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from Razor Paintball Supply
by Bill Mills
Since the early days of paintball, players and the industry have continued to develop player protection products to increase playing comfort while minimizing bumps, bruises, welts or other injuries.
Brian Gillett, owner of Razor Paintball Supply in Stanwood, Washington became enamored with chain maille armor after seeing it in a number of films, including Braveheart and 13th Warrior. He decided to learn to make this ancient armor as a hobby.
Chain, or more properly link maille armor is known to have been in use since at least 600 BC. It is a fabric woven of interlocking metal rings. Its structure allows it to flex when worn as clothing like other fabrics, but since it is metal, it protects from an edged weapon from cutting and also distributes the impact of a blunt weapon over a wider area, diminishing the blow against the wearer.
Gillett realized that link maille could have applications for paintball, and soon began manufacturing custom protective pieces using either aluminum or steel links – the aluminum providing protection at a lighter weight. Amongst the paintball protectors he has created are a neck protector, that hangs down from the front of a paintball mask, and a groin protector.
The neck protector attaches to the bottom of a paintball mask, and hangs down. It acts to break or deflect paintballs that would otherwise strike the neck, but its flexibility means that it won’t hinder turning of the head.
The groin protector takes on an often overlooked protection need in paintball from a very different approach. While athletic protection cups are widely available, many players opt not to use them, citing discomfort or chafing issues. To ignore groin protection is to risk not only pain and embarrassment of a groin shot, but also the possibility of long term damage from that shot.
Razor Paintball’s groin protector consists of a link maille panel approximately 8 inches long by 5 and a half inches wide. At its upper two corners are a pair of spring loaded clips which hook into belt loops allowing it to hang in front of the groin.
Because it hangs on the outside of the clothing, it does not cause any chafing or discomfort to the wearer, and surprisingly in testing for review, it makes little significant noise while walking. It should be pointed out that this also means it can flap away from the body, especially while running, however in most standing and kneeling paintball positions, it remained in place providing protection. Because it is flexible, it will also not provide the same complete protection of an athletic cup – however, simply handling the maille it becomes clear that difference it makes in protecting the flesh from an impact.
Razor Paintball Supply’s link maille accessories are available in standard configurations, or custom made to order, as all are constructed by hand, at prices that are surprisingly reasonable considering the labor and craftsmanship involved in their production.
The added breaking surface of maille accessories is not something that will appeal to tournament paintballers, where every chance for a paintball to bounce can make a difference, however for recreational paintballers looking for something unique, and scenario gamers drawn to costuming as part of their play, Razor Paintball Supply offers an interesting option in additional protection.
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