Top 9 Ballistic Helmets of 2021

If you’re in a situation where a bulletproof vest could save your life, a quality helmet that has undergone thorough testing and meets military or NIJ standards serves the same purpose.

In this article, we’re going to give you our list of some of the very best ballistic helmets and go over common questions about what makes certain combat headgear the best.

So whether you’re in the market for a helmet or just looking to expand your knowledge on this vital piece of ballistic protection, keep reading!

Combat helmets lined up together


Simply put, it is a type of headgear that protects your skull against shrapnel, bullets, glass, and the like, during combat. They are sometimes referred to as "bulletproof helmets" or "tactical headgear" although these terms are less accurate than "ballistic helmet".

They typically utilize multiple layers of ballistic protection material to protect your head in combat, or other violent encounters. Civilians in all walks of life often use helmets, from construction workers to bikers. So if you're in a line of work where objects may come flying at your head (intentional or otherwise), they're certainly worth the investment!

For a more in-depth rundown check out our full guide to ballistic helmets.

Don't forget to read on after the list for answers to some common questions about ballistic helmets.


Close up of a combat helmet set on a vehicle


Now that you know a bit more about what to look for in a ballistic helmet, it's time to look at our picks for nine of the best ballistic helmets available on the market today. This list is by no means exhaustive and naturally depends on your use-case. But these ballistic helmets will make a solid addition to your tactical loadout.

Check out the page for each ballistic helmet to learn more about their features and details.

  1. Protection Group Denmark ARCH Level IIIA Bullet Proof Helmet

Protection Group Denmark is known for quality high-performance body armor with an innovative edge, and this Accessory Rail Combat Helmet (ARCH) lives up to their high standards.


  • Lightweight at only 1.15 pounds minus accessories
  • NIJ level IIIA protection
  • Rail system for mounting additional gear
  • Resistant to temperature, oil and liquid, and drops
  • Inner lining of 10 adjustable Memory Foam pads for increased comfort and reduced blunt force trauma from bullets
  • Made of ballistic Twaron from Teijin, the Netherlands
  • Up to 50% reduction in back face deformation


Protection Group Denmark ARCH Level IIIA Bullet Proof Helmet

2. Legacy MICH Level IIIA Ballistic Helmet

Legacy Safety and Security are all about light armor at the best prices. Here at Bulletproof Zone, we're always impressed by the consistent high quality and affordability of their gear.


  • More coverage over ears and back of the helmet
  • Ergonomic, stable platform
  • Standard MICH/ACH Pads and Suspension Fixed side rails for mounting accessories
  • Front Wilcox NVG mounting shroud
  • NIJ Level IIIA Protection
  • Fragmentation protection US MIL STD 662F V50 at 2150 ft./sec.




3. Legacy PASGT Level IIIA Ballistic Helmet

The Legacy PASGT is a lightweight, sturdy tactical helmet perfect for law enforcement or the military. PASGT is the unbeatable classic when you need simple ballistic protection at a great price.


  • Meets NIJ Level IIIA standards
  • Tested for penetration and back face deformation
  • Standard PASGT design (MIL-H-44099A)
  • Foam cushion leather headband
  • Chinstrap includes a base attachment for optional faceguard


Legacy PASGT Level IIIA Ballistic Helmet
4. Legacy FAST Level IIIA Ballistic Helmet

This FAST ballistic helmet is a lightweight, multi-layer, high-performance headgear that ensures you have unbeatable mobility and awareness during any tactical situation.


  • Full special ops coverage with enhanced awareness thanks to reduced profile and higher cut
  • More area of coverage over ears and back of the helmet
  • Ergonomic and stable platform
  • Standard MICH/ACH Pads and Suspension Fixed side rails for mounting accessories
  • Lightweight Aluminum NVG mounting shroud
  • Meets testing standards for NIJ Level IIIA Protection
  • Fragmentation protection US MIL STD 662F V50 at 2150 ft./sec.




5. North American Rescue Batlskin Viper A3 Level IIIA Bulletproof Helmet

Every product by North American Rescue, from their tactical medical equipment to their ballistic helmet line, is designed to empower the warriors of today.

With its low profile design and adjustable crown net for sweat-wicking, their Batlskin Viper A3 keeps your head not only protected but cool and comfortable.


