Short answer: No! Hell, NO! This ain’t World War II, nor Vietnam, nor Desert Storm, nor our on-going war in the Middle East where troops are required to wear helmets and a huge load of other crap designed for ‘troop safety.’
Here’s the issue with the K & Steel pots (and other helmets, to boot):
Those participating in NPT (or whatever name you choose to call your defensive network) training and operations when SHTF are decidely NOT offensive in nature. Further, in the defense, the helmet can work against you more than it works for you.
Remember the design’s purpose: Shelter the wearer from small fragmentation and possible oblique small arms fire, typically in the attack. That’s it. If you’re snoopin’ and poopin’ on a security patrol, or are in a LP/OP, the last thing you want is something that’s going to work against you.
How does it work against you?
- First, the weight, over time, will cause headaches, and cramps in your traps and the back of your skull which will lead to premature exhaustion.
- Amplified wind noise through the helmet when listening. If you don’t have hearing like a beagle, the helmet you choose to wear actually helps an adversary move against you by masking any noise he/she/they may be making.
- If your NPT leader makes you wear your chin strap fastened and someone DOES get behind you, they can use the helmet as a weapon to kill you.
- Even when fitted properly, a helmet like the old-school steel pot, the K pot and MICH helmet cuts down your peripheral vision’s outer most limitations, such as the ability to see above your line of sight when looking straight ahead, which could be bad when you think about it for a minute.
So, what to do? Fit your headgear to the mission. Pure and simple. Anything from a ‘ranger rag’ tied in various methods to a boonie hat to a patrol cap (fitted properly) will work for you, not against you. The ranger rag, for instance, keeps the sweat out of your eyes, helps break up your head’s outline (thought not much), and can be worn as a complete head covering if tied properly.
And the venerable ‘boonie hat’ (which old timers called, ‘floppy hats’ or ‘jungle hats.’ The below pic shows a good mix of all three recommendations. Truly, it’s up to the individual. Don’t fall prey to the, “I want to be just like the soldiers of today, because those poor guys are weighed down with over a hundred pounds of shit they don’t need or want. Stay fast, stay alert, and stay able to hide better than the guy trying to kill you.
Last thought: Lose the baseball caps. They actually accentuate the shape of your head….as an American. Remember, it’s not about, ‘cool’ when you’re on a security patrol. It’s about finding the bad guys, doing what your OPORD requires, and getting back without detection….ALIVE. Anyone who talks about, ‘looking bad ass’ is selling something you don’t want to buy.