On Helmets

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    • #107536
      D Close
      Moderator

        There hasn’t been a whole lot of talk on helmets here. F, Max and I had a conversation at the last CRCD I attended about the benefits of ballistic vs. non-ballistic helmets and the employment of night observation devices (NODs). I think we mostly agreed that the helmet was a better option than the infamous skull crusher mount. You can get non-ballistic helmets like this
        I like ballistic protection. I had some conversations with a friend in the international door kicking business who will not operate without one. I see a need for it post SHTF. See southernprepper’s take.

        So, which one? I had trouble finding used in my area. There are different flavors: PASGT or personal armor system, ground troop. These are the older Kevlar helmets, rather heavy. Relatively inexpensive. Next are the USMC light weight helmet; the MICH, military integrated communication helmet, or the ACH, advanced combat helmet. For a comparison between the LWH vs the ACH watch this. Weight is a major consideration at this point. At 53oz for a large size, ACH has a good trade off while still providing ample side protection.
        ACH
        It’s a tad pricey at $250 new. You can find them on eBay for less. Many reviews cited the lack of a brim as a major advantage when shooting from the prone.

        There are some hardware considerations to think about. There should be a chin strap system attached with modular, removable pads that keep the helmet in place. Team Wendy is an excellent choice. Pricey. You can vary the thickness of padding and reposition for comfort. Rhino mounting hardware for PVS-14 is available. I got those used for $25. Read the manual here For detailed instructions. Size matters! It was very helpful.

        The GENTEX brand suffered a general recall due to some hardware that could fail at certain extreme, high temps (mil spec bs). This occurred prior to 2010. If I was offered a unit from then I wouldn’t turn it down.

        I would pick up spare PASGT helmets too just to have, but I’d save up for an ACH. There is a newer ECH model coming soon that may free up some ACH units. I stayed away from the SOCOM high cut model. Any radio comms I use don’t require the larger ear muffs those accommodate. Peltor hearing pro does not fit under the ACH, so you may want the high cut for those.

        A helmet cover is extra. There are several camo versions out there. A band with cat eye reflectors was $2.

        I’d like to hear from current/former users here as well.

      • #107537
        Greg Owens
        Participant

          90% of attacking Vietnamese casualties at Dien Bien Phu suffered head wounds. Head and eye protection should be a priority over plates.

        • #107538
          Max
          Keymaster

            Its a good discussion. A helmet is definitely the better platform for mounting NODS. Whether its a ballistic helmet or just a bump helmet, is the question. I have a ballistic one but have been looking hard at bump helmet to save weight, etc. Keep in mind, ballistic helmets will not stop bullets. They are more for protection from explosions, shrapnel, etc.. So in that aspect, I think their usefulness outside of a full on military engagement, is debatable. Not saying I don’t think they shouldn’t be used, just that its something to think about. The context of use must be kept in mind as the situation will dictate whats more appropriate. Example – Patrolling my property post catastrophic event for marauding looters and ne’er do wells, I’ll be in a small recce sized patrol group, and I want to be as fast and mobile as possible. If I’m facing the invading red horde with RPG’s, frags, armor, and artillery…… its time for turtle mode.

          • #107539
            Max
            Keymaster

              90% of attacking Vietnamese casualties at Dien Bien Phu suffered head wounds. Head and eye protection should be a priority over plates.

              Makes sense. You don’t poke your butt ’round the corner first!

            • #107540
              Corvette
              Participant

                A helmet is definitely the better platform for mounting NODS. Whether its a ballistic helmet or just a bump helmet, is the question. I have a ballistic one but have been looking hard at bump helmet to save weight, etc. Keep in mind, ballistic helmets will not stop bullets. They are more for protection from explosions, shrapnel, etc.. So in that aspect, I think their usefulness outside of a full on military engagement, is debatable. Not saying I don’t think they shouldn’t be used, just that its something to think about. The context of use must be kept in mind as the situation will dictate whats more appropriate. Example – Patrolling my property post catastrophic event for marauding looters and ne’er do wells, I’ll be in a small recce sized patrol group, and I want to be as fast and mobile as possible. If I’m facing the invading red horde with RPG’s, frags, armor, and artillery…… its time for turtle mode.

