The Best NBC Gas Mask and Gear You Need To Survive A Nuclear Attack

Nuclear fallout

Your gas mask and protective fallout gear is something you need now and for good reason, you might need to use it quite soon.

We are closer than ever to a nuclear strike with tensions between North Korea and the United States, this is not to mention the rest of the struggles in the world with dominant countries advancing their own weapon systems. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who has snapped up a commercial bunker or has set up a home fallout shelter, well done. If not, you need to prepare yourself and your family.

Spending tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars on a bunker for something that might not happen seems a bit of a risk right? Perhaps you still want to prepare yourself for a nuclear attack but you’re not willing to fork out thousands for yourself and your family just to be sure. No problem, you can still easily survive.

In the case of a nuclear attack, your ideal safest place is somewhere that is not contaminated and is underground. It is no surprise that the best place to hide after a nuclear fallout is in the basement of a building that is constructed of thick brick or concrete. But what if you don’t have that? If your shelter is poor and you have nearby shelter, you can make your way there but only if it is under 10 minutes away. But before you start moving, and as soon as that bomb hits, you are going to need some protective gear against the radiation, chemical or biological hazard the weapon has caused.

This is where preparedness comes into play. For many emergency services, authorities, and people living in ‘likely attack’ areas, nuclear preparedness is a highly important issue. It does not only affect local governments and emergency agencies, but also in the family home where there should be an understanding of both the knowledge of what to do in the event of a nuclear attack and having the right equipment.

What you need after a fallout with your CBRN gas mask

Once the bomb has hit, there’s going to be widespread of radiation, or in the chance of a chemical or biological attack, something else. According to the US Govt, a nuclear attack “would have devastating results” and there would be limited time to take critical protection steps.

The strength of an attack will be determined by how close you are to the blast and other geographical factors. To deal with that fallout, here is what you would need in a basic kit to stay healthy:

NBC Suit

As radiation can be soaked into the skin, the ideal goal would be to use a gas mask with a chemical protection suit to keep your skin protected and to avoid contamination with your clothing so that you don’t contaminate your shelter or bunker. Any suit that is made of tyvek or a heavy pvc and is completely sealed is what you need. This will give the body a lot less exposure to radiation or anything else from a chemically-designed weapon.

If you are making a nuclear attack kit I cannot recommend more that you add a role of duct tape, or chemtape, in it. Duct (gaffer) tape has a lot of uses but primarily, in this case, it is a band-aid for your radiation suit. You want to be avoiding any leaks or cuts in your suit at all cost.

Ideally, in those situations where you are concerned about radiation, or biological or chemical particles in the air, thorough full-body protection can be achieved by using:

Radiation Poisoning Medication

You should be stocking up on iOSAT tablets as they are an FDA approved treatment to prevent absorption of radioactive material. There are also radiation towelettes that you can use to wipe away any contaminated areas, however, a thorough cleansing shower would suffice in that manner. Remember when having a shower to wash and scrub thoroughly, but do not use conditioner as it will bond particles to your hair.

Radiation Detector

The RADTriage FIT  is a budget option US Military device that fits into your wallet and can detect low levels of radiation quite well. One of the innovative things about this is that it is not electronic, so in the event that you are close to an electromagnetic pulse shockwave, you are still going to be able to detect radiation at any point. You can also get a Radon reader which is much more powerful in its effect and is still unaffected by EMP.

While the RADTriage provides that purchasable option, it’s reliability is limited. A permanent and more viable option is a radiation detector such as the RADEX RD1503 (pictured right) which gives highly accurate readings and was provided by governments to civilians in areas nearby high radiation exposures such as Fukushima and Chernobyl. This specific device is widely used and provides and easy-to-use interface detecting radiation counts as a consistent meter.

Now let’s move on to gas masks.

