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MR2
04-13-2016, 10:20
Background: In my day we had the M-1 steel helmet with fiberglass liner. Later on a pre-SMU stood up and wore motorcycle helmets. Then the Kevlar K-pot was issued. Heard that a couple of units got a newer, stronger, lighter-weight Israeli Kevlar helmet. Today I see what are called 'Bump' or hockey helmets.

Generally, in the Infantry helmets were always worn in the field. Support units wore them when the First Shirt was around. Patrol intensive units wore soft caps while patrolling. SF tended to only wear them for jumping.

Questions: What is the standard issue helmet for Infantry/Support/SF units today and general procedure for wear in the field or on patrol?

What ballistic protection does the new helmets provide over the M-1 or K-pot helms of yore?

Are there different versions of today's helmets - what are they and to who gets them?

Thanks.

miclo18d
04-14-2016, 03:46
It has even changed since I retired but I'll give you some info on ballistic protection.

(Picture 1)
I enlisted in 1988 and we wore steel pots in basic training. When I hit airborne school, we were issued "K-pots", Kevlar helmets and had those for about 12-13 years. During Just Cause, one of the guys in my company was shot with a pistols at point blank. The bullet went in between his head and the inside of the helmet, circled at least one time, and exited, basically skimming the inside of the helmet. I went to "SOT light" in 93 and was shown 5.56 and 9mm holes through and through to the k-pots. Asked my self why the heck are we wearing these things?

(Picture 2)
At some point after 9-11 we were issued the MICH helmet. A cut dow'n light weight K-pot. Nothing to report about the MICH other than it was very light and much more comfortable than the K-pot. Then before my 2nd deployment to A-Stan in 2006, we were issued the ACH. It looked and weighed the same as the MICH. I saw 2 separate instances of perpendicular head shots where the bullet was stopped with the ACH. The soldiers were effed up bad (TBI) but the bullet was stopped completely.

(Picture 3 sort of)
Bump helmets were used in the days of the steel pots and k-pots probably because they didn't stop bullets and the guys that wore them needed speed vs protection. Most used skateboard/hockey helmets. Used to prevent getting bumped in the head by say a little bird blade I.e. Just Cause. Now ballistic protection is getting lighter and stronger that they are incorporating it into bump helmets. Not to mention that they have cut down the ACH over the ears to lighten and improve access for electronic ear protection.

ETA: after seeing the 2 head shots stopped, I wore my ACH everywhere!

RedLegGI
04-19-2016, 16:51
The development of the modern helmet starts with the PASGT and goes up through today. The real first iteration of the new stuff would probably be the IBH helmet. It looks a lot like a combat vehicle helmet except just ahead of the ears there is what I would describe as "sideburns" where the chinstraps connect.

The next would be the MICH helmet which was developed by the French company GCF. Beyond its interior padding it would be indistinguishable from an ACH. GCF was eventually bought by Mine Safety Appliance (MSA).

After these you get the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) and some of the variations of the "gunfighter" style where the 'ears' are cut about half way up and give it a distinct appearance.


Also mixed in there are the Ops-core helmets are currently the bees knees for special forces. There is so much demand the factor can't keep up with orders. There are some variations in those helmets as well but the Ops-core brand would yield a lot of those.

The most current issue helmet is the ACH by far but the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) has recently made its debut. Its manufactured by Ceradyne. If I remember correctly it is made of a ballistic plastic.


As for who wore most of these helmets the IBH would be special forces, the MICH helmet and "gunfighter" would also be SF used as well. ACH's have been used by every branch starting with the Army. The Marines had a shortfall on their Light Weight Helmet's (LWH) and ended up purchasing ACH's as well. Occasionally soldiers would purchase non 'standard' helmets out of pocket but not very common.

As for protection I'm not going to throw out numbers because I don't know them. The hear say is that the ACH (and like) can stop pistol rounds easily and that depending on the angle (as mentioned above) can deflect 7.62. I have an old PASGT that some unit took to the range and shot it with various weapons. Most went through without issue.


I hope this helps!

xollie316
05-01-2016, 22:10
As for protection I'm not going to throw out numbers because I don't know them. The hear say is that the ACH (and like) can stop pistol rounds easily and that depending on the angle (as mentioned above) can deflect 7.62. I have an old PASGT that some unit took to the range and shot it with various weapons. Most went through without issue.


I hope this helps!

Can't speak to the science but I've personally seen an ACH stop (more likely deflect) 7.62 at approximately 100m.

Haven't seen the Ops Core take round thankfully but it is quite a bit more comfortable.

Basenshukai
05-02-2016, 06:54
Long ago, I heard it said that Natick (NSRDEC) had some of the older PASGT helmets that were recovered from Panama (Just Cause) that stopped 7.62 x 39 rounds. I don't know if the hits were riccochets or full velocity perpendicular hits. Anyone have any collaboration of this?

scooter
05-02-2016, 21:49
There were one or two incidents in our BN back in Iraq of MICH/ACH helmets defending against 7.62x39 hits. One was a deflected round, the other entered the helmet partially and followed the interior curvature halfway around the helmet without hitting the guy's nugget. I don't know of any outright penetrations that resulted in someone's dome getting split open, at least in our specific unit.

Brush Okie
05-02-2016, 22:19
Long ago, I heard it said that Natick (NSRDEC) had some of the older PASGT helmets that were recovered from Panama (Just Cause) that stopped 7.62 x 39 rounds. I don't know if the hits were riccochets or full velocity perpendicular hits. Anyone have any collaboration of this?

I remember the same type of story from Grenada when I went in 1986. Supposedly a lucky shot from far away hit an 82ND guy and stuck in the helmet.

The Reaper
05-03-2016, 13:10
I remember the same type of story from Grenada when I went in 1986. Supposedly a lucky shot from far away hit an 82ND guy and stuck in the helmet.

True story.

I handled the helmet in question.

TR