The US military uses the M17 series gas masks to protect its forces from chemical and biological weapon attacks. These masks are the latest in a series of gas masks used by the US military. These were worn by SOG team members when the XM28 Riot Control Gasmask wasn’t issued or suitable.
The M17 gas masks provide protection from all types of known chemical and biological agents present in the air. The mask has different components including a filter, face piece and outserts. Filter elements in the face piece removes harmful agents from entering the mask. The M17 series includes two types of masks -M17A1 and M17A2.
These gas masks have inbuilt systems that facilitate communication — a tube for drinking water and a pair of outserts to protect eye lenses and prevent fogging. The mask is packed in a carrier that also contains other items like a nerve agent antidote kit (NAAK) and a convulsant antidote for nerve agents (CANA). It also contains a waterproof bag to protect filter elements from water damage. Other components attached are mask hoods to protect the head and neck area, a winterization kit to prevent frost accumulation during cold weather conditions and optical inserts for soldiers with vision defects.
The mask offers protection from harmful agents, but does not function properly in places where oxygen content is low. The mask is not meant to be used for firefighting and does not provide protection from radiation. It is recommended that users continue wearing it until the biological or chemical agent is identified.
The M17 Gas Mask bag was designed to be worn on the left thigh, attachment was via a strap passed around the waist and clipped onto a D-ring, with a secondary strap passed around the thigh to limit the bag flapping about with when in motion.