Journalist Deployment

We are sorry that we can’t give you helmet upgrade kits, but we can recommend what to buy.

I recommend a helmet from Gentex or MSA. Another source would be Stay away from low-cost helmets esp. from sellers on Ebay. There are a number of replica helmets out there. You have no idea what you will get and what kind of shape the helmet will be in.

PASGT-before-afterIf your helmet looks like the one of the left, get it upgraded with the OregonAero kit. Team Wendy, Skydex, and MSA also make padded systems that have also good test results (protection from blunt force trauma), but OA’s pads are more comfortable for most people. If you want to buy someone else’s, check their test data first. If they don’t have it or won’t give it, walk away … quickly.

Do not buy used body armor. Level IIIA is okay, but level IV with ESAPI plates is better. Shop around for the right stuff. A number of your local gun shops have armor in stock. Go try it on!

If your organization gives you gear to take, spend some time checking it out and making sure it is in good condition (i.e. the buckles all buckle, the velcro sticks, all the pads and plates are installed) and that the gear fits properly. For example, the young lady in the photo below has a helmet that is too large.

Here is the Army’s helmet fit test

Get a camelback water system.

Get ballistic glasses with multiple lenses.

From Army Countermeasures Magazine,

Does Your Helmet Fit?

Recent surveys conducted in Iraq and Afghanistan show that as many as half the Soldiers serving there are not properly wearing the Personnel Armor System, Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet or the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH). Soldiers whose helmets are fitted poorly or worn improperly face an increased risk of injury or death from ballistic threats and other head injuries. In response to this alarming finding, the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive Command issued Safety of Use Message 05-006 outlining proper wear and fit of these two helmets.

PASGT helmet

The PASGT helmet should be fitted in accordance with the instructions in Natick PAM 70-2 by measuring head length, width, and circumference. A properly fitted PASGT helmet should have a minimum ½-inch space between the head and the helmet. A properly sized and fitted helmet will sit level on the Soldier’s head, with the lower edge of the front rim being set at the top of the eyebrow and level to the ground or slightly inclined with respect to the ground. When tightened, the chin strap will be centered with equal distances on each side between the chin cup and mounting location on the helmet. The bottom of the PASGT should come to the bottom of the Soldier’s ear.


A Soldier’s ACH size might not be the same as their previously issued PASGT helmet. For example, the front rim of the ACH rests about ½-inch higher than the PASGT. The ACH should be fitted in accordance with the instructions in Technical Manual (TM) 10-8470-204-10 by measuring head length, width, and circumference.

The ACH should fit so the front rim is approximately ½-inch above the eyebrows. A properly sized and fitted ACH will sit level on the Soldier’s head. While looking upward by only moving his eyes, the wearer should be able to just see the rim’s edge. All ACHs should be fitted with the thinner size 6 crown pad, which should touch the top of the wearer’s head. Helmet fit can be modified by adjusting the pad positions, tightening the retention straps, or exchanging the helmet shell for a larger size. The bottom of the ACH should rest at the top of the Soldier’s ear canal opening.

Other information

Keep in mind that both helmets should be adjusted accordingly when other items such as headsets, cold weather caps, or nuclear, biological, and chemical masks are worn. The complete text of the technical references above, as well as visual examples and videos of proper fit and wear procedures, can be found online at Be sure to check out Graphic Training Aid 07-08-001 (below), which contains the fit and wear instructions for both helmets in an easy, printable format.