SEAL Team - Behind the kit - Helmets
Updated: Jan 20
Bravo throughout the 3 seasons of SEAL Team have been using mainly 2 well known manufacturers of ballistic helmets, Ops-Core (Gentex) and Team Wendy. There have been some additional US and non US manufacturers as well seen periodically, though the show has remained true to actual kit and equipment assigned to and chosen by the elite. The below blog breaks down the helmet types and aims to highlight when and where they were used alongside any interesting / unique accessories seen used. As previously mentioned in my blogs, Bravo are a team of unique individuals and each has the ability to choose within reason the equipment that they use, that is on offer to the United States military. Personalisation of kit is rife and again this shows in the teams helmet setups.
I've analysed a huge number of pictures and to the best of my knowledge I've managed to identify the majority of helmets and accessories, but there's always more to spot out there! Ahead of this blog there are two types of helmet that are worth separating, ballistic and bump. Ballistic as the name implies means that the helmets are tested to specific conditions and are to a limit, ballistic proof. Bump helmets offer no ballistic protection and are designed to protect the operator from blunt trauma such as a knock by flying debris, a fall or a sudden impact.
GENTEX & Ops-Core
GENTEX CORPORATION are the name behind the Ops Core ballistic helmets used extensively through SEAL Team. GENTEX HQ is in Pennsylvania and has offices across the US and UK. Originally the company began as a silk throwing plant in 1894 and over the years has expanded into ballistic protection and helmet accessories. GENTEX not only provide equipment to the military forces but also to emergency services and law enforcement. It has over the years progressed to be a leader in force protective equipment.
Ops-Core is a part of the GENTEX portfolio of helmet design for defence, emergency response and security forces.
Ops-Core helmets available;
1 - Ops-Core FAST MT Super High Cut (ballistic)
2 - Ops-Core FAST XP High Cut (ballistic)
3 - Ops-Core FAST LE High Cut (ballistic)
4 - Ops-Core FAST SF Super High Cut (ballistic) (now replaced the FAST MT)
5 - Ops-Core FAST SF Carbon Composite (bump)
6 - Ops-Core FAST Carbon High Cut (bump)
7 - Ops-Core FAST Bump High Cut (bump)
Ballistic helmets 1 - 4 show below.
Whilst reviewing the footage and images for Bravo to identify the helmets used, there is one simple part of the Ops-Core family that helps to differentiate between the types - rails (although do note that rails can be swapped). Looking at the below image and specifically at the rails, each of the helmet types has a different rail and the fixings and attachment points are noticeably different. (The FAST LE and FAST XP are both identical, hence only the FAST LE image being shown below).
Looking at the rear of the rails of the above helmet types, it can be seen that each is different again. The most noticeable differences seen are the attachment grooves located above the rails rear fixing point.
Helmet covers did make identification of helmet variant difficult but generally the rails did help to identify them.
The Ops-Core brand is the dominant helmet used throughout the seasons by Bravo. It's been seen in use by the team, direct attached elements, support elements in the field and by other non US forces.
Team Wendy provides equipment to the professionals in the Military, Search & Rescue, Law Enforcement and for Adventurers. Team Wendy was actually borne from tragedy in 1997 when the founders daughter died from a skiing accident. TW was created to produce equipment to never let this happen to anyone else. TW focuses on protection against serious and life-threatening head trauma injuries and their innovative helmet liner and padding has aided in protecting soldiers providing safety and comfort. TW products are manufactured in Ohio next to their engineering and chemistry labs in their huge manufacturing facility.
Team Wendy helmets available;
1 - EXFIL Ballistic
2 - EXFIL Ballistic SL
3 - EXFIL LTP (bump)
4 - EXFIL Carbon (bump)
Again whilst reviewing the footage and images for Bravo to identify the helmets used, there are a combination of things that help to differentiate between the types. The main identifier between ballistic and bump for Team Wendy in the newer models, is that ballistic has no air vents whilst the bump variants do. Looking at the below image and specifically at the circled sections;
Red - All - forward of ear part of helmet in Ballistic & SL variants is gently sloping and thicker composite. In the Carbon & LTP variants, this is thinner polycarbonate / carbon material.
Green - Carbon / LTP - one standout identifier is the size of the air vents. The carbon has smaller sleeker air vents.
Blue - LTP - mould marks can be seen in this section.
Looking at the rear of the helmets, it can be seen that each is different again. The most noticeable differences seen highlighted in red are between the Carbon and the LTP where the air vent section again varies.
Helmet covers did make identification of helmet variant difficult but generally the front of ear section did help to identify between ballistic and Carbon / LTP.
The Team Wendy brand whilst new to Bravo now looks to be embedded in Bravos cages as a reliable and lightweight alternative to ballistic helmets.
Bravo as mentioned will setup their helmets specifically ahead of their mission with the accessories that they'll need to complete the mission. As such helmet setups change regularly but there are a number of consistent pieces of equipment used no matter where they deploy. Below is a breakdown of accessories used across the team and across the seasons;
S&S Precision M-Ax Torch Mount (Trent)
Helmet cover (environment dependant)
Jason predominantly uses the Ops-Core FAST MT in the AOR1 pattern. This is fitted with the provided standard MT rails.
