A gas mask is a breathing device that protects the wearer from harmful airborne toxic substances. The mask consists of a tight-fitting facepiece and filters that remove the toxins from the air that is inhaled through the mouthpiece. Most modern gas masks use an elastic polymer in various sizes that can be tightened to provide a secure fit. The mask may have drinking tubes that can be connected to a water bottle, and some contain corrective lens inserts. Many of these respirators require training to be used correctly, and they must be accompanied by a detailed safety manual that includes cautions, limitations and restrictions of use.

The gas mask can be fitted with filter cartridges that are designed to protect against a particular type of airborne toxic substance, such as a chemical warfare agent or a biological agent. The filter cartridges can be exchanged to allow the user to switch between different types of protection for the same mask. Alternatively, some masks are compatible with one or more large air-filtration containers that screw onto the inlets, or that can be connected to a tank of oxygen that is supplied through a flexible hose like a scuba tank.

It is impossible to construct a single gas mask that provides protection against all of the potential toxic substances that might be dispersed in war. As a result, most military gas masks are designed for specific applications such as protection against chemical-warfare agents. In the case of chemical-warfare agents that attack the body through the skin rather than through the lungs, specialized protective clothing is required along with the gas mask.

The effectiveness of a gas mask depends on the quality and selection of the appropriate filter or cartridge. There are cartridges that offer protection against more than one type of hazard, but it is important to know the hazards that may be encountered in order to select the most effective and reliable filters.

In addition, the filtration process only works if there is sufficient oxygen in the air to pass through the filter. If the hazard level is such that the amount of contaminant outweighs the ability of the filter to remove it, the mask cannot be used, or it will only offer limited protection (the contaminants will simply clog the filters or substrates). In these cases, escape respirators are required which have their own oxygen tanks and supply the air directly.

RDDUSA carries a wide inventory of civilian and military gas masks for sale, including the Israeli M50 military mask, which is the most common mask that is portrayed in media. The M50 is a highly-reliable choice with dual-activated charcoal filters that eliminate smoke, dust, and chemicals from the air. The mask also features a comfortable, full-face design, a voice amplifier, and threaded filter joints for easy attachment of 40mm NATO or MIRA SAFETY brand filters. The mask has an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 from customers and is an excellent value for its premium aluminum-shelled filter container. gas masks for sale