Gas Mask Opinions

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    • #82503
      Mtnfan
      Participant

        We have an impressive amount of knowledge and experience in this forum and I thought they might share some opinions on gas masks and filters. With quality, pricing, and many possible uses this seems to be not as easy of a choice for many.

      • #82504
        Corvette
        Participant

          Brian,

          Ill give you a quick synposis of the systems I am intimately familiar with-

          The former Army issue mask the M17A2:
          Pros
          – Can be had for cheap
          – Easy to fit properly
          – available in all Sizes. your hat size in XS,S,M, L, XL, XXL will give u the proper mask size
          – quality rubber and workmanship
          – Good in confined spaces due to the filters being integrated into the cheek of the mask and dont “jut” out.

          Cons:
          – Filters are getting harder to get (but last a multiple of years longer than what the package says and just a very few filters can set u up for a lifeitme!!)
          – Filters are a bit of a hassle to change (they do last a LOT longer than ppl think though)

          M40:

          Pros:
          – Even higher level of workmanship and quality of materials than the M17 series. When it came out was one of the very highest workmanship quality mask in the world.
          – Filter can be easily and quickly changed and are readily available
          – I (and others) have found this mask harder to fit though.
          – Mask is fairly resistant to fogging up as the inlet air runs over the lenses on one side

          Neutral:
          Theoretically better field of vision vs the M17 in practice since the mask sits a bit further from the face its roughly equal though.

          Cons:
          – Not one of the cheaper surplus masks
          – I dont like how the filter jutted out from the cheek not good in confined space and it bugs me.
          – Mask doesnt fit well for some with with high nose root
          – the airflow over the lenses also goes over the eyes. Everytime I spent several hours under mask I started to close one eye whenever i inhaled as the air was very irritating. Contact lens wearers beware!

          M53 Mask:

          Pros

          – Great vision
          – New build Filters will be available for a long time
          – Workmaship just as high as M40
          – May be connected to SCBA and PAPR systems (not real relevant for us but still..)

          Cons:

          – Expensive
          – filters expesnive

          All these masks have a combined HEPA and activated charcoal filter(s) that last MUCH longer than advertised and is very very good.

          Even filters many things they are not supposed to be able to filter like Chlorine gas (they cant meet the gov’t spec for it but they still do a very good job at it IMO and I HAVE inadvertently used these masks in non approved atmospheres, ie very dense chlorine)

        • #82505
          Corvette
          Participant

            The masks are all probably overkill for a 1st defender.
            I teach the CBRN seminar at CRCD that’s Sunday morning training while folks wait their turn in thejungele walk and I will explore the nuances.

            For many applications a painters mask will do a great job as well especially with added eye protection.

            For biologicals ANY HEPA filter will work very very well.
            Do eye pro as well.

          • #82506
            Mtnfan
            Participant

              Thanks for the great response. I missed the portion on gas masks while doing my jungle walk at CRCD. You certainly add much value to the course and it was a pleasure meeting you. Curious what you know about the Israeli M15 and civilian masks. These appear to be abundant and budget friendly. Wearing corrective lenses appear to present challenges as well.

            • #82507
              Corvette
              Participant

                The M15 has been made in various Marks.

                – The latest version is roughly equivalent to the M40 mask and uses the exact same filters.

                More protection than you’ll ever need.

                :)

                – Contrary to military doctrine I do recommend use of contact lenses in protective masks.

                The ability to switch from your weapons friendly contact lens set up into a mask and NOT have to take out contacts in order to put on a mask with corrective inserts is my key performance parameter.

                I have worn and used masks both in training and in real contaminated areas. and never had my corrective inserts mounted in the mask always wore contacts in violation of guidance.

              • #82508
                Mtnfan
                Participant

                  Thanks again F. That is the kind of info you don’t get unless ” been there and done that”. I appreciate your expertise and added value.

                • #82509
                  Corvette
                  Participant

                    You’re very welcome.
                    Also a clarification: the later models of M15 are functionally equivalent to the M40.
                    I do not warranty that the workmanship/materials are going to be as high end (the M40 was the most expensive US mask to date when it came out)

                    My preference among masks incidentally is the M17 (except for the M53), I really think the snug fit of the M17 adds value and this helps reduce (ever so slightly) the feeling of isolation one always gets inside a mask.

