The battlefield is a dangerous place, and the piece of protection that is arguably the most important is the helmet — this being the PASGT helmet for several years. PASGT stands for Personal Armor System for Ground Troops, and the helmet is one of two components of the PASGT system (a ballistic vest being the other).
Following the Vietnam War, the U.S. military began developing an upgrade to the M1 helmet. The biggest problem with the M1 was that it was only available in one size. The new PASGT helmet was produced in five sizes — XS through XL. The PASGT helmets were made from 29
layers Kevlar, which is a synthetic fiber material made by DuPont. The material was used to protect soldiers from shrapnel. Unfortunately, the PASGT helmet is not strong enough to stop most bullets from penetrating it, as that would require very heavy material.
The helmet has been nicknamed the “Fritz” helmet, since it looks similar to the Stahlhelm, which is a German helmet from World War I and II. On the inside of the PASGT helmet was nylon webbing to fit soldiers’ heads snugly. Some soldiers would insert foam rings on the inside of the helmets for greater comfort. A chin strap is also a component of the PASGT helmet, and it kept the helmet from moving around on the soldier’s head. The PASGT helmet was usually made in olive drab, but soldiers usually used helmet covers which were camouflage. The covers came in Woodland and Desert Camo, and also in the newest MARPAT and UCP digital patterns.
The PASGT helmet served its purpose as the primary head protection in the military for over 20 years. It is currently being phased out, paving the way for its two replacements. The Army and the Air Force have almost completely switched over to the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet (MICH). The Navy and the Marine Corps have begun using the Lightweight Helmet.
Even though the PASGT helmet is not an up-to-date version of a soldier’s head protection, it still is a cool military surplus item to have. Get a PASGT helmet here. Also be sure to get a camo helmet cover for your PASGT.
Written by Craig Kent, member of the Best Military Surplus team.