Advanced combat helmets or ACH and bump helmets are extremely important tools in the military. Not only do helmets provide physical protection, but they also support team communication.

When looking for a helmet, it is imperative to know which one will address your needs the best. Read this article to learn about the differences between the helmets to determine if ACH or bump works best for your situation.

Different Between ACH and Bump:

ACH and bump helmets are both great tools in unique ways; however, they offer very different uses. Advanced combat helmets were released in 2003 as an advanced version of the Modular Integrated Communications Helmet.

ACH helmets provide ballistic protection designed for the U.S. military. These helmets are lighter and include features like a pre-drilled Night Vision Goggle (NVG) hole, a higher side trim, and a four-point Retention and Pad Suspension System. The ACH helmets are designed for use in active duty situations where ballistic protection is necessary.

On the other hand, bump helmets do not provide ballistic protection. This type of helmet is designed to protect from blunt impact and force. Although bump helmets are often used for military applications, they are also used for extreme sports. Bump helmets are known to have a great pad system to have a modular fit.

Difference in Specifications:

ACH or ballistic helmets are held to a specific set of standards. These helmets must pass tests to gain NIJ ballistic standards. There are five different levels of ballistic protection according to the NIJ. In addition to ballistic testing, ACH helmets also go through MIL-STD certifications which include environmental tests. On the other hand, bump helmets do not have to go through ballistic testing but they do still go through MIL-STD certifications.

Who is Each Product for?

Because the major difference between ACH and bump helmets is ballistic protection, it is easy to only think about military applications for these helmets. ACH helmets are great for military duties, police officers, and security officials working crowd control, and tactical applications. These helmets are meant for special situations rather than everyday use.

Bump helmets can also be used for military uses like training. These helmets are lighter than ballistic helmets, so it is easier to wear for longer hours. For instance, those in the military train for hours on end every day; as a result, bump helmets are used to reduce strain on the user’s neck.

Additionally, bump helmets are used for high-risk sports like rock climbing or white-water rafting. Bump helmets are designed to prevent injury upon blunt impact on the head. For instance, when rafting, a bump helmet can prevent serious injury if you fall out of the boat and hit your head on a rock. Overall, both helmets offer prime protection, but only one—ACH—is used for ballistic situations.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Helmet:



There are many advantages to ACH helmets. The main advantage is ballistic protection. Beyond this feature, other advantages include rails and connectors for communication technology. With this flexibility, those in the field can easily change out communication accessories like headsets, night vision goggles, and more.


Disadvantages to ACH helmets can include weight, price, and lower amount of physical coverage. ACH helmets tend to be heavier than bump helmets because there are more layers to the shell to establish ballistic protection. Additionally, ballistic helmets tend to be more expensive than bump helmets—again because of the additional shell layers of Kevlar material.

The last disadvantage to an ACH helmet would be a lower area of physical coverage. Ballistic helmets often have a high cut to accommodate communications accessories.



The advantages of bump helmets include lighter weight, more coverage, and flexible fit. These helmets tend to be lighter because the shell is not as thick. Moreover, bump helmets have more coverage because the back of the head is shielded. This extra protection is optimal to prevent injury from falling rocks, debris, and more.

Lastly, these helmets provide a flexible fit from the adjustable padding. This is a great feature because then the helmets can be moved around among team members.


The biggest disadvantage to bump helmets is the lack of ballistic protection. Another disadvantage is not all bump helmets are equipped to be paired with communications accessories.

Top Manufacturers:


The top manufacturers of ACH helmets include the companies below:

  • Ops-Core
  • Team Wendy
  • Galvion


Ops-Core is a well-known company with a great reputation. This company works to design and manufacture equipment to specifically protect military members from ballistic and combat harm. Ops-Core helmets are the most common helmets worn by special operations teams around the world.

With a legacy filled with outstanding helmets known for being lightweight and standing up to the hardest ballistics tests, Ops-Core helmets are considered the “workhorse” in the tactical helmet industry.

Team Wendy:

Team Wendy not only provides helmets to the military, they also design products for law enforcement and search and rescue. Team Wendy is specifically known for their liner systems for their standard issue helmets which they provide to the U.S. Army and Marine Corps for the last decade.

The company’s ballistic helmets easily hold up to the toughest ballistics standards including NIJ STD standards. The helmets feature a hybrid composite shell for optimal fit without sacrificing ballistic protection. Overall, this company keeps the individual soldier’s safety in mind when designing ballistic helmets.


Glavion makes both ballistic and bump helmets. Galvion ballistic helmets are known for being lightweight without minimizing protection against 9mm and .44mag rounds as well as fragment threats.


  • Ops-Core
  • Galvion


In addition to producing reliable ballistic helmets, Ops-Core also provides great bump helmet options. The Ops-Core FAST helmet is one of the most well-known tactical helmets in the industry. This helmet is designed for rugged training, airborne and water operations, and so much more to protect from impact and blunt trauma.


FAST SF Helmet

Ops-Core truly can provide any great helmet to fit your team’s needs.


Galvion is also a military-based company focused on designing gear to protect soldiers. Bump helmets created by Galvion are some of the “lightest, most comfortable, and highest performance head protection possible”.

Caiman Helmet:

These helmets are manufactured to endure and protect in the harsh conditions of military life. Galvion understands the long hours military workers face, so they include features in their helmets like ventilation to prevent overheating and allow water drainage. Overall, Galvion is a reliable bump helmet manufacturer.  


When you consider the pricing between ballistic or ACH and bump helmets, ACH helmets tend to run more expensive. ACH helmets will range anywhere between $700-2,000+ and Bump helmets tend to remain at or below $1,000.


Both bump and ACH helmets are useful for physical protection when in dangerous situations. Bump helmets are useful for high-risk events that do not have any possibility of gunfire. Whereas ACH helmets are preferred for situations that include gunfire as they provide ballistic protection.

When determining which helmet is best for your needs, consider ballistic protection, and pricing, and find a reputable manufacturer. Helmets save lives, so choosing the right one is imperative to keeping your team safe.

We hope we have provided the necessary information to guide your tactical helmet choice.



DEANNA PARENTI is a Marketing Copywriter at Waveband Communications. With her experience in critical communications, she helped safety clients enhance their team communication through the help of two-way accessories.

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