                    The M53 is even better but IMO costs too much for what is really a niche gear for the prepper/defender and we will never use its more advanced features ( ability to connect to SCBA, PAPR and other prohibitively expensive systems

                  • #82510
                    Max
                    Keymaster

                      Any modern mask that has the NATO standard filter is OK. I prefer the Avon SF12 for a lot of reasons, but mostly because mine was free.

                      I also keep a supply of either R or N 100 disposable masks around for various reasons.

                    • #82511
                      D Close
                      Moderator

                        Question: Is this really a partisan kit item or does this fall in to the low priority prep category? :scratch:

                      • #82512
                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                        Moderator

                          Question: Is this really a partisan kit item or does this fall in to the low priority prep category? :scratch:

                          It depends on what your doing, for me its definitely a prep item that should also be available for unique missions.

                        • #82513
                          Max
                          Keymaster

                            I think it’s useful against CS, if you’re being TWAT*ted (Add fire extinguishers) and equally useful if you’re using CS or a home made irritant to disrupt the TWAT team.

                            I suspect a more likely use is leaving an area where riot control agents are being used.

                            *Typical Weapons And Tactics, if you came in late.

                          • #82514
                            Leatherneck556
                            Participant

                              mvfmod – what specific type of non-gas mask do you recommend (the “painter’s mask”, etc, you mentioned)? And eye pro? Cause I assume you mean goggles and not glasses. Any links?

                            • #82515
                              Corvette
                              Participant

                                Here is an example of a painters mask.
                                http://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/H-1081/Dust-Masks-and-Respirators/3M-6200-Half-Face-Respirator-Medium?pricode=WY586&gadtype=pla&id=73107193642&gclid=CK7_vd_E2sACFaVZ7AodfikAVA&gclsrc=aw.ds

                                Even though they are not certified for it they will work quite well for CS, CN and many dangerous chemicals.

                                As for eyewear anything is better than nothing:
                                http://www.webstaurantstore.com/perforated-general-purpose-safety-goggles-1-pair/4447320.html?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=COew-vLF2sACFQto7AodgXgAcA

                                They do not protect the eyes from the sides and have no seal like a proper M15,M17,M40, M53 mask but Chemical Lab goggles cna be had for cheap.
                                Even shooting glasses will offer sopme protction.

                                Though those offer no seal…. in most realistic situations the gas density is not all that high and you get moost of your load to the eyes via direct aerosol drift onto the eyeball.

                                That can be stopped with google ( Bolle, Army goggle,) or even just safety/shooting glasses.

                                The reason I am pointing out cheap alternatives that meet nowhere near military standards is because I suspect 80-90% of all your needs can be met with gear much below those standards.

                                And If you get a painters mask and a cheap pair of goggles you cna put them in a bag and throw them in the trunk of each car you own and forget about them.

                                That way you will always have them when you need just something

                                AAANNNNDD , you have so much more situational awareness and vision compared to traditonal protective masks which in itself can be a live saver..

                                PS: If someone throws a CS grenade into your house a proper mask is the best solution… but a lot of things below that threat level such as CS in the open or even a toxic industrial accident wafting down fumes can be handled with much more austere gear.
                                Which will also be more affordable to get for the entire family and is much easier to train them on or put on small children.

                              • #82516
                                Leatherneck556
                                Participant

                                  Copy all, mvfmod. Thanks for the info.

                                  I have another question, being that I am a dumb grunt who only got the basic CBRN classes and and did the whole gas chamber thing: what filters/cartidges/whatev do you recommend getting for the linked painter’s mask?

                                • #82517
                                  Corvette
                                  Participant

                                    The 1st one that includes Organic Vapor and a P100..

                                    Remember this mask is just an example of a class of masks that can be gotten cheaply and give great vision/situational awareness.

                                  • #82518
                                    Max
                                    Keymaster

                                      Here’s a link to one I purchased recently that came with a good filter, including organic vapor. They are full faced and are selling at a discount since they were previously used for fit testing. The link to the “discounted” ones are at the right bottom corner of this page:
                                      http://www.approvedgasmasks.com/dp-gasmask.htm

                                      I bought it before this discussion on the forum, but it appears to have a lot of the features you guys are talking about. It fits very well, with a good view and seal, and takes 40mm filter canisters so there’s some flexibility there on finding affordable filters that meet your specific need.

