Gas masks for handling of tear gas?


Oleg Volk
February 13, 2003, 10:18 AM
Some folks stock up on gas masks against various poison gases. What I am more curious about is: what kind of mask, filters and accessories, if any, would be needed to deal with plain tear gas? Seems that between riot control and residential siege situations, most folks are more likely to encounter that than Sarin or VX. Could the folks with experience in that area comment?

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February 13, 2003, 12:31 PM
I got my gas mask mostly as a curio, but we have done some informal backyard testing with OS and OC. It was very effective against both agents.

mons meg
February 13, 2003, 12:55 PM
I would go with any surplus US military mask in decent condition. The one in the pic above is of a more modern variety.

Having personally "tested" the military issue in a tent full of CS, I can tell you they work. Make sure the filters are in good condition!


February 13, 2003, 05:20 PM
From personal experience, I can tell you that even the cheap surplus Israeli gas masks that you see for $10-20 work against CS.


February 13, 2003, 05:43 PM
I got an Israeli M-15 military mask off of eBay for about $30. Much more comfortable than the civilian versions! And it came with a practice filter and drink tube adapter (that only fit Israeli canteens).

February 13, 2003, 05:48 PM
They now sell gas masks at Fry's Electronics! They look like a nicer version of the Israeli civilian masks, and have drinking tubes.

I'm still kicking myself for not keeping my MCU2/P :(

February 13, 2003, 06:05 PM
Where can you get the 40mm NATO filters (that work) without paying an arm and a leg?

February 13, 2003, 06:24 PM
Last time I looked at a catalogue, Sportsman's Guide had Israeli masks cheap. Filters, too. I have no idea about quality.

US military masks are FAR inferior to just about anyone else's. The filter is the reason. Takes forever and 3 days to change the filter on a US mask. (I mean the older kind, which is what you'll likely see available.) You definitely want an external filter which can be changed while wearing the mask.

Hey, Carbon, that mask sure does a lot for your looks! :D

February 13, 2003, 07:56 PM
ive got to say, after being CS'ed in training at least once a month in the Army i was in a situation where a riot erupted and police tear gassed everybody. their stuff isnt nearly as bad. i still have pictures that my buddy and i were taking of eachother in clouds of police tear gas. didnt bug us much,

the guys with the masks, shields, and batons sure made us take off though ;)

(i wasnt involved in the riot BTW, just there)

and even a wet hankercheif over yer mouth is better than nothing. my eyes would eventually adjust (mostly) if i blinked a lot, the problem was that Army CS makes you dry heave.

Navy joe
February 13, 2003, 11:40 PM
For new, I believe the model number is MSA Advantage 1000, they have filters that handle the common riot agents. Personally I have a MCU-2/P, just need some more spare filters. It's also a MSA product, and I think you can find them new if you look hard enough. Spendy, 250 last I looked.

February 14, 2003, 12:40 AM
I thought about getting one as a curio, too, and wearing it to 3-gun matches :D

February 14, 2003, 02:41 AM
If you're buying surplus, what are some things to check out to make sure you are buying a unit that performs correctly? Or say I buy through ebay...what are things I can check on right when I get the mask?

February 14, 2003, 01:22 PM
Try here: ASOD - American School of Defense (

Navy joe
February 14, 2003, 04:44 PM
Tw, first thing is the cure date on the rubber. figure if you're really good to the mask and you store it in ideal conditions you can get 15 years from new out of it.

Second is I personally wouldn't buy anything that doesn't fit Nato filters except for a U.S. M17 which is the full hood one you see Army troops wearing. Positive side is that it covers your whole head, so stuff will stay off your skin. Downside is you gotta take the mask off to change filters. Designed by a freakin' committee of rocket scientists no doubt.

You need to inspect the entire mask for any nicks or tears in the rubber, make sure all the flapper valves are intact, kinda sucks to be breathing in the out door. MCU-2Ps (Like Carbon is wearing) have gone through a number of exhaust flapper valves. seems with the early ones you could get excited and suck the valve up into the exhaust port. The newer ones are black and are backed by a little screen that keeps the valve from deforming and being sucked in.

Another fun MCU stunt. They come with a polycarb faceshield that goes overtop of the soft lens of the mask. It is secured by a rubber strap at the bottom and two molded hooks at the top. Problem is the hooks sometimes have sharp corners and flashing that would wear through the mask at right about where your eyebrows are. The fix for that is to sand the corners down, unless the mask is already holed. If so, toss it.

