SWould you choose a non armored helmet (bump helmet) or an armored helmet (ballistic helmet)? The firearms community is always debating this issue, and both sides have valid arguments. Ballistic helmets are designed to protect the head against incoming bullets and shrapnel. They also shield the head from flying debris and fragments from the environment.
Naturally, this protection comes with some compromises — most importantly, ballistic helmets are heavier than bump helmets and generally much more expensive. It is impossible to avoid the weight issue, since layered Kevlar material is heavier than polymer. But a recent product from Night Vision Network shows that this cost difference may not be as significant as you might think.
The ARCH Gen 3
Night Vision Network sells a ballistic headgear called the PGD Arch Gen 3 for a very reasonable $549. For context, that’s only $187 more than the Team Wendy bump helmet mentioned earlier in this article, but with the added benefit of ballistic protection. And at just under 3 pounds complete, it’s only 6 ounces heavier than a comparable Team Wendy ballistic helmet (which costs more than $1,300).
ARCH Gen 3 offers a wide range of features and benefits. You can also check out our other blog posts. This product is either manufactured or sourced in China. This high-cut helmet uses genuine DuPont Kevlar Aramid material that’s pressed into shape in Bulgaria and assembled in Denmark (both allies of the United States). NVN imports the helmets to the U.S. from Protection Group Denmark (PGD), the manufacturer. These helmets are tested to NIJ standards in an internationally recognized facility that’s certified by the U.S. Department of Defense.
The specifics of armor performance and testing are a very deep rabbit hole, so we’ll give you the high-level details. The ARCH Gen 3 meets NIJ-0106.01 Level IIIA Standards and is rated for rounds up to.44 magnum. Additionally, it has been tested for and shown to withstand 17-grain fragments of shrapnel traveling at 700 meters per second, according to the STANAG2920 test procedure (NATO’s standard for testing ballistic protection). Deformation depths have also been studied. Average deformation against 9mm bullet impacts was 11.2mm.
ARCH Gen 3 comes in three colors: black, FDE and OD Green. Each includes a front shroud that’s compatible with the Wilcox G24 night vision mount, as well as side rails that accept all the common aftermarket components — Peltor and Ops-Core AMP ear pro mounts, Picatinny rail sections, lights, and so on.
No helmet is complete without a chinstrap and pads. NVN provides both, as well as a BOA suspension that can be finely adjusted. Both of those components are common aftermarket upgrades for other helmets on the market, so it’s great to see they’re included here. Stick-on Velcro is included to attach infrared cameras, helmet strobes and other accessories.
We originally got our hands on the ARCH helmet during RECOIL’s CANCON Arizona range event. Night Vision Network organized a VIP after-dark shooting and provided each attendee an ARCH helmet with night vision for them to test out on the range. Instructors guided attendees as they strapped their helmets on, flipped their NVN tubes down, and stepped to the firing range.
They were able to practice active aiming using infrared lazers as well as passively aiming by using a variety weapon optics. Many of the participants had never used night vision or worn a ballistic headgear before. More than a few walked away grinning and saying, “I’ve got to get a setup like that!”
If you need ballistic protection and are looking for a quality helmet that won’t break the bank (or your scale), the ARCH Gen 3 is worth checking out. NVN is a leading provider of night vision equipment, including NODs and mounts. They can also help you get set up with earpros, ear protectors, and helmet accessories.
Night Vision Network
- Head Start Guide for Night Vision Helmets
- Night Vision 101 with Don Edwards
- New: Vertx Gamut Gen 3 Backpack
- S&S Precision Plate Carriers, Chest Rig, and Illumination: More than Maritime Excellence
The ARCH Gen 3 Ballistic Headwear appeared first on RECOIL.