About a month ago I sat in a 40 ft. connex box room in the middle of nowhere perusing Facebook when an ad popped up as a suggestion. A catchy logo and name enticed me to click on the “shop now” button instead of look past the ad like normal. Before I knew it, I was scrolling through Hard Head Veterans (HHV) website, looking at their ballistic helmets. Being a gear queer of sorts, I am always in the market for new, bad ass gear and HHV fit that bill… even if I already had a 1000-dollar helmet sitting 3 ft. from me. HHVs price point for a fully ballistic tactical helmet with all of the bells and whistles was something that I haven’t seen. Clad in just about any TACTICAL color or hydro dipped pattern you can think of (common patterns, they are a practical company not a Halloween prop store) from Tan to AOR1 and everything in between there truly is a helmet for everyone. Military or Law Enforcement; if your job requires you to employ guns in one fashion or another your search for an affordable ballistic helmet is over.
HHV is responsible for the craftsmanship and fabrication of the NIJ Level III shell but not the accessories that enable the various uses of the helmet itself. All prior service (some still active in defense in one capacity or another) HHV’s employees know and fully appreciate what is needed on the battlefield. Side rails, shrouds, liners and padding are all sourced from companies that supply other major manufacturers within the industry.
You will find a handful of companies out there that claim to make “quality” helmets with “quality” parts, yet when you receive the product, one or both of the side rails fall off due to being glued on instead of bolted in place. [I have personally experienced this] HHV drills each helmet with the 3 hole WARCOM pattern to accommodate standard (Norotos or Wilcox) NVG shrouds. Nothing is glued on HHVs ATE helmet, everything is drilled and reinforced with high intensity epoxy to ensure shrouds, rails and hardware stay in place. The ATE helmet is virtually compatible with every other accessory on the market, should you decide that you want to replace something although the helmet is ready for combat operations as its shipped. HHV has a list of recommendations on their website if you need a point a reference.
Remember the early days of the Gen I MCH? Sliding around on your head because the padding or webbing on the inside sucked…or how about the nylon strap with the plastic chin cup; I think I would’ve rather worn a steel WWI helmet…at least they looked cooler! Let’s not talk about donning a set of NODs…are you getting aggravated thinking about it yet? The two hotspots on my forehead and nape of my neck are coming back. During my review of HHVs ATE the hotspots were nonexistent, the helmet stayed in place and remained comfortable throughout my hard end use. There have been many trial and error helmets in the past 16 years, The Above The Ear tactical helmet by HHV is my choice. I even put the 1000-dollar helmet in a pelican case with the rest of my gear that I don’t use.
Let’s back up. I clicked on the tab on HHVs website that says “make comms” to ensure that the advertised price of $425.00 included everything depicted on the site. This was a too good to be true scenario for me, as every other comparable helmet range from $800-$1000 dollars on top of a ridiculous lead time. Keep in mind I was roughly 8 ½ hours ahead of HHVs area of operations, yet I received a response within 5 minutes of clicking send. For the record it was 0215 on a Tuesday morning, any normal person would be sleeping and not fielding emails. Not HHV, that was my first inclination that these guys meant business; smashing my too good to be true theory. At noon (Kabul Time) I informed my team of the new ballistic helmet company, everyone was intrigued and immediately took to their computers. Everyone was at a consensus…They wanted one, a couple ordered two. After a few back and forth emails with HHV, our orders were placed and we waited for each persons logistical trains to catch up. It is evident that HHV takes customer support and satisfaction to the next level. To prove this point, I have repeatedly emailed a certain competitor company in the ballistic helmet industry (that is a staunch Hillary supporter) and have yet to get a response. They aren’t a company of veterans…so reputation and truly taking care of our countries warfighters is not a priority like it is with Hard Head Veterans.
Once everyone received their helmets, there wasn’t a negative response murmured. I think everyone was still under a bit of sticker shock…with what they paid vs what they got. HHV must be operating at a level of proficiency only a group of self motivated and driven veterans display when hardtimes (time limits) are paramount. We adjusted the head liners and re situated the high density memory foam impact pads. There is nothing more ridiculous when a bunch of operators get new gear in and are trying it on…in front of each other. Necessary nonetheless.
I immediately attached a Norotos AKA2 mount to the shroud and attached my gen 3 AN – PVS 14. Slid my Princeton Tec flashlight into the side rails, slapped on a S&S precision Manta Strobe and put both of my stars and stripped IR reflective flags to the supplied loop Velcro on the sides. Hard Head Veterans clearly knocked the cover off of the proverbial ball in the quality, practicality and price point departments with this helmet. For less than $450 dollars you have a fully functional, highly practical ballistic helmet that will surely meet and exceed your expectations. It is hard telling what this innovative group of combat veterans will do next; stay tuned!
HHV ATE Specs
Ballistic Level: NIJ Level IIIA
Weight: 2.70 lbs
Finish: Polyurathane Coating (solid colors) Hydro Dipped (AOR 1/Multi Cam)
Fragmentation Performance: 17gr V50 ≥ 2400 ft/sec (731 m/s)
Warantee: 10 years (ballistic shell), 1 year (dial/accessories)
Accessories: 2 Picatinny adapters/ 1 single clamp flashlight holder/ 1 Surefire X300 adapter/ Helmet Cover $34.00 additional