Protective upgrade kit for your ACH helmet.
Revision Batlskin Modular Head Protection System
By: Rich Hecht
The typical patrol officer gear is body armor, duty belt, handgun, cuffs, flashlight, baton, pepper spray…and ballistic helmet. Yes, a ballistic helmet. Barricaded subjects, shots fired calls, extreme weather, rescue operations, Occupy Movement and spontaneous protests, warrant service and forced entries. These are all good reasons to have a ballistic helmet.
The ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) style helmets have been in service with and saving the lives of our military forces for over a decade and are readily available to law enforcement officers. While the older, PASGT, K-pot style is also available, it neither provides true ballistic protection nor the relative comfort of the ACH.
The ACH helmet features modular padding, an adjustable and stable harness, and it is specifically designed to allow the user to wear electronic hearing protection underneath. A number of companies have been involved with the design of additional items for the ACH, including light and NVG mounts, harness and padding upgrades, and covers.
None of these companies, however, have done anything to improve the protection available to the user in a ready-to-use package…until now. The Revision Eyewear Company has produced the Batlskin Modular Head Protection System. Available as a complete kit with ACH style helmet or as an upgrade to your existing ACH helmet, the MHPS is the first complete protection system to be offered.
The kit includes the Front Mount, Visor Kit and Mandible Guard Kit. While the Front Mount and Visor may have the most use for law enforcement, it’s the Mandible Guard Kit that is going to get the most interest and attention. With the Front Mount bolting onto the helmet above the brim, the visor can then be locked in place on an adjustable swing arm.
The Mandible Guard slips into place in brackets on each end of the Front Mount and also secures with a retaining strap around the back. When the Mandible is mounted, the helmet takes on the appearance of a BMX-style or full-face motorcycle helmet. One that has true ballistic protection, of course.
The downside with the Mandible, however, is the near inability to correctly shoulder a patrol or entry rifle and it is challenging at best to get any type of cheek weld to use the iron sights. Rifles with a red dot-type sight can be used if the weapon is pushed slightly forward and canted inward. Strange as this may seem, none of that is a negative but simply an adjustment that needs to be made to receive the benefit of increased facial protection.
Through time at the range and some dynamic entry training, the Mandible may best be used by a designated breacher or other team member whose primary firearm is just a handgun. Although the Mandible can be quickly mounted or removed, it does not have a quick release feature.
Since the Mandible covers your mouth from view by others, verbal communications may be challenging without some type of electronic comms system. With both the Visor Kit and Mandible Guard in place, the helmet was just slightly front heavy, but not so as it interferes with any head functions or mobility.
One addition that would be nice to see on future versions of the Front Mount are rail extensions along the sides of the helmet to allow for mounting lights or external comms/hearing protection.
The Front Mount is also needed to attach the Visor Kit, which was by far one of the best things I have ever seen to attach to a tactical helmet. Similar in appearance and function to a military pilot’s helmet, the Visor Kit was fantastic.
The Visor lens itself is optically correct, meaning that there is no distortion anywhere through the user’s field of view and it features Revision’s own protective coatings to resist fogging, scratching and common military chemicals. In addition, it is V50 impact rated. With Revision being a supplier of protective eyewear to the military, we expect nothing less.
The Visor attaches via a latching system identical to common night-vision device attachment systems, meaning you can use most helmet-mounted NVGs that you may already have with the Front Mount. It is not possible, however, to use both NVGs and the Visor at the same time, without hand holding the NVGs.
The Visor has three positions available and each locks in place. You can choose fully open, partially open for better ventilation, and fully closed. With the Visor fully closed, we experienced no fogging at all. The top of the Visor fits flush against the brim of the helmet and has a cut-out for your nose, which also mates up with the contour of the Mandible. Prescription eyewear and sunglasses were easily wearable with the Visor in place.
With just the Visor and no Mandible mounted, shouldering a rifle and shooting was easily accomplished. The nose-notch was actually a very good index point to place on the buffer tube of the rifle and the sights, both irons and red dots, were easily visible.
We used the Visor while attached to the helmet with our MSA 1000 gas masks during training. The mask easily fit underneath the helmet and the Visor was able to lock into place, providing distortion-free protection. While the Visor comes with a protective carry bag, an addition that would be appreciated is an easily removable cover for the Visor for when the Visor is attached to the helmet so it could be left in place and then stored as a complete unit.
Revision Eyewear has produced a readily available, protective upgrade kit for your ACH-style helmet. It is worth a serious look.