There are many advantages to having the best tactical helmet, with the most important being protecting the brain from traumatic damage. Helmets have an important history in warfare, rescue work, sports or any activity where there’s a risk of injury from the head meeting a solid and immovable object.
We’ve seen many changes over the past twenty or so years when it comes to design and makeup of the tactical helmet from refining the fit to more streamlined styling and lighter weight. Today, most militaries around the world have standard issue helmets made from Kevlar, and are not only lighter but have a design made for interchangeable accessories.
Accessories like lights, night vision optics, and other tactical devices easily attach to most modern helmets.
Companies like Ops-Core, Team Wendy, Precision, and Crye continue to enhance features making helmets lighter and more versatile, using various materials including Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, and even high-impact resistant plastic. These companies continue to pave the way with new designs and materials, for other manufacturers to follow with their own products.
As a civilian, you may not need or want a full-face or ballistic helmet if the chances are slim that you’ll need to protect yourself in a small arms gun battle. For most general protection, a Base Jump helmet like the Tacprogear Multicam Jump Helmet delivers enough protection for the basic user’s needs.
But for those wanting more protection, our review of the best tactical helmet includes some tactical ballistic and full-face helmets made for the general public.
Best Tactical Helmets 2018
In bringing you our choices for the best tactical helmets, we’ve broken them out into three categories, BUMP helmet, ballistic helmet, and a full-face helmet.
The Best Bump Helmets
The lighter version of a ballistic helmet, the bump helmet is a standard military combat piece and carries most of the capabilities of a ballistic helmet. The bump helps protect the head from heavy impact and blunt trauma, but you get less protection from gunfire than you would from a plated helmet.
Bump helmets have qualities best suited for training missions, climbing, and roping. The bump’s light weight allows seamless movement between different terrains while performing high-risk head trauma activities.
You can accessorize the bump helmet with devices for night vision, and it has plenty of room for communication equipment. However, the bump helmets are heavier and don’t always fit as well as other helmet styles.
Leading global manufacturer in the tactical equipment field, Tacprogear (tpg) offers American made tactical equipment and gear in their new Black Division. Specially made for the Department of Defense and federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, the new Black line of tactical products comprises new designs and concepts based on field end user feedback and tactical mission requests.
The Tacprogear Multicam Bump has a non-ballistic, lightweight design with a padded suspension system and 4-point adjustable harness. A lower dovetail rail for accessories lets you mount battery packs, communication headsets, and other accessories.
Side and top loop strips attach devices with hook sides like strobe lights and illuminators, and the helmet has a front mount bracket for night vision goggles, cameras, video cameras, and other optical devices.
The Impax Core MICH 2001 Helmet offered by DLP Tactical, protects your skull and brain from hard bangs and knocks. When you don’t need a heavy ballistic helmet, the ImpaX is a great light weight solution for training and simulation or when you don’t need bullet protection, such as high speed / low drag operators.
A nylon fiber shell meets the ANSI bump and impact protection standards and has a design for comfortably using communication devices under or attached to the helmet. Equipped with a Mil-standard Night Vision Goggle mount, you have the capability for attaching a NVG headset for operations in low-light.
The standard M/L size fits most users with an adjustable H-Nape system and helmet pads that you can reconfigure for a good fit regardless of the head size. With the Mil-spec mounting points, you can replace the H-Nape liner with a dial liner system.
The lightweight, Lancer Tactical CA-806B Maritime ABS Helmet has a military styled Head-Lock Chinstrap with 5-location adjustment and a back dial for a quick helmet fit adjustment. Velcro panels running along the side, back, and top let you attach various, user preferred patches.
The Lancer Maritime Helmet lets you attach tactical devices, like lasers, lights, and other optical accessories, to the two rails on the sides of the helmet. On the front of the helmet is a molded-in mount for attaching cameras, night vision brackets, and other accessories.
The Lancer Tactical CA-806B Helmet doesn’t give ballistic protection, but it does protect the head and brain from hard bangs and knocks and is great for training missions and simulation or high speed / low drag operations.
The DLP Tactical ImpaX Pro MICH Military Bump Helmet and its MICH / ACH pattern protects your head and brain from heavy impact and blunt trauma. With the ImpaX Pro MICH, you get zero transition time between this helmet and its heavier ballistic counterparts.
In situations where you don’t need bullet protection like, during training or simulation and high speed / low drag operations, the ImpaX Pro MICH makes a great replacement for heavy ballistic helmets.
Exceeding ANSI bump and impact protection standards, the nylon fiber shell lets you comfortably use communication headsets attached to a side accessory rail or under the helmet. A molded-in front night vision goggle mount allows for adding different NVG headsets for use during low-light maneuvers.
