Military buys better bulletproof helmets

A ballistic helmet may be able to stop a bullet, but can it stop the impact? What goes beyond NIJ IIIA protection? At the last EnforceTac trade show, we spoke with Ulbrichts Protection about their OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets.

“Everybody in the military knows about protecting the body. They talk about bulletproof vests. But what about the brain? What’s the first thing that comes out of the skin? The head. I’ve never seen anyone come out with a shield on. [over their head] “Just like the Romans did…” says Thomas Poindle, vice president of marketing and communications for Ulbricht Protection. Ulbricht Protection aims to introduce the OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets to the military world because a soldier’s head must be protected just as much as a police officer’s head. Nothing can blow away, a concern that is often overlooked in military funding. On Thomas’ behalf, is calling on militaries around the world to make better, smarter investments in their soldiers’ headgear.


Made entirely in Austria, Ulbricht Protection uses a titanium-polyethylene hybrid for the new OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets. “The combination of both materials gives the helmet a level of protection that exceeds the VPAM 3 HVN 2009 ballistic guidelines. […] “It’s like the magic potion from Asterix and Obelix,” Thomas jokes. The titanium-containing compound allows for a lightweight construction that’s the first of its kind.


The OPTIO and OPTIO+ bulletproof helmets, thanks to their smart design, incorporate a “true pool solution” that allows the helmet to be resized with a rotating knob on the back to fit almost any head shape. “Our helmets are one size fits all, so you don’t have to choose between different head sizes,” Thomas asserts. This affordance is extremely convenient for the user, as it eliminates the need for time-consuming measurements, saving the Ulbrichts money and resources on procurement.

Ultra-protective bulletproof helmet

Effective protection depends on two key elements: stopping the projectile and absorbing the impact. If a bullet dents the helmet’s surface, the uncontrolled kinetic energy of the bullet can cause severe head injuries. A Kalashnikov assault rifle has an energy of over 2,000 Joules. The OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets combined with the FORTIS forehead shield reduce such impacts to less than 25 Joules. This advancement marks a significant milestone in the evolution of ballistic helmet design and capabilities.


Ulbrichts Protection, which serves only police forces, is export-controlled by the Austrian government. Besides the Austrian police and emergency personnel, its customers include almost all special forces across Europe, including Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia. That said, the company’s users are limited to police. On the difference between police helmets and military helmets, Thomas explains: “When you talk to military people, I’m not sure they realize that their helmets don’t offer true protection against 9mm bullets. Military helmets can stop bullets, but stopping them doesn’t mean you’ll survive. It’s just not enough.”


In addition to up to 15 millimeters of impact protection to the rim of the OPTIO+ helmet, the OPTIO construction ensures a larger effective protective surface and reduces the rim distance, helping to prevent the wearer from fatal impacts. The boltless design increases the protective surface by 25-30% compared to other more reactive designs.


When asked about the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, Thomas explained that the new helmet is one kilogram lighter than a conventional titanium helmet, and the weight reduction reduces carbon dioxide emissions slightly. Additionally, all Ulbricht Protection factories are heated with energy generated by plastic molding machines, further saving energy. The OPTIO helmet has a relatively long shelf life of around 10 years, but the helmet itself has a low recycling range due to the material’s close bond with titanium and the plastic family. Thomas concludes:

We really need to focus on conservation, not sustainability. Lives are at stake.

In its mission to protect, the OPTIO and OPTIO+ helmets are the protectors of the most important asset of the modern warrior: the vulnerable, yet essential, head. Thomas Poindle’s impassioned plea resonates deeply: soldiers and officers alike deserve uncompromising protection. This sentiment is reflected in the OPTIO series. At a time when armies around the world are debating investing in their soldiers’ brains, heed Ulbricht’s call: in the face of adversity, every bit of protection counts.

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