tactical ballistic helmet

Best Tactical Helmets [Top 5 with Pros/Cons]

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Tactical helmets are the obvious choice when it comes to protecting your head during a dangerous situation. Tactical ballistic helmets are mainly used during military combat, but we are seeing a growing number of hunters getting one. After all, accidents do happen, and getting safely home should always be the top priority on any trip.

Accidents happen!
Accidents happen!

You can get tactical helmets that are not ballistic-grade. While obviously confined to airsoft or other lighter uses, they are significantly cheaper.

There is also a bunch of tactical helmet accessories that may come in handy on your next hunting trip. NVGs, helmet lights, communication devices, cameras, optics, and audio equipment to name a few. This makes them a worthwhile addition to any shooter’s arsenal.

And, yes, civilians can buy ballistic helmets. Below are the finest ones you can get today.

Crye Precision AirFrame Helmet
  • AirFrame is lightweight and durable
  • Compatible with a range of night vision goggles (NVG)
  • Designed with combat in mind
  • Costly, it will set you back around $1,000
$1092 Shop NowClick to read my review
Best Budget Buy
Outry Tactical Fast Helmet
  • Affordable option
  • Simple and straightforward helmet
  • One size fits all helmet
  • Not as lightweight as some other options
$59 Shop NowClick to read my review
Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet
  • An affordable option
  • Has dovetail accessory rails on the side, front mount and bungee strips
  • Offers a great deal of protection
  • Not a ballistic helmet
  • Does not offer ballistic protection
$69 Shop NowClick to read my review
Team Wendy LTP EXFIL Carbon Helmet
  • Lightweight and easy to wear
  • Made from carbon fiber and complex polymers
  • There is space for NVGs, lights and other accessories
  • Does not offer ballistic protection
$626 Shop NowClick to read my review
Top Pick
Hard Head Veterans ATE Gen 2
  • Has built-in Velcro
  • Includes front and side accessory mounts
  • 10 year warranty
  • Simple
$533 Shop NowClick to read my review

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Ballistic vs Bump Helmet

Previously, only military troops wore tactical helmets, which were designed to provide maximum head protection. Now, many civilians are acquiring tactical helmets whether for training or outdoor activities. Let us differentiate the two distinct types of tactical helmets available.

  • Ballistic: This tactical helmet is often known as a bulletproof helmet. These helmets are put through intensive performance and safety testing by certified organizations. They’re designed to protect the head from a variety of ballistic impacts. A ballistic helmet is way more expensive than bump helmets.
  • Bump: A bump helmet is worn to protect the head from bumps. Bump tactical helmets are primarily used in airsoft and other outdoor activities. Minor strikes and falling debris can be protected from the head using these helmets. The tactical bump helmet is both comfortable and practical. It may hold additional accessories such as NVGs and flashlights. This type is substantially less expensive than ballistic, but it is also less durable.
Bump Helmet; Photo by Isaac Marchionna

Ballistic Helmet Types

There are several types of ballistic helmets, namely:

  • PASGT: It stands for Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops. When you require basic ballistic protection at a low price, this sort of helmet is unsurpassed. These helmets were standard issue for the US military and has a Kevlar protective shell that protects against shrapnel and ballistic threats. If you don’t need to mount extras like night vision goggles (NVG), the PASGT ballistic helmet is the ideal option for you.
  • MICH: The MICH, or Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, was an upgrade to the PASGT. These helmets are made from advanced Kevlar that provides superior protection against gun projectiles. The MICH is also somewhat smaller and lighter than the PASGT, allowing for better situational awareness and less view restriction for the user. In addition, this helmet has a low-cut style for increased coverage, as well as an enhanced four-point retention system for added comfort and protection.
  • ACH: It stands for Advanced Combat Helmet. The MICH and ACH are nearly identical because the ACH is an improved version of the MICH. This helmet is perfect for those who want to add accessories to their ballistic helmet, such as night vision goggles (NVGs) or communications devices.
  • ECH: The ECH or Enhanced Combat Helmet is a combat helmet that is meant to take the place of the ACH. The ECH is comparable in appearance and weight to the ACH, but it is thicker. Its style provides less coverage, but it compensates with increased visibility.
  • FAST: The FAST ballistic helmet, which stands for Future Assault Shell Technology, is characterized by its ear cut. It’s commonly known as ATE or ”Above the Ear” or ”High Cut”. If you want a very light helmet, the FAST ballistic helmet is the best choice. On this helmet, you may also install a variety of battle gear, such as cameras or lighting. This helmet is up to 25% lighter than any other ballistic helmet we’ve seen due to its UHMWPE shell.

Now that you’ve learned about the different types of ballistic helmets, you can figure out what you truly need. For this review, we chose both ballistic and bump helmets. You can always evaluate your personal style and the level of security you need.

Our Best Tactical Helmet Recommendations

Crye Precision AirFrame Helmet

The AirFrame by Crye Precision certainly does the job, but it’s not the most budget-friendly tactical helmet on the market. As with all Crye Precision products, the high quality is reflected in the price.

While it may not be the first choice for everyone at that price, it’s ideal if you are looking to spend more on a top helmet. Personally speaking, it’s worth the money, but there are good and more affordable options especially if you are looking for a helmet for airsoft.

