There is any number of reasons for you to buy a protective gas mask. Global pandemics, the potential for nuclear war, and crazy dictators possessing biological weapons are just a few of the reasons. If you prepare for worst-case scenarios, you need a protective mask in your kit.
The Mira Safety CM-7M protective gas mask is reliable, durable, and mimics the look and feel of the masks our military wear. I tested one with actual pepper spray to see if it lives up to its billing. Read on to find out.
Anyone who’s been in the armed services should be familiar with a protective mask. The CM-7M from Mira Safety is nearly identical to the M45 and M53 Protective Black Gas Masks worn by the U.S. military. The rubber of the gas mask and the glass of the visor feels identical.
The overall shape is pretty much the same, with some minor cosmetic differences. There is even a drinking tube and a compatible canteen included in the box. I thought that was a nice bonus.
The filter that came with my Mira Safety CM-7M mask is called the NBC-77 SOF, also made by Mira Safety. It came vacuum sealed and says that it has a sealed shelf life of 20 years. With a shelf life like that, it’s easy to see how a prepper could buy one of these, throw it in their bug-out bag, and basically forget about it. We’ll talk more about the filter in the Specs section.
The specifications of a protective mask can be confusing. I will try to include all of the specs that Mira Safety sent out with the mask. The filtration specs listed are in reference to the filter.
|Available Sizes||Sizes 1, 2, and 3|
|General Field of Vision||Min. 70%|
|Binocular Field of Vision||Min. 20%|
|Intelligibility of Talk||95%|
|Facepiece material||Bromine-butyl rubber|
|Visor material||Silicate glass|
|Filter connection thread||RD 40 x 1/7”|
|Breathing resistance at 30 l/min air flow:|
|-inhalation resistance||Max 30 Pa|
|-exhalation resistance||Max 60 Pa|
|Storage time||20 years (factory sealed)|
|A2 - Organic gasses and vapors||SX, CG, CK, PS|
|B2 - Inorganic gasses and vapors||P3 - Solid particles and liquid aerosols|
|E2 - Acid gasses and vapors||D - dust|
|K2 - Ammonia and amines||R - reusable|
|Hg - Mercury vapors||REACTOR - radioactive iodine|
|@ flow rate 30 l/min||@ flow rate 95 l/min|
|EN - NBC-77 SOF||EN - NBC-77 SOF|
|260 - <140||980 - <600|
|Sodium Chloride NaCl (S)||99.99+||99.99+|
|Paraffin oil (L)||99.99+||99.99+|
First, remove the filter from its packaging and remove the tab. Next, screw the filter into the inhalation chamber. After the filter is secure, loosen the head straps.
Place your hands inside the straps and hold them apart, placing the mask over your head, like a shower cap. Then, adjust the straps so that the pad is centered on the crown of your head and begin tightening the straps from top to bottom on each side. Once you have the straps tightened, move on to the mask tightening test.
This is the old “clear and seal” that you may remember if you ever wore a mask in the service of your country. Once you have your mask fitted properly, clear the mask. To clear any contaminated air out of your mask, exhale vigorously. The exhaled air will go out of the filter. Then, press your palm firmly over the opening of the filter.
Vigorously inhale. If your mask is properly sealed around your face, your hand will “suction cup” to the filter, like when you place your hand over a vacuum. If there is not a proper seal, you will hear air entering your mask, it will make a hissing sound.
Doffing, or removing the mask is similar to donning it, but in reverse. First, loosen the lowest straps first, the ones closest to your cheeks. After the cheek straps are completely loosened you should be able to lift the mask off of your face by grabbing the exhalation chamber.
If you’ve never worn a protective mask before, it will take some getting used to how it feels to breathe wearing it. It is a restrictive feeling, although not so much that I ever feel short of breath or panicky. The best way to describe it is that it feels like it takes more effort to draw air into your lungs. I imagine it’s similar to what asthma feels like.
Athletes sometimes use masks similar to these to aid in their training. If you train your body under constrictive or restrictive conditions, you will perform better and longer under normal conditions.
First-time users may also feel a bit uncomfortable with a device that fully covers their face. It’s a bit more restrictive than a hat or a helmet. But you get used to it pretty quickly.
We tested the Mira Safety CM-7M with a canister of Fox Labs Five Point Three pepper spray grenade. It’s called a grenade because it’s designed to fill a room with pepper spray, as opposed to canisters designed to spray directly into an attacker’s face. The canister says that it can fill a 12’x12’ room in 10 seconds. We chose to test it in a tool shed that’s approximately 10’x10’.
After donning my CM-7M mask I stood in the center of the tool shed with the doors open (for those filming outside). I discharged the canister of pepper spray and it immediately began filling the room. I imagined in my head that it would be a visible cloud, reminiscent of the gas chamber from my Army days, but it wasn’t.
There was no visible cloud, but we knew it was working because unmasked people outside of the tool shed began coughing and feeling the pepper spray after just a few seconds.
My mask worked to perfection. It sealed perfectly, even though I had a few days’ growth of beard. After about 10 seconds the canister was emptied and the room was filled with pepper spray, but I couldn’t tell. The CM-7M performed as intended and my breathing was unaffected by the pepper spray.
If you’re looking for a protective mask that mimics the type that our military uses, the Mira Safety CM-7M is it. It looks, feels, and functions exactly the same as an M40 or M50 protective mask. With a shelf life of 20 years for a factory sealed filter, it’s perfect for preppers to keep in their bug-out bag in case of emergency.
Obviously the need for a gas mask is worse case scenario. Heaven forbid that you would need one, but even more of a dreadful thought is the need for a gas mask for your kids. Fortunately Mira provides options for the young ones in your life.
You want everyone in your family protected. Mira Safety has an gas mask option for babies and your pets. This isn’t like your typical mask option. It is more “container” option.