Hard Head Veterans Above the Ear Ballistic Helmet [Review]

first published on December 18, 2019 by

With what’s currently happening in Virginia, we’re not surprised people are looking into ballistic helmets or other tactical gear. Hard Head Veterans is a veteran owned and operated company that makes some of the best above the ear helmets in the industry, and they do it at a fraction of the price as their competition. Knowing that cheaper normally means lower quality, how do their helmets stack up?

We’re going to find out. We’ve owned one of their Gen 1 helmets since 2016, and just recently got access to one of their brand new Gen 2 lids. Here’s our review.

Who is Hard Head Veterans?

HHV Gen 1 Helmet

You might be asking yourself this question right now. If you’ve never heard of Hard Head Veterans, we suggest taking a quick skim of this section to acquaint yourselves. If you’re trusting your life to a piece of equipment, you deserve to know the company making it. HHV keeps no secrets from their customers, and are an all around solid company.

First and foremost, HHV is a veteran owned and operated company. They entered the ballistic helmet space due to the high prices of their competition. Knowing that they could get the costs down to a reasonable amount, while still maintaining the ballistic integrity of the helmet, they came out of the gate swinging. To this day, they are the only helmet company in the industry that sells ATE helmets at a reasonable cost that meets and exceeds the expectations of the U.S. Military.

Meet the Gen 2 HHV ATE Ballistic Helmet.

The Gen 2 Hard Head Veterans ATE ballistic helmet is your standard high cut helmet. This thing was designed by veterans for people who need a higher than traditional cut helmet for their everyday operations. While they may look like they were designed just to look cool, these higher cut lids offer a variety of features that do not come standard in your regular G.I. cut ballistic pots.

The higher cut and m-lok style rails on the gen 2 HHV ATE helmet offer the user the ability to outfit the helmet with a communications suite. For anyone who has ridden in a long military convoy with a handset shoved up against their ear, you already know the advantages of this. If you haven’t, I hope for your ear’s sake you never do.

The higher cut also gives the user better peripheral vision both during normal shooting stances, and while prone. It adds all of these extra features, while maintaining an NIJ level IIIA ballistic rating to protect your brain. In the video below, a Marine catches a round to his helmet. While it’s not an HHV ATE helmet, it is a product of similar rating. Protect your brain housing group people.

As always, we don’t like to be the only review you see on a product. So here’s a solid review of the Gen 1 HHV ATE helmet from Mrgunsngear.

Ballistic Specifications.

Hard Head Veterans is one of the few companies in this space who publish their full ballistic testing data. All of their testing was done by a third party lab called National Technical Systems. You can view the results for yourself below.

  • V50 Ballistic TestingPassed
  • BTD/BFD TestingPassed
  • Blunt Impact TestingPassed
  • Compression TestingPassed
  • NIJ Level IIIACertified
  • Comfort and Durability of the Hard Head Veterans Helmet.

    hard head veterans thumbnail

    We just recently got our hands on the Gen 2 ATE Ballistic Helmet from HHV. I’ve personally owned one of their Gen 1 helmets since 2016. In that time, I have worn the helmet for a number of training events, including everyday range use and force on force training scenarios put on by Readyman. Overall, the Gen 2 Helmet feels much the same as the Gen 1, with the only real difference being the head harness system that they use, and m-lok style helmet rails.

    Without a shadow of doubt in my mind, this helmet is one of the most comfortable I have worn. Throughout my time in the Marines, I spent a lot of time using the PASGT, and the Lightweight style of helmet. I even spent a short period of time using the newer issued ACH helmets, and this thing has them all beat. Personally, I wish I could go back in time and slap this thing on turret gunner me’s grape for a few hours, just to alleviate some of the headaches I got from the PASGT in Iraq.

    As for durability, if the Gen 2 is anything like the Gen 1, we can confidently state that this thing will hold up to whatever you put it through. Dropping it from a truck by accident? No problem. Tossing it at your buddy for a range safety violation? It’ll hold up. Walking through the woods? The coating on the helmet doesn’t care about sticks. This thing is as durable as the tests say, and while I’ve fortunately not been shot in the head yet, I’m confident this thing would save me if it happened.

    Trust your gut on this one. This is a $500 above the ear helmet that is absolutely worth your money.

    Why Ballistic Data Publication Matters.

    Hard Head Veterans SidexSide

    At the end of the day, you may or may not choose to go with HHV for your ballistic helmet needs. We won’t fault you either way. One thing is certain regardless of which company use choose to purchase from. You need to see the ballistic data published somewhere before you go forward and send that company your hard earned dollars. If that data isn’t public, you should look elsewhere. It’s really that simple.

    There is literally no reason that a company should not, or would not publish the data from their respective third party testing company. A ton of different things are tested before a helmet can get it’s NIJ certification, and helmets all perform differently during each test. The consumer should be able to easily access and see this data for themselves.

    If the company you are purchasing for refuses to publish the full data from their tests, that should raise red flags for you. What are they hiding? Is this something you need to see? Probably something, and probably yes. Demand that the ballistic testing and certification data be published or made visible to you before you make a purchase. It’s common sense really.

    Final Thoughts on the Hard Head Veterans ATE Helmet.

    Hard Head Veterans Gen 2

    All in all, this helmet is incredibly impressive. Being one of the cheapest currently on the market, you would expect to sacrifice some quality. That’s not the case. With Hard Head Veterans you are getting a solidly built helmet with all of the ballistics data published in the open. They’ve also gone out of their way as a company to ensure that you are getting the most up-to-date equipment possible for the money you are purchasing. In some instances, they are even giving your more modern equipment than their competition.

    All of that said, we’re just an individual group of bloggers. Our results may vary from your own, and we’d love to hear from you down in the comments. If you’ve had a negative experience with Hard Head Veterans or your Gen 2 ATE please let us know! We want to hear from you guys. As a community we can provide better feedback than as individuals, so hit us up.