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Product test for the new HK Army SLR Paintball Mask
Monday June 28, 2021


After many years, HK Army has finally announced a successor to its KLR mask. The new model is called the SLR and should be available from German paintball retailers this summer. We were very lucky to get our hands on the HK Army SLR mask in advance and would therefore like to present it to you in more detail in our product test today. As always, HK convinces not only with quality, but also with design. But now we don't want to keep you in suspense, let's start with the product test for the new HK Army SLR mask…

The US manufacturer HK Army is particularly known for its high-quality and visually appealing products. A few weeks ago, the guys from sunny California presented their new high-end tournament mask, the HK Army SLR. As of today, this is only available in the USA and at a maximum of a handful of dealers throughout Europe. The HK Army SLR mask is not yet available in Germany when this issue is published and so we have to thank our Austrian colleague Anton Heim, the man behind Tones-Paintballstore.com. He sells the HK products in our neighboring country and has accepted the currently extremely high air freight costs in order to bring this new mask to Europe much earlier than all other dealers. On top of that, Tone provided us with one of his SLR masks so that we can present them to you here in the magazine. This special one-off is also part of this issue's prize draw. Yes, you read that right, you can get the new HK Army SLR mask before everyone else. Simply scroll back to the competition in this issue. We wish you the best of luck at this point.

Now let's get back to the actual topic of today's post, which is the brand new HK Army SLR Mask. What can the good piece do and what not? It is precisely this question that we want to pursue today. At first glance, the SLR looks like a slightly larger, more modern facelift model of its predecessor, the HK Army KLR. On closer inspection, however, it becomes clear relatively quickly that the SLR has practically nothing in common with the previous model, apart from the lenses and a touch of design. The frame has become significantly larger. This is intended to offer more protection and is particularly useful for players who complained about the lack of protection for the cheeks and jaw in the previous model. The HK Army KLR was launched shortly after the Dye I4. At that time, the trend was towards the smallest, lightest possible masks. Many tall players felt uncomfortable or insecure under these masks. Because when speaking, the chin protruded from under the mask frame and the chin area or sometimes the earlobe were exposed and sooner or later you caught very painful hits on the unprotected skin in these areas. After Dye took the step back to larger mask frames several years ago with its I5, HK has now followed suit. However, the additional area gained in the mask frame also created space for additional ventilation openings. This ensures better air circulation and easier breathing under the mask, as well as significantly better acoustics and communication on the pitch. Your own words get through the mask frame with less interference and thus reach your fellow players better.

When it comes to the lenses, HK also relies on the proven Pure HD lenses of the previous model for the SLR. There are several reasons for this. On the one hand, the quality of the lenses has been proven over and over again in recent years, because they offer a large field of vision, hardly fog up, except in the most extreme situations, and offer a razor-sharp image. The patented quick-change system from HK is also used again in the SLR mask. With its help, the mask lenses can be replaced within a few seconds without tools. To do this, the two wings on the sides of the mask frame are simply folded outwards and the mask glass is then removed to the front. Of course, the use of the Pure HD glasses also has another, much simpler reason. It is simply an enormous question of costs whether you develop a new lens or not, because the manufacturing costs for a mask lens mold should not be underestimated. So HK Army thought here – why incur unnecessary costs when you already have a really good glass that works and just offers everything that the players want. An understandable and logical decision. A novelty that caught our eye personally with the HK Army SLR mask is the newly developed CTX Goggle Strap / mask strap. The actual innovation is more an anti-slip pad than a mask strap. The band itself is still the same. An elastic and adjustable standard strap that is not very different from those of the competition. The CTX Pad makes the crucial difference. It is a rubber pad with a fine silicone coating that has an extremely non-slip surface. This means that the mask strap is firmly attached to the head and cannot slip, even in extreme situations. Other manufacturers have been using comparable variants for years. For example, the Dye I5 has a very wide mask strap with a rubber surface that is ergonomically adapted to the head. Virtue also uses a similar pad on the new models of its VIO mask. From the current point of view, both models were only precursors, because if you compare these models with the new HK Army CTX Pad, you clearly have to give preference to HK. The HK Pad not only fits best, it also offers by far the most support. A really well thought-out innovation which, in our opinion, will also prevail in the future. Speaking of which, the push unite mask's magnetic chin strap has also become established. This new variant of a chin strap with a self-closing buckle that can be operated with just one hand was so well received by the players that HK contacted the manufacturer and also installed this special, patented system as standard in all SLR masks. No cheap accessories, because the patent belongs to a German company and they charge a license fee for every mask sold. In addition to Push, HK has now also installed what is currently the best chin strap in the world on its masks. Other features of the HK Army SLR mask include the three-layer memory foam for a very comfortable fit on the face, as well as the usual high-end mask features such as double-walled thermal glass and an elastic flex-frame mask frame made of rubber that ensures that sometimes Balls bounce off the mask without opening. All this in the usual cool and very attractive HK product look.

Our conclusion on the new HK Army SLR mask is clear. HK has created a really solid and beautiful product with numerous top features. They definitely join the ranks of the absolute top manufacturers in the field of high-end paintball masks. However, this is also reflected in the price. After the Push Unite and some Dye I5 Special Editions, the HK Army SLR is now the third mask model to break the 200 euro barrier. If you have the money, you will get a really good paintball mask in the end.

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