The Ballistic protection available to Military, Police, and PMC operators has changed dramatically over the last 30 + years, driven by operational requirements and advances in Materials technology. If you are a serving Military/Police operator, you will (hopefully) be provided with a personal issue Ballistic Helmet suitable for your role. The PMC operator is in a different position however, if they are lucky suitable kit will be supplied, but this is not a given. So the purchase of personal kit, with a known service / maintenance history is a sensible option. If Budget is no object a Gentex OPS CORE FAST Helmet or one of its derivatives manufactured from the latest wonder material UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Poly Ethylene) may be the preferred choice, however at a retail price of $1,860.60 this is probably well beyond the means of most.
After many hours on the internet researching the various options I settled on the NEXUS MACH (Military Advanced Combat Helmet) III SF, olive green, high Cut ballistic Helmet, to accommodate a coms fit. Supplied by UK Tactical and manufactured in the UK by NEXUS defence a supplier to the MOD. This helmet retails at £299.95 and was purchased with the Warrior Assault Systems helmet cover specific for this helmet, the helmet cover retails at £34.94 separately or as a helmet/cover package at £329.95. The helmet is manufactured from a ballistic aramid fibre bound in a thermoplastic resin matrix.
So what do you get for your money?
The ballistic protection offered by the helmet is rated at NIJ IIIA standard and will defeat 9mm - .357 and 44 Magnum rounds under NIJ lab test conditions and also achieves a V50 fragmentation rating up to 750 m/s; as tested with 1.1g, 22 Calibre, 17 grain Fragment. Simulated Projectile, according to STANAG 2920 and US MIL STD 662F. The UK Tactical website provides pdf copies of the laboratory test results for a full break down of the helmets rating. So please consult these to ensure that the helmet specification meets your needs if purchasing.
The Helmet is offered in 2 sizes Large 56-64 cm & Medium 54-59 cm coming in at 1.3Kg and 1.2kg respectively. My head size is 57cm so I opted for size Large to give me a little bit more room when fitting the helmet.
The helmet mounting system provided is the top of the line Team Wendy BOA four point harness which offers easy one handed adjustment on each strap as well as a very effective all round helmet fit with the BOA dial at the rear of the helmet which stabilises the helmet on the head very nicely. The internal surface of the helmet is fitted with 7 soft touch foam pads held in place with hook and loop discs, allowing easy replacement. (Different thickness/replacement pad kits are available from UK Tactical to further fine adjust the helmet fit priced at £24.95).
The helmet currently comes pre-fitted with exterior Velcro for the attachment of accessories such as IR illuminators and the W.A.S. Helmet cover. A retro fit velcro kit priced at £19.96 is available for previous helmet models which did not have this feature.
The helmet comes pre fitted with a standard NVG mount on the front of the helmet as well as the low profile Side Rail System (ARC) mounts on either side of the helmet for the attachment of goggle straps, hearing protection, tactical lights, IR lights & Video cameras. The system is rated as being snag free for static line, HALO and HAHO jumps by the supplier.
Helmet cover option:- I opted to purchase a helmet cover in Multi-cam, mainly to protect the helmet from surface damage. But it also allows the routing of NVG/coms cables as well as the mounting of other helmet accessories which attach with velcro. Cover size is specific to the helmet and is easily attached with the helmet /cover velcro.
Delivery by normal land post is included free in the purchase price, but I opted for courier delivery. UK tactical use DPD which is one of the best Courier delivery services available as they always deliver in the 1 hour time slot they notify in advance, and this delivery was no different. The helmet was well packed in several layers of foam and bubble wrap and no damage was found on unpacking. I would always recommend helmets be stored in padded helmet bags when not in use as non-obvious structural damage to the helmet can be caused when accidently dropped on hard surfaces. fitting of the Helmet cover only took a few minutes of adjustment to mount correctly.
I use external active ear defenders when shooting and the helmet easily accommodates this hearing protection without inflicting the almost obligatory helmet head squeeze that my duty PASGT ballistic helmet inflicted when used with the Peltor Comtac AED's during protracted Firearms Operations, comfort at last! I will however be mounting the ear cups to the helmet semi permanently using Peltor Helmet ARC rail accessory mounts in the near future.
Can you purchase a cheaper helmet?
Yes you can, but it will be to a lower specification. When you include all the built in features such as SRS rails, NVG mount, Team Wendy Harness, MACH III profile, weight v ballistic protection, helmet fit. The Price point for the NEXUS MACH III helmet is extremely competitive and represents excellent value for money and should be seriously considered by operators looking for a personal ballistic helmet for high threat environments.
UK Tactical are on the web at www.uktactical.com and did not sponsor this product review.