If you have been a prepper for any length of time now you have considered purchasing a gas mask as part of your preps. I think owning gasmasks for you and your family is a wise investment. There are plenty of low price surplus masks on the market today – however as we all know cheaper does not equal better and scrimping on something as important as a gas mask is a false economy.
Before we delve into the meat of this article keep in mind that many modern chemical warfare agents can enter the body via the pores in your skin, meaning that if you are worried about bio warfare then a full NBC suit will be more your suited to your needs. However with all that said a gas mask is still a worthwhile purchase for most of us, as it can be used to prevent smoke inhalation, tear gas, mustard gas etc.
Conventional wisdom is that masks should last 5-8 hours of constant use. They are rated to be usable for up to 2 years, after you open the mask but the 5-8 hour caveat still applies. In general it’s particles clogging the filter media which will lead you to replace the filter when the effort to draw air in gets too difficult.
There are charts of filter life duration based on what the filter is exposed to. They don’t all agree with each other but a good rule of thumb is if the filter is exposed to an infectious agent it must be changed within a day, if wet or exposed to blood change it immediately. Otherwise replace the filters as needed. I purchased a couple dozen replacement filters when I ordered mine.
Israel is one of the only countries to hand out millions of mask to their population which means that there are many available which are still well with in their expiration date. Even the ones that aren’t are still effective against all but the nastiest agents.
If you are buying a surplus mask make sure you are buying a brand new mask and the filters are also new and still in their original packaging. Do you really want to trust your life and the life of your family to something that may have been sitting in a crate since before the first gulf war?
The filters are your main concern with age and new ones are available. Ive never tested anything with mustard gas or nerve agents but the main concern with the mask is whether or not gas can seep through or past it. Is the rubber in good shape? Ive tried several and all are air tight. I’ve owned and tested a couple of the so called “obsolete” designs people have trashed online in the past and they did fine against things like pepper spray and smoke from burning plastic in an enclosed area.
Basically If the air and situation is unbreathable. Use your mask to get the heck out… then change the filter.
I have to say I really like the Evolution 5000 Military gasmask which includes a drinking straw attachment, enabling you to have a drink with the mask on.A drinking tube is also a must. Filters are so much easier to change. Screw off, screw on.
I will also say that a one piece visor or at least teardrop shaped ones are a big plus. They make it much easier to aim a weapon and use peripheral vision.
Another option one of my buddies swears by are the Swiss ones, they are popular also. Their filters are cheap. Centerfire was selling them so cheap they were hard to pass up. It was something like 3 for $25. All new filters too. Remember, new filters only.
My old M17A1 series I had in the military and a German one I got from a place like Cheaper than dirt. Both the same style and filters are almost the same. If this is the kind you’re used too then fine. For the M17 series to change filters the trick is a ball point pen to get them nubs through the holes. Put the pen in the hole and slip it over the nubby thingy.
As I said above for modern biowarfare we’re all going to be screwed. Full suit and training is the only thing that’ll save you, we’re mainly talking about civilian tear gas and pepper sprays here.
Good luck and god bless.