                That pretty much sums up what my thinking is on this subject, except I’d add that a non ballistic bump helmet is also helpful when in tight urban quarters going into cover not to “bump” your noggin.. :)

                Most threats faced are not ballistic and those that are often penetrate even the ACH (rifle bullets)

                There are situations I’d wear it but in a non military role not expecting shrapnel they are not common and I’d want the greater vision and lesser weight of a non ballistic helmet.

              • #107541
                Max
                Keymaster

                  90% of attacking Vietnamese casualties at Dien Bien Phu suffered head wounds. Head and eye protection should be a priority over plates.

                  I agree with Greg. Head and eyes should be the priority for the cash flow. The way I figure it, when the first battle is done, there will be plenty of armor on the ground to choose from. On the other side of the argument, armor is considerably less expensive than ballistic head gear and much easier to find.

                • #107542
                  Chris
                  Moderator

                    LOVE this topic. Moderator (F), when walmart mutant entitlement biker zombies are coming at you, they will likely be coming for your home. Shooting moving and maneuvering around buildings, you need protection from both falling debris, as well as knocking yourself unconscious running around. Urban operations, as depicted by max’s book, demand the warfighter have had protection ducking through spider holes or indirect fire causing falling debris. Certainly agree, I’m not going to pit my dome piece against a point blank rifle shot but i like the protection. In the CRCD terrain, the application is there but the lower cut PASGT and even ACH helmets do mask your hearing in a place where finding your target first is essential. I prefer the high cut helmet to either mount my peltors or keep my ears unobstructed. I do run the FAST helmet which is becoming much more available. Manufacturers have taken the 1000 helmet design and taken ballistic materials and made a cheaper affordable helmet that still provides the protection a patriot would need. Type FAST helmet on ebay and see what i mean.

                    A note on NODs. Helmet is certainly the way to go, as a skull crusher over a period of time becomes a nightmare. If you are gonna pay for the NODs, pay for the helmet too. One chin strap click is also much easier to don than than ridiculer head mount with all the straps. Also, a 4 point chin strap is the way to go as a the older PASGT helmet is a two point and will have to be ratcheted down on your head and STILL move around! With my helmet I also tend to wear clear lensed eye pro at night to secure the NODs against and prevent unwanted black eyes.
                    Practice! When you get this set up together, unless you’ve walked the hills of afghanistan a couple times in NODs, walk around some uneven terrain, or even your backyard! Depth perception and how you move totally change and night movement slows down, have this figured out before you take a header off a cliff at max’s course! Ok, brain dump complete

                  • #107543
                    Chris
                    Moderator
                    • #107544
                      D Close
                      Moderator

                        Shmitty, excellent argument for the helmet in general. In light of your post, I will reconsider my initial rejection of the FAST design. I appreciate your point about the eyepro behind the PVS too.

                      • #107545
                        Max
                        Keymaster

                          I’d echo Smitty’s points (my ACH saved my noggin more than a few times both in vehicles and moving through low doorways) and add that a counterweight on the back of the helmet can also help mitigate the neck strain from the NODs hanging off the front of your helmet.

                          Helmets also make a good place to mount a light (for example the Surefire helmet light or a cheaper headlamp with the band around the helmet) for those times when you need a hands free light.

                        • #107546
                          Corvette
                          Participant

                            These arguments for a Helmet are all very compelling but none of them seem to dictate a ballistic helmet to me?

                            Even bicycle helmets will protect from bumps in spider holes, falling debris etc while being so light and the vision so good that one could forget one is wearing them..
                            And a Spray painted brown bicycle helmet of quality is about 30 bucks. so I can afford to cache them freely with a cheap AR and a Cheap chestrig and some ammo and have a very useful total setup.

                            Thoughts?

                          • #107547
                            D Close
                            Moderator

                              F, I believe you get some protection from rounds. In my urban AO I am more likely to face pistol armed attackers than anything else. If I take a ricochet I am not facing the full energy of the round so it would offer a greater degree of protection than your skateboard helmet. The MICH stuff gives you a high vis/hearing option. Some ballistic vs. none? I’ll take some. Other factors? Cost, weight, METT. I want the option. B-)

                            • #107548
                              Corvette
                              Participant

                                true the Kevlar gives you protection from handgun rounds.
                                But I believe in a SHTF or resitance situation your primary threat will be long guns ( in the likely absence of artillery) so the ballistic feature of these helmets may be moot.

