Ballistic face mask
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A ballistic face mask, also known as facial armor, is a type of personal armor designed to protect the wearer from ballistic threats. Ballistic face masks are usually made of Kevlar or other bullet resistant materials and the inside of the mask may be padded for shock absorption, depending on the design. Due to weight restrictions, protection levels range only up to National Institute of Justice Level IIIA.
In its October 2010 issue Slate magazine reported that while ballistic face masks were sometimes employed by law enforcement officials, they were not seen as worth using by combat soldiers. Brian Palmer further reported they were only capable of protecting the wearer's face from relatively small shrapnel fragments, and from the commonly used shot in shotgun shell intended to be used against birds, or small game. He particularly noted the masks would be worthless against a bullet from an AK-47.
Palmer noted that the masks obscured a soldier's vision, were heavy, and didn't "breathe", meaning sweat wouldn't evaporate from the soldier's face.
- Brian Palmer (2010-10-12). "Why Don't Soldiers Wear Bulletproof Face Masks?". Slate magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-13.
There are lots of bulletproof masks on the market, and law enforcement agencies wear them in close-combat situations like hostage rescues, drug busts, and other raids. They're especially useful against shotguns, which spray their pellets everywhere. But the masks don't work well on patrol in Afghanistan.
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