In summary, it should be noted that gas masks are not simple breathing masks developed solely to protect against particulate matter in the air. A gas mask is a mask for the whole face that protects against vapors, gases, and particles when the appropriate filter is used.
Gas masks are rated based on threats designed to protect consumers. You can choose from a basic respirator to a large protective nato gas mask and hood system.
The rankings are as follows:
Chemical cleaning agents and riot control
Special rating – to protect the user from certain dangers posed by HAZMAT or CBRN
For civil readiness, you should choose a CBRN mask. When researching, you should consider the following features:
With this in mind, there are many popular mask designs to choose from. Your choice will depend on personal comfort, fit of the mask, your budget, and the considerations listed above.
There is a lot of controversy about using surplus gas masks for protection. Surplus masks are often sold at army/navy stores, on eBay, and at local gun shows, and are very popular with preparedness-minded individuals.
According to our manufacturing contacts across the world, and personal knowledge, here is how the surplus market works…
Agencies purchase gas masks in bulk and often store them for extended periods of time until they expire. Sometimes, they reach expiration without being used and are still in their original packaging.
If you decide to go with a surplus mask, you should make sure that they are coming from a reputable source, and that the mask you are getting is in "new old stock" condition.