Airsoft helmet is a complicated topic, because they are replicas of real military helmets. But real military helmets provides a number of safety functions. Airsoft helmets mostly replicate the look. Few airsoft helmets provides civilian safety functions. In this article, we will help you understand the jargon to help you pick the airsoft helmet that is right for you.
Before we jump into airsoft helmet choices, let's get you started on understanding acronyms and terminology. That way when you look at MICH, ACH, ARC, etc., you'll have an idea what they are about.
If you see MICH while looking at airsoft helmets, it generally mean the airsoft helmet is shaped to replicate a Modular Integrated Communication Helmet. The actual MICH helmet is distributed throughout the U.S. military force, therefore it is a popular helmet among the retailers and players.
Starting with the MICH, the NVG mount is a standard attachment to the front of the helmet. So as you shop for airsoft helmets, you'll bound to come across this acronym.
Photo above shows an NVG mount on an airsoft helmet. This one is pre-installed on the helmet. It's non-removable as you can see by the fake screw. However, if your airsoft helmet doesn't comes with NVG mount, you can buy one, tap holes, and affix it onto the helmet with real screws.
ACH replica is another popular helmet type to find at your local airsoft store. That because U.S. Army currently equip its troops with ACH. ACH based on the MICH.
Ops-Core also designed the ARC, a set of modular rails that are very similar to the Picatinny rails for the guns. The ARC is made out of plastic to provide a lightweight accessory mounting system for the helmet. The rails are designed to be mounted on a ACH, therefore, you'll see ACH-ARC as a combo.
The photo above shows the ARC on the side of an airsoft helmet. If your helmet doesn't come with ARC rails, you can buy them separately, tap holes on your helmet, and affix the rails with screws.
The ARC rail allows you to attach camcorder, tactical flashlight, communication headset, and many other accessories.
U.S. military is currently developing the ECH. Because the ECH has not been finalized yet, there are very few replicas. However, airsoft versions will bound to show up when the design is closer to finalization.
Ops-Core has introduced the FAST helmet prototypes during the 2008 SHOT Show. The FAST helmet incorporates NVG mount and ARC on the ACH. Although the U.S. military has not formally accepted the FAST helmet, it has caught on quick because of its modular accessory mounting system. Now, it seems everyone wants a FAST helmet replica.
The photo above shows an airsoft FAST helmet. It includes NVG mount, ARC rails, vecro pads, and a retractable visor (that is retracted and not shown).
There are many inexpensive airsoft helmet that is a basic shell shaped like a real military helmet. These helmet is great for protecting your head from airsoft BB hits, but they provide no protection when you collide, trip, or fall.
Slightly more expensive airsoft helmet may be based on bicycle helmets, which provides a thin foam padding (like the one shown in the photo above). They provide, not only BB protection, but can save your head from concussions.
A pure plastic helmet can be pretty hard on your head. Some helmets come with soft cushions (see photo below) that you can rearrange to provide comfort and better fit.
FAST helmets can come with numerous accessories. Some of them have retractable visors that can flip down to protect your eyes. The photo below shows a brand new FAST helmet with the lowered visor (label hasn't been removed yet). Some field require fully closed goggles, so these flip down visor may not be sufficient.
Better airsoft helmets comes with adjustable straps that are robust and reliable (see photo below). Inexpensive helmets may come with straps and buckles that break on first use. Be sure to look over the straps and get a helmet that won't fall off your head.
Velcro pad on your helmet (see photo below) allows you to affix patches, friend or foe identification, and other equipment. Luckily, it's easy to apply your own velcro tape to a helmet if it doesn't come with them.