Thanks to clasky's review of the FM12 last month I contacted Avon about their products and after a few unpleasant e-mails from their UK office i was put in touch with their guys state side. The DHS sales manager contacted me and spoke to me about their new FM53. This mask was designed by Army special forces and their Navy counter-parts. The mask is designed for people who wear them for up to 10 hours at a time. The sales rep admitted wearing a mask sucks but that they wanted to make it as nice as possible. The FM53 is a very special piece. With the turn of a valve it can be either a positive or a negative mask. It will work with 3 different breathing systems. One i was told had been "blacked" and that they could not discuss how it functions. After a lengthy conversation i was very excited to test the mask out.
A few days later a box arrived from Avon and i was like a kid at x-mas.The mask came with a sunglass insert, a spare clear insert and a sealed filter.
Like the FM12 the FM53 offers the user a rear mesh style cap.
The canteen attachment is a little different from the FM12. The FM53 offers a shut off valve. Note the mic hook up underneath.
Inside the nose cup you will notice a tub turned to the right.When the water valve is in the off position the tube will stay to the side.
With the valve in the on position the tube swings into the user's mouth.
Once i put on the mask i found it to be easy to wear and very comfortable.
Note the very flat right cheek of the mask.
The mask will work with a boonie hat also.
I tried an assortment of rifles with varying results.
The ACOG i found to be slightly awkward but very doable.Note the canted rifle and head.
An XCR with an EoTech proved to be the most comfortable and the fastest.
The shotgun was not bad being only a bead.
The AK proved comfortable with it;s long relief of the rear sight. Only a slight cant.
I wasn't sure how something like a rifle with a scope would feel. I was surprised. It was not bad at all and open view of the mask made it easy to use.
As far as pistols go. The mask did not interfere with my chest mounted holster or draw.
Overall i am very impressed with the FM53. Tomorrow i will actually put some hits on paper with the mask to see how it preforms. I was told by the rep to expect good results. So as soon as i run the rifles i will post the out come.
The FM53 is available to the civilian market i was told but at a list of $525 i don't see them flying off the shelves. I guess thats a deal compared to the SEAL package for $1200 that the DOD buys.
I should have the range results up this week. Thanks.