Setting up an ACH helmet for night vision

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Home Forums The Armory – Gear and Equipment Optics Setting up an ACH helmet for night vision

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    • #144505
      onegunshort
      Participant

        I recently acquired an ACH with a PVS14. It comes with a single hole mount and bracket. I want to setup it up in a reasonable way that is known to be useful and comfortable to be used in class, so I’m asking the MVT team for advice. Goals are:

        1) Mount the PVS14
        2) Counterweight for securing the PVS14 against loss.
        3) Accommodate hearing protection. Current hearing pro doesn’t seem to work well.
        4) Helmet is OD green. Add a multicam cover if needed.
        5) Adjust or replace internal pads and strapping to support night vision use.
        6) Eye protection. I’ve seen several solutions. I wear glasses.

        What are you recommendations for gear to accomplish this setup? Links to amazon would be great (but not required).

      • #144525
        Tony S
        Participant

          As someone who just recently “panic bought” similar items from JRH, I am also interested in this information, as well as just basic setup and use tutorials. Even if everything goes perfectly from here on out, I can’t attend the MVT Night operations class until after taking HEAT 1 & 2, so best case scenario is November. So any help before then with setup, mounting, basic use, and helpful tips is greatly appreciated.

        • #144539
          DiznNC
          Participant

            This is really fairly simple, but you can make it as complex (and expensive) as you like. If you guys post pics, we can offer specific suggestions for your set-up. Or at least describe what parts you are using and we’ll go from there.

            I have my own preferences but I’ll try and keep this basic. The first thing we need to do is secure the rig for NV use. This usually involves both pads and suspension. The goal is to be able to move your head, side to side, without the NVD’s shifting around. So first, shift the pads around until the helmet stays in place, more or less, and then work on the chin straps. It needs to support the mission here but still let you talk. The nape pad should be adjusted down slightly lower for NV work.

            I would get a helmet cover, not only for the camo, but also to have velcro to hang your counter-weight pouch. Any simple pouch will do; load it up with all the batts you are using; it doesn’t take all that much weight to counter-balance the device, but still makes a huge difference on a long night mission.

            Ideally, you want a high-cut helmet for comms. I modified my ACH this way, which is do-able but the subject for another post. The reason for this is to have rails to hang your ear pro from. This really helps to stabilize your night vision platform. But if not, then remove crown pad, get two smaller side pads, and make room for the head band inside. A light band wrap will help snug things up here. If your headset won’t work with the full cut, then get low-profile like Peltor, or eventually mod your helmet.

            The std USGI set up is quite workable. Starting with your one-hole shroud, install with blue loc-tite. Now fit check your GI Rhino mount. Gen II is preferable, but Gen I still works. Make sure it’s tight in the shroud. Use tape or adhesive-backed foam inside shroud as necessary to tighten up. Even a layer of paint on things will help. Now install GI J-arm to -14 with a little blue loc-tite. I said a little. Make sure it’s lined up properly. Now install J-arm into Rhino mount. Roll back or remove rubber eye cup. Put on helmet with glasses on. Adjust everything (including helmet set) until sight is over left (or non-dominate) eye. It’s “OK” for rolled back rubber eye cup to rest ;lightly on glasses. Actually helps stabilize things.

            I am a big believer in bungees. With an ACH, you will have to work how to attach via front suspension screws; find some washers with side tabs to take a bungee hook (look in any good hardware store). The bungees tighten up and stabilize your system. With this set up I used one continuous piece of bungee, which I passed underneath the bayo release tab on the J-arm, to keep it from inadvertently popping off. You can add a pull tab here to really snug this up.

            I also think you need a simple laynard. The GI system has been known to pop off, and you need something to keep the -14 from hitting the deck (and/or hard to find at night). I used a simple peice of para cord, with an over hand knot on the -14 side, and a small snap hook on the helmet side. The shroud can be modified (like drilled) to accept the snap hook.

            helmet

            Here is that set up as described. Note bungee under bayo release tab. Also note pull tab, which keeps lever from moving and releasing NVD. This is a modfied ACH.

            Front cover is a modified Butler Creek # 07, with a .225″ hole. This allows you to move through mix-light areas (think street lights, parking lots, etc.) and still use IR laser. It also acts as a decent “refocus” ring, allowing you to see stuff close up, without re-adjusting infinity focus.

            • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
          • #144541
            DiznNC
            Participant

              Here is another shot showing the retention laynard. Notice para cord loop in shroud slot which snap hook goes into. With a one-hole shroud this may have to be drilled. I later re-rigged the laynard to fall off the left side, so as not to interfere with aiming in with RDS.

              helmet

              Also shows pull tab under lever. The velcro attaches to helmet cover when not in use.

              • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
            • #144547
              Robert Henry
              Participant

                Brother Diz covered things very well. Just a reminder to tether tether tether!!!

                I’ve bought multicam covers for our personal ones off Ebay.

                www.jrhenterprises.com

                Lost my MVT class list- been here a time or two :)
                Team Coyote. Rifleman Challenge- Vanguard

              • #144551
                DiznNC
                Participant

                  A couple of other notes. I am a big fan of IR glint patches and lights for use with NV operations. Therefore I will run side flag patches and ranger eyes around back. Also an active light is a very good idea for a control measure at night. Some guys poo-poo this but I think it’s essential.

