I spent about 3 years as an OPFOR soldier down in Ft. Polk, Louisiana. One cool perk about the job is that we were authorized to utilize PT and other “bump” type helmets for just about everything except for actual ballistic applications. Considering MILES gear and blanks was typically the order of the day, this means that 90% of the year I wore a ballcap, but the rest of the time I wore a Pro Tec. Typically the PT helmets were only utilized for operating military vehicles, and primarily, (more importantly), for mounting NODS when we were replicating near peer threats against the rotational training units.
I LOVED being able to wear a bump helmet as opposed to an ACH. It was lighter, cooler, you name it. HOWEVER, there are some major drawbacks.
Pros of a stock PT Helmet:
-Light Weight (this cannot be overstated)
-Cool (again, JRTC, it’s freakin’ hot down there)
-Padding is not the best, sits real high on the head with stock pads leaving no room for beanies/6th principle of patrolling, etc….
-Issued base plates do not fit properly or securely, allowing NODs to rotate out of whack.
-Chin strap is absolute garbage.
-Light weight allows NODs to pull forward, making the chin strap even more of a chore.
This is how I initially set my helmet up. I kept the stock pads and chin strap, threw on a VAS shroud, a paint job, and some morale patches and called it good. As soon as it got dark we did a patrol where we had to run NODs and I was miserable the entire time. The whole helmet slipped all over my head, resulting in hot spots and terribleness. Back to the drawing board I went.
The first chance I got I grabbed my old Ops core harness that I had previously used on my ACH. Turns out it fit the PT helmet just fine. VAST improvement. Over the course of 2 years I also experimented with new pad combinations and placement. While I may be losing some protection, I gained vast amounts of comfort by replacing the top and front pads with those from an ACH. I left the rear PT pad. This allows me to run beanies, get a more comfortable and secure fit, and really maximise the ventilation.
Now that I had finally figured out the best pad/harness combo, my next two issues were my paint job and a counterweight. For whatever scientific reason, PT helmets shed krylon like it’s free. I had to repaint this thing like 5 times in 2 years. It looked like trash, I lost camouflage, and I just ended up with big shiny spots on my dome. I determined I needed a cover, and if that cover included a counterweight pouch then all the better. A quick internet search located an OD green cover from some airsoft company that fit the bill, I think shipping cost more than the cover itself. A lot of cussing and screwing and cutting later, the cover went on. Well, it really wasn’t all that hard, I just had to poke a few holes for the screws and get my methodology down, but I also despise putting helmet covers on anyways, so that was likely the root of my issue. I added some bungee that I had cut off of some old ACU pants, in order to allow chem lights, strobes, or improvised camo, and made myself a counterweight out of some gun safe bolts and electrical tape, and I was done.
Here she is in her final setup. I was, and still am pretty content. It retains all the comfort that I want, looks distinctive from the issued PT helmets that my comrades had, which kept them from taking it on accident, (a real problem when everybody has the same helmet…), is much more useful than the stock configuration, and is extremely comfortable with NODs, (and MUCH MUCH quieter at night when busting through the pine forests, might I add!).
In summary, is it as good as it’s high cost competitors? No, probably not. However, it works for me and I didn’t have to drop $200+ on what is essentially a plastic bike helmet, plus it’s unique and has features I use.
Hopefully this helps somebody. If anyone has questions fire away.