Friday, October 30, 2009

Praxis: Helmet Tutorial.

Current Issue Army Advanced Combat Helmet

Go here for an overview and some great links including manuals:

US troops in ACH's talking with Republic of Korea soldier in an M-1 steel pot pattern helmet.

The M-1 steel pot standard US Army issue from 1942 to the 1980s. Instructions on this helmet can be found in FM 21-15.

Troops of the 101st Airborne Division wearing PASGT's, aka "Fritzes" aka "K-Pots."

Personal Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) helmet (also called the Kevlar, K-Pot and Fritz) was first fielded to U.S. military units in the early 1980s. The helmet, available in five sizes, provides ballistic protection for the head from fragmenting munitions. It is a one piece structure composed of multiple layers of Kevlar ballistic fiber and phenolic PVB resin. For a complete story, go to This helmet is now being removed from inventory in ALL services, replaced in the Marines by the LWH (see below) and the Air Force by the Army-style ACH helmet.


Link for the K-Pot operator's manual:


Manual for Advanced Combat Helmet:

Marine Light Weight Helmet (LWH)

Lightweight Helmet (LWH) was developed for the US Marines to replace the PASGT. Looks very similar to the PASGT, but has a four-point chinstrap built-in and is about 6 ounces lighter. Originally it had a web suspension system and being upgraded to padded suspension. Primary users: Marines and Navy FMF.

LATER: Cost of helmets around Alabama/Southeast:

ACH or MICH $100-$150 each at gunshows and surplus stores. Currently I can get them for about half that.

PASGT/K-Pot $50-$75 each regular price (depending on condition and size). I can get them for $40.

M-1 Steel Pots. $20-$30 each. Sometimes I can find them for less, sometimes not.


pdxr13 said...

AFAIKT, the new helmet is a few oz's lighter, comes with a better suspension (passing and straps)but does not stop bullets or shrapnel better than a PASGT helmet.

The iii solution is to buy a PASGT helmet in one-size-larger than your head and install the Oregon Aero padding and strap upgrade kit. $67.

They have some test info about minimizing head trauma by reducing brain acceleration inside your skull due to bullet/fragment/vehicle impact on the helmet.


Loren said...

I got a steel pot in 2005 when I get to New Mexico(USAF). Nobody cared, so I guess it was all right. Never got in trouble, but I was surprised there was still one there.

Anonymous said...

I used to like being able to go to the kitchen truck in the early morning, with the steel pot in hand, camo fabric flaps folded back, and get some hot water from the immersion heaters to go back and shave with. What is done that way, these days? Battery razors?

I'm a "tweener", never went to war with that helmet and never had to use the steel pot to shit in. What is done that way, these days?

There's probably disadvantages of the Fritz pot that has caused it to be replaced. Heavy as it was, I liked mine, thought it was a great step forward.

Michael Gilson said...

Author Tom Kratman (and retired Lt. Col) has given wearing a helmet as an example of meeting Geneva convention requirements that legal combatants must identify themselves.

For what it's worth in a world where the enemies of freedom get cheered for breaking the rules and the defenders of freedom get pilloried for following them.

Anonymous said...

Still like the ol' steel pot: cook in the pot, wash in the liner.

Anonymous said...

Sorta Strange. When the "new" helmets were tested there were all sorts of speculation. The test of the helmet was set at approximately
$2million of taxpayers money. The result was the new helmet was approximately the same weight as the old steel "pot", protection from weapons and shards of steel was approximately the same. It was decided the Army needed a "new" helmet..... oh well!. Preferences were made for the old steel pot because you can cook in it, boil water, wash clothes, wash your butt, and several other personal hygiene items. The new helmet wasn't designed to heat water as it will damage it.
The New helmet comment about the brain injury was and continues to be a real problem. Folks have been buying items for the new helmet and sending to their sons and daughters in Iwack and Afghanistan, but most units won't allow their soldiers to have more protection than their buddies.

Anonymous said...

I've always worn a helmet while riding motorcycles - which is my main means of transportation.

I never wore a helmet in nam, no one on the team, or any team I knew of, did. Different times different beliefs. In fact I didn't wear any head gear at all in the field - too much damn trouble.

The ROKs wore helments, and those old style flak jackets, when they went into the boonies - impressive. But not impressive enough to make me want to emulate them. Of course we weren't kicking in doors, going house to house, or worrying too much about mines. If we had I might have changed my mind or lost it, eh?


Anonymous said...

thought this might be of interest to you

Anonymous said...

I have been a biker for nigh on 45 years. To me, the mindset that I have maintained during that time holds true in this discussion even though I don't disparage anyone for exercising their freedom of choice. That mindset is:

God is my helmet!


gandalf23 said...

Any hints on where to find helmets for those prices? The local surplus store wants a lot for the PASGT helmet, and does not have any old style steel pots. Looking online they still seem to run north of $100.

Also, got a question.

I've ended up with a lot of three color desert gear (matches the DCU): mag pouches, vests, canteen covers, grenade pouches, basically I've got enough to outfit four or five riflemen in three color desert web gear. My cousin and some of the guys in his unit gave most of them to me when they got new stuff issued to them in ACU, the rest I got cheap from the local surplus place. The problem is that although I'm in Texas, there is not a whole lot of desert around here where I am. I was thinking of dyeing the gear to something more suitable, like coyote/earth brown or gray/green that would blend in much better here in Central/East Texas.. Any thoughts on that? Has anyone out there done that? I know in FM 21-15 it says not to dye the older style web gear, but does not say why. The .pdf on Molle II gear by SDS also says not to dye the gear. I assume the thinking is that the dye somehow weakens the fabric? Or perhaps the fabric will not retain dye? Dunno. Most of the pouches, and the vests, I have are made by SDS, a few are made by Michael Bsomething, if that helps.

If dyeing does not work well, what about spray painting? I would imagine it would flake off quite a bit. I have a few old canvas mail sacks that were dyed green then spray painted camouflage and the paint flakes off all the time, which is why I have not tried that yet on the molle gear, but maybe some of y'all have done so successfully? Or maybe the molle gear fabric holds paint better?

Thanks for any assistance you can provide on this!