Are tactical masks bulletproof?


An anti-ballistic face shield belongs to the category of tactical masks. These masks are designed to protect the face from ballistic threats, splashes, particles, and other potential hazards. They are typically crafted using specialized materials and incorporate features such as ballistic resistance, puncture resistance, and splash protection.

Tactical masks find utility in various contexts, including military, law enforcement, special forces, security, active shooter response, and more. They play a crucial role in safeguarding individuals from shrapnel, blast impacts, and physical strikes. Some tactical masks may also include additional features like UV resistance, anti-fog capabilities, and glare reduction, enhancing visual clarity and comfort.

An anti-ballistic face shield specifically focuses on providing ballistic protection to the facial area, effectively shielding against bullets and other ballistic threats. These shields are usually made from materials that offer ballistic resistance. They can be integrated into a comprehensive ballistic protection ensemble, contributing to an elevated level of overall protection.


Body armor represents one of the most effective methods of personal protection available. In fact, the sales of body armor surged by 600% in 2020 alone, with the market projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2027. Given the recent erosion of the rule of law, individuals are recognizing the importance of legally acquiring firearms and body armor to take charge of their own safety.

However, an aspect where the body armor market often falls short in terms of protection is the most critical area: the face. Even the highest-quality chest plate provides no defense against a headshot. While surviving a bullet wound to the torso is uncommon but possible, a gunshot wound to the head is almost invariably fatal.

When a need arises, solutions emerge, and a few companies have started manufacturing bulletproof face to address this gap. This is an admirable objective, but how effective are these masks? Our focus will be on a specific variety of bulletproof mask: the Level IIIA Bullet Proof Mask.

We chose to review these due to the fact that they were issued to the Taiwanese Special Forces, which on paper should mean that this armor is effective enough that a military sought them out. (Keep in mind, many of us veterans will kid around that the military doesn’t always supply our troops with the best equipment, but at the very least it is usually functional). So, if the Taiwanese Special Forces wanted these masks, then they have to at least be decent, right?

There are many kinds of bulletproof face, some with comprehensive protection, and only part of the protection. Here I will give an example of a tactical mask with comprehensive protection.:

HL-98 Tactical Helmet with Built-in Communication Earphone

CP Camo


Let’s start with its level of protection: IIIA. What does that mean? We have a chart to help.

Here you can see that the IIIA rating covers protection against a .44 Magnum. Nobody desires to endure a gunshot, and certainly, nobody wishes to experience the impact of a .44 Magnum. With its remarkable power, this handgun signifies an incredibly potent firearm. Therefore, the potential existence of a face mask asserting the ability to withstand a .44 Magnum is a noteworthy accomplishment, if proven accurate.


A fantastic demonstration of the durability of these masks was performed by Mike Jones, from the YouTube channel Garand Thumb. His video can be found here:

1、Eye Protection: The mask provides no safeguard for the wearer’s eyes, which isn’t a significant critique against the manufacturers. Bulletproof eyewear is largely non-existent, and in cases where successful designs have emerged, practical utility tends to be lacking. Nevertheless, two sizable apertures exist, through which a bullet can pass unimpeded to penetrate the skull.
One might think, “Well, those are small targets, so the likelihood of a bullet striking my eyes is low.” While that assertion holds some truth, it leads us to the second concern.
2、The Shape: Due to the mask’s design, tailored to conform to the wearer’s face, particularly around the cheekbone region, it facilitates bullet deflection from its intended trajectory upon impact. The bullet maintains its forward momentum and veers upward, entering the mask’s eye apertures. This invariably results in harm or even fatality for the wearer.
Nonetheless, it could still be argued that the probability of sustaining damage in those facial regions is relatively lower, especially when contrasted with the better-protected areas of the face—the larger portions more susceptible to impact—which brings us to the third issue.
3、Back Face Deformation: By observing the videos provided earlier, one can discern the extent of back face deformation exhibited by the masks. Naturally, lower-caliber ammunition induced less damage, but larger rounds inflicted substantial harm to the wearer. Back Face Deformation pertains to the indentation that occurs on the armor upon being struck by a bullet. In our video discussing Blunt Force Trauma, we delve into this concept comprehensively, outlining methods to mitigate it. This dent functions like a forceful impact on the body. Enhanced armor corresponds to smaller dents. However, in the case of the bulletproof masks in question, certain tests yielded considerable back face deformation.

People often compare the sensation of being shot while wearing body armor to experiencing a blow from a sledgehammer to the chest. Therefore, it’s reasonable to assume that wearing one of these masks and getting shot in the face would yield a similar feeling, akin to enduring a sledgehammer strike to the face. However, a significant distinction exists between the two scenarios.

The likelihood of surviving a sledgehammer blow to the chest is considerably higher compared to surviving one to the face. The sheer force resulting from the armor’s deformation upon bullet impact has the potential to fracture the wearer’s skull, cause severe concussions (which could lead to brain damage), and result in critical neck injuries that could prove fatal.

Overall, can these bulletproof masks potentially save your life? Yes, in a manner comparable to the possibility of surviving a collision with an oncoming car while standing in the street. Survival is a possibility, but it’s improbable without enduring significant, long-term health issues.

The demand for effective bulletproof face masks certainly exists. However, a practical, functional solution has not yet emerged. If you’re seeking advice, we recommend sticking to a sturdy, well-crafted helmet, maintaining awareness of your surroundings, and undergoing proper training.

In the meantime, keep in mind that you have many other body parts in need of protection. Spartan Armor Systems offers a range of high-quality body armor plates and plate carriers, ranging from Level IIIA to Level IV, all certified by NIJ to ensure your safety.

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