There are several options when it comes to ballistic helmets. If you are investing in one, it can be daunting to make the right choice. But remember that it all depends upon the priorities of your protection. The main function of ballistic helmets is to protect the wearers/ head from receiving trauma and damage during combat or other similar situations, and there are a wide variety of shapes and materials from which these helmets are made, from a ballistic high-cut helmet to bump helmet and MICH helmet. Continue reading this post to become familiar with the different types of ballistic helmets so you can pick the right one.
Bulletproof or ballistic helmets can be categorized into four main types, each with its own purpose, trademark design, and shape. Let us see each one of them.
Personnel Armor System For Ground Troops Helmet (PASGT)
This ultra-strong, lightweight helmet is made of synthetic fiber and features a protective shell. This had become a standard helmet in the 1980s with its trademark shape, which features a lip over the brow and a low cut above the ears. It has a higher cut over the temples. These helmets cannot be mounted with accessories without drilling carefully into the shell. This can risk compromising the shell’s integrity if not done precisely. The PASGT helmets also tend to shift forward over the eyes in certain positions, thus creating a dangerous distraction and limiting the wearer’s vision. However, lighter and more comfortable versions of these helmets are now available and are widely used by military troops. These are ideal if you need good, basic head protection, if you do not need to mount accessories like night vision goggles or communications gear or if you are on a budget.
Future Assault Shell Technology Ballistic Helmet (FAST)
This type of helmet is quite distinguishable from other helmets as it has a higher and wider ear cut. Hence, it is called a ballistic high-cut helmet or above-the-ear (ATE) helmet. These ballistic helmets are 25% lighter than any other modern combat helmets and are thus used by special operations forces and law enforcement organizations. These helmets also have suspension and retention systems as well as an Accessory Rail Connector (ARC) that allows for the mounting of gear like cameras, tactical and communications protective systems (TCAPS), and lights. These are ideal if you need to mount a lot of tactical gear and want a light helmet.
MICH/ACH Ballistic Helmet
Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH) helmets were introduced as an improvement of PASGT combat helmets in terms of weight and modularity. Compared to PASGT helmets, MICH helmets are much more tech-ready, and the presence of side rails across these helmets allows for easy mounting of accessories like NVG shrouds and communications equipment. MICH combat helmets do not have a brow lip, and their sides are slightly higher than the PASGT. They have a flat lower brim behind the temple, which results in 8% less coverage but excellent situational awareness and vision. They also provide better protection against handgun rounds. MICH and ACH helmets are bets if you need to mount accessories like night vision goggles or communications equipment.
Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH)
Enhanced combat helmets have a tactical cut style that provides less coverage but better visibility. These helmets are composed of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) or thermoplastic. ECH helmets have a similar appearance and weight to the ACH but are much thicker and offer 35% more ballistic and fragmentation protection than the ACH.
A bump helmet offers no ballistic protection, but its only purpose is to protect the wearer’s head from bumps suffered in falls or incurred from objects like debris or rocks falling from above. These helmets have a rail system for mounting gear such as lights, night vision goggles, communication headsets, etc. They are extremely light and are a perfect choice if you do not need ballistic protection, need to mount and carry gear, and want lightweight head protection during natural disasters or risky activities and sports.
Which Ballistic Helmet Do I Need?
In order to determine what types of ballistic helmets you need, the first thing to do is to choose from the multiple types of helmets based on your priorities. If you are looking for basic protection and do not need to mount a lot of accessories and communications gear, a PASGT helmet can suit you well. If you are looking for a little more protection and need to add night vision goggles and communication equipment as an essential part of your mission, you can go for MICH helmets. The high-cut helmet is another lightweight option that allows for mounting a wide variety of equipment and is perfect if you are looking for advanced levels of protection. Remember that balancing protection, function, and mobility are all you need when picking the most suitable combat helmet.
To Sum Up
Now that you know the different types of ballistic helmets, choose the right one for you based on your needs, weight preferences, and functionality.