“Hi, my name is Firebase-Alpha and I am a secret lid lover”.
Who here does not like the modern military helmets that we see images of being run by allied soldiers? I for one love them and over the past 10+ years they have increased in capability and versatility way beyond what I was issued by the British Army. Sadly this is where my love of what I see vs. what my own personal experience was of running one has come into conflict! But I am pleased to say this was recently rectified at the IWA 2014. Long story short, lots of very slick helmet accessories, combined with some beers and little peer pressure and I ended up owning a replica ‘Fast MH Helmet’ in Kryptek Mandrake manufactured by Emerson Gear.
I have been running this particular helmet for the best part of 6 weeks and although I still face the same challenges now as I did before I am pleased to have this with my kit and on more than one occasion it has demonstrated its benefits over ‘soft caps’.
When I picked up the helmet it was well presented and packaged very nicely with clear labelling as to which helmet it was. Emerson produce several styles of helmets and as I soon discovered in several thickness / weights of ABS plastic. This is the Fast MH version but you can also buy the Fast BJ & Fast PJ styles and by all accounts all are of the same build, quality and presentation. They also come in a wide variety of camouflage patterns as well as solid colours. The Camouflage patterns are applied via water transfer.
The first thing I noticed when removing the helmet was the instruction manual and the accessories. The manual itself is incredibly well presented, with very detailed clear and concise instructions. I have been informed that this is very similar to the actual instructions you get in a real ‘Ops-Core’ lid! Although having not owned a real one brand new I could say for sure? The parts that come with the helmet as standard allow you to set up your lid to your configuration with whatever accessories you desire more or less straight away which I think will be a huge bonus to those wanting to run a complete set up from the go. The parts are of the same moulded plastic as the rails and seem well constructed and include Google swivel clips, wing-loc adapter, picatinny adapter, VAS Shroud (already fitted) and helmet retention system (already fitted). I have not added any accessories to my helmet and I have run it as pictured.
One of the key areas to address for any helmet is comfort and this is where I think Emerson has done a bang up job. You have x2 different sizes of internal pads which are attached with specifically placed Velcro for personal customisation. Those combined with a clear instruction process of how to fit and form the helmet to the shape of your head allows a user to get that snug comfortable fit. The OCC Dial and Fit band along with the chinstrap means that taking 15 minutes to square it all away will give you a great deal of comfort when running it.
There are some real nice touches on this helmet in respect of the manufactures mark. You can find the ‘Emerson’ name on the side locks & ladder locks of the chinstrap. This is also complimented with a nice touch inside the top of the helmet with the Emerson ‘Skull’ logo.
Knowing this is a replica I took into account the retail cost of this compared to that of a real Ops-core and almost expected it to have a few failings in specific areas. The two that I felt would be of a poor build quality was the VAS Shroud and the OCC Dial.
The OCC Dial has not failed and after setting it correctly to the form of my head it has not slipped once!
The VAS Shroud has still to be tested but I have been informed by other users that they have mounted NODS to their helmets and had no issues (not sure on what type of NODS they mounted but I trust them not to be running cheap garbage).
For those that like to run either morale patches or unit identifications there is plenty of industrial strength Velcro panels located at the sides, top and rear for mounting.
Now just to be clear again, this is a replica of a real ballistic helmet. This helmet has no certification for any form of ballistic integrity or impact protection meaning that if you take a nasty fall, well, having this on your head would be better than having nothing but don’t go running head first into walls. In respect of protection from 6mm BB pellets, this will do just fine and it was certainly put to the test a few weeks ago. Simply put, needed to see over a challenging barricade, had to stick my head up, burst of .25’s at under 25 yards rattled of the VAS Shroud. Yes it was quite a shock but also quite exhilarating to here that ‘dink’ sound but most importantly I felt no pain which is something I would have felt and the bruising I would have been looking at for several weeks if I had been running a soft cap!
It is very lightweight, well-constructed and for those that require it for an impressionists / mil-sim load out you cannot really go wrong. The water transfer on this is staying strong and apart from the odd knock, strike and nick it has held up exceptionally well. I would have preferred that the VAS shroud & Rails were also coordinated to the rest of the pattern of the helmet as opposed to the FDE solid colour but that’s more aesthetics.
The BJ & PJ style helmets have the ventilation slots for breathability however, it rains, a lot and is cold where I am and so that solid shape does provide me better protection against the elements either in an active or static stance.
In summary, it’s a great piece of replica kit to have at hand and I am pleased that I picked one up after all this time. You can get yours at Land Warrior Airsoft here: http://www.landwarriorairsoft.com/emerson-m67