When it comes to prepping, many preppers believe a gas mask is essential. And with good reason, given that a nuclear disaster could bring in dangerous aerosols or chemical threats; wildfire smoke aggravates respiratory problems; and the threat of airborne particulates from construction or riots isn’t going away anytime soon. But not all gas masks are created equal, and many are dated or ill-equipped.
Often found on eBay or Amazon, these masks may be surplus and/or include filters that are expired, empty of asbestos or lead, or no longer protective against newer hazards. But if you shop smart, you can find high-quality civilian gas masks for sale that are as effective as the military models trusted by CBRNE specialists.
In fact, there are a few models of gas mask for sale that are currently considered the cream of the crop, so long as you pair them with modern filters. Different filters protect against specific atmospheric threats, and they typically have a color code to help you identify which type of filter is needed for the situation at hand.
The Avon C50 is a civilian and law enforcement version of the current US military M50 gas mask, and one that’s popular among preppers. It’s relatively expensive, but it’s well-reviewed and backed by an ecosystem of accessories (including sun-blocking visor outserts), and it has the 40mm mount on both cheeks that’s preferred by most CBRNE specialists.
Another option is the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask 4A1 ($157 including an NBC filter). This is the same model that Israel has been handing out to its citizens, and it’s very affordable. It’s also lightweight and easy to breathe through, with a comfortable silicone seal. However, reviews note that its voice emitter is subpar.
For those that want to save a few bucks, the Avon M40 is a good alternative to the C50. It’s not as durable or comfortable, but it still offers a full face of protection and features a bayonet connection that accepts any Drager filter. It also resists dirt, aging, and fog, and it’s easily adjustable.
A final option is the Honeywell Sperian Survivair Opti-Fit CBRN. It’s less expensive than the Avon, but it’s not as highly reviewed and doesn’t have a wide range of accessories. The big plus is that it accepts all 40mm filters and can be used as a half-face respirator. And it’s a solid choice for those that just need to cover their head for a short period of time, like during a drill or a riot. But, as with all gear, it’s important to know your environment and prepare for a worst-case scenario before purchasing any gas mask for sale.