In the midst of the COVID pandemic, the market shifted and the sales of gas masks skyrocketed. Preppers aren’t the only ones buying the protective headgear anymore, so if you’re one of the prospective owners of a gas mask this list is for you.
Any serious prepper survival kit should include a gas mask or air filtration system of some kind. While there’s no telling what might happen, being able to breathe despite chemicals and radiation seems like a good idea. CBRN-certified gas masks can do just that.
Each individual should first analyze what they are prepping for. Do the risks to your family warrant a gas mask purchase like this. If they do, knowing as much as you can about the subject would be your best first move.
As you go through the list, keep in mind what you might need. Some of the factors that make a difference are size (adult or child size gas mask), whether or not you wear glasses, the field of view, multiple filter compartments, and hydration options. Most masks are impact-resistant, so it really comes down to the little things.
Ranking the top 10 gas masks of 2010
Before we get into the list of the best gas masks below, if you have never put a gas mask on, it may help to cover that topic first. A gas mask does you no good if it isn’t properly applied.
MIRA Safety CM-7M CBRN
The rest of the gas masks on here aren’t ranked in any particular order, but the MIRA CM-7M was at the top of most lists last year. While some may still prefer the design of its predecessor, the 6M, the slight differences could give this an edge.
Both models have similar features, like built-in compatibility with Camelbaks for water and two ports for filters, but one big difference is the visual aspect. On the outside, it may seem like the 6M’s better field of view makes it better.
However, on closer inspection, the Mira Saftey 7M gas mask sacrifices 25% of the range to give the wearer better depth perception and tactical use. The 7M was designed for use with rifles and optics, so if that’s what you plan to use with your gas mask this is a great choice.
MIRA Safety CM-6M CBRN
As stated above, the Mira Safety CM-6M shares most of the same features as the newer gas mask model. However, it’s still good enough to be on this list and warrants a second look.
The tactical use isn’t as purposed here, but the seals, dual-filter, and wide field of vision make the MIRA CM-6M a fantastic second option. The 6-M also has space in the mask for glasses, which is always a nice detail.
Both models have a great price point as well, which is the reason they’re two of the best-selling gas masks available.
How can you treat tear gas exposure?
3M FR-7800B CBRN
Like many on this list, the 3M 7800B gas mask has a built-in speech diaphragm that makes it perfect for first responders or any communication needs. It was designed specifically for members of emergency response teams.
Because of this, the 7800B filters most toxic gases and aerial threats while boasting a high-impact facepiece. This mask also comes in 3 sizes, which is a useful separation.
Avon FM12 CBRN
Between America and Europe, the Avon FM12 is one of the most-used masks on the market. Using the easy-to-find 40mm filter, this mask has many attractive features.
With 3 size options and a 6-point harness for the snug fit, the FM-12 was built for active wearers. The facepiece also makes it perfect for tactical use and precise aim.
Mestel SGE 400/3 BB CBRN
Chances are good that the masks worn by the Israeli Defense Force are a safe bet. The impact-resistant exterior houses a lot of useful aspects.
Three filter ports, hydration compatibility, and a wide field of vision make the 400/3 BB an excellent choice. If you do go with this one, make sure to pick the 400/3 BB.
The prior model, the SGE 400/3, had a rubber seal that didn’t work against all chemicals.
Avon M50 CBRN
Like the Mestel with Israel, the Avon M50 is standard-issue for America’s military personnel. Obviously, if chosen by a military presence, the M50 is reliable with an impact-resistant facepiece and strong seals.
Two factors make the M50 standout, though: It makes communication easier by being able to hear every word someone says while wearing it and the built-in straw allows you to drink from a bottle or Camelbak without removing your mask.
The biggest negative to the M50 is that it utilizes its own filter, meaning that you may not be able to easily find a replacement filter as the most common one is 40mm.
MSA Millenium CBRN
MSA Safety is one of the biggest names in the gas mask game and, since releasing the Millenium in 2004, has proven why. It was the first mask to be certified as CBRN facewear.
While it may have been the first, the Millenium has a wide facepiece, rubber seal, and the option to switch which side the filter sits. The last one is especially useful if you’re right or left-hand dominant.
Draegar 4500 CBRN
Similar to the M50, the Draegar 4500 uses the 40mm filters while boasting a large field of vision. This is one of the few masks where you can use your peripheral vision, it’s so wide.
Like the M50, again, the Draegar was designed with the use of firearms in mind. The style allows space for you to rest on the stock of a rifle.
One big difference is that the Draegar is one-size-fits-all, ranging from adult men and women to children 12 and over.
Comfortable and having most of the same features as other masks on this list, including dual filters, there are two big drawbacks to the PD-100: It’s not yet certified as CBRN and it doesn’t accommodate glasses.
If you don’t need it for use around serious chemicals, though, this is a good choice for the price.
As an honorable mention, the Draegar 6300 is a competitor to the rest of this list in terms of features. In fact, it’s basically the same as the 4500 from Draegar.
However, the rubber seal is the biggest difference between the two models and, because of this issue, the 6300 hasn’t been CBRN certified. Still, it’s worthy of being on this list as a solid option.
Just remember to keep your mask of choice, or masks, close to your go-bag where you store your firearms. For mask maintenance, wash your filter cartridges and mask in soapy water and rinse. While lens cloths work well with glass, many masks are reinforced plastic and will be left with smudges.
With your mask picked out, the best way to prepare is to practice. Gas masks can feel claustrophobic and some people hyperventilate thinking they can’t breathe the same, so make sure to put on your mask for a while and become familiar with the feeling.
You don’t want to panic and accidentally remove your mask in a hazardous situation, so being able to relax with the mask on is a key to survival. Just remember that you can breathe and, in most cases, communicate the same inside the mask as out of it.