                                For example a similar cost-benefits analysis for vests:
                                Thats why in a pre SHTF Kevlar or early stage slide..vests for Cops make sense.. due to social sanction people only carry firearms that cna be readily hidden.
                                So there is a lot of value in kevlar vests.
                                but in a SHTF environment thats more advanced and is marked by WROL the social sanctions will be removed and so most everyone will have transitioned to long guns hence a level IIIA vest is no longer worth its carry weight…

                                A simlar rationale applies for helmets IMHO.
                                if you are engaging in operations in a long gun environment the ballistic factor that drive sup expense and weight must have lost all or nearly all its benefit right?

                                Why not wear something thats cheap (so it will be available because I cna afford to preposition such helmets in both cars at home and Office etc) and it should work when the primary threats are bumping my helmet on concrete or falling debris..
                                For this these helmets function quite well.

                                the VC injury comparison is not a valid one since they were in a mortar/artillery rich environment lowcrawling under the wire and since the head is the most protruding point …
                                Plus they wer eunder rifle fire as well.
                                So the VC exmaple really does not support the pro-ballistic arguement.

                                I am willing, eager even, to be schooled by those more experienced than I am but.. I am looking at it from a requirements driven perspective though.. so any capability that imposes weight and (tremendous) cost penalties must be part of my Key Performance Paratmeters (KPPs)

                                I dont see the ability to withstand shrapnel and handgun rounds are part of my KPP in the PoU I envision..

                                nice to have sure.. but KPP no.. and a non KPP feature will not support a increase of 1300% in acquisitions cost. :scratch:

                              • #107549
                                D Close
                                Moderator

                                  F, I like your very rational approach. It is based on some potentially flawed assumptions. Does OPFOR employ heavy weapons? Do they have air, mortar or IED capability. Even in a limited engagement, we see that forces that have access to such weapons will use them. Will we knowingly engage such a superior force? Not usually, however that is not always of our choosing. Reference Patriot Dawn. Many of the zombie-sheeple will have something less than high velocity weapons. There will be other players for sure. Drug cartels now have access to RPG, hand grenades and rifles. Those boys will be players post-SHTF, no doubt. I would finish by saying I respectfully disagree with your KPP calculation in this case. For a small price, <$300, I can prevent catastrophic, resistance career ending damage to an irreplaceable asset. As southernprepper pointed out, it should not take prescidence over other priority items. For the guys and gals who read this forum, we intend to go in harms way. We are equipped and are training to find the shit and get dirty. My friend, I will have two. When we meet on the battlefield, one is yours. Or, I will have seen the error of my ways and converted mine into an expensive flower pot. ;-) Good debate, we shall see…

                                • #107550
                                  Max
                                  Keymaster

                                    Just figured I’d post this recent article on helmets and armor.
                                    Article by a British Medical unit in Afghanistan.

                                    http://kitup.military.com/2014/04/british-doctors-study-body-armor.html#more-27949

                                  • #107551
                                    D Close
                                    Moderator

                                      Mervo, a good post with excellent comments attached to the article. So essentially, armor is good. Some above have raised the same questions about whether the trade off in mobility is worth it. Few would debate it is harder to hit a faster target. Maybe naked is best?

                                    • #107552
                                      Max
                                      Keymaster

                                        Maybe, just maybe, we can all be fast with armor, providing we maintain the Max motto of “MORE PT!”

                                      • #107553
                                        Corvette
                                        Participant

                                          Dave and Mervo:
                                          I appreciate the discussion but I need to make some points about assumptions and we are obviously moving beyond helmets now…

                                          Modern body armor as we wear in the in the US (and UK) has evolved for a large well-resourced military serving as an Army of occupation riding around in loud vehicles and fighting an insurgency where the primary threat are IED threats, mortar attacks and the occasional force-on-force engagement.

                                          FREEFOR needs to divorce itself from the mindset that this PoU has any relevance for us, because we will never be that well-resourced Army of occupation, facing IED threats, riding around in big loud vehicles and oh BTW always in possession of the battle field afterwards.

