When it comes to protecting your head, the most important thing is that you use appropriate helmets that are designed for the task at hand. If you are a biker, wearing DOT-approved helmets is a must. However, besides the usual motorcycle helmets we see every day on the streets, there is another type of helmets designed to protect you – the tactical helmets.
Tactical helmets are mainly designed to protect the wearer from shrapnel or small caliber rounds during combat scenarios. They are used in the military but also by law enforcement. Tactical helmets have become more and more popular amongst civilians. Many veterans use them as these helmets remind them of the time they served and are also extremely versatile.
About tactical helmets
In ancient times, tactical helmets were made from leather and were durable enough to provide protection from various projectiles such as stones and arrowheads. However, as time passed by, and weapons technology evolved, so did these helmets. In the early twentieth century, tactical helmets were capable to protect the wearer from shrapnel and ricochets.
Of course, those helmets, as well as the modern ones, are not made from leather and wood anymore, but from light and resilient materials such as carbon fiber, kevlar, and strong plastic. The comfort level is high as well due to the inner padding and the ergonomic shapes. In addition, modern tactical helmets are capable of stopping direct gunfire, practically saving lives.
Aside from the protection and comfort these helmets offer, they are also mounted with different fittings, allowing you to attach various devices and accessories such as cameras, night vision goggles, communication devices, lights, and more.
Types of tactical helmets
When you come across information about tactical helmets you may see them described as either bump helmets or ballistic helmets. Although they are both referring to tactical helmets, there are differences between these types and each one comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Bump helmets are designed to protect the wearer from shrapnel, falling debris and similar low-velocity projectiles such as ricochets. It is important to know that they are not rated for direct gunfire. This type of helmets features a platform onto which you can mount all kinds of accessories, such as communication devices, night vision goggles, hearing protection, etc.
Amongst the main advantages of bump helmets, we can name their low weight and comfort. Moreover, they are cheaper and are good choices for training aids. In combat situations, these helmets are worn mostly by pilots or paratroopers.
Tactical helmets use
Most civilians who acquire tactical helmets or other types of military equipment do so in order to be prepared. A ballistic helmet will give you great protection against home invaders, and armed thieves. In addition, if you own a pair of night vision goggles, you have the advantage of seeing things in the dark, something your assailant can’t do.
If you are more worried about tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes, a bump helmet is a great piece of protective gear to equip. Even though it can’t stop a bullet, this helmet can save your brain and life by protecting your head from falling furniture or debris that is propelled through the air by high-speed wind.
Other civilians who might like to wear these tactical helmets are hunters. They may appreciate the helmet’s feature that allows them to mount a GoPro camera to record the scenery or even the animals. In addition, in states where hunting during the night is legal, hunters can buy night vision optics to better see in the dark. This makes hunting and navigation easier and safer.
Moreover, these helmets can protect you from falling branches, or if you yourself fall from a deer stand. You can also attach camouflage to your helmet to break the pattern of your silhouette.
Returning to civilians who stay at home, tactical helmets are useful when you need to do maintenance work around your house, such as cutting branches, replacing windows, cleaning the gutters or really any repairs you do above ground level, like on the roof or to the ceiling. On these helmets, you can add face shields, air filters, and noise protection accessories.
Other activities where you can make use of such products are extreme sports. You can wear tactical helmets while climbing, base jumping, biking, and others. They come in handy if you wish to film your whole experience or if you need a lighting solution that keeps your hands free.
About motorcycle helmets
As their name implies these helmets are specifically designed to be worn while riding motorcycles. As opposed to tactical helmets these ones generally cover your entire face. This prevents your head from tilting a lot during an accident, which lowers the risk of neck and spine injuries and protects the face.
When you are involved in a collision, most likely you lose control over the direction and behavior of your body. This means that you may plant face first into the tarmac and then skid for tens of feet rolling uncontrollably. This is why motorcycle helmets should completely encapsulate your head protecting not just the head, but also the nose, jaw bones, and the skin.
They are designed to break and absorb impact. This task is accomplished by a combination of a hard exterior and a foam interior that gradually decelerate your head when it comes into contact with a stationary obstacle, like a car, or the road surface.
Motorcycle helmets are usually smooth, aerodynamic and may feature holes to facilitate ventilation. The visor is made from a transparent sheet of plastic so that the rider can clearly see the road in front. It also protects the face from the wind and insects when going at high speeds. Some motorcycle helmets come with a mount for a GoPro camera for recording.
There is no clear answer when it comes to comparing tactical helmets with motorcycle helmets because they are both designed for their own individual, distinct purposes. They both protect your head but in different scenarios.
A motorcycle helmet doesn’t need to catch a bullet or have a mount for NVG just as a ballistic helmet doesn’t have to be aerodynamic or protect your jaw bones or skin. This having been said, it’s worth mentioning that if you find yourself in need of a motorcycle helmet and you only have a tactical helmet, you can use that one. Anything is better than no protection at all.
Even though tactical helmets are way more versatile than motorcycle helmets, you shouldn’t permanently wear one for riding bikes. The variables involved in riding a bike create a completely different environment. Speed and surface area are the biggest factors that have different values when we compare a combat situation with a motorcycle accident.
The best thing you should do is equip properly for the task at hand and not improvise. Although both types of helmets area great in keeping you safe, wear a motorcycle helmet if you are riding a bike. After all, your life may depend on it.