How many times have you sworn you’ll get a new tactical helmet before your next game of Airsoft? One that has ear protection as well as integrated COMMs so you can avoid being ambushed once again. And how many times have you forgotten about it until you get hit with, yet again, another pellet on the head that’ll most definitely leave a mark?
Or maybe you’re looking for the best helmet that the whole family can use around the house to stay safe. Be that for trimming trees, working on the roof, or for your children’s next paintball game.
Whatever your needs may be, tactical helmets are becoming increasingly popular and common beyond just for military use. You might have been put off by the price of a ballistic helmet from somewhere like Team Wendy before, but you might be surprised to find that you may not necessarily need to pay such a hefty price for high-quality gear.
In this article, we’ll be sharing the 10 best tactical helmets of 2020 that’ll cover everything you may possibly want. From price point to protection and even style, you can find a helmet that’ll fit your requirements.
10 Best Tactical Helmets of 2020
1) ATAIRSOFT PJ Tactical Helmet
Head Circumference Size: 23 inches
First up we have the Atairsoft PJ Tactical Helmet which we think is great for casual use for things like home maintenance/repair or for children playing outdoors. These types of bump helmets will offer suitable protection, and they also come in a variety of colors to choose from, making it an ideal choice for children in particular.
2) OneTigris MICH 2000 Tactical Helmet
Head Circumference Size: 22-24 inches
The OneTigris Mich 2000 is another tactical helmet that is great for activities such as paintballing or Airsoft. The side rails on this ensure that various mounts can be used efficiently, and the adjustable fitting options mean you won’t have to worry about comfort either.
3) Jadedragon PJ Tactical Helmet
Head Circumference Size: 21.2-23 inches
The Jadedragon PJ Tactical Helmet is an amazing high-quality option for those looking to use it for something more advanced than airsoft games. This is suitable to use during activities such as hunting, and it comes with a set of accessories including a detachable mesh mask, which can be easily adjusted so that it works with the rest of your gear.
4) Outry FAST Helmet
Head Circumference Size: One Size | Package Dimensions: 10.75 x 10.2 x 7.05 inches
This FAST helmet from Outry is another great option for those looking for gear suited for outdoor sports and activities such as skiing or cycling. It fits most head sizes and has a variety of changeable features to ensure that it is tailored to your level of comfort.
5) Lancer CA-805 Maritime Tactical Helmet
Item Dimensions: 11.8 x 9.4 x 6.8 inches | Size: Medium to Large
If you are on the hunt specifically for a helmet that can be used for Airsoft, then this Lancer Tactical Helmet is perfect for you. The soft padding inside the helmet ensures that you can wear it for long hours without it weighing your head down, whilst simultaneously being able to withstand the rigorous impact that comes from playing Airsoft.
This might also be a great option for those looking for a helmet that’s suitable when hunting or photographing wildlife. The customizable velcro panels mean that you can mount your camera at whichever angle you prefer, guaranteeing the best results every time.
This particular helmet also includes bungee strips that can be used to attach lightweight devices like lights or battery packs, making it even more ideal if you plan on going out after dark.
6) Modern Warrior Tactical M88 ABS Helmet
If you’re after a helmet that looks like an exact replica of a combat helmet, then this one from Modern Warrior is the best choice for you. It has the classic appearance of helmets military soldiers may use and comes in a variety of green, camouflage, or black. It’s a great alternate bump helmet for those looking for a helmet for cosplaying or perhaps children’s Halloween outfits, without having to pay the price of an actual ballistic helmet.
7) EMERSONGEAR Fast Helmet
Head Circumference Size: One Size (Adjustable)
Aside from sports and other leisure activities, ballistic helmets are often used during training or search and rescue missions too. This tactical helmet from Emerson is great for such campaigns as it is made of durable ABS material, and especially because it allows for the usage of COMMS headsets to work well in this helmet, which are vital in such excursions.
8) OneTigris MICH 2001 Action Tactical Helmet
Head Circumference Size: 22-24 inches
Another tactical helmet we would recommend from OneTigris, is the Mich 2001 if you are on the lookout for something slightly more affordable. It is still lightweight meaning it won’t slow you down in any way, and the cupped chinstrap offers even more protection, and the chin and neck bands are easily adjustable.
