One overlooked aspect of tactical training or operations on the objective is the respiratory health of those in harms way. Yet with the dust, carbonized metal and lead, smoke and more—those individuals can inhale a lot of harmful particulates (even in well ventilated training houses). Over time this can translate to harmful health risks. The TR2 by O2 Tactical is one of only a few to consider these risks and works to minimize its exposure to those who work in harm’s way.
Introduced in 2020, the TR2 is the second generation of tactical respirators by O2 Tactical and is made from a combination of formed soft-touch, medical grade silicone, shaped ABS plastic, and a central raspatory filter.
The harnessing system consists of a continuous two-part head band that has a lower elastic nylon material for support and comfort, and the upper rubberized head band for retention. As the lower is expanded, the upper is cinched and vice versa. Overall length for the head band is adjusted via slide buckles on the upper band near the front face mask.
The front face of the TR2 features a base, contoured layer of medical grade silicone that is designed to fit around the mouth and nose during dynamic movement, while still maintaining a low enough profile to accommodate eyewear. There is even sufficient material to accommodate a proper seal with facial hair.
As part of the front face is a clip-on attachment that houses the principal air filter. The main intent for this filter is to prevent the inhalation of aerosolized lead from discharged ammunition. The filter itself is made from a material that is effective up to 98.8% at 0.3 microns. This means it will stop any airborne particulates found in the lead from gunfire discharge or suppressor use, asbestos, lubricant mist, dust, dirt, carbon from wildfires, and some airborne pathogens. In late 2020, O2 Tactical submitted for certification of its TR2 filter as N95 rated. Editor’s Note: It is important to note to the reader, the TR2 filter is not currently rated to filter out the COVID-19 virus, which is 0.125 microns but still offers comparable protections as N95 or other face masks.
Below the filter clip-on is a removable tube that allows the TR2 to be compatible with various Invisio® headsets for microphone integration and team communications using the associated O2 Tactical accessory (sold separately).
The TR2 is only available in Black (featured), and is a one-size-fits-most.
Product Evaluation Scores:
- Cost – Good (4/5): At a list price of $225 the TR2 is the latest rendition of tactical respirators from O2 Tactical, and involves an air filtration system that provides freedom of airflow and respiratory safety to those training or operating in enclosed areas. While the focus of the TR2 is for those in a tactical setting, the product also has potential applicability for civilians amid the ongoing COVID era. The only market alternative to the TR2 would be the Special Operations Tactical Respirator – SOTR ($300) by OpsCore/Gentex. Thus from a price point; and for its more minimalist design, the TR2 is at a good value for its functionality.
- Comfort – Average (3/5): It took a little time to find the appropriate balance between expanding/cinching the TR2’s harness system that allowed for a good seal, and was still comfortable. The sliding buckles did provide a solid adjustment to the overall length of the harness without any slippage. The TR2 silicone had a comfortable contour around the mouth and nose, although felt unstable as the lower portion of the TR2’s design rests on the Mentolabial Crease (that spot between your lower lip and the chin) rather than extending down to enclose the entire chin. The result was a secure seal only as long as the wearer was not extending the jaw (such as to opening the mouth to talk or shout), but when maximum range of motion was applied, the mask would lose some of its seal and stability. It is recommended to O2 Tactical to address this in subsequent future designs so that the chin is enclosed and the overall mask maintains its seal for all range of motion. Airflow through the filter was easy and uninterrupted, even when conducting dynamic movements (sprints).
- Durability – Good (4/5): From a durability aspect, the main material in the TR2 was the medical grade silicone, which was both flexible and resistant to abrasion. This is the same material that is in military NBC masks and known for its resistance to oil, solvents, corrosion, and puncture. And similarly, the silicone material in the TR2 heavily attracted lint and other particulates, but that didn’t affect fit or seal. Separately, O2 Tactical detailed that the TR2’s filter was only good for an estimated 40hr of wear time. This was dependent on the atmosphere involved with dust and larger particulates obviously clogging the filter material quicker. A recent study of the TR2 also revealed that the respirator did survive drop testing of 120 times from a height of 1m without any damage to the unit, and the multi-fabric head harness had a lateral sheer strength between 20 and 30 pounds depending on the material tested. All of this far exceeds what the casual user would experience in training or in the field.
- Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally, the TR2 provided an overall good flow of oxygen to the user, despite the intake passing through a filter and in an enclosed seal. Some minimal beading of moisture on the interior of the unit, and around the filer, was noted after an hour of continual and dynamic wear, but was to be expected and common with this type of device. Removal of the clip-on attachment at the face of the respirator, and replacing the filter was easy to do. However, re-attaching the filter/clip while wearing the mask was somewhat challenging as it relied on alignment of the retention clips that cannot be observed nor felt while wearing the mask. This resulted in several instances where it did not fully seat. This problem was easily resolved by simply removing the mask to remove/replace/reattach the components prior to time on the range or in operation (something that each filter’s 40 hour lifespan could easily handle). The minimalist profile of the mask did allow for comfortable wear of eyewear without fogging as well as shouldering a rifle, all while maintaining a proper seal. The one aspect of function that was concerning was the rigid plastic tab supporting the area of material over the bridge of the nose. This rigid piece did not contour/flex to the nose very well, and could potentially jab the wearer in the soft tissue of the face or around the eye if a frontal impact was experienced. It is recommended to O2 Tactical that if the overall area of silicone material were expanded, as discussed in the Comfort section above, this area of the nose could be thickened and not rely on a rigid plastic spur for structure. Other areas of recommended improvement would be alternative harness/mounting designs to allot for quick attach/detach and/or direct attachment to hook-and-loop panels of a helmet. As is, in its current design the TR2 can only be worn under a helmet or headwear, and can only be removed by first removing the headgear.
- Weight – Good (4/5): With an overall weight of 5.1 ounces (the filter alone accounting for 0.5 ounces) the TR2 was very lightweight and did not detract from the front of the face, nor pull excessively on the neck or muscles over time. Indeed, properly fitted the TR2 hung effortlessly. In contrast, the SOTR (16 ounces) is more than double the weight, but is due to the fact it is more encompassing of the face with a much larger air filer. Thus for its minimalist design and overall function, the TR2 has a good level of light overall weight for the consumer and within the market.
Overall Rating – Above Average (18/25)
I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via STL Shooting Enthusiasts, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.
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