                                          Now if I were to deploy tomorrow as part of that military, I would gladly wear all of that gear but our FREEFOR PoU is NOT going to be that and this is why our equipment Calculus must also be different.
                                          (That’s one thing I like about Max’s book CONTACT it did not slavishly follow military manuals because guess what, our shit’s different right?)

                                          The PoU that I think we can all agree on is to fight either lightly armed and poorly organized starving entitlement zombies durng a collapse, or an Army of occupation of enemies foreign or domestic.
                                          So among those two I am not worried about the former, that is not a hard problem for any of us is it? ;)

                                          But the latter is the hard nut to crack.
                                          So let’s analyze that one a bit.
                                          Is it good to wear armor when you are being shot at?

                                          Absolutely, but there are a lot of things that are good. Carrying 2000rds of ammo for example could save your behind on occasion right?
                                          But that doesn’t mean you will do it as a matter of SOP.

                                          And no matter what your PT level is, wearing a lot of crap is going to compromise your speed of movement. And guess what, in PoU#2 it is your speed-of-movement compared to OPFOR that is your center of gravity!
                                          It is NOT your ability (or lack thereof) to fight and win high intensity force on force battles with fire support.

                                          And just like your training and tactics, your kit must be sorted to support your center of gravity.

                                          Remember OPFOR may be younger and fitter to begin with. BUT they are weighed down by a lot of crap, so the only way you can even think about having greater mobility than them is to operate as light as possible.
                                          Ironically this may actually REDUCE your casualties because in this POU that’s the primary mechanism you avoid getting beaten.

                                          And avoiding to get beaten is the best way to avoid excessive casualties isn’t it?

                                          All that alone is enough to answer the armor question IMHO.

                                          But here is yet another supporting wrinkle:
                                          Since secrecy is crucial to that FREEFOR mission, getting just one guy getting captured is potentially catastrophic since everyone breaks eventually

                                          On the other hand in the big Army/Marines occupation PoU where you are nearly always in possession of the battlefield afterwards you can police up your wounded AND your locations are not secret to begin with!

                                          But FREEFOR will NOT usually be in possession of the battlefield afterwards will it?
                                          So mobility is extra important to avoid capture and is yet another reason why our PoU (and tactics and kit) must be different.

                                          So avoiding capture is likely more critical to the overall mission than avoiding a lethal shot to the chest!!

                                          So again agility and speed of movement greater than OPFOR will be a center of gravity to the mission even more than avoiding KIAs.

                                          And no matter your PT level, your agility will be compromised if you wear a lot of crap,… missions dependent you may even go further in shedding weight to improve your speed between younger and fitter OPFOR and your guys who need to move faster than those (usually) younger guys.
                                          (For a hit and run I can imagine going w/ a lighter ammo load , only 1 canteen instead of 2, shedding the butt pack etc etc. never mind armor)

                                          The only way we can make the majority of our older troops faster than the younger OPFOR is with a light kit.

                                          That’s the only way we can project our center of gravity vs a well equipped 1st world army of occupation.

                                        • #107554
                                          D Close
                                          Moderator

                                            Excellent points, F, thank you. :good: I can’t argue really with your case for mobility. I also agree this fits into more of a strategic discussion that influences our PoU issues beyond helmets or armor. I think a discussion of the theoretical would be a help to those who want to dive deeper into the rationale. If we are making certain assumptions about the need for a light infantry capability within the armed citizen community, (Max and others have done a great job doing that) we can help folks by distilling the issue. I’m not sure what I would call that thread, or series of threads to illuminate the issues on what you are saying. Maybe a “strategic issues” thread? This would have a ton of UW stuff in there and that would be helpful to many. Maybe that is beyond our scope? I’ll try to stew on this and start something in the Lounge.

                                          • #107555
                                            Max
                                            Keymaster

                                              I keep going back-and-forth in my thoughts about this and thus still only have the skull crusher. It wasn’t the end of the world wearing it on a 4 hr night recce exercise during the patrol class, but a helmet is definitely in the works.

                                              As I have written elsewhere, as an experienced backpacker I am a firm believer in eliminating every bit of excess weight: “count the ounces and the pounds will take care of themselves.” I am weighing EVERYTHING and comparing function vs. weight. My goto rifle is VERY light but as functional as needed for the likely uses. Don’t need big ‘ole quad rails when an ultralight Midwest FF allows a small piece of rail attached if needed.