What you should know about gas masks

There are some things to think about when buying a gas mask, they are:

  • Not all gas masks are the same, some are meant for spray painting and some are meant for biological scenarios
  • You will need a few spare filters
  • Facial hair does not work with gas masks
  • If you live in the city, a gas mask is much more important because of the likelihood of an attack in your area
  • Gas masks are not to be lived in, they are a temporary measure

To tell if your gas mask is not for spray painting but for a nuclear attack, we need to make sure it has a NBC or CBRN rating. The ideal mask is an NBC filter mask. NBC stands for:

  • Nuclear: which is referring to the radiation resulting from a leak or an attack
  • Biological: could be diseases such as a virus, outbreak, anthrax, Ebola, flu,
  • Chemical: this could be mustard gas, sarin gas, riot control gasses and any type of nerve agent.

On top of the NBC mask, you can look at CBRN masks (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) as they have the highest protection against these elements.

The best NBC gas mask for a nuclear fallout that you need

You want to be getting a mask that lets you operate easily. Once upon a time a military-grade gas mask was something that could barely be seen out of and was so thick that it would cause the wearer to start sweating within minutes of putting it on. Thankfully masks have come a long way since then.

We should be looking for something that has a good visibility, a comfortable fit and that has widely available filters. For the filter type, I have found that the NATO 40mm is the easiest to come by and there is a wide supply of them. These NBC filters are what you need to filter radioactive particles. Other NBC gas masks might use a bayonet canister, however, this is not as common.

The best masks for a nuclear fallout and the most popular gas masks are the SGE 400/3 BB mask and the US Military M50 gas mask which is designed to meet military and civil defense requirements. As far as protection goes,SGE 400/3 BB mask offers a high quality decontaminated area for you face, as well as:

  • Ballistic and chemical aggressive treated face shield
  • Silicone face seal (excellent for long period use; tested for 6 days without removing).
  • Compact large field of vision.
  • You can wear glasses with this mask
  • Takes the standard NATO filter sizing
  • Easy maintenance.
  • You can use a drinking tube with this mask
  • A six strap fitting, which can be adjusted to ensure a perfect fit over the face.
  • Internal nose and mouthpiece which allows air to be inhaled and pass through the visor. This stops condensation or misting.
The NBC nuclear gas mask you need to use in a nuclear, biological or chemical situation

The SGE 400/3 BB Full-Face NBC Gas Mask

The fit for this CBRN gas mask is pretty good. I take a large because of my big head whereas my partner would easily fit a medium. If you’ve got kids, the small size is suitable for teenagers just because of the fit to the face. Any younger and you’d be wanting to look at an NBC gas mask or suit for kids.

This mask is the CBRN one, which would definitely keep yourself and your family or friends safe in an attack as it has a butyl rubber lining around the mask making it an effective chemical and radiation mask complying with international CBRN regulations.

If you are after a mask used by the US Military, you can rely on the M50 service mask, it is by far the best face mask for a nuclear fallout and the best type of nuclear gas mask. The M50 is the newest addition to the US Military and is the general purpose mask for all professions. A lot of these have been running dry of stock recently just because of the rise in concerns about a nuclear attack. These are a lot more expensive (due to their military use and high-demand) than the masks mentioned above but when it’s an in-use military item then you know it does the right job.

Please note that the M50 does not use the NATO 40mm filter and instead uses its own high-quality filters that have a five-year shelf life.

M50 gas mask is the gas mask you need for a nuclear, chemical or biological attack

The Avon Full Face M50 Gas Mask with NBC/CBRN protection

The wearable protection in this article is a backup if a nuclear, chemical or biological strike happens. However, because these masks and suit are NBC protective they are also very reliable to use in the event of a viral outbreak or disease. If you live in an urban area then this kit might be the right option for you.

The table below shows the highest quality NBC and Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear gas masks that you should be considering to fill a priority gap in your emergency supply.

