Words and Pics: James

My desire to build a bump (non-ballistic) helmet was driven by three things:

  1. Wanting to do a lid that’s slightly different to the now-standard kit-list UKSF Maritime lid
  2. An interesting reference pic (see below)
  3. A late night binge of TV’s SEAL Team, a bottle of Disaronno and a desire to procrastinate on a large piece of university coursework…

Nowadays the Ops Core Maritime is one of the big pieces of a UKSF impression; right up there with a convincing L119A2, Glock, Crye PC and Crye combat uniform.

As someone who’s always been up for trying something different, I was on the lookout for inspiration. I’d noticed a little while ago that vented Ops Core shells were popular with various SOF groups during training. It was also the character Clay Spencer’s lid of choice on the aforementioned CBS show, the production staff of which are supposedly very well informed by some very cool blokes.

To add the proverbial cherry on the cake, I was sent a screen grab by a good friend who knows plenty about the goings on in certain units.

Reference pic.

The picture shows an ‘operator’ resplendent in training kit, after fast roping from a helicopter; Ops Core Carbon (with MS2000 strobe zip tied to the back), Arc’teryx Combat Jacket (I believe) and Mystery Ranch RATS Pack. This was all the convincing I needed to pull the trigger on what I thought then was an Ops Core FAST Bump helmet with Lux Liner.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I opened up the Ops Core box like a kid at Christmas only to see the shroud was wrong: fixed in place and as one-piece with the shell – not a bronze skeleton shroud as depicted – as well as the vent holes being wrong. The Lux Liner was also a poor choice for me, as it made the shell sit much higher than the standard pads or Team Wendy liners.

So, £200 in the hole and wrong lid in hand, I decided to do what comes naturally and sell to fund what had now been correctly identified by Tango42Echo as an Ops Core Carbon.

Thankfully, the same bloke who sent me the picture also wanted rid of his Carbon shell in lieu of a Multicam FAST Bump shell. So, one major part down, my build was well under way.

The next revelation came after wearing the Carbon shell at ISG and Back Country Workshop’s excellent CQB workshop.

Running around in a 10 kilo PC (ironically a C2R Light 2 “Ultralight”) and Lux Liner’d helmet which was essentially a personal greenhouse, I found I was sweating buckets.


The liner had to go, to be replaced by some Ops Core EPP pads and an OCC-Dial. It seems to be the go to setup from what we’ve seen and it works a treat, in hot or colder weather.

Slick lids may be good enough for the real blokes who don’t buy this stuff themselves and/or have money-spending complexes, so obviously I had to dress up the shell.

I reached out to Ed at Flimmuur Tactical regarding some custom cut Velcro for the Core Survival Helstar 6 strobe, as I wasn’t happy running it right on the crown for fear of it being ripped off in doorways etc. Coincidentally, Ed had apparently been approached by a number of other people asking the same thing; enough for him to prototype, start another batch and get them in the post to me in the course of a few days.

It still doesn’t fit as securely as I’d like, but from what I understand that’s an inherent flaw of Multicam patterned velcro. As such I think a bungee retaining kit is on the cards in the near future, but as for placement I’m very happy as it is.

I have thought about adding a cover, because obviously bump lids aren’t used in combat. But for now I’m enjoying the lid as it is.

  • Ops Core Carbon Shell, Multicam
  • Ops Core Skeleton NVG Shroud, Bronze
  • Wilcox L4G24 NVG Mount, Bronze
  • Sorz HALO Low Profile Goggles, Black
  • Ops Core OCC-Dial, Urban Tan
  • Ops Core EPP Helmet Pad set
  • Ops Core Counterweight Pouch Kit, Urban Coyote Tan
  • Flimmuur Tactical Hel-Star 6 self-adhesive Velcro kit, Multicam
  • TMC Mesh Mask on HALO Arc Clips
  • Stitch me up ‘T’ “Squadron” Patch
  • Flimmuur Small IR Union Flag

Overall, it’s nice to say I have a genuine Ops Core lid that’s legit, at a fraction of the cost of a Maritime or High Cut and, most importantly, a fraction of the weight of a ballistic lid. The overall build ran me about £400 including mount after profits and selling the genuine Hel-Star for a repro one, which isn’t bad all things considered.

Lastly, thanks to:

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