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MSA Ultra Elite Respirator (MSA Firehawk)

S.R. Crawford

.270 WIN
I'm not sure how many people on here are still too interested in this kind of thing but I'm gonna throw this out here anyway in case someone finds it useful. A number of months ago I picked up a used MSA Ultra Elite firefighting respirator on Ebay. I paid about $45 and it happened to come with all the mounting brackets for the HUD and voice amp, which usually run about $40 more. It also came with the Clearcommand mic for the voice amp, which can run quite a bit more. Quite a steal if you ask me.

To make things even better I managed to get a Clearcommand voice amp in working condition for $25.


I did have to purchase the 40mm adapter for about $7 and was originally planning on using it with a PAPR, but the PAPR was a little excessive to be practical so I ditched it and stuck the filter directly on the mask. It works pretty well like this once the straps are tightened properly, otherwise it gets heavy and sags.

I actually didn't like it at first. It is kind of bulky, but that's because of the big lens. Field of view is excellent. The valves are also a bit loud but that's because it's designed to work with an SCBA, which is great for when I want to run a PAPR. The voicemitter also sucked and was really muffled. I think that was because of the built-in mic, the standard voicemitter is probably a bit better but it's really a moot point because I have the voice amp. The voice amp is really a nice addition, it's loud and clear and very simple to operate. Takes 2 AAAs and is a push on/off, no extra features to get in the way.

The head harness is a 5-point but the straps are thick and durable. The head net really helps distribute the load and keeps things comfortable. In total I think I put about $75 into this setup, still well below the average market value of even the M40. So far it has become my favorite mask in my collection.

Note: I forgot to mention it here and I have been asked before, the wide lens does affect gun sights somewhat but it's not as bad as you'd think. The mask tapers somewhat which actually works really well with a rifle, the cheek weld is about the same as my M40.
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So how is it against tear gas and/or pepper spray? ;) :D
It's designed for fire use and tear gas is a smoke, so I'd imagine pretty good. It is rated for full-spectrum CBRN too, but a particulate/HEPA filter is sufficient for riot agents.

That is quite the find.
It's not uncommon to find these at these prices, you just have to look a bit sometimes. I think there's a few up for sale right now last I checked. It's just an often overlooked mask for some reason because it's not a typical "military" MOPP mask.