Often in Post Apocalyptic art and media you will see people wearing gas masks and doing a combat scenario style exercise. There is only one problem with this. It is next to impossible to fight in a gas mask.
Let me explain.
A gas mask is intended to protect a users face and lungs from caustic chemicals. It isn’t designed to be used to easily fire a weapon accurately.
I know this from having used gas masks during live fire training. One of my Drill Instructors made the prophetic statement (Trigger Warning) “You dumbasses aren’t going to do anything but waste ammunition today. You aren’t going to hit shit.”
I am an expert sharpshooter, but while wearing a gas mask, I can tell you from my own personal experience that this statement was 100 percent factual.
What was the problem? The problem is that you aren’t able to achieve a good cheek weld with your rifle. When you try to look down the sights, the plastic of the lenses warps your vision, and you are already off target, to begin with.
Not only that but if you are breathing even slightly more than normal your lenses will fog up quicker than the windows of a T-bird at a backwoods family reunion.
So at any kind of range, these problems combine to make your bullet veer off target dramatically.
Better gas masks with a giant bubble instead of small eye holes don’t help either. The same problems exist.
About the only way to actually hit anything is to have a mounted laser that will paint a target with a nice red dot. Even then, this will only help if the target is close enough to you that you can see the red dot.
In the event of some chemical, nuclear or biological threat is present in the air and combined with a physical threat the best course of action is merely to escape the area. You will only waste what in a doomsday scenario will be precious ammunition.
When you see soldiers donning gas masks and firing their weapons, it is only because they have a plentiful supply of ammunition and can repel an assault by volume of fire, not by the accuracy of fire.
A solo wastelander or small group of survivors would be better off avoiding a threat than trying to destroy the threat. Unless of course, that threat is immediate.
Some gas masks have a notch built into accommodating a rifle stock. However, you still need to practice a ridiculous amount just to be able to achieve any level of accuracy with it.
In case of an NBC attack that requires you to don a gas mask to survive while your inside of a firefight the best course of action in most cases is merely to try to escape the area.
Unless of course, you can’t in which case use the old North Vietnamese method of “Grab them by the belt buckle.” Meaning that you need to get real close and personal with the attacker.
Close enough, were a small volley of fire will help to dissuade further attack or kill them. Or close enough that you can use a physical instead of a ranged attack.
Or an Australian Peel to get the hell out of the area.
How you do that is an entirely different subject for another day.