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Differences between ACH and ECH helmets


You may have heard of different kinds of bulletproof helmets, including PASGT, M88, FAST, MICH, etc. In fact, they are generally divided into two categories: ECH and ACH.
The US Army gives every soldier a combat helmet to protect them in the battlefield. Helmet design continues to evolve as the Army prioritizes all of its equipment.

The Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) is the current model. ECH replaces the modular integrated communications helmet (MICH) and advanced combat helmet (ACH) designs used by the Army since the Afghan War.


The well-known name of ACH is that the MICH helmet precedes the ECH model.
In 2001, MICH replaced the personnel armor system (PASGT) helmet of the ground force for the first time, and carried out a complete upgrade of the helmet industry.

The Army modified the MICH under the name ACH, although the design was similar. These helmets are made of Kevlar fiber, with lightweight structure and pistol resistance.

Both versions expose parts of the forehead and ears to improve visibility and are compatible with devices such as communication headphones and night vision goggles.

ECH Helmets

ECH helmet has been used since 2012. The design adopts ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) shell, which can withstand rifle bullets.

The thermoplastic material adopts the tactical cutting design, making the ECH helmet the lightest and most comfortable helmet in the Army’s history.

Although the tactical tailoring and design more exposed the front, side and back of the head, the sturdy UHMWPE fiber has significant bulletproof and shatter resistance performance, and the helmet made of UHMWPE fiber has a lower price, which is loved by the military and dealers.

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Compare The Characteristics Of The Two Helmets

The newer ECH is similar to the ACH and MICH designs in many ways.
These helmets are similar in shape and weight. The similarity in size and weight makes these helmets comparable in terms of comfort.
In addition, the design selection of these helmets is conducive to reducing coverage and compatibility with other useful devices.
You can equip MICH, ACH or ECH helmets with communication headphones, goggles, masks, etc
The difference between ECH and the old MICH and ACH military helmets lies in the material, ballistic performance and price.
MICH and ACH use Kevlar, ECH contains UHMWPE fiber.
These materials stop bullets in a similar way, but UHMWPE thermoplastics can make thicker equipment at the same weight.
The thicker structure of the ECH enhances its comparable ballistic performance. Compared with the ACH and MICH helmets, its debris prevention ability is increased by 35%. Therefore, the ECH helmet can also resist some rifle bullets.
Although ECH is slightly better than ACH in thickness, bullet proof effect and price, ECH has a major disadvantage due to its material, namely its weight.
For helmets of the same grade, the weight of ECH is about 2kg higher than that of ACH. You may think that 2kg is not a big deal. However, considering that the equipment of these soldiers may be more than 20kg, maintaining high mobility while reducing the weight of the task is also a very important indicator. Therefore, although ECH has advantages in various aspects, it is still ACH/MICH.

Which Helmets Are Available to Civilians?

At this time, civilians can easily use MICH and ACH helmets, so bulletproof helmets are not completely prohibited for civilians.

Any equipment actively used by the Army is difficult to find and legally purchase. The introduction of new equipment allows for wider availability of retired or obsolete equipment.

With the adoption of ACH and MICH by the Army, PASGT helmets become available.

The introduction of ECH makes it possible to purchase ACH and MICH helmets. ECH helmets will be easier to purchase when the Army launches its next move.

How do civilians use bulletproof helmets?

Civilian helmets are as reliable as those used by the armed forces and the police forces, because they are actually the same equipment.
Most bulletproof helmets meet the highest performance standards of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ).

The original NIJ standard 0106.01 is applicable to helmets and has three grades – I, IIA and II. Now, the revision of the standard includes Class IIIA, which has become the most prominent type.
According to NIJ standard 0106.01, the helmet must pass the four revolver test, and each revolver is connected to different positions on the helmet.
The helmet must be resistant 357 SIG FMJ, 9 mm and The 44 magnum SJHP bullet was fired at 1450 feet per second to reach Class IIIA status.
All MICH, ACH and ECH helmets are Class IIIA. You can browse IIIA helmets through our online store.

The Future of Ballistic Helmets

Although the design of ACH and MICH is the latest and widely available to the public, the design of ECH should soon enter the vision of American consumers.

The Army plans to use the Integrated Head Protection System (IHPS) as a standard. IHPS helmets have been used for military purposes since 2019.

The new US $87 million contract signed by the Army with Avon and Gentex will increase its circulation by September 2023.

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Learn More With SBA ARMOR

In Safety Body Armor, we are keen to help the public understand and obtain bulletproof equipment available to them.
You can check our blog to learn about bulletproof helmets, masks, bulletproof vests, etc.

Our experts are happy to help you understand bulletproof helmets or find helmets suitable for your situation, so please contact us online immediately!

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