The standard M/L size fits most users and comes with an adjustable Worm Dial Liner system and helmet pads that you can reconfigure for a good fit regardless of the head size.
The Lancer Tactical CA-805B and its military styling gives you good protection from heavy impact injuries and blunt trauma. You can adjust the Head-Lock Chinstrap in five locations, and a back dial lets you quickly adjust the helmet for a comfortable fit.
With Velcro panels running along the helmet top, back, and side, you can add different user preferred patches. A front mount lets you attach brackets for night vision optics, cameras, and lights. Added stability for goggles comes from two bungees, and the helmet side rails let you add different tactical accessories.
The LOOGU FAST BJ jump helmet has a hard polymer construction with an adjustable OCC-Dial fit band and replaceable side pads, nape, and leather front. Quick detachment lets you easily add or remove headsets with internal top headbands.
Fully adjustable and lightweight, the LOOGU FAST helmet only weighs 1.23-pounds and has ventilation holes and repositioning impact pads. The ventilation and light weight of the LOOGU FAST means you’ll stay cooler and grow less fatigued while wearing the helmet, yet still have the necessary protection.
The LOOGU FAST BJ Jump makes a great helmet for search and rescue, training sessions, and climbing and scaling and other outdoor activities.
Made of ABS engineering plastic and EPS anti-seismic foam plastic, Hayout U.S. Military Tactical Bump FAST Helmet is lightweight yet carries the necessary amount of protection. The helmet does what it was designed for by protecting the skull and brain from heavy impacts, blunt trauma, or cuts and bruises from paintballs and soft air pellets.
The simple structure of the helmet makes it easy and convenient to assemble and disassemble. Install an OPS guide rail for carrying different rail accessories like lights, lasers, and other tactical accessories.
Use the Hayout U.S. Military Tactical Bump Fast Helmet for all non-combat functions including training, rock climbing, paintball, or any outdoor sports and activities.
The Best Ballistic Helmets
Today’s ballistic helmets are designed for protecting soldiers from handgun rounds, fragmentation, and shrapnel. These helmets use high-quality ballistic materials, like Aramid and Kevlar, for added protection. Some of these battle helmets even offer other protective features like explosion shock waves. Advancements in design, shape, and materials help improve the weight and ballistic protection from head injuries.
Ballistic helmets are customizable for modern day warfare equipment like night vision goggles and devices, and cameras and video cameras.
I recommended ballistic helmets may not protect from gun fire. Be sure to check the helmet statistics before purchasing.
FAST or Future Assault Shell Technology delivers the newest in the military, law enforcement, and civilian helmet design. Lightweight with cooling ventilation holes on top, helps the wearer move fast while staying cool.
Included on the Lancer Tactical CA-725H FAST Helmet is a military style Head-Lock Chinstrap that adjusts to in five locations and a back dial for fitting adjustments.
Velcro panels running along the side, back, and top of the helmet, lets the wearer add their choice of patches while rails on the sides let you easily attach lasers, lights, and different tactical accessories.
You get two, night vision bungees for stability and a front molded-in mount for attaching night vision brackets, lights, cameras, and other tactical accessories.
The Lancer Tactical CA-725H FAST Helmet doesn’t give ballistic protection, but it does protect the head and brain from hard bangs and knocks and is great for training missions and simulation or high speed / low drag operations.
This economical FAST helmet is a great choice for most training, climbing, search and rescue, hunting and most outdoor and recreational activities. You get all the great features and benefits of other FAST helmets but at a lower price.
The GREEDIAR FAST is made from lightweight ABS plastic, built for multi-impact and has a ventilated liner with repositioning impact pads and a comfort foam that’s not affected by altitude, moisture, or temperature.
The Best Full-Face Helmets
Full face helmets aren’t as popular as other helmets due to being cumbersome, hot, and ineffective against most guns when it comes to combat. However, law enforcement wears full-face masks in situations involving close combat, like drug busts, hostage rescues, protests, and most types of raids. While they may not protect against military battle guns, they are useful against the spraying pellets of shotguns.
The OneTigris PJ Tactical FAST Helmet has a full-face protection system with anti-fog treated goggles and masks integrated into the helmet. The removable soft padded interior gives a comfortable fit and has Velcro panels on the top and sides for adding reflective tabs, nameplates, and morale patches.
A rear adjustment dial lets you easily loosen or tighten the headband, and you get a perfect seal between the mask and helmet.
If the situation calls for lighter gear, the face sheild easily detaches with the touch of a button before sliding the shield forward and off your head.
You get side rails with a good variety of accessory attachment points for tactical accessories and an integrated NVG front mounting bracket for cameras, video cameras, lights, and other tactical devices. The OneTigris PJ Type Tactical FAST Helmet has all-around use in most outdoor sports including climbing, military or police style training, CS games, and paintball.