9) ATAIRSOFT PJ Tactical Helmet: Visor Goggles Version
Item Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.1 x 6.8 inches
Here we have another one of Atairsoft’s best helmets, only this time, it includes sliding visor goggles which offer integrated eye protection and may be perfect for things like cycling. It’s still lightweight meaning you can carry it around with ease, but the goggles fit well ensuring that they won’t be slipping and sliding around anywhere.
10) Colstar Tactical Helmet
Package Dimensions: 11.81 x 9.84 x 9.84 inches
This tactical helmet from Colstar is another great affordable option for close-quarters combat, and its hard polymer build means that it can offer you a good amount of protection in games like airsoft or paintball. Given its simple design and build, this may also be a good option for children’s costumes or cosplays.
Buyers’ Guide: Considerations for Buying Tactical Helmets
There are a couple of key things you should keep in mind when buying a tactical helmet to make sure that you’re getting the best value for your money as well as the best helmet to suit your needs, whatever situation it may be for. Whilst most military service will require a heavy-duty ballistic helmet (and for good reason!), bump helmets are a less expensive and less fiddly option that you may get much more use out of in your every day lives.
Below we’ve highlighted some things you may want to consider before buying a tactical helmet regarding safety, comfort, and budget.
Helmets have been around for a long time now but their primary purpose throughout has remained more or less the same, and that is to act as a piece of protective gear that minimizes serious injuries to the head and protects wearers from any sort of traumatic brain injury wherever possible.
Luckily, with modern-day helmet technology, this has become more and more of a priority and manufacturers are working to accommodate all types of wearers by creating helmets with various levels of protection depending on its purpose:
Bump helmets are great options for light day to day uses such as for children taking part in paintball games or riding their bikes and scooters. A level up from that is tactical helmets that accommodate sports activities such as rock climbing and skiing and the added layer of protection can really help to reduce nasty falls and injuries. These types of helmets are generally great to keep at home in case you get caught in the middle of a natural disaster, such as floods, tornadoes, or hurricanes. That piece of gear protecting your head may very well save you some serious trips to the hospital.
Aside from civilian usage, if you are looking to purchase a more advanced combat helmet for the military to use in law enforcement, there are certain criteria you should ensure that the helmet meets and has been tested against so that you can focus on your operation at hand without being concerned about your gear.
- Helmets should be meticulously tested to show they meet safety standards. The most common of these are Stanag 2920, HPW-TP-0401B, Mil-Std 662f, and NIJ Standard 0106.01.
- The helmet should be certified to exceed, or at the very least meet, ballistic resistance as specified under NIJ Standard 0106.01 by an NVLAP accredited laboratory.
- Padding, suspension, and harness systems should all be included as parts of the helmet to provide a complete unit of protection. You will find that often, the best helmet companies are in partnership with brands such as Team Wendy, Ops-Core, D30, and Dupont to name a few. They are all at the forefront of material science, constantly studying back force trauma to improve their safety standards even further.
- The best helmet will also have a Chemical Agent Resistant Coating (CARC) that is used specifically on tactical military equipment as it has the ability to resist the harsh chemicals that are used during the decontamination procedure.
- The best helmet manufacturer should be able to provide you with a minimum of a five-year warranty on the ballistic material of any given helmet, and a one year warranty on the exterior cover material.
Another factor that you should consider when buying a tactical helmet is how comfortable it is, given that you may be wearing it for many hours at any one time. You should look for helmets that cover all areas of your head that might be at risk from receiving impact. To help with reducing impact, the best tactical helmets will always include a good suspension and harness system to keep the helmet from moving around so you won’t have to worry about it getting in your way and blocking your vision. Good padding is also something that can help in making the helmet even more comfortable to keep on for long amounts of time as it provides an extra layer between the shell of the helmet and your head.
Something like the Emerson FAST helmet is great because it actually comes with a replacement foam pad kit meaning you have a backup available immediately as you feel the padding of the helmet beginning to wear down.
