The Ops Core FAST SF and the Ops Core FAST RF1 are both great helmets for military and law enforcement operations. They both have fantastic and unique features ranging from suspension and retention systems, vented lux liners, and an advanced carbon, unidirectional polyethylene, and woven aramid composite. Each of these helmets were crafted with the intention to keep users safe from ballistics and debris and keep them comfortable from all angles. 

Although these helmets have many similarities, there are a few main differences. In this article we break down the specifications of each helmet to help you determine which helmet is the right fit. 

In this article we’ll go into detail on, 

  • Weight
  • Cut 
  • Level of Protection 
  • Price 
  • And Integrations


The weight of a ballistics helmet is important for any tactical situation. Weight plays a large role in comfort and mobility. The lighter the helmet, the easier it is for a person to move around and run. Also, a lighter helmet is more comfortable to wear for long periods of time compared to a heavier helmet.  

Both the FAST SF and the RF1 size ranges from Medium to XX-Large sizes all varying in different weights.  

Below are the weights for just the Fast SF shell, 

  1. Medium—1.39lbs (630g) 
  2. Large—1.44lbs (655g) 
  3. X-Large—1.65lbs (750g) 
  4. XX-Large—1.72lbs (780g) 

    The Fast SF entire system weight with a vented lux liner and OCC Dial fit band in size Large is 2.40 lbs. Together, that makes the total weight of a Large Fast SF helmet 3.84 lbs.   

    The FAST RF1 Helmet weighs an average of 3.5 lbs. making it the lightest helmet system in the FAST family. 

    Here’s the system weight breakdown per size. 




    3.32 lbs 


    3.51 lbs 


    3.85 lbs 


    4.11 lbs 


    Ballistic Helmet Guide--How to Choose and the Different Types


    The Ops Core FAST SF has a “high cut” with side protection. According to Gentex, the Ops Core FAST SF, “Extends critical coverage over the rear occipital bone without load carrier interference”. With the high cut, Gentex reports increased stability, integration, balance, and comfort from optimized weight distribution. The high cut means less interference and more headspace when wearing accessories like the Ops Core AMP headset. 

    In both the FAST SF and RF1, the ear cut is 16mm higher than its previous FAST model, the FAST XP High Cut Helmet. With each new helmet, Ops Core makes huge adjustments in the cut to make users feel more comfortable while wearing it. 


    It’s important to understand the level of protection these helmets provide you. Ballistic helmets go through rigorous testing to ensure they are strong enough to withstand the different types of situations you’ll put it through. When testing a ballistic helmet’s protection ability, a few things are taken into consideration. Ballistic testing, compression testing, and blunt impact testing are just a few of the evaluations these helmets go through. 

    While both helmets have the same level of blunt impact protection and compression testing, knowing how much your helmet can withstand is something to note.  

    Blunt Impact Protection 

    The blunt impact protection of your helmet is important to note because you need to know the level at which your helmet will protect you against injuries caused by blunt impacts, like falling debris. 

    Both the FAST SF and FAST RF1 have a blunt impact protection of <150 Gs at 10 ft. After the ballistic testing, it was determined the blunt impact protection of 150gs maximum at 10ft and a maximum allowable dent of .023”. This means both helmets will give you the best protection against blunt impacts. 

    Compression Testing 

    Compression testing in combat helmets measures the durability and strength in the material of the helmet.  

    Both helmets have a top-bottom compression of .020” (0.51 mm) Max @ 400 lbs with a side compression of .125” (3.18 mm) Max @ 300 lbs.  


    The thickness often correlates to the level of protection. The thicker the helmet the better protected you are from ballistic threats.  

    As you’ll see the FAST SF is not as thick as the FAST RF1, but it still offers extensive protection to the wearer. 

    The shell thickness on the Fast RF1 is .400” (10.16mm) and offers protection from 7.62x39mm projectiles, making this the first helmet to offer this level of protection without using a ballistic applique. 

    Compared to the Fast SF helmet with .220” (5.58mm) thickness, the RF1 is the thickest. This means better protection against bullets and debris.  


    The Ops Core FAST SF is often priced around $2,000. This is a large price tag; however, with the above features and durability, the FAST SF is a life investment—in more ways than one. 

    The FAST RF1 helmet has a price tag of around $3,250. Compared to otherFAST helmet systems, this is the most expensive. The high cost is due to the advancements in ballistic protection technology, better fit, and lighter weight. 


    When purchased with accessories like the Ops Core SOTR Half-Mask Respirator and Snap Shields, then more features are added to the FAST SF. The SOTR Respirator offers respiratory protection and additional situational awareness. The Snap Shields help protect the user’s vision aiding in further optical awareness. 

    The RF1 helmet integrates with situational awareness, optics, and respiratory protection including Step-In Visor,AMP Communications headset, and FAST mandibles. 


    Closing Thoughts 

    Both the Ops Core FAST SF and FAST RF1 are optimal helmets for critical communications operations. These helmets were made to protect the user all around including from ballistics, compression, blunt impact, and with added accessories—optic and respiratory protection.  

    We hope this article gave you the necessary information to make the important choice between the Ops Core FAST SF and the Ops Core FAST RF1.

    DEANNA PARENTI is a Marketing Copywriter at Waveband Communications. With her experience in critical communications, she helps public safety clients enhance their team communications during everyday work and emergencies.

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