Gas masks are popular for both military collectors and survivalists. Whatever your motivation for buying one, there are many options you can choose from. Generally, gas masks are not a practical option for defence against a biological or chemical attack, but they do make great novelty items, and if you have the right training, may help you in some cases. When buying a gas mask, consider its fit, style, and type.
Gas Mask Fit
Militaries around the world provide professionally fit gas masks to the each individual wearing them. Unless you are ready to spend a great deal of money to get a professionally fit gas mask, and you want it for emergencies, other gas masks will not fit perfectly, even if the respirator is good. Most novelty masks are available in one or two basic sizes, and do not fit well enough to actually keep out biochemical agents. Consider measuring from the bridge of your nose to the cleft of your chin, and then choose a mask that fits between that range if you intend to wear it. You also have to consider the width, which means paying close attention to the size and fit.
Gas Mask Type
One very important thing to consider about gas masks is that not all of them work against every type of threat. Some army gas masks offer more filtration, while others only keep out basic hazards such as smoke. Specific models like the SAS and S10 offer a great deal of protection, but it is important to check. In addition to British masks, you can also look for gas masks from different countries such as Germany, France, USA, and Russia, to suit either your preference in style, or the type of militia in your collection.
Decorative Gas Masks
Most gas masks on the market are decorative or novelty items, which means that they are great for hanging on a wall or adding to a collection but not much more. If you want a gas mask for this purpose, then you can choose any option that takes your fancy. Vintage WW2 gas masks, large fantasy masks such as steampunk masks, replica masks, or even very specific options such as SWAT or SAS gas masks are all available.
Vintage Gas Masks
Vintage gas masks are a very popular option, especially for military memorabilia collectors. Vintage gas masks are available from WW1, WW2, or the Gulf War. Usually, WW2 and WW1 masks are the most collectible, and there are several types from each war to choose from.