  • Meets NIJ level IIIA rating standards
  • Modular suspension system including 4-point integrated harness (no loose straps), Dial Ratchet Mechanism for adjusting fit band (simple one-handed operation), and impact liner
  • Compatible with night-vision goggles, Chem/Bio Masks, and communication devices
  • Exceeds US Army ACH impact standard



North American Rescue Batlskin Viper A3 Level IIIA Bulletproof Helmet
6. Hoplite Armor IIIA Helmet Fully Loaded

Hoplite Armor produces an excellent range of tactical helmets, plates, and carriers. Whether you're military, law enforcement, or a prepared-for-it-all civilian, if you want excellent protection at a great price, this ACH is the tactical helmet for you.


  • Meets NIJ level IIIA protection
  • High cut shell
  • Side rails for accessory mounting
  • NVG shroud
  • 7 pad cushion system
  • Velcro
  • Bungee
  • CAM fit retention system

Hoplite Armor IIIA Helmet Fully Loaded
7. Atomic Defense MICH 2000 NIJ IIIA Level Kevlar Bulletproof Helmet

With this Kevlar ballistic helmet, Atomic Defense has made the perfect MICH for the army, police, and private party use. This tactical helmet employs an advanced environmental elastomer spraying process to protect against temperature, humidity, and aging - no chipping or flaking in muggy environments with this helmet.


  • Waterproof
  • Fireproof
  • Bullet resistant
  • UV protected
  • Lightweight
  • Hardhat 
  • NIJ level IIIA protection
  • Made of Kevlar Aramid

Atomic Defense MICH 2000 NIJ IIIA Level Kevlar Bulletproof Helmet
8. Shellback Tactical Level IIIA Ballistic High Cut SF ACH Helmet

This Shellback Tactical High Cut ACH is the ultimate elite ballistic helmet designed for special ops missions. With its low-profile high-cut design, you can be geared up with communication equipment and still feel light on your feet.


  • Meets NIJ 0106.01 Standard  
  • Level IIIA ballistic protection against handgun rounds 
  • Fragmentation protection according to Milstd 662f standards
  • Lightweight high cut design for increased mobility 
  • Constructed with Kevlar fibers and thermoset resin
  • Retention harness with ratcheting system for a perfect fit 
  • Side rails support Picatinny and other common adapters - perfect for tactical lights and cameras 
  • The 3-hole shroud is compatible with most modern NVG mounts such as Wilcox and Norotos
  • Loop field allows for easy attachment of accessories 
  • D30 Trust 7 helmet pad system for extra comfort

Shellback Tactical Level IIIA Ballistic High Cut SF ACH Helmet
9. Shellback Tactical Level IIIA Ballistic PASGT Helmet

The Shellback Tactical Level IIIA Ballistic PASGT Helmet is tried-and-true basic head protection against handgun ammunition. Streamlined, simple, and trustworthy, this helmet is the foundation for all the others.


  • Designed according to the latest U.S. Military requirements
  • Level IIIA ballistic protection against handgun rounds 
  • Meets NIJ Standard 0101.06 
  • Kevlar ballistic fiber construction
  • Adjustable 3 Point US PASGT harness
  • Cushioned leather headband
  • Ability to attach face shield

Shellback Tactical Level IIIA Ballistic PASGT Helmet

HONORABLE MENTION: Chase Tactical Lightweight Non-Ballistic Bump Helmet

You don't always need a ballistic helmet to suit your needs. For non-ballistic protection, the Chase Tactical Lightweight Bump Helmet is a solid choice. It's one of the standard helmets for disaster relief and other non-combat situations.

  • Lightweight Design/ Non-Ballistic
  • Upper dovetail accessory rail for mounting devices such as low-profile lights and helmet cams
  • Lower dovetail accessory rail for mounting communication headsets and other accessories
  • Top and side strips of the loop for attaching hook sided devices like illumination, or battery packs
  • Front mount for night vision, cameras, or other optic devices
  • Padded suspension system with an adjustable 4-point harness

Chase Tactical Lightweight Non-Ballistic Bump Helmet


You've seen some of the top-quality ballistic helmets available today, but how do you decide which to get?

When searching for a tactical ballistic helmet, some key factors to consider are the NIJ level of protection, the fit and comfort of the helmet, and its retention system.


It's important to buy a helmet that offers protection from the highest threat level you're most likely to encounter if a firearm incident should occur. In today's world, this means you always want to look for a bullet-resistant helmet that is tested to the modified NIJ standard 0106.01.

