Not All ACM Helmets Are Alike

I’ll start off with this moderately blurry gem of a photo (I didn’t have enough time to snag a second shot) – Julian wearing a helmet. Optix never wears anything on his head except for the occasional hat, especially when its for playing Airsoft.

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One ACM MICH TC 2000 helmet – with an “Ideal Military” sticker inside it (mine is pictured above, on Optix’s head), and one ACM MICH TC 2002 helmet – no-name brand purchased used from Ebay (Jaws’). Similar outside, but different inside – read on for my comparison of the finer details.

The one bearing the “Ideal Military” sticker inside is sold under the “Loadout Master” selection on RSOV. This is still the best MICH clone I’ve found to date, as they are offered in a “light weight” 820g version instead of the 1.1-1.2kg versions that the vast majority of ACM MICH helmets are available in. Though it isn’t the realistic full weight that the real MICH weighs, I don’t intend to be making use of the Kevlar composition to stop real bits of lead from entering my skull and thus can’t justify buying a real one. For my usage, this does the trick to stop the occasional bit of flying plastic from making the top of my head bleed if I get hit there.

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The external finish is pretty standard, though there are no incomplete edges around the moulding that fits over the brim of the helmet as the Ideal Military MICH 2000 shell is cast as a single piece of plastic. I once owned an ACM MICH 2001 that had a rubber moulding, but it was prone to being torn off in small chunks, didn’t retain its coat of paint, and had a very noticeable seam in the back. No need to take photos of the outside of the helmet – this is fairly standard.

Inside the lids is a slightly different story – this is the predominant reason for this write-up. The pads are the things that make the Ideal Military version (and other higher-quality repro MICH helmets) apart from most other ACM MICH clones on the market. These pads are more defined in shape and slightly more firm. Though I no longer have my old no-name MICH 2001 to compare this scientifically, I recall that the Ideal Military pads retain less water than the no-name ACM pads. They’re essentially just more comfortable.

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No-name ACM pad top, Ideal Military pad bottom.

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Straps make a difference. The harness system that comes standard on the Ideal Military MICH 2000 features soft straps that are incredibly durable for the price point. The way that they are sewn together is even superior in comfort to that of the no-name ACM MICH. Fasteners are made from ABS plastic… though there are no obtrusive casting marks or flashing and none of the 3 I own have broken on me. If the straps you purchase on your helmet are rough and are attached using weak hardware, you will hate your helmet. Believe me, I’ve been there.

The first 3 photos are of Jaws’ mystery-brand ACM MICH harness.

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Note that the Ideal Military MICH harness (below) features a repro MSA tag – nice touch.

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The higher quality Ideal Military straps newly installed on his helmet make Jaws happy.

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The stock straps do have a tendency towards loosening up under moderate to hard use, though Jester has been wrapping his loose straps down with hockey tape with good results thus far. Personally, I’ve been purchasing repro aftermarket harnesses – I’m actually quite happy with the results I’ve had thus far with the clones… but more on that later.

I did recently pick up an un-named brand ACM MICH 2001 from JK Army.com that has rectangular pads and a soft harness. It isn’t an “Ideal Military” helmet, but the quality is extremely similar. Perhaps they come from the same factory, but without all the tags. You never know, considering how all those ACM factories work and products vary from batch to batch.

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