Faq II: Equipment & Maintenance:
Foil masks should be well-insulated to prevent touches to the
head from conducting to the lame' and registering as a touch.
Electric sabre masks must be conductive, on the other hand, to
allow head touches. Epee masks should have bibs that cover the
collar bones, while foil masks should not descend below the
Masks usually come in 3 or 5 sizes, depending on the
manufacturer. When sizes are numbered, 5 is usually the largest.
Sizes are often indicated by the position of a metal tag or rivet
on the rear portion of the mesh.
Masks must pass a 12 kg punch test to be certified for
competition. Consider subjecting a used mask to such a test
before using/purchasing it. Older masks can have smaller bibs
and weaker mesh (rated to 7 kg), making them less safe. When
punch testing a mask, depress the punch perpendicular to the mesh
without wiggling it. Do not apply more than the required amount
of pressure. Pay particular attention to parts of the mesh that
have already been dented or bent, including the center crease
line. Unnatural dents in the mesh can and should be pushed or
The best masks have FIE homologated bibs to protect the throat,
and are required in high-level competition. 1600N bibs are
standard in FIE competition for the 1995/96 season. The CFF
requires 800N bibs as a minimum in elite competition, while the
USFA has no FIE bib requirement.
As of October 1, 1995, the bib is part of the valid foil target.
Enforcement of this rule at first should only be expected at
high-level international competitions. The CFF and USFA have no
immediate plans to implement this rule. It is not clear at
present just how equipment manufacturers will handle this change.
Metallic sleeves for the bibs of older masks will probably become
available, attached with velcro or something similar.
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