Looking to round out your tactical loadout with some ballistic headgear? With so many brands on the market competing to provide you with the best ballistic helmet, picking the right one can be a daunting task.

Keeping your head is top priority, so we'll help take out the guess-work. In this guide, we'll walk you through the different types of ballistic helmets, their pros and cons, and our top picks.


Here’s a quick table with the types of bulletproof helmets and their usage. 


Today, there are three main types of helmets on the market: the Future Assault Shell Technology helmet (known as the FAST helmet), the Modular Integrated Communications (MICH) helmet, and the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet.

Each helmet has a different history, design, and purpose.


The oldest and perhaps most influential design of the three ballistic helmets available for general purchase today, the PASGT (pronounced PAZ-get) was used by the U.S. military from 1983 to the mid 2000s as one component of a protective gear set that also included a ballistic vest.

This ballistic helmet is a tried and true model and is still in use today by the U.S. Army Reserve and the U.S. Navy for sailors on warships.

It's the original gold standard when it comes to ballistic protection.

Key features of this helmet include an outer shell usually of multi-layer Kevlar, a low cut over the ears, and a lip over the brow. It is available in a range of colors and patterns for use in different branches of the armed forces and weighs 3.1 lbs. to 4.2 lbs. (1420 g. to 1910 g.).

With precise drilling into the Kevlar, the helmet can be outfitted with add-on accessories such as a mount assembly for night vision goggles and a riot control visor.


The MICH is the next generation of the PASGT.

It was released in early 2001, after experiments aiming to design a ballistic helmet which was lighter and more comfortable yet still as protective as its predecessor.

When the U.S. Army adopted the MICH in 2002, the helmet was renamed the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH).

The helmet weighs 3.0 lbs. to 3.6 lbs. (1360 g. to 1630 g.) and is made of an advanced Kevlar material. It comes in a range of camouflage patterns or solid black for use by SWAT teams.

Two other main goals in the MICH's creation was that the helmet could easily be mounted with accessories and wouldn't shift forward over the eyes in certain positions when pushed by the high collar of the Interceptor (the vest component of the military body armor system).

To accomplish these aims, the brow was eliminated and the sides were raised, resulting in 8% less coverage but improved visibility, comfort, and situational awareness - a worthwhile trade-off.

Rails were also added along the sides for mounting accessories without the need to drill into the Kevlar.

The MICH is currently one of the helmets used by a number of armed forces, including the U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command and the U.S. Air Force Security forces.


The manufacturing company Ops-Core unveiled the FAST ballistic helmet at the 2009 SHOT Show, and it was soon issued to U.S. special operations forces in Afghanistan.

Today, a number of special ops forces use different variants of the FAST.

One immediately noticeable trait of the FAST setting it apart from any other ballistic helmet is that it features high cut sides, leaving the ears exposed. The helmet then curves back down to protect the occipital bone at the back of the head.

The original purpose of this high cut ear design was for use in maritime special operations.

More traditional helmet models proved hazardous to wear at sea when travelling at high speeds because water could catch in the ear cups.

The helmet's high cut and the side rail system allow for the mounting of additional combat accessories including earphones, electronic ear muffs, and a night vision goggle shroud.

Obviously, a MICH helmet supports these accessories, too, but another distinguishing feature of the FAST is its weight.

It is significantly lighter than the MICH at only 2.2 lbs. to 3.0 lbs. (1143 g. to 1354 g.) as it's made of a composite of Carbon, Uni-directional Polyethylene, and Woven Aramid.




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