The tactical and ballistic helmet market is a prime example of an often under-rated but quintessentially important sector in which technology, commitment, innovation and talent play equal roles. Hard Head Veterans, though a relatively new company in a well-established marketplace, is already having to accelerate expansion plans in order to keep up with demand, as Bill Fore, International Sales Director, made plain toMilTech in an interview in the September/October 2020 issue.
MilTech: What are you three most important products or services?
Bill Fore: First, without a doubt, is our Above the Ear (ATE) helmet. This is our flagship product and boasts a Magpul M-LOK rail system – offering the lowest profile rail system currently available on the market as well as one that can easily accommodate the requirements of Picatinny rails. The ATE also comes with our layered comfort pad system – this is a feature that not only resolves many of the complexities of fitting a helmet to a huge variety of individual head types and profiles, but at the same time also increases protection for the wearer. It of course comes with an easy-to-adjust suspension system and a versatile night vision shroud as standard features. In terms of testing and warranty, it exceeds the most common standards for ballistic helmets in current service and is accompanied by a ten-year warranty.
Then there is the Rifle Rated Ballistic Helmet Up-Armor offer. The Up-Armor Plates – in conjunction with the HHV ATE ballistic helmet, provide ballistic protection to defeat the most common rifle rounds currently in circulation – to include the 5.56mm M855 62-grain round as well as Russian 7.62X39mm MSC steel-penetrating rounds at full velocities – demonstrating minimal backface deformation after impact. The plates are modular, which means they can easily (and quickly) be added or removed as mission or environmental requirements dictate. Other rifle-resistant helmet options fail to defeat a wide range of rifle threats – and, importantly, never at full velocities, nor in keeping backface deformation at safe and acceptable levels. For example, against the 7.62X39mm round, we achieve less backface deformation than other companies have experienced with 9mm rounds! A direct stat from actual trials reads - 7.62X39 M43 LS 123.7-grain Russian MSC, 2410 ft/s Front Impact - No Penetration - 21.206 mm BTD.
The third product I would highlight is the Tactical Helmet ATE Bump. This is the non-ballistic version of our ATE Ballistic helmet. Lightweight and modular, it provides the ideal bump helmet for tactical helmet applications, search and rescue (SAR), and recreational sports. This lightweight helmet weighs in at a really remarkable 1.4lbs! Manufactured from a polycarbonate blend, the helmet offers blunt impact protection that far exceeds impact requirements, not only for EN 1385: 2012, but also for AR/PD 10-02.
MilTech: What are the two biggest challenges your business faces, how do they affect you and how are you addressing them?
Bill Fore: Paradoxically but genuinely, our biggest challenge ends up being our biggest advantage. In reality, we are a relatively new ballistic helmet company compared to others in the industry – the new kid on the block in quite a well-populated domain. The advantage this gives us, however, is that it allows us to be much more adaptable to new technologies, to customer needs, and to task execution. The team here at Hard Head Veterans is founded and run by individuals recently retired from a variety of special operations organizations – operators who bring us entire lifetimes of real-world helmet use for us to build upon.
There is a second challenge, too – and not necessarily the worst thing we could be facing. We have experienced some challenges in meeting the extremely high demand for our products. In the past year alone, we have had to triple our production capacities and are continuing to scale up in order to keep lead times as short as possible for our domestic and international customers.
MilTech: What is the single biggest change coming in your market – and how will it impact you?
Bill Fore: Armour undergoes constant change in order to confront and defeat contemporary and emerging battlefield threats. From the edged weapons of ancient times to the high velocity rounds of today’s fast-paced environment, those changing threats always and inevitably have the biggest, most significant impact. Advances in raw materials, fabrication and manufacturing processes, and other new technologies help us adjust our products, our service and our offering to meet those changes.
Bill Fore, International Sales Director. (All images Hard Head Veterans)