Drager 4500Avon M50SGE 400/3BB
40mm NATO
40mm NATO
No StrawStraw FitStraw Fit

What should you do if there is a nuclear attack or radiation leak?

Emergency Services

First, it is obvious that you should be listening to emergency services, this is a primary point that a lot of preppers fail to adhere to and it is the primary way your safe evacuation can occur.

When a nuclear attack happens you might be without power due to an EMP pulse or damage to nearby power provision structures, so to stay tuned into emergency services you should get yourself a reliable hand crank radio. The American Red Cross Hand Crank Radio is a reliable option that has been used in a number of disasters and emergency events around the world and is the ideal option for your circumstance.

Seeking Shelter

There are different shelters where residing from a nuclear fallout is safe, In an emergency where a nuclear, biological or chemical attack has been made you are going to have to seal the room in order to ensure your survival and that of anyone with you.

For a nuclear attack, ideally, your shelter should be in the basement of a brick or concrete building.

Where to hide in a nuclear attack while using your gas mask

Infographic from EPA on the best place to hide in a nuclear attack

To seal a room off from any type of contamination the US Government Ready Plan provides a process of sealing a room. If you are going to seal a room you should:

  • Bring your four-legged family members inside
  • Lock all doors and close any windows or vents leading to the outside
  • Turn off all fans, air conditioner and heaters
  • If you have one, get your emergency food, water and medical kit, as well as your NBC gas mask, suit and other items, but only if they have not been contaminated
  • If the room has four walls, stay in it. You want to be in a room with as few windows as possible
  • Use 2-4mm thick plastic sheet over all windows, doors and vents and use duct tape to seal it off
  • Once you have done all of that, sit tight and listen out for any information from authorities on whatever means you have. Ideally, this would be with the hand crank radio I mentioned before.

When you are planning your kit with the above mentioned nuclear survival equipment, it is a good idea to keep an excess amount of these thick plastic sheets and duct tape mentioned above as it will become your tool kit when you are preparing against such circumstances.

If you are living in an area that could be effected by an NBC attack you can also use the following Prepping Guides:

And don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay up-to-date on more guides to help you in your preparations.


  1. Gary Underwood

    August 24, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Great article. People should also be aware that when they are washing radiation contaminants down, not to use conditioner. Shampoo and soap are fine but conditioner will bond radioactive particles to your hair.

    • Ben Brown

      September 4, 2017 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for writing in and good advice!

  2. Adrian Rothman

    September 4, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Would a small SGE be suitable for kids? I have a family of five and am looking at getting everyone one.

    • Ben Brown

      September 4, 2017 at 7:27 pm

      Great to see you are working with your family. To answer your question, the small size of the SGEs fit a child of about 7 and up. Anyone younger and I would suggest looking into a soviet PDF-D as they have varying sizes for the young-ones and are quite affordable.

      You can pick them up here: Soviet PDF-D Children’s Mask

      Best of luck, Ben.

      • Erin

        January 11, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        Ben, on the link you’ve attached, there is a hose coming from the nose of the mask. What does that hose attach to? I’m looking for something for my 4 year old.

        • Ben Brown

          January 13, 2018 at 7:44 am

          Hi Erin,

          That hose is a connection between the mask and a filter. The hose was initially the style as filters were so large that military personnel would have the filter in a bag around the neck, and the hose would run from the filter box to the mask.

          This mask has a filter and bag included and is $25. The original link I posted in these comments does not come with a filter..

          Best of luck!

  3. Mark

    September 21, 2017 at 3:33 am

    It’s nice to have the added eye protection of protective masks but even the good old N 95, N 99, or N 100 will do the job

    All you’re trying to do is keep from inhaling and/or swallowing alpha and beta emitters.

    You can’t wear enough to protect you from neutron or gamma.

  4. Beverly Bayn

    January 21, 2018 at 6:19 am

    I really got good info here what if you live across the street from the ocean in Oregon do you think there is much chance that something like this would affect us here

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