HK Army is not known for making budget-friendly paintball gear, but over the past year, they have started to branch out into the entry-level and beginner market.
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The HK Army HSTL is an entry-level thermal paintball goggle with a unique top strap, thermal dual pane lens, quick-change goggle foam, and a quick change lens system.
The main thing that makes the HSTL stand is that funky top strap; at the time, the HSTL is the only paintball mask that I’m aware of that comes with the top strap.
All paintball masks are designed to fit the average adult head, but people’s heads are different in the real world. Typically having an adjustable goggle strap is enough to make sure one size mask will fit most adults. Sometimes smaller people or kids struggle to get the goggle strap tight enough to hold the mask in place, and it can ride down a little. By adding a top strap, the mask will stay up in place.
Using the stop strap, the mask does seem much more secure.
Overall the mask feels good on; it feels about as I would expect, not uncomfortable but not steller. In the under $50 price point, I do think the HSTL is a bit more comfortable than other masks near the same price, like the Empire Helix or Valken MI-7. The foam feels average. All 3 of the straps make this thing feel very secure; that top strap tops it from sliding down, the chin strap will stop it from coming up, and the main goggle strap makes it secure around your head.
If you are concerned about paintball masks moving or you have a tiny head, the HSTL can be made very secure and may even be overkill for some people.
The ventilation is excellent, and for myself, ventilation is critical. I play in California, and it gets scorching, so I need a mask that breaths and has excellent ventilation. For example, if you live in Florida or Louisiana and it’s incredibly humid, you really will want a mask with a lot of vent like HSTL, the main drawback paint in the mouth if you get shot in the chin.
Having that ventilation makes the mask much cooler, and it allows me to get bigger, cooler breaths of air, reducing the likelihood of the lenses fogging. The best thing you can do to stop fogging is to have a thermal lens. A thermal lens is a dual-pane lens that separates the outside lens temperature from the inside and drastically reduces fogging.
HK Army offers two versions of the HSTL, one with the thermal lens and one with a single pane lens. The price differences should be around $15, and it is well worth the extra $15 for the thermal lens.
The HSTL is an excellent paintball mask; it’s a great value has quick-change foams, a top strap, and a thermal lens. It’s a great mask for a new paintball player or someone looking to upgrade to a thermal lens paintball goggle.