                                    • #82519
                                      Corvette
                                      Participant

                                        Ben these appear to be really nice units :yes:

                                      • #82520
                                        Max
                                        Keymaster

                                          Can’t beat the price…$93 plus shipping and it included the filter (which goes for $40 on Amazon). The mask looked brand new…couldn’t tell it has ever been used.

                                        • #82521
                                          ffhounddog
                                          Participant

                                            On masks I suggest they be NIOSH approved. The new Joint Service Mask is not NIOSH approved and might have issues with vapors from industrial chemicals and fuel vapors.

                                            I have a MCU-2P and a M40 mask at the house. I do need more filters.

                                          • #82522
                                            Corvette
                                            Participant

                                              On masks I suggest they be NIOSH approved. The new Joint Service Mask is not NIOSH approved and might have issues with vapors from industrial chemicals and fuel vapors.
                                              I have a MCU-2P and a M40 mask at the house. I do need more filters.

                                              I respectfully disagree… Many do not fully understand what these civilian regulatory approvals mean.
                                              They do not mean more capable it simply means it meets civilian standards.

                                              Which may have been bene adjusted in a way that make them less capable.

                                              While I admit I have not researched how the NIOSH standard matches the OSHA standards but I suspect they are close and written with similar thoughts in mind.

                                              OSHA for example disapproves of an M17/M40/M50 mask (and other military respirators) and its not OSHA certified despite being a superior mask/filter .
                                              Why?

                                              Because under OSHA (and I suspect NIOSH as well too tired to look it up) a respirator may only be used as an escape mask for certain chemicals not as an operational tool like the military does.

                                              .. as a result the civilian compliant masks they have real soft exhalation valves , this is so a 80 year old grandma can overcome it with her diminished lung strength and still exhale..

                                              As a result these masks have inferior protection factors compared ot the military.
                                              For a healthy adult there is not benefit in the looser exhalation vales and the dimished protection factor can be bad.

                                              The M50 is an extremely well filtered mask and the technology is the same among repsirators from civilian to military ( except the military ones have more QC and are often thicker layred)

                                              Where the confusion about ” doe snot filter certain things” comes form is likely the fact that for certain classes of chemicals both NIOSH and OSHA dictate the use of SCBA supplied air and respirators are not approved.

                                              The military still uses respirators in an all hazard environment.
                                              (though the professional military response teams do now use SCBA set ups or even re breathers depending on the situation)

                                            • #82523
                                              ffhounddog
                                              Participant

                                                mvfmoderator,

                                                The C50 is approved. Thats the Civilian version of the M50. The filter conection on the C50 and M50 is where the issuse comes into play. I will have to check at work on the tests that were done and talk with one of the Engineers who works with me now who was on the T&E team on them. NIOSH does research and is part of the CDC and OSHA is part of the Dept of Labor.

                                              • #82524
                                                Corvette
                                                Participant

                                                  Hmmm.. :unsure:
                                                  Keep me updated :mail:

                                                • #82525
                                                  ffhounddog
                                                  Participant

                                                    Well it seems like the answer after all was said and done was the way the filters snap in on the M50 vs screw in like the Nato standard. It was said that the snap in filters could fall out if they were not fitted correctly.

                                                    DTRA does have reservations on the mask but I do not know the full story. I was told not to go out and buy a ton of them we have M40s. I do not know what that means exactly but it could mean something.

                                                  • #82526
                                                    Leatherneck556
                                                    Participant

                                                      So there are different 40mm canisters, right? Which one should a man get? Any links?

                                                      I ask because a local military surplus store has great condition M15’s for $55. They come with the mask, bag, and one canister.

                                                    • #82527
                                                      Corvette
                                                      Participant

                                                        So there are different 40mm canisters, right? Which one should a man get? Any links?

                                                        I ask because a local military surplus store has great condition M15’s for $55. They come with the mask, bag, and one canister.

                                                        Those are fine masks.
                                                        Any surplus 40 mm filter is overkill for the likely threats..

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