The original NIJ standard 0106.01 for helmets dates back to 1981 and tests to three protection levels: I, IIA, and II. Level II protects against a .357 mag JSP and 9 mm FMJ. At that time, this was the highest level of threat likely to come up against a ballistic helmet.

Firearms have evolved, though. To produce helmets that can defend against the latest threats, today's manufacturers tend to test their helmets beyond this standard, resulting in the modified NIJ standard 0106.01.

This gives us ballistic helmets with protection level IIIA which have been tested against the .357 SIG FMJ FN and the .44 mag SJHP.

In other words, always look for NIJ IIIA protection when hunting for a helmet. If you'd like to learn more, we've written an article specifically about NIJ Protection levels with explanations.


Comfort is vital. An uncomfortable helmet can endanger focus and impede performance, and that can be life-threatening.


Size and fit are crucial to a helmet's effectiveness. Be sure of your helmet size before you invest in a ballistic helmet.

A helmet must sit properly on the head. If too low, the field of vision is obstructed. Too high, and stability is compromised, creating a safety hazard.

Shell head measurement generally comes in four sizes: small (S), medium (M), large (L), and extra-large (XL).

For increased comfort, helmets come with their own inner lining system composed of padding. However, everyone is different; heads come in a variety of shapes and sizes. If, after assessing your helmet, you realize you won't be able to wear it comfortably throughout the duration of a tactical mission, there are alternative helmet pads available on the market that can be installed in a helmet after it has been purchased.

Single-layer pad systems are easier to install but harder to custom fit, while multi-layer pads present the opposite situation - more customizable in terms of fit, but more time-consuming to install.


In addition to a padding and suspension system, the helmet you buy needs to have a quality chin strap as part of its retention system.

Luckily, one standard feature in today's best ballistic helmets is a four-point chin strap and dial adjustment at the helmet's back.

This helps ensure the helmet stays in the proper position and doesn't wobble when you move your head back and forth or flip back off your brow.


Several factors impact the cost of a ballistic helmet:

  • NIJ standards - A helmet that has been tested and meets NIJ standards tend to cost more than one which hasn't.
  • Protection level - Generally, a high protection level brings a higher price tag.
  • Weight - The lighter the helmet, the higher the cost.
  • Age and features - Newer technology often brings enhanced features and an enhanced price tag.


There's a good reason for this. An incredible amount of work goes into making headgear that can resist penetration from bullets and other impacts - it's no small feat, after all! - but which is lightweight enough to not impede comfort, mobility, and visibility during combat.

Every component of a quality ballistic helmet, even the suspension system, and chinstraps has undergone years of research and design so that armed forces, law enforcement, and civilians have every chance of survival when they need it.


The "best" military helmet really depends on which branch of the armed forces we're talking about and the specific need of the tactical situation at hand.

But in terms of overall usefulness, weight, and comfort, the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH,) derived from the MICH, has been the candidate for best military helmet since its adoption by the Army in 2002.

It is now in the process of being phased out as the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) makes its way onto the battlefield.

If you must choose one military helmet that is "the best," then the likeliest candidate is the ECH.

The ECH is almost identical in appearance to the ACH but uses a different chin strap and is made of ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene-material (UHMWPE).

However, it's got some other features that put it ahead above any other tactical helmets used by the military.

The Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH)



Just as its name says, the ECH is designed to offer enhanced protection from fragmentation and rifle rounds. When you're facing military combat, that's a big deal.


During its design period, one of the requirements for the ECH was that, in addition to providing protection against certain rifle projectiles, it needed to be 35% more effective than the ACH at protecting against small-arms fire and fragmentation.

Did it accomplish this? In a word, yes!

During testing, it exceeded the 35% requirement for ballistic improvement. It's been found to be nearly completely immune to penetration by fragments fired by test guns.

Without a doubt, the ECH is one of the best - if not THE best - combat helmets out there!


Choosing the best ballistic helmet really boils down to the situations it will be used in. PASGT, MICH, and ACH helmets are the standard for militaries the world over and a solid choice if the wearer will be in combat situations. For non-combat, you should consider a bump helmet.

If the price is an issue, consider PASGT helmets which can be cheaper but still provide quality ballistic protection. As long as your choice of helmet has been tested to the NIJ standard suitable for your work, you can't go wrong.

Proper sizing is also vital. The wrong-sized helmet - or a helmet that just isn't comfortable - can impede your focus and endanger your life, so it pays to learn how to find the correct ballistic helmet size.

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Which ballistic helmet do you consider the best? Let us know in the comments below!