                  It’s a good habit to get into sitting cross-legged when setting up and donning you NV rig. That way if you fumble it, it lands in your lap, not on the hard deck.

                  Also practice adjusting your set up while it’s on your head. That way if it gets bumped, it’s only a few seconds to re-set, not a minute or more. Know where all the controls are and where your sweet spot is.

                  I set it up with lots of off-set, to wear safety glasses, whenever possible. You can either roll back the eye cup, or get a nice filter to reduce “racoon” eye. I also set it slightly high, so I have a little bit of room around it, to see unaided, up close. This allows me to avoid bushes, tress, etc on the left, or formerly blind side. This does reduce the field of view slightly but is worth it to me. You have to lower your head slightly to see directly through the tube, but after while you get used to it. And then just lift up slightly, to see un-aided. Kinda like bi-focal glasses if any of you are familiar with that.

                  I mount non-dominant, which for us, doing longer woodland patrols just works better, for me. I still like my dominant eye seeing un-aided, up close, as I move through the bush, with my other eye aided, to see further up. It is also much easier to switch up to RDS when necessary.

                • #144552
                  DiznNC
                  Participant

                    Good Point Brother Robert! I now run the laynard to the left side, so if it pops, it will roll down left side, and still let you aim in with RDS.

                    Here is current set up with laynard.

                    helmet

                    A few slight changes, which you have to make as you dial in your kit. The bungees now attach to the mount arms. The laynard now attaches to para loop on cover. The hole in lens cap is now covered with tape for dust pro.

                    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
                    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
                  • #144555
                    DiznNC
                    Participant

                      Here is a shot of the C/W pouch. This is just a simple pouch I ginned up, which holds a double row of batts.

                      pouch

                      Note “one-wrap” for wire management.

                      • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
                    • #144566
                      Tony S
                      Participant

                        Diz
                        Thanks for the detailed information and all the pics! I think this will all be easier for me to understand once I’ve actually got my hands on the various elements and experience what you mean firsthand.

                      • #144568
                        DiznNC
                        Participant

                          Yeah for sure. I will try and find more pics of the USGI parts for your dancing and dining entertainment.

                        • #144569
                          DiznNC
                          Participant

                            Here is the OpsCore VAS shroud, which is a relatively inexpensive way to upgrade to a 3-hole mount.

                            shroud

                            Much sturdier than 1-holer, and locks up tight with USGI mounts.

                          • #144570
                            DiznNC
                            Participant

                              Here is the USGI Rhino I mount.

                              mount

                              Notice bayonet mount fitting for the J-arm.

                            • #144571
                              DiznNC
                              Participant

                                Here is the Rhino II mount.

                                mount

                                Notice the new tongue and groove adjustment with large (easier to find) side knob.

                              • #144572
                                DiznNC
                                Participant

                                  Here’s the J-arm

                                  arm

                                  Notice bayo fitting that inserts into Rhino mount.

                                  • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
                                  • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by DiznNC.
                                • #144575
                                  DiznNC
                                  Participant

                                    Here is something else to consider. A sacrificial lens up front. You do not want your obj lens unprotected. This is a simple camera clear filter lens that screws right into the obj housing. Easy and cheap on ebay. I go this route instead of GI rubber over-cover so I can use Butler Creek cover up front. Will also work with GI LIF if ya got ’em.

                                    lens

                                  • #144578
                                    onegunshort
                                    Participant

                                      Thanks Diz.

                                      I assume that the ACH can be drilled? What bit do you use for this? Raptor Tactical offers a side rail kit for the ACH that I was thinking of getting. I’ll look at that OpsCore VAS shroud. I assume they come with screws and whatnot, correct?

                                    • #144588
                                      DiznNC
                                      Participant

                                        Yeah the ACH can be drill rather easily; a regular high speed bit is all that’s needed. Go in one size larger than your screw. It’s not the drilling, it’s the lack of proper sealing that can cause contamination. So after drilling, seal the raw kevlar with good sealant; something like McNett Seam Grip or equivalent. Make sure and note where new footprint needs to be, in order to get scope mount in mid range of adjustments, as well as in front of your eyeball. It’s different for lots of folks, due to head shape/size. Since you now have the luxury of custom-locating your own shroud, might as well tailor it to your noggin. Fill in single hole with some of the kevlar shavings from 3-hole op, mixed in with Seam Grip. Put tape on back and fill from front. The kevlar shavings will strengthen the Seam Grip. Yes some dork is gonna say OMG you just ruined your helmet, you’ll get shot through that filled hole and don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Whatever.

                                        Yeah side rails are nice to have. I would recommend either OpsCore or Revision rails since I’ve used them both. I could not find the RT set up?

                                        The VAS shroud is relatively cheap as these things go. Might even be able to find one used as someone upgrades. Yeah it comes with the screws and nuts.

                                      • #144605
                                        onegunshort
                                        Participant

                                          Oops…I was looking at the Ops-Core rails. Link for future readers:

                                          https://shop.gentexcorp.com/ops-core-arc-rails-ach/

                                        • #144674
                                          Eagle23
                                          Participant

                                            I have an ops-core ACH arc rail kit and a Wilcox 3 hole mount Id part with. Dm me if interested.

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