Today, I thought it would be fun (or at least interesting) to shoot a 2-gun match in a reproduction World War One gas mask and helmet. Specifically, a French M2 pattern, which was used extensively by French, British, and American troops. I paired this with an Adrian helmet, a Lebel rifle, and a Modele 1892 revolver.
The match started out badly, as it was cool enough outside in the morning for the mask to fog up significantly. Combined with small targets, my shooting in the first (pistol-only) stage was…not very good. Things got worse on the second stage, where I simply could not see the targets at all. I opted to just abandon that stage, and it was quite frustrating. Not wanting to leave without any rifle shooting at all, I abandoned the gas mask and helmet for the third stage. That one ended up being quite satisfying, despite running out of time just before making my final shot.
It was an enlightening experience to try to engage targets in a period style gas mask. Between the total lack of peripheral vision and lens fogging, it was very difficult. I can’t imagine trying to do it in a real firefight where poison gas was being used.