Disclosure: MIRA Safety sought me out to review the CM-6M Gas Mask from my perspective. While you may see affiliate links to their product line throughout this article, my perspectives, as always, remain mine.
When it comes to preparations for The End Of The World As We Know It, the Ice House Fiesta, or whatever your terminology is, it’s super easy to focus on firearms, accessories, and ammunition. Yes, guns and ammunition are cool. And fun to learn about. However, you could have an ammo dump bigger than the reserves at LCAAP and still be boned if you don’t have a supporting infrastructure. In a world gone upside down, or even more mundane situations, the air itself can become a hazard. That fancy H&K MR556 will just be a convenient grave marker if you’re unable to breathe.
Within the Second Amendment Radical community, there’s always been a layer of interest in the “other things” – like gas masks and respirators. Spurred on by the unexpected contact from the team at MIRA, my own interest in the fascinating world of gas masks and PPE was amplified.
As a background, my education in the field was basic at most. I knew that most surplus masks were junk and nothing more than a prop most of the time, and that a solid piece of PPE would cost you a little. However, I wasn’t familiar with the nuances, and along those lines, was pleasantly surprised to find the CM-6M shipped with some educational materials and references, perfect for the neophyte gas mask wearer.
The MIRA Safety CM-6M Review
As I stated above, I was pleasantly surprised that the team at MIRA reached out to me offering a review unit. As my focus here is of course on the Second Amendment and firearms scene, I selected the CM-6M Tactical Gas Mask to try out, since I was looking for something that lended itself to the widest variety of use cases.
The CM-6M, with it’s wide one-piece visor, seemed to be the best choice for myself, and most likely you guys and gals out there in the world of armed citizens. As with clothing, one should always consider firearm usage when selecting personal protective equipment for emergency use.
Anyways, after some brief discussions with a MIRA representative, a normal order for a CM-6M was placed, as if I were a customer.
The MIRA Order Experience
“The Order Experience?” you may ask, “Why do I care? Get to the point.”
While normally, I would agree, I do feel in this specific case that the MIRA process is worth mentioning.
Once the order was placed, a normal thank-you email was generated with my order number, tracking, and some up-selling content. No biggie, it’s e-commerce 101. What impressed me was a second follow-up email, explaining actual turnaround times for various MIRA items, some details on shipping nuances, and the reality of the global PPE/military gear situation.
For reference, MIRA’s home factory is in the Czech Republic. In addition to supplying us here in the United States, the factory also supplies various European forces with gas masks, respirators, and other PPE.
And just in case you didn’t know, the Russian Bear has been causing a ruckus over there, prompting other nations to beef up on inventory. The follow-up email explains this, and that some items may be delayed due to production contracts, etc. It also explained that shipping labels are printed in batches, and during crunch times, it may take up to 24 hours for a label to be scanned by the shipping company.
For someone like me who obsessively hits “refresh” on the tracking page when purchasing a high-value item, this was actually a great little nugget. I wish more companies would do this. I really hate the tracking model of “Purchase —> Tracking —-> The Upside Down —-> Front Porch”.
Anyway, the MIRA system keeps you appraised every step of the way, and also provides you with educational materials before your kit even arrives. To the surprise of some, gas masks aren’t just a “put it on and go” item. At least if you’re new to them.
With their up-to-the-minute notifications assuaging my sperg side, I knew right away when the supply drop hit my front porch. Despite their precautionary statements, I received my CM-6M test article in a little less than 4 days.
Plain brown box cut open, and it’s on to the nuances of the MIRA CM-6M itself.
The Out Of Box Experience With The CM-6M
To be honest, I tend to overlook packaging. Some of the best pieces of gear I own came in non-descript boxes. However, there’s something to be said for a good box design. It implies a level of care and pride in the product, especially in this niche of PPE. On arrival, the CM-6M, once outside of it’s shipping box, is encased in some rather slick packaging, outlining just what get.
The CM-6M tactical gas mask, of course.
A canteen that’s compatible with the CM-6M’s hydration system.
Instruction manual. This is the important part, advising on how to properly test and fit the mask.