Then you need new filters. I think the Navy keeps them for 5 years, but it's sealed in a airtight can, it's probably good for decades. (If we admitted that, the contractor would soon be out of a job, planned obsolescense, your tax dollars at work)

Get the mask, make sure a filter threads one, all the straps are in good shape. Put it on and see if it is your size. 70% of the male world can get by with a MSA medium. Tighten the straps up, block off the filter, and breathe in. If the mask doesn't suck to your face, it doesn't fit. Listen for any air leaking, find the hole if you hear it. With positive pressure(Covering exhaust valve ) The mask should hold pretty good. It will eventually vent, usually around the temples. Tighten the straps there and see if it helps. So basically, unless it were new I would not buy it sight unseen. The Israeli masks are probably ok for riot agents, dunno about real stuff.

All this is pretty useless if you have to take your mask off. Get a canteen or better yet a Camelbak with a gas mask adapter. Keep it full.

For the rest of your body a chemical suit would be ideal, but I'm thinking that Tyvek painters coveralls under rubberized raingear would be just the field expedient ticket. Rubber boots, rubber gloves, tape all openings up with duct tape(Finally a use for it!) Another thought is one of the hunters scent-lock suits under it. They use activated charcoal, as do the chem suits. Then once you are out of the area you just burn everything that cannot be easily decontaminated (your car). Anything you really like should be sealed in a big tupperware container which is easily cleaned.

For once you are out of the area, it's time to take a bath. I would personally most likely scrub down with half bleach half water. Then rinse! Bleach is great stuff, fixes most chem agents, kills bio bugs, the cleaning in itself would get any alpha or beta radiological particles off of you. Powdered bleach is great to keep on hand. Burn the clothes, walk around naked until someone feels sorry for you and gives you new ones. Better yet, have some in the tupperware.

February 14, 2003, 06:37 PM
a U.S. M17 which is the full hood one you see Army troops wearing

Thanks, Joe, that's the one I was thinking of.

If you can pick it up for 5 bucks, ok, but you are much better off with a NATO type. The hood is an option, BTW.

For short exposure to CS they work fine, IF the filters are good and have been installed correctly. Pay attention to that last - they often are NOT.

And then you get a certain NCO academy trainee bouncing blindly from tree to tree as he tries to get away from an expanding cloud of CS, while a sadistic tank crew continues to follow him with their M88 tear gas launcher, popping little gas emitters all around him.

That's one of those things you look back on and laugh about, but it was NOT funny at the time! :fire:


February 14, 2003, 10:12 PM
In all seriousness, I have an extra one like the one pictured in my l above post (MCU-2A/P) that I would be willing to sell. They are available HERE ( For $367...I would take $250 with free shipping if anyone is serious. It comes with everything (mask, harness, Polycarbonate overlens, new C2A1 canister, drinking tube, m101 microphone connector, hood and carrying case. Its brand new but there is one small scratch on the outside lens from the carrying case.

Navy joe
February 14, 2003, 10:39 PM
Good price Jason, I've been checking around, they are available for new purchase, just hard as heck to get, like Surefire lights and Trijicon scopes, for the same reasons. Good masks.

Looking at Navy girls???
Nice looking, but already done screwed up. Once you've got that thing fitted you should only ever loosen the two lower cheek straps, pop on head tighten two straps, exhale everything you can then fit check & breathe.

With the MCU you can move the filter to the right side if you are a lefty for shouldering a weapon. I just need to get/make the tools to do it.

Derek Zeanah
February 14, 2003, 10:45 PM
Got gassed a few times in the army. In your sleeping bag it ain't too bad (the kick from the drill sgt will get you out though ;) ) and I didn't have that much of a problem in enclosed spaces either -- just don't take a deep breath.

It seems that the best place to be when an area has drawn enough attention that CS is being deployed, is anywhere else...

February 16, 2003, 05:55 PM
Different people have different sensitivities to CS, Derek, and very few can shoot well with a face full of it. You're right, though, the best place to be is elsewhere.

Had a guy in Basic with me who was virtually immune to the stuff - really annoyed the Drill Sergeants. :D Others started retching with just a wiff of the stuff. I'm somewhere in the middle, I guess. I can function, but I'd hate to have to fight in the stuff. :uhoh:

February 19, 2003, 09:25 PM
Some good, basic information about respirator selection from NIOSH is available here:
And for a decent respirator, you'd be better off buying from an industrial safety equipment supplier like Labsafety ( that has experience dealing with such equipment than a surplus store.

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