Pros
  • AirFrame is lightweight and durable
  • Ballistic-rated tactical helmet
  • Designed with combat in mind
  • Compatible with a range of night vision goggles (NVG)
  • Versatile helmet easily reconfigured based on the situation
Cons
  • Costly. It will set you back around $1,000

Outry Tactical Fast Helmet

The Outry Tactical Fast Helmet is popular and that doesn’t surprise us. Despite being cheaper than some of the other helmets, such as the Crye Precision AirFrame, it performs well and offers a good level of protection. Personally, we think this is great value for money, especially for beginners.

The Outry Tactical Fast Helmet is an affordable option for beginners, as well as those who have been using tactical helmets for a long time. Using the Outcry Tactical Fast Helmet is simple and straightforward, and it’s not a helmet you need to get to grips with. You can attain the right fit thanks to many adjustable suspender straps and a chin pad, transforming this ‘one size fits all’ helmet into a comfortable, well-fitting accessory.

Pros
  • Affordable option
  • Simple and straightforward helmet
  • One size fits all helmet
Cons
  • Not as lightweight as some other options

Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet

Though it’s not a ballistic helmet, we had to include the Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet in our list of recommendations. A bump helmet is a great choice if you are searching for head protection on a budget.

The Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet is not a ballistic helmet, but a cheaper alternative. If you do not specifically need a ballistic helmet, a bump helmet is an affordable option that still offers a great deal of protection from any hits on the head. You can mount a range of accessories onto this helmet. It has dovetail accessory rails on the side, as well as a front mount and bungee strips. These allow you to attach a camera, optics, battery packs, and lights

As a bump helmet, it does not offer ballistic protection. This won’t be a problem for the majority of people, but it is worth remembering if you are concerned about protecting yourself from shots to the head.

Pros
  • An affordable option
  • Has dovetail accessory rails on the side, front mount and bungee strips
  • offers a great deal of protection
Cons
  • Not a ballistic helmet
  • Does not offer ballistic protection

Team Wendy LTP EXFIL Carbon Helmet

Team Wendy is popular among the search and rescue community, known as the place to go for head protection systems. They are well-known for producing high-quality bump helmets that are functional, innovative, and high quality. This is reflected in the EXFIL Carbon Helmet.

A lot of attention has been put into creating the EXFIL Carbon Helmet. It’s made from carbon fiber and complex polymers, meaning it is lightweight and easy to wear. It’s not a bump helmet that will weigh you down or cause you discomfort. You can wear the helmet on a long outing before feeling tired.

The EXFIL Carbon Helmet has a lot of mounting options. There is space for NVGs, lights, and other accessories. The EXFIL Carbon Helmet will not hinder your movement. Its lightweight characteristic ensures you have the freedom to move your head with ease. The EXFIL Carbon Helmet does not offer ballistic protection. As a bump helmet, it only protects you from bumps and bruises, not gunfire. But hopefully, I’m not the only one that has hit a branch or two out there in the woods.

Pros
  • Lightweight and easy to wear
  • Made from carbon fiber and complex polymers
  • There is space for NVGs, lights and other accessories
Cons
  • Does not offer ballistic protection

Hard Head Veterans ATE Gen 2

When it comes to the best tactical helmets, we had to include this popular company. Hard Head Veterans are a company that knows what it is doing. After all, they have been at this for a while. This helmet is simple, straightforward and we would not hesitate to recommend it.

The Hard Head Veterans team has a solid background in the military and law enforcement. This gives them a unique insight into what is needed from a high-quality tactical helmet. In addition, the Hard Head Veterans ATE Gen 2 Tactical Helmet has built-in Velcro, as well as front and side accessory mounts.

However, this helmet may be a somewhat simple piece of ballistic protection equipment, especially for those who are looking for something that goes beyond the basic benefits.
It is worth noting that this helmet has an impressive warranty. All Hard Head Veterans helmets undergo rigorous safety tests. This ensures they offer an unbeatable amount of protection and gives them enough comfort to offer a 10-year warranty.

Pros
  • Solid high-quality helmet
  • Has built-in Velcro
  • Includes front and side accessory mounts
  • 10 year warranty
Cons
  • Simple

The Best Tactical Helmet – Our Verdict

Our best tactical helmet from the 788 review...
The best tactical helmet from our review.

The Crye Precision AirFrame is an obvious choice and it ticks many boxes. It is lightweight, durable and is a ballistic-rated tactical helmet. You can add lots of accessories. It does everything you need a tactical helmet to do and it’s unlikely to disappoint. 

However, the price at the time of writing is on the high side. It is more than we would be willing to spend, but if you got the cash, it is a solid option. We are leaning towards the Hard Head Veterans ATE Gen 2 as being the best ballistic helmet. It features most of the benefits the Crye Precision AirFrame does, but at a much more friendly price point for your wallet.

Now, if you don’t need a ballistic-rated tactical helmet. You can’t go wrong with the Lancer Tactical Bump Helmet. It’s tough, well-padded, and you can add all your accessories to it.

We hope you found this article useful and would love to hear your comments below!

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