History of Military Helmets

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  • By Amer Hatoum
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History of Military Helmets

Helmets have been worn as one of the oldest forms of personal protective equipment. Known to have been worn by the Sumerians in the 23rd century BC, the Greeks since the 17th Century BC, the Assyrians around 900 BC and the Ancient Greeks and Romans throughout the middle age. The construction of helmets has advanced, but the purpose have remained the same. To prevent damaging blows to the head from deadly weapons. Helmets continue to be utilized by both the military and civilians for various uses. The military utilizes this self defense tool for obvious reasons, but now civilians invest for at home protection and even airsoft.


Evolution of Military Helmets

A ballistic proof helmet is one designed to protect wearers from the impact of ballistic bullets, blast debris or blunt impact. Those in combat situations utilize ballistic helmets to maximize protection against death. In addition to the military, law enforcement officers also deploy these ballistic helmets during times of crisis.


During the 20th century, combat helmets were typically a steel bowl shaped item that had more than one use. Protection against bullets is the obvious, but the ability to utilize it as a cooking pot also took form. That’s a detail for another day though. The US utilized Kevlar first for the M1 helmet liner, making it one of the first ever Kevlar helmets. This version of the helmet was utilized by the military from World War II to 1985 and increased protection from sharp debris, but it still did not protect against bullets.


Two materials helped change the helmet game for the military and civilians alike, Aramid (Kevlar) and Twaron. These materials are five times stronger than steel and their developments helped turn the M1 helmet into the PASGT (Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops) helmet. This evolved into the MICH helmet and was later renamed to ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet). The advancement did not stop at only making them bullet proof but by allowing communication equipment and utilizing useful gear through mounting.


Bulletproof Helmet Types and Uses

As mentioned above, there are three main types of tactical helmets on the market. FAST (Future assault Shell Technology Helmet, MICH (Modular Integrated Communications Helmet) and PASGT (Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops). Each helmet contains a unique design and has a purpose. The PASGT also known as K-Pot or Kevlar helmet is a helmet still used by the US Army Reserve and Navy Sailors. It is the original gold standard for ballistic protection. Available in various colors and patterns this helmet typically weight between 3.1 lbs and 4.2 lbs. The MICH (ACH) helmet was released in 2001 and adopted by the Army in 2002. Typically, between 3lbs – 3.6 lbs this helmet is also utilized by various SWAT Teams. This was the first helmet created with the ability to mount accessories without fear of them moving. Finally, the FAST also known as the High Cut, Maritime Cut and Combat Helmet was issued to special operations forces in Afghanistan. The high cut sides leave the ears exposed but it offers protection to the occipital bone with its back curve. This remains the lightest ballistic helmet on the market with a weight between 2.2 and 3 lbs.


Non-Ballistic Helmets

If ballistic protection is not necessary, there are several other helmets out there that can still offer great protection from debris. This helmet is known as a Bump Helmet, they offer suffice protection during natural disasters and make for a great training helmet. Bump helmets are constructed of a polymer plastic or a carbon fiber and are usually only 1.4 lbs. They contain side rails and a front mount, much like the FAST helmet, making it a great helmet for Airsoft as well.



Whether you need a protective ballistic helmet or bump helmet is entirely up to personal preference. When putting together your tactical buildout, some sort of helmet should be in possession. This offers protection of the most important part of your body during extreme situations. At Gear Up Surplus we offer various military surplus helmets, Kevlar helmets and bump helmets. Regardless of the mission, we have the high-quality head gear to help protect.


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