sometimes, being overbuilt isn't a bad thing! These are designed for serious training using paintball and Simunitions, both of which have much higher impact forces than airsoft. My only real complaints with this set are that it can get a little expensive, and that the mask is, basically, a paintball mask, which means that you'll have issues getting a proper cheek weld and aiming your gun. Thankfully, PDT is listening to feedback from airsoft players and is adapting their products to better fit our specific needs. I'm looking forward to seeing how this product line evolves down the line, and how it can better fit our airsoft market!
Many thanks again to PDT Tech, and of course, Airsoft Retreat!