Do You Know How To Choose Your Gas Mask?

The gas mask is an integral part in individual protection, but it is only a component, so why do you need it?

There are many reasons, and the some of the reasons are assuming a natural disaster of some sort. Smoke from forest fires and factory fires are probably two very prominent reasons. Living near pesticide/chemical plants or near biological waste or nuclear waste areas, are also facts that might lead you to consider buying a gas mask. Other valid reasons include outbreaks of virulent disease, leaks from chemical plants, and leaks from reactors.


Please note that gas masks filter the air you breath, They DO NOT produce oxygen and should not be used in closed off environments that have low oxygen levels. A further warning, a gas mask does not protect from radiation, but it only prevents the breathing of radioactive particles, such as from a reactor breach or a dirty bomb.

That said, what kind of mask should you get? As far as a gas mask is concerned there are many variables. So how do you know how to choose the right one?

Let’s see some options.

The Old Soviet Series of Masks

The most common mask in the world is probably the old soviet series of masks. These masks are simple to use and inexpensive. They come in several sizes and are not a bad choice for those with minimal training.


  1. Easy to use.
  2. Good to very good protection.
  3. Very easy to change filters.


  1. No voicemitter, difficult to be understood
  2. Lens’s tend to fog up if not kept clean.


The Israeli Masks

The next most popular mask seems to be the Israeli mask. This mask is a bit more expensive, but it is very good. It also has advantages and disadvantages.


  1. Large eye lenses.
  2. Nose cup helps prevent fogging under almost any condition.
  3. Easy to change filters.
  4. Has a voicemitter, easing communication.


  1. Straps are easy to “over tighten” this will result in cutting off blood flow in the scalp giving you a raging headache.
  2. Requires a hood for proper head protection.

The American Masks 

And the basic contender, the M-17 series mask used by U.S. Forces and copied by Czech and other forces. These masks run the gamut in cost, from cheap to expensive. This is due to where they were made. This series of mask is well tested.


  1. Large eye lenses.
  2. Nose cup prevents fogging and draws air across the eyes to help clear them.
  3. Voicemitter to ease communication.
  4. Has “many” accessories.


  1. Straps are easy to “over tighten” this will result in cutting off blood flow in the scalp giving you a raging headache.
  2. Requires a hood for proper head protection.
  3. Filters are difficult to change.

All of these masks come in small medium and large. The old soviet masks have a child’s size, but those are hard to find. The Israeli masks have the most sizes and almost as many accessories as the M17 series.

What We Recommend

For my money, the Israeli masks are the best for cost and availability considering:

  • Good to very good protection.
  • Excellent sizing.
  • Excellent availability.
  • Very good availability for new high end filters.
  • Accessories like hoods and suits are very easy to get as well.

All 3 of these “kinds of masks” protect from Riot Control agents and Crowd Control smokes with no additional equipment.

If you are worried about exposure to “toxic” chemicals, that is when you need the “high end” filters, hood and suits.


This article has been written by Jessie Morris for Survivopedia.


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About Jessie Morris

Jessie grew up in Oklahoma, where he learned much about what survival from his Grandfathers. What to eat, what to hunt, how to cook was just another day. Jessie joined the Air Force and just before he was made Sergeant, he retrained into disaster recovery and NBC warfare instructor. During his time in Disaster Preparedness, he learned shelter management and became very familiar with what works versus what we were told it works. After the Air Force, he went back to school and got a degree in Electronic Engineering. Primitive camping and wood working are just two of my passions. Being able to do almost anything without modern power tools is something Jessie takes great pride in. As his Grandfather Stokes would say, “The less complicated you can make something, the more likely it will work when you want it to.”

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