HomeMilitary Body ArmorHead Over Heels: Militaries To Buy Better Ballistic Helmets

Head Over Heels: Militaries To Buy Better Ballistic Helmets

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Ballistic helmets might stop a bullet, but can they stop its impact? What lies beyond NIJ IIIA protection? At the last EnforceTac trade fair, we spoke to Ulbrichts Protection about the OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets.

“Every military force knows to protect the body. There they talk about body armor. And what about the brain? What’s the first thing which appears if you get out of your hide? The head. I’ve never seen someone who is coming out with a shield [over their head] like the Romans did…” says Thomas Poandl, the Vice President of Marketing and Communication at Ulbrichts Protection. Ulbrichts Protection aspire to bring the OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets to the world of military, because a soldier’s head must be protected just as much as a cop’s. Nothing should be blown to pieces – a concern often overlooked by military funds. On behalf of Thomas, BodyArmorNews.com appeals to armies across the world to invest better, smarter in their soldiers’ headgear.


Crafted entirely in Austria, including the materials, Ulbrichts Protection uses a hybrid between titanium and polyethylene for the new OPTIO & OPTIO+ helmets. “The harmonization of both materials, brings the helmet to a protection level exceeding the VPAM 3 HVN 2009 ballistic guideline […] it is like the magic potion from Asterix and Obelix” Thomas jokes. The blend including titanium ensures lightweight construction – one of the first of its kind.


OPTIO & OPTIO+ ballistic helmets are designed smart, incorporating a “true pool solution” – a turnable knob on the back of the helmet that alters its size to fit almost any head shape: “Our helmet is one size fits all so you don’t have to choose between the different head sizes” affirms Thomas. This affordance offers great convenience to the user by avoiding time-consuming measurements, as well as the Ulbrichts’ money and resources in procurement.

Ultra-protective ballistic helmets

Effective protection rests on two key factors: stopping a projectile and absorbing impact. In the case of a bullet creating an indent on the surface of the helmet, severe head injuries may occur as the kinetic energy of the bullet is not managed. A Kalashnikov assault rifle possesses the energy of over 2000 joules. The OPTIO & OPTIO+ helmets together with the FORTIS forehead shield can reduce such impact to below 25 joules. This advancement represents a significant milestone in the evolution of ballistic helmet design and functionality.

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Catering exclusively to police forces, Ulbrichts Protection are export regulated by the Austrian government. Apart from the Austrian police and first responders, their clients include almost all the special forces across Europe – Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, and more. This being said, their users remain restricted to the police. Elaborating on the disparity between police and military helmets, Thomas expresses: “If you talk to military people, I am not sure they are aware that their helmet does not give them true protection against 9mm. Military helmets may stop a bullet, but stopping doesn’t mean you survive. It’s not enough”.


Aside from trauma protection up to 15 millimeters to the rim of the OPTIO+ helmet, OPTIO’s construction guarantees a larger effective protective surface, reducing edge distance to prevent fatal trauma to the wearer. The boltless design provides a 25-30% increase in protective area compared to other, more reactionary designs.

A Choice

When asked about reducing carbon footprint, Thomas explained that the new helmets are one kilogram lighter than the older titanium helmets – decreased weight, saves a little bit of carbon dioxide. All Ulbrichts Protection factories are also heated with the energy generated from the plastic molding machine, further saving energy. Even though the OPTIO helmets have a relatively long shelf life of about ten years, the scope of recycling the actual helmet is narrow – given that the materials involve a tight bond between titanium and the plastic family. Thomas concludes by taking a stance:

We have to really focus on the protection and not on the sustainability. Lives are at stake.

In the mission for protection, the OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets are guardians of the modern warrior’s most crucial asset: the head, vulnerable yet indispensable. Thomas Poandl’s impassioned plea resonates deeply – soldiers and officers alike deserve nothing less than uncompromising defense, a sentiment echoing in the OPTIO series. As armies worldwide debate the investment in their soldiers’ brains, let them heed Ulbrichts’ call: in the face of adversity, every ounce of safeguarding counts.

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