Words and pics: John Danter
Helmets are an important part of an impression. They need to be comfortable, secure and functional. They may need to hold comms, NV, strobes, ID patches etc.
UKSF use a high cut Maritime and due to recent events in the UK, SF lads have been snapped for us to see their more recent loadouts.
Some impressionists use real ballistic helmets but mine is an FMA M/L shell pimped up with real parts. I swap out the retention system, internal padding, NV shroud etc. I did this with my old airframe setup too.
Thankfully no one is shooting bullets at me but it’s good to know that your head is slightly protected in the event of a nasty fall or banging your head against something.
The functional parts can be upgraded to make better use of your helmet setup.
The cover is a First Spear solid stretch. UKSF use others too – ODG, Platatac. It’s important to note that FMA lids and FS cover sizes don’t match up. You have to drop a cover size from your FMA. I didn’t know this initially and ordered the ‘correct’ size which was then too big. Seeing as the cover would now need to go under the knife or be sold, I decided to keep it, alter it and add some mods to help with other issues.
I wanted to add the ‘nautical’ red/green left/right marker lights (as in the Winchester Accord pics) but the FS cover doesn’t have much Velcro real estate to be secure enough. So I added a little Multicam Velcro under the V-lites to keep them safe when attached.
I also added a stitch-on Core Survival Attach Patch for the Helstar 6 strobe to keep that super safe.
A tip to increase the comfort of out of the box FMA padding is to get one of those memory foam cot mattresses – or a pillow – and cut out your own pads. A small scalpel incision and tweezers can be used to pull out the supplied repro padding, and then swap over to the memory foam.
The Ops Core lux liner pad set with worm dial is up there with one of the more comfortable retention systems ever. Only to be rivalled with a Team Wendy Cam Fit and Crye or TW pads.
Comfort is very important on long milsims with the extra bulk/weight of nods and required counterweight. I suggest neck exercises to strengthen the muscles for long games.
Noise cancelling headsets look the part on a loadout and can help protect you in more ways than one. We all remember the first sting of a stray BB to the ear at close range on a frosty day!
I use 3 types of comm ‘headsets’:
- Silynx Clarus, my favourite – these are small in-ear bone conducting types. They offer no ear protection but are nice and compact on your vest, as there’s no bulky PTT unit.
- MSA Sordin 75310. These are full over ear headsets. Their profile is slimmer than peltor types.
- Peltor Comtac III. I have the dual comm model so great in that respect, if needed. The mic is also swappable for lefties. (N.B. the Peltor Comtac XPI is more commonly seen in use.)
Both Sordins and Peltors are great for this time of year when it’s absolutely nobbling!
It’s taken me a while to settle on the configuration of pads and the retention I like, but I’m happy I can play a long skirmish and Milsim in this lid.
How the real lads wear a heavier ballistic helmet all day, I’ve no idea.
A parts list:
- Maritime Ops Core*
- FMA shell with upgraded parts
- Lux Liner and worm dial
- Ops Core Skeleton shroud
- Wilcox G24
- Ops Core counterweight
- Ops Core maritime Velcro set
- First Spear solid stretch cover
- Helstar 6 IR strobe
- Also an attach patch for the helstar
- 2 S&S Vlites (red and green)
- Princeton Tec Switch light MPLS
- Peltor Comtac III dual comm headset
- Peltor rail adaptors
You can join the UKSF impression scene conversation here.