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I'm mucking on the bottom looking closely for the tiny stuff... Which full face to buy?

Discussion in 'Advanced Scuba Discussions' started by Jay Whitehair, Mar 12, 2019.

  1. Jay Whitehair

    Jay Whitehair Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vermont
    I'm spending most of my time, ditch diving, tight down on the bottom looking for drops where nobody else would ever think of going, generally with a metal detector scanning and digging - sometimes in the muck. My question is; of the following 3 full face masks which might prove the most reliable, durable, and safe in water that is generally less than 20" vis due to suspended crap I have stirred up. I mostly wonder about ease of cleaning, crud sticking in the regulators etc.

    Our safety diver program uses OTS Guardians. I like.
    There are features on the Ocean Reef Space Extender I really like.
    I just found out a Kirby Morgan M-48 Mod-1 with a 200-130 pod assy w/ bal regulator are only a little bit more.

    This purchase is a big deal for me! I think it may be the first dive gear I have ever purchased new. Should bring me about 50 years ahead from the old Aqua-Lung Conshelf set-up I have managed not to drown on so far.

    I have less than 175 dives. Certified advanced w/ full face.

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

  2. Darcimus

    Darcimus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
    I love my Guardian. Just gotta lube it every now and then so it doesn't vibrate when I inhale.

    Never tried the other two. A dive shop about an hour away from me offered the Ocean Reef for sale and I almost bought one of those, but they've since closed down. (Good for me because I can still get my Guardian serviced locally at least.) Can't say for certain what the pressure is like on the other two, but the Guardian is positive enough that I have to almost breathe against it otherwise it'll push air into me.

    The lakes I dive locally in are pretty cruddy and the reg has held up so far.
  3. Darcimus

    Darcimus Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Regina, Saskatchewan
    Almost forgot. If you get a Guardian, be careful with that ABV. I don't use mine often, but in the few times I have used it I might have stripped the threads a bit. Gotta get that replaced before I dive it again (from what I hear it's gonna cost me about $300....eep).

    And if you're wanting comms with it, look around for a deal. I bought mine without and probably should have just spent the $400 extra, because getting it added on right now will cost me about $1000.
  4. ajtoady

    ajtoady ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Hammond, NY
    Check the classifieds, you may find a deal there on an OTS Guardian!!!:wink:
  5. Scubatude

    Scubatude Recreational/Techincal Instructor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Valencia, CA 91355 661-753-9155
    I have dived several FFM, including the Guardian and the Ocean Reef and also teach FFM. I have not dived the Kirby Morgan. That said, I never enjoyed diving the Guardian, but I LOVE my Ocean Reef Space Extender IDM! They feel good, fit good, never fog, never flood, breathe well and easy to equalize.

    For full disclosure, we are a Ocean Reef Dealer, Ocean Reef Repair Center, and I am an Ocean Reef IDM Instructor.
  6. Hoyden

    Hoyden ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Rockville, MD
    I have used pretty much all of the common full face masks. I hated the Ocean Reefs we had for awhile, loved my Kirby Morgan M48 and dive both the OTS Guardian and OTS Spectrum regularly. I own both a Guardian and Spectrum and dive a Guardian at work. My personal preference is for the Spectrum. It is nice to be able to use my personal second stage and it packs lighter and smaller for travel.
  7. Resqdivemedic

    Resqdivemedic Public Safety Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: chepachet, RI USA
    I am also a fan of the Guardian but I recently purchased the OTS Spectrum and really like it. I have used the Interspiro AGA which I found it difficult to get a seal and the EXO 26 which I found to be a bit heavy.
  8. Midwesterndvr

    Midwesterndvr Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Chicago
    I have the ots, And wouldn’t want to dive without it.
  9. -JD-

    -JD- Eclecticist ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Greater Philadelphia, PA
    I've been looking into the KM-48s as well. I'm looking to try to find one to try first.

    Keep in mind that the KM-48 is a totally different beast than the OR/OTS/AGA/... style masks.
    --- The KM is really not a typical FFM, but more a regular eye/nose mask integraed with a jaw frame that you can attach the regulator pods to.
    --- You can't nose breathe, and you don't get fresh-air defogging.
    --- You can also optionally breath directly off of the extended pod mouthpiece if necessary.
    --- You can unlatch the regulator pod and switch to a completely separate regulator (even one without a pod) underwater (or ambient air at the surface), without removing the mask. For pony, gas switching, etc without the plumbing issues of QCs/gas switching bock, etc. Additional bulk, but allows 2nd stage redundancy and everything is shareable both ways if required.
    --- They have pods for use with most standard regulators if you want to (re-)use your own for cost or commonality.
    --- There are several styles of rebreather pods with DSV or integrated bailout regulator switchover If that is part of your plan.
  10. Jay Whitehair

    Jay Whitehair Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Vermont
    Thanks everyone for your thoughts - JD mentioned something which I had noticed while watching a bunch of YouTube movies and that is the KM's fog more than other ffm's (as far as I could tell). That alone is what drove me to the OTS for my purchase. While there are other nice attributes of the KM's, I really want clear vision. The simplicity and clean lines of the OTS were also a factor. I purchased a non positive pressure on purpose - I have seen so many face mask seal issues that I am thinking this will be better for me to conserve air in the long run and therefor maximize my down time. The replies certainly have been supportive of all the OTS, KM's, AGA, and Ocean Reefs. I watched one YouTube movie on the Ocean Reef and as the guy was explaining how great his mask was I couldn't stop laughing at how much gas was bubbling around his face. Ocean Reef should pay him to dump that video..... it lost my sale in those 3 minutes.

    Thanks again everyone. Very interesting and helpful responses.
    sava6e likes this.

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