                                              Weight on the head? Even moreso. Any part which has independent movement away from your center of mass has a greater effect: keep your hands and feet as light as possible, for example. Your head is similar, especially due to potential fatigue in neck muscles and possible results (such as headaches, etc).

                                              I am still leaning towards the “Team Wendy” bump helmet as best bang-for-the-buck (and weight), but my obsessiveness will likely keep this going a while longer ;)!

                                            • #107556
                                              D Close
                                              Moderator

                                                Apolodoc, you mentioned weight as a factor. As a place for mounting NODs, there is a benefit to the base helmet having some counter weight properties. Using PVS-14 doesn’t require balancing on the back for me personally. When I used ANVS-6 (two tubes) our battery compartment was mounted aft to help with this. If you are using a lighter helmet, it may require a counter weight, which starts hinting of diminishing returns of using it in the first place. Food for thought. I would still try a bump helmet to experiment with. Let us know if it tends to lean excessively forward.

                                              • #107557
                                                Lloyd
                                                Participant

                                                  I can’t comment on ballistic helmets, but the Ops Core Base Jump I have for use with a PVS-14 is pretty nice. Not “perfect”, but I doubt ANY helmet is. One benefit is how easy it adjusts for size. Anybody with a reasonable size head can put it on and adjust it to fit in a matter of seconds.

                                                  I have not worn mine for more than 3-4 hours at a stretch, but it didn’t cause me any notable discomfort.

                                                  MVT Texas 2015-2020
                                                  Team Cowbell / Team Coyote / Team Rekkr

                                                • #107558
                                                  RRS
                                                  Participant

                                                    Any opinion on Hard Head Veterans ballistic helmets?

                                                  • #107559
                                                    Jamison
                                                    Participant

                                                      Holy freaking necropost batman. Please disregard my comment. Prices have changed since then. http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/gallery/files/6/7/3/HolyNecroPost_759032.jpg

                                                    • #107560
                                                      Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                      Moderator

                                                        I am looking for a balistic helmet…

                                                        What size?

                                                        I run across deals all the time in good to excellent condition used, but sizes vary with availability.

                                                      • #107561
                                                        Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                        Moderator

                                                          …necropost…

                                                          Yea, prices change, but no such thing here, building and evolving on a Thread is encouraged. :yes:

                                                        • #107562
                                                          Joe (G.W.N.S.)
                                                          Moderator
                                                          • #107563
                                                            D Close
                                                            Moderator

                                                              Joe, love the comic book format, yet also very helpful info.

                                                            • #107564
                                                              wparkinson4
                                                              Participant

                                                                Good source… decent price..

                                                                http://stormseekermilitarysurplus.com/products/used-ach-with-cover-ready-to-wear-our-of-the-box

                                                                I have bought a few things from them.. they ship fast.

                                                              • #107565
                                                                diceman624
                                                                Participant

                                                                  So on the subject of helmets and NVG rigs, what does this forum consider to be critical for a minimalist helmet set up? What I’ve gathered is a cover to support a counter weight, the mount for the NV device itself, a good suspension system for the helmet itself, and the ability to tie off the NVD to the helmet or mount itself. Am I missing anything?

                                                                • #107566
                                                                  First Sergeant
                                                                  Moderator

                                                                    So on the subject of helmets and NVG rigs, what does this forum consider to be critical for a minimalist helmet set up? What I’ve gathered is a cover to support a counter weight, the mount for the NV device itself, a good suspension system for the helmet itself, and the ability to tie off the NVD to the helmet or mount itself. Am I missing anything?

                                                                    For a no frills set up, that’s it.

                                                                    FILO
                                                                    Signal Out, Can You Identify
                                                                    Je ne regrette rien
                                                                    In Orbe Terrum Non Visi

                                                                  • #107567
                                                                    Keeper
                                                                    Participant

                                                                      Just a head’s up on cheap helmets. at COLD DEAD HANDS TACTUAL
                                                                      I ran across a web site on FB forB-TAC SPEC OPS HELMET (BALLISTIC KEVLAR NIJ IIIA) for 299.. STAY AWAY I inquired and found out made in China. I am not going to test my luck on helmets made over sea unless it is made in a place such as Israel or anyplace that has a proven track record
                                                                      my 2 cents
                                                                      Keeper

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