Not included, but they sent me:
- NBC-77 SOF filter, which protects against a wide spectrum of toxic CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radioactive, Nuclear) agents.
Though up until now, my experience with gas masks and respirators has been limited to military surplus and “labor” (i.e. the ones you use in construction) masks, I will say the bromobutyl rubber seals and solid polycarbonate visor inspire a sense of safety and robustness. For reference, bromobutyl rubber is on the shortlist of compounds rated for CBRN defense and safety. What’s nifty as well is that this sports an interesting inner-mask design. There’s an outer seal, which wraps around your forehead, cheeks, and lower chin, and then there’s an inner seal which covers your nose and mouth.
MIRA says that it increases the quality of the seal, as well as decreases the amount of CO2 inside the mask, so you don’t get tired as easily – in their words, it “decreases the physiological burden”.
Featured on both the NBC-77 SOF filter, and the CM-6M mask is an expiration date. Expiration? Yes – these items will degrade with time, even when left unused. For reference, the items I received were manufactured in late 2022, and expire in late 2042. 20 years, and hopefully I’ll never need to use them in real life.
However, this factor does bring up an interesting selling point with regards to MIRA products versus say, military surplus masks. With a milsurp mask and filter, you may not have any documentation as to when it was made, and if it was used or not. For example, the C3 mask making the rounds on occasion comes from Canadian stockpiles, and documentation is hit or miss. To be fair, most who deal in these masks note that you shouldn’t be trusting your life to one.
With MIRA, your product has a documented manufacturing date, and expiration date. Outside of actual hard use, i.e. the unthinkable happens and you have to use your CM-6M for real, your setup is good to go into the 2040s.
The CM-6M In Real Life
OK, MIRA provides a great out-of-box experience. Great packaging, excellent documentation, and a warm fuzzy feeling from the expiration date. But, how does it all come into play in reality?
Well, since I can’t simulate a radioactive release or chemical spill here at the Regular Guy Second Amendment Radical Fortress Of Solitude, we’ll just have to make some reasonable approximations.
For obvious reasons, the CM-6M is a simple affair to wear and use. Since this will most likely be for emergency use, I do recommend putting the CM-6M in a “ready” state, even if your plan is to store it at home or work. Before you do that though, a fit check should be performed.
Of course, like any piece of emergency equipment, be a firearm, flashlight, or gas mask, a function check is essential. It’s a simple procedure, really. Do a quick fitting by donning the mask with the straps a little loose. Then, tighten the straps. Then place your hand on the one open filter connection (you can switch sides if you want), and inhale. The mask, if fitted correctly, should suck inwards on your face tightly. Once the fit is achieved, then you’re all set to put it into a “ready” state. Screw the NBC-77 SOF (or similar 40 mm NATO-compatible) filter into either the right or left port, depending on your preference. If you intend on using a rifle with the CM-6M, then you should have the filter on your weak side.
Once operational, the first thing I noticed was the excellent field of vision offered by the CM-6M. Compared to other masks I’ve tried, the big wide polycarbonate visor was an excellent window on the world. The inner seal ensures there’s little to no fogging, as well.
Of course, you’re going to have to make some rather interesting adjustments if your plan with te CM-6M does include using a rifle, such as an AR-pattern or AK-pattern rifle. I did some dry runs with an AR while wearing the CM-6M. It was…interesting.
You’ll have to go through some cranial gymnastics, but manipulating an AR is possible while wearing a CM-6M. Forget about a good cheek weld, and your optic may very well be useless. Your best bet is to set the stock of your rifle to it’s maximum extension, bring it a little higher on your shoulder, and tilt the weapon at about a 45-degree cant to get an “OK” sight picture. Having your optic on a riser helps, a lot.
Along those lines, I borrowed a friend’s FN PS90, which already has a (rather sad) raised sight, and put an EOTECH 512 optic on the top rail, raising it much higher than on an AR. In this configuration, usign an optic was a non-issue, aside from having to cant everyone’s favorite video game gun at a 45-degree angle.
Of course, pistol use requires no adjustment, as you aren’t having to worry about a cheek weld or eye relief on an optic. Continue on as normal as possible.