The Ops-Core FAST MT is later seen in the seasons with the Ops-Core Skeleton ARC Rails (FAST MT & SF) fitted which raises the rail up the helmet and creates a gap between it and the lip of the helmet (as seen in the 3rd picture below). As Bravo progress in time and across operational theatres, the TW Exfil Carbon / LTP is used again by Jason, notably with helmet covers attached.
Ray is one of the team that alternates rails frequently across the seasons on his helmets. In the first season he utilises the Ops-Core FAST MT fitted with the standard Ops-Core ARC rails as seen in 1st and 2nd picture and swaps between the ARC rails and the Ops-Core Skeleton ARC rails as shown in 3rd picture. As with the rest of Bravo when operating in Europe he changes with the team to use a TW Exfil Carbon / LTP.
Brock uses the Ops-Core FAST XP with the Ops-Core FAST ARC XP & ST rails fitted. Brock later transitions to use the TW Exfil Carbon / LTP with the standard Multicam helmet cover.
Sonny has mainly through the seasons been using the Ops-Core FAST SF helmet. Through the episodes his helmet has been one of those that has remained light and without many accessories attached.
During the Yemen embassy siege two-parter it's believed that he's used the Team Wendy Exfil Carbon. This is due to the fact that he and the team are either using pre-manufactured versions of the Carbon or some careful crafting and sculpting from the effects team has filled in the air vents on top of the helmet. The front of ear section as seen in the 3rd picture below is identical to the Exfil Carbon.
Trent continues to use his Crye AIRFRAME and it's either the standard Airframe helmet or the Airframe ATX variant (Law Enforcement version). Helmet is fitted with the Crye Precision Airframe rails to provide real estate for accessories.
Trent further uses the TW Exfil LTP as seen in the VIP grab in Europe. It's highly likely to be this version of the Exfil as a charity event photo shows his plate carrier and helmet on a table. A noticeable variation between the LTP and Carbon is that the LTP has larger air flow holes compared to the Carbon, as well as the integrated Wilcox shroud.
Clays mainstay helmet is the Ops-Core FAST MT, which later in the season does get swapped for the TW Exfil Carbon / LTP. The Ops-Core FAST Carbon High Cut helmet which is a bump version and not a ballistic version, did feature in the Mumbai rescue episode and has appeared periodically as shown in the 6th picture below.
Scott Carter 'Full Metal'
Full Metal generally wears the Ops-Core FAST MT and when operating in an urban environment switches to the TW Exfil Carbon / LTP.
Summer Kairos - EOD
EOD Specialist Summer who is attached to Bravo during numerous deployments wears the standard Ops-Core FAST MT helmet.
Staff Sergeant Vanessa Ryan
Ryan was assigned to Bravo for one mission as a part of the CST (Civilian Support Team) in a cultural liaison role. Ryan uses the standard MICH (Modular Integrated Communications Helmet) 2000.
3C9 - Charlie Team
In 'The Spinning Wheel' episode where Bravo and Charlie must work together to breach and clear an enemy bunker, one of the scenes involves Sonny confronting 3C9. A shot of the helmet worn by 3C9 appears to show it as similar to the Nexus SF Helmet, identified by the high cut and the rail having 'EMS' moulded into it.
Thoughts and opinion
Helmets are a personal choice and it all depends on the environment you'll be operating in. In open grassland / woodland it has its' merits and will allow you to mount all the necessary kit should your day op stray into a night op. In an urban environment I'd highly recommend a helmet whether it be ballistic or bump to protect your head when entering a room at speed, climbing up / down ladders or when debris is flying through the air. The second choice is ballistic or bump. This all depends on what you'll be using it for. For the most parts a bump helmet will totally suffice, plus with it being lighter, when adding accessories to it it'll still be better than adding them to an already heavy ballistic helmet. Bravo use Ops-Core and Team Wendy. There are other manufacturers out there that manufacture ballistic and bump helmets that don't necessarily originate from China. If what you're after is purely aesthetic, you can save cost by purchasing a replica. Again it depends on what you want to afix to it. If you're attaching £4k NVDs, it'll be worth purchasing real steel as quality and lifespan is guaranteed. I've previously used a multitude of helmets, both ballistic and bump. I always come back to bump because of the weight factor and wanting to reduce neck strain.
One extra point that I hardly see covered anywhere in reviews or manufacturers promo videos (or in-depth reviews), is the fact that if the helmet suffers any damage such as a ballistic impact, blunt trauma from height / sudden impact, you need to get the helmet checked. For a ballistic impact it's likely that in the military / LEO the helmet would be replaced, likewise for a bump. A hairline fracture in the helmet compounds can have catastrophic / deadly consequences!
If you want to focus on building that SEAL Team impression, you will need to spend money to get it accurate using real steel parts. If you choose to go down the replica route, a near enough impression can also be achieved. As I always say, if buying real steel, be at peace knowing that you will be buying quality long lasting products that won't let you down.
I am not paid for my blogs by the manufacturers or companies that I purchase my items from. I am not offered freebies to promote a product. These blogs are purely written from my own experience in truth to help advise and inform others who may wish to purchase the items or understand more about them. If I am sent a freebie to review this will be stated at the beginning to make you aware.