Along with how comfortable the helmet is on your head, comfort also includes the fact that the best helmet will allow you to use accessories efficiently. The last thing you want to be doing when you are on the move is stopping to attach or detach something, and so a good rail system will always come in handy, whether that’s to attach night vision goggles, a GoPro camera, or a flashlight.
A good harness system will again come in handy as it will ensure that your helmet does not budge despite having extra mounts attached to it.
When it comes to the price of tactical helmets, you obviously won’t be wanting to sacrifice quality for the sake of money as it is a protective piece of gear designed to keep your head safe against serious injury. But with that being said, we’ve given you some of the best budget-friendly options if you are looking to use helmets on a day-to-day basis as opposed to actual ballistic helmets that can quickly get very pricey.
Bump helmets are a more affordable option to heavier ballistic helmets from companies such as Team Wendy or Ops-Core without sacrificing quality. These helmets are certainly multifunctional, meaning there aren’t many limitations on what they’re able to do, and a lot of them come with accessories and mounts already included, meaning you can start using all of your gear from the get-go.
Are military helmets bulletproof?
Helmets used in the military have come a long way since they first came around, evolving from leather materials in ancient times, to steel pots in the twentieth century, the type of helmets that we may be used to seeing in old war films. At the time, they were able to protect soldiers from shrapnel, but not necessarily gunfire.
From the 80s till the mid-2000s, the U.S military used Personal Armor System Ground Troops, or PASGT for short. These had an outer shell that was made of 19 layers of kevlar and they provided protection from things like shrapnel as well as ballistic projectiles.
Then came along the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH) which was an upgrade from the PASGT and was made from advanced kevlar adding greater protection, as well as a new four-point retention system which greatly improved comfort and even more protection from impact.
Fast forward to a modern-day helmet, more often than not, we see that they are made of much lighter materials like carbon fiber, impact-resistant plastic, and kevlar. The Future Assault Shell Technology or FAST helmets is the latest and greatest of its kind and it is precisely this that we often see for civilian use or even by law enforcement officers. These are made of polyethylene fiber and what this means is that it is just as strong, if not stronger than kevlar and even lighter, building on the PASGT and MICH helmets, refining the long wearability of it as well as improving the ergonomic design.
Sometimes you may hear FAST helmets being referred to as ATE (Above The Ear), or high cut but rest assured they all do the same job. ATE/high cut is made out of Dyneema, a material that allows the helmet to be lightweight but incredibly sturdy and durable, and the higher cut allows for greater visibility and a more effortless experience using communication devices. You may find that some ATE products are made from the same sort of kevlar that is used for the MICH which isn’t a downgrade. Rather, it offers greater protection, but with that comes a little bit more weight to carry as well.
Ballistic helmets are often, but not always, designed to be bulletproof. They certainly can protect the user’s head from shrapnel and projectiles, but even those that are said to withstand gunfire are usually only rated to be effective against pistol caliber hits.
What is a bump helmet?
A tactical bump helmet is what you may see being used more commonly. They are not rated as being bulletproof, but can still provide sufficient protection against shrapnel, debris, and other things that could cause injury to your head. They do have an advantage over a ballistic helmet, as they are much more user friendly, comfortable, lightweight, and much cheaper as well.
They are often seen being used during outdoor sports like rock climbing, mountain biking, and even activities such as hunting. All this is possible with the help of the helmet being easily compatible with other gear like night vision mounts, cameras, and hearing protection accessories to name a few.
Aside from sports, tactical bump helmets can also come in handy in lighter combat situations, or perhaps in training for them. These are often seen being used by drivers, paratroopers, or pilots. This isn’t to say that bump helmets can’t be used around the home! Quite the opposite. This type of bump helmet is best for emergency situations like a home invasion or even natural disasters.
As you can see, choosing a tactical helmet is very much dependent on what you plan on using it for. Most people probably aren’t in need of a ballistic helmet and you might have found after looking through our top 10 choices that you don’t even need a ballistic helmet. Tactical helmets frequently have more benefits than a military-grade helmet for purposes like airsoft games, outdoor sports activities, or to use around the house for the family. In any case, it’s much preferable to have one on hand for those ‘just in case’ moments, than not have one at all.