If it’s any consolation, if you are using the CM-6M and a firearm in a real-world situation, chances are that any opposition either doesn’t have a mask (and may possibly be incapacitated anyway) or if they do, they are dealing with the same challenges you are. In my mind, if you’re in a situation where a mask is necessary, you are probably concentrating on getting out of that situation, rather than getting into a gunfight.
Alternatively, MIRA does produce a mask more suited for AR and AK rifle use, the CM-7M. The tradeoff is that the CM-7M uses a more traditional “goggle” dual lens mask setup, with a far reduced field of view.
With that in mind, it is worth noting the NBC-77 SOF filter does have a finite lifespan. In truly toxic environments, i.e. chemical/nuclear, the lifespan can be measured in minutes. In more mundane situations, the time is fairly longer. Concrete data on various toxins with regards to the NBC-77 SOF can be found at MIRA’s website.
One nifty feature in case of extended use is the included hydration system. The CM-6M has an interface for an included canteen (filled somewhere safe!) for some mid-emergency refreshments. You have to fiddle with a little control for a moment, but after a fashion, it’s easy to guide the internal straw attachment. Maybe I should try it with some C4 Ultimate Energy.
A Note On Beards And The CM-6M Gas Mask
Throughout this revew, I’ve spoken about the importance of having a good seal for the CM-6M to work effectively. Since the seal goes around where a beard would be, this does present a painfully obvious challenge to those of us who sport the beard. Simply put, a beard may interrupt the seal on the mask, leading to the intrusion of toxic gases inside the mask itself. While in some cases it may be more of an irritant than anything, i.e. smoke, crowd control gases, in other cases it will most likely be deadly. For example, if you are using the CM-6M to protect against a deliberate chemical attack, the intrusion of those gases can be deadly within minutes.
According to MIRA, they cannot recommend wearing the CM-6M with a beard, or using a “quick fix” like slathering your face with Vaseline. Not only is this messy, the jelly can damage the bromobutyl rubber seal itself, making things worse.
The only way around the “beard issue” unfortunately is to be clean-shaven. Given advance warning of a situation where using the CM-6M may be needed, you’re just going to have to shave.
Overall, the CM-6M is a pretty versatile general purpose mask with a wide variety of use cases. For example, in a wildfire situation much like what affected the Northeast this past summer. While the flames themselves were mostly in Canada, massive billows of smoke drifted down to the US, turning places like New York City into even more of a hellscape than usual. Life doesn’t stop because of smoke, though it can cause respiratory distress in a lot of people. So equipped with a CM-6M, a prepared resident could easily accomplish his or her daily tasks.
Another example would be in a case of civil unrest. While as peaceable citizens, we always try to avoid getting ourselves into situations where unrest can occur, sometimes they tend to crop up unexpectedly. The typical response from the government is usually to deploy law enforcement (with some agencies here in the US using the CM-6M!) who often will use crowd control substances like tear gas. You may not be the intended target of the gas, but gas does what gas will and spreads all over. Having a CM-6M on hand in your EDC backpack (it will fit in most medium and any large-sized pack) could prove to be a lifesaver.
If the unthinkable happens, i.e. a chemical/biological/nuclear accident or the combat use thereof, a CM-6M will give you the edge to potentially survive such a calamity.
Being Second Amendment Radicals, we tend to focus our preps on firearms and firearm accessories. We’ll spend thousands outfitting our ARs and AKs, but we’ll balk at spending $50 on a first aid kit. It’s true, don’t deny it. However, preparing for the worst needs to include all aspects of survival, and not just defense against all enemies. Without proper PPE, you’re just a loot drop if the situation involves chemical, biological, radiological, or nuclear agents.
Prepare accordingly. Thankfully with MIRA’s affordable CM-6M (or the 7M if you desire), you can get yourself sorted at a great price. Don’t forget to get everyone else in your household equipped as well. MIRA has your back with a whole specturm of masks and PPE.
Preparations involve a multi-faceted approach to emergencies. Firearms, intelligence, communications, fortifications, and PPE – it all matters.
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Source link: https://regularguyguns.com/2023/09/25/Mask-Tacticool-Or-Necessity/ by Regular Guy at regularguyguns.com