The Myheartgoon New Development Tactical FAST Helmet with its unique design represents the latest in research and development. A light weight hard shell delivers high strength construction of ABS plastic with the mask, goggles, and helmet forming one whole piece.
With the helmet’s equipment platform, you can use the Myheartgoon helmet with several tactical accessories, like cameras, video cameras, lights, night vision goggles, tactical goggles, and more.
A back-dial adjustment knob lets you adjust for head size and has a G4 facial system for quick attachment and release.
The Best Tactical Helmet – What to Look For
Helmets should protect a soldier in any combat situation whether close range or distant. But, with our ever-evolving war environment, helmets must offer even more protection while carrying advanced tactical equipment like night vision optical, lights, cameras and other accessories.
Main Tactical Helmet Types
There are three main helmet types available, the PASGT, MICH / ACH, and Above the Ear (ATE) or High Cut. To make an informed buying decision on what helmet best suits your needs, you must understand these different helmet features.
Standing for Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops, the PASGT was standard United States military issue from the early 1980’s to the mid-2000’s. The PASGT is made from ballistic aramid fabric and a phenolic resin system. With an outer shell made from nineteen Kevlar layers, the PASGT gives the wearer ballistic projectiles and shrapnel protection.
The United States Army, USMC, and DARPA give the PASGT a Threat Level IIIA rating, and it complies with all 1,800 MIL-STD-662E mandatory requirements.
PASGT helmets come in sizes extra-small, all the way up to extra-large and weigh between 3.1 and 4.2-pounds, depending on the helmet size. You can customize your helmet with cloth covers available in a wide range of colors and camouflage patterns including woodland and three and six-color desert.
The helmets are customizable to colors reflecting the logos or flags of the institution represented by the soldiers. They also come with customized bands depicting the name or blood type of the wearer for assistance with correctly typing field blood transfusion due to injuries.
The PASGT has features compatible with night vision eyewear and has the capability for rear fit rechargeable glow patches or a cat eyes band to help prevent friendly fire. You also have the option of attaching a riot control visor.
MICH / ACH
Standing for Modular Integrated Communications Helmet, the MICH is a step up from the PASGT while the Advanced Combat Helmet or ACH is the improved model of the MICH. Crafted from an advanced Kevlar material, the MICH helps protect the wearer from handgun shots.
This upgraded helmet uses a four-point retention and pad method, unlike the sweatband, cord suspension method, and chin strap of the PASGT. The improved helmet features make wearing the MICH more comfortable while giving better impact defense.
Depending on the helmet size, the MICH weighs in at 3 to 3.6-pounds and has sizes ranging from medium to extra-large. With the compatible cloth helmet covers, you can have all black, or the camouflage patterns of the USMC and the three-color desert, and US Army and the woodland pattern.
The MICH or ACH has features compatible with night vision eyewear and has the capability for rear fit rechargeable glow patches or a cat eyes band to help prevent friendly fire. You also have the option of attaching a riot control visor.
ATE (High Cut)
Due to extreme safety hazards on older model helmets, the Above the Ear or ATE (High Cut) first came on the scene for special maritime operations to eliminate catching water in the ear cups during high speeds. First introduced by Ops-Core, FAST helmet, or Future Assault Shell Technology protects the brain, eyes, and ears, and can carry optional combat accessories.
Made from Dyneema, a specialized composite material, while lightweight, the ATE maintains an extremely high ballistic protection. Helmet weight ranges from 2.52-pounds to 2.99-pounds for sizes medium to extra-extra-large.
Available colors include desert black, MARPAT, MultiCam, foliage green, and urban tan. Due to the smaller size of the MICH helmet it offers about eight percent less coverage, but allows better vision, especially if you fire in a lying position. Higher raised ear covers help make accommodating communication devices or headsets easier.
The ATE shells have a design made for load bearing and have a wide range of different equipment and accessories for use on the battlefield, such as:
- Headband attached electronic hearing protection
- Communication headsets and headphones
- Night vision glasses
- Weapon lights
- CBRN or gas masks for nuclear, chemical, radiological, and biological toxins and includes an anti-fog nose cup
- Eye protection visors
- Oxygen masks
- Vision enhancing strobes and illuminators
- Face protection shields
- Flashlight holders
- Video cameras
- Device battery packs
- Identification devices
Besides these features, the helmets are adjustable for a secure fit and come with CO/PD-05-04 mandated padding which is interchangeable with other padding options.
Our Final Review for the Best Tactical Helmet
When choosing a tactical helmet, it depends on the preference of the wearer. Unless you want a full military grade for combat situations, our tactical helmet recommendations should take care of your needs.
All the helmets we recommend make the perfect addition to your cache of outdoor gear for use in training exercises, outdoor and extreme sports, or as part of your disaster preparedness stash.