How Much Do Military Helmets Weigh? (Stats Inside)

The most common type of military protection is the helmet that soldiers wear while in combat. But how much do these helmets weigh?

The helmets worn by military soldiers weigh between 2.2-4.2 lbs., depending on the style of the helmet and what the helmet is made out of. They range in size from extra-small to extra-large. They are made out of ballistic material to protect against bullets, and Kevlar isn’t light.

There’s more to a military helmet than just it’s weight. What is the reason for the weight? Why are they sometimes made of different materials? There’s much more to learn about military helmets and the purposes they serve.

How Much Do The Helmets Weigh?

HelmetSmall Large
PAGST3.1 lbs.4.2 lbs.
MICH/ACH3 lbs.3.6 lbs.
ACH3.2 lbs.3.5 lbs.
ATE2.2 lbs.3 lbs.

What Types of Helmets Are Used?

Four main types of helmets are used by the United States military forces. They include the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops, the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, the Enhanced Combat Helmet, and the FAST®/High Cut/Maritime cut/ATE Combat Helmet. Each helmet is different and is better for varying scenarios.

The “PASGT stands for Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops and is pronounced as ‘pass-GET.‘ These tactical helmets were used by the United States military from the early years of the 1980s to the middle of the 2000s. They are sometimes referred to as a K-pot or Kevlar helmet. Their most defining feature is a lip over the brow of the helmet. These combat helmets are still in use today, some utilizing original fiber technology, while others featuring upgraded combat pads and fibers.” Source

The “Modular Integrated Communications Helmet or the MICH was developed as an improvement on the PASGT while the ACH or the Advanced Combat Helmet is an advanced version of the MICH. Militaries around the world use both the MICH and ACH. The ACH was first issued to US troops in 2003. There is also the advanced combat helmet generation II.” Source

Enhanced Combat Helmet is often used to replace MICH and ACH versions. It utilizes “ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene,” and “is designed to be lighter while providing increased protection from fragmentation and rifle rounds. So far the ECH or (advanced combat helmet generation II) has fallen somewhat short of it’s original goal of stopping rifle threats. So far it’s only capable of stopping very select rifle threats at drastically reduced velocities simulating rages of 300-500 meters.” Source

The “FAST®/High Cut/Maritime cut/ ATE® Combat Helmet or Above the ear: These helmets were first designed for maritime special operations due to the safety hazards of water catching the ear cups on the sides of older helmets at a high speed. Ops-Core was the company to first bring the FAST® helmet to market, an acronym for Future Assault Shell Technology. While all other helmets were created keeping in mind the necessity of protecting soldiers’ eyes, ears and brain, the FAST® helmet is designed to carry additional combat equipment.” Source

What Are These Helmets Made Of?

The PASGT is made out of Kevlar, and “a ballistic aramid fabric with a phenolic resin system. The outer shell of the PASGT is constructed out of 19 layers of Kevlar and protects the wearer from ballistic projectiles and shrapnel. It has received a rating of a Threat Level IIIA by the U.S. Army, USMC and DARPA. The PASGT also complies with the 1800 mandatory requirements of MIL-STD-662E.”

“The MICH is typically crafted out of an advanced version of Kevlar and offers protection from handgun shots also. Also, it dismisses the chinstrap, sweatband, and cord suspension system of the PASGT and instead includes a four-point retention system and a pad system. These systems not only make the MICH helmet more comfortable but they also offer better defense from impacts.”

“The ECH uses ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene or UHMWPE for short. The material offers weight advantages over original Kevlar and is typically stronger as well. The ECH has similar if not identical padding and suspension set-ups as the MICH or ACH helmet.” Source

The “Fast®/High Cut/Maritime cut/ ATE® Helmets such as the OPS-CORE FAST®, and Team Wendy EXFIL use UHMWPE blends to achieve lightweight helmets. While the Hard Head Veterans ATE and others use advanced aramid Kevlar blends that are slightly heavier but offer additional protection.” Source

Which Helmet Is Best?

Many benefits come from using each helmet, but there are also cons to each one. The lighter-weight helmets tend to offer less protection for our soldiers than the heavier helmets made out of tough Kevlar. When the ACH was created, the military chose to make them standard issues for many units. However, because they offer less protection than the PASGT, some units that are in areas with heavy gun-fire have not yet been issued this lighter helmet.

The correct helmet needs to be worn in the right situation. The marines tend to wear the lighter, less protective ATE because they often have to wear gear, such as night vision or thermal goggles, alongside those helmets that would not fit over, or function well, with the other heavy and bulky helmets.

Are Helmets Custom-Fitted To The Soldier?

While it is considered to be very important for military service members to be wearing a helmet that fits them properly, helmets are not custom-fitted or custom-made for every soldier. Depending on the helmet, the sizes range from extra small to extra large.

Helmets that are used by people outside of the military workforce can get a custom-made helmet, but they can become very expensive, and may be hard to find. The easiest way to customize your helmet is through the color and pattern, and this will ensure that you are not mistaken for an active military service member.

Are New Helmets Currently Being Produced?

Helmets for the military are constantly being made, and people are constantly coming up with new ways to protect soldiers. However, the amount of testing that is needed before the helmet is mass-produced for military use is extensive and requires funding. Because of the lack of funding many people face while trying to invent a safer and lighter helmet, there may not be a new, widely-issued helmet for a very long time.

However, when a new helmet is issued to our soldiers, the military will be sure to announce it and the benefits that will come if all units use the new helmet.

The military is careful to make sure that all of the equipment that their soldiers use is in tip-top shape, and never let the equipment become worn-down or broken. Because of this, helmets for the military are constantly being made, even if they are old versions of a helmet that is still being used. It would be detrimental if a soldier were to become injured because they were wearing faulty equipment.

Are Military Helmets Useful Outside Of The Military?

Helmets that are used by the military are useful for people outside of the military. However, they are only useful for certain scenarios.

If you are not often in dangerous scenarios and do not plan on being in dangerous scenarios, then military helmets are not useful. Military helmets are built and designed to withstand and resist heavy weapon fire and are very heavy because of that. While 3-4 pounds may not seem like a lot of weight, it is a lot of weight to carry on your head and neck for long periods of time.

If you only plan on wearing a military helmet while riding a motorcycle or hunting, consider looking at other alternatives better suited to your needs.

This being said, it is possible for you to obtain your own military-style helmet, if you do feel the need to buy one. However, they are very expensive. They range in price from $150 to $400.

However, many forces outside of the military use heavy-duty helmets to protect themselves and their employees. Police forces such as SWAT use military-style helmets while carrying out their duties. Regular police forces also use military-style helmets when wearing protective gear in dangerous situations that are expected to become out-of-hand.

When Do Soldiers Avoid Wearing Helmets?

Many military service members choose not to wear their helmets while they are on the move because they make a lot of noise, and they need to be quiet and undetected by the enemy. However, if a military service member is being shot at while on the most, they will most likely be wearing all protective gear that has been issued to them, including their helmets.

Military soldiers may also choose not to wear their helmets if they are eating or sleeping, since they may not be on active duty at that time, depending on the unit’s current activity at the time. I cannot imagine sleeping with a helmet on my head so this definitely makes sense to me.

Snipers often do not wear helmets because they limit visibility, which makes it harder for them to shoot their target accurately. So, if you see a sniper on a television show that is wearing a helmet while attempting to shoot a target, the show may not be completely accurate in its representation.

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