Tactical Head Gear


Hey, it’s Marcus – your tactical consultant – here with another necessary bit of tactical stuff to protect you against all the various threats of the modern world. This is something that, well, if you need this, you’ve got some serious problems about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Bulletproof jackets and whatnot all have a common problem: once someone realizes you’re wearing one, they’ll try to shoot you in the brain. That, in a nutshell, is a spoiler for the final plot-point of the otherwise forgettable Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man [imdb] – bad guys wearing ridiculously huge kevlar trench coats to gunfight in the Arizona sun – then getting shot in the head. #Sad.

But you don’t have to suffer a world of ignominy, you can spend a great deal of money on a custom Devtac Ronin bulletproof face thingie.

I think we need to show awe where awe is due – that’s a darn cool-looking and scary thing. It’s plausible that it might be able to take a shot from something relatively mild, which is still a huge advantage in a stand-up fight.

Now imagine the “home invasion” scenario: ${bad guys | DEA agents } have kicked in your door and are coming up the stairs, guns drawn. You roll out of bed, grab your tactical spork from under your pillow before you hit the floor, then start pulling on your bulletproof helmet (presumably you have a kevlar/terrycloth embroidered bathrobe with chinese dragons on it, to match…) as they yell “come out!” you reply with a muffled, “hang on, one mrrgphl …. I’ll be mmphm!” or something like that.

Naturally, since you never know when they are going to attack you, you need to have the helmet on pretty much all of the time. Imagine how useful it would be when you’re flying on a commuter flight and some gomer with a backpack swings and hits you in the head. You’d just grunt, and smile (not that they could see your cold, hard, smile) and say “watch it.” It’s available in various colors, too, so you could get it to match your favorite sharkskin double-breasted suit.

The Devtac website is a thing of beauty. They have some really badass theme music [devtac] and links to videos that don’t work – but, the music is really great.

I still wouldn’t want to get hit in the head by anything fired out of a gun, or, well, anything else, either. When I was an undergraduate, I was part of a medieval reenactment group that did fratricidal fighting and choreographed routines with practical steel weapons. One time when I was playing frat fight, I went up against a guy who was an artiste with a mace. That pretty much cured me of the idea that crusader armor was really that good – basically, the armor of the period was oriented toward not being everything-resistant as much as giving you an important edge over the other guy. Well, the artiste with the mace had a trick of whopping people with a deliberate glancing blow on the helm, so that it would spin their helm around on their head. If you’re wearing a crusader-style barrel helm and it rotates 60 degrees, you’re blind. Game over, man. He even had a little song he liked to sing, to the tune of Amazing Grace:

“A grazing mace,
how sweet the sound,
that felled a wretch like thee…
Thy helm now flat, where once ’twas round,
done in by my mace, and me.”

When you consider the muzzle energy of modern weapons, getting hit in the head with a .308 is basically the energy equivalent of getting hit in the head by a very tiny Volkswagen Rabbit going at highway speeds. Even if your facial armor could handle it, you’ve got neck problems, you’re unconscious, and you probably have a great big flat spot where you don’t want one. Remember the thing about bulletproof vests and flak jackets: they’re just trying to make it better than getting hit with flak while you’re wearing a T-shirt. They’re not trying to make it OK – they’re trying to make it a little less bad than totally not OK.

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I am still with Bruce Lee: practice the art of “fighting without fighting.” Or, as Trent the Uncatchable would say: “The best way to win a fight is to run away.”

Comments

  1. says

    Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man

    Is it someone’s job, to come up with worst titles possible?

    Okay, I had to laugh when I saw the um, tactical headwear. It does look like something for cosplay, and it’s fair cool looking, but I can imagine the exact sort of guys who would get this thing, in seriousness. Then I imagined one of the home-grown militias, all “coooool, man, we gotta get these!” and everyone gets one, painted to match their camo, except for the one dude who orders it in ‘American flag’.

  2. says

    Caine@#1:
    I think they have an AI that makes up bad titles now. But that was 90’s so it was done using manual skills and human expertise.

    Maybe Richard Spencer should wear one and then let people face-punch him for charity.

  3. DonDueed says

    Trent the Uncatchable must have some Puppeteer genes.

    Maybe it’s just the lighting, but it almost looks like the lenses in that Devtac helmet are set up for watching 3-D movies. At least you woldn’t have to worry about getting hit by flung popcorn.

    The latest “tactical” item I saw advertised was an LED lantern. It actually looked pretty nice and relatively inexpensive, but I don’t know what’s tactical about it.

  4. kestrel says

    You know, it used to be so cute when people would buy this stuff for their one special day: Halloween. Then you could be a Storm Trooper or a Nazi or whatever for one day, and it was all candy corn and licorice.

    But you can actually see people wearing “tactical” crap on any day of the year now. This War on Halloween has to stop!

  5. dashdsrdash says

    “Trent the Uncatchable must have some Puppeteer genes.”

    No, Trent is perfectly willing to risk his own neck in the pursuit of his goals. He just objects to being caught any time that’s not part of his plan.

    (Trent appears in Daniel K Moran’s books, all of which are highly recommended. You could do worse than to start with The Long Run and see if it grabs you.)

  6. Owlmirror says

    Well, the artiste with the mace had a trick of whopping people with a deliberate glancing blow on the helm, so that it would spin their helm around on their head. If you’re wearing a crusader-style barrel helm and it rotates 60 degrees, you’re blind.

    Obvious counter: Make a helmet with eyeslits all around.

  7. says

    Owlmirror:

    Obvious counter: Make a helmet with eyeslits all around.

    Obvious counter: Oooh, convenient holes for arrows or dagger thrusts to the brain from behind!

  8. Owlmirror says

    @Caine:

    Obvious counter: Oooh, convenient holes for arrows or dagger thrusts to the brain from behind!

    This was in the context of play-fighting. If mace-wielder actually wanted to hurt his opponents, he would just smash them repeatedly, forcing the helmet to hit their head and neck and cause real damage, not play around with moving the helmet slightly.

    Actually, thinking about helmet design a bit gave me an idea for a less obvious but more practical counter: Internal straps that hold the the helmet in position to the head, and also provide some padding.

    I suspect that real armor was probably better designed than what Marcus encountered with re-enactors.

  9. John Morales says

    If you’re wearing a crusader-style barrel helm and it rotates 60 degrees, you’re blind.

    And yet the Crusaders wore those for a fair while, historically. I doubt they rotated from a glancing blow.

    (Which goes to show the degree of verisimilitude of play-style “re-enactment” — I was almost tempted, once, then was painfully it was not supposed to be serious. Bah)

  10. says

    John Morales@#11:
    A crusader would wear a straw-ticked cloth bag strapped around his head under the helm, and often a chainmail coif over that. The barrel helm fit pretty tightly – your head would be more likely to rotate than the helm.

    The fact is, reenactors don’t LIKE the real experience because the real experience sucked. It is No Fun.

  11. jrkrideau says

    That helmet looks like a knock-off of a 1950’s or 60’s hockey goalie’s mask.

    I wonder what Jacques Plante would have said about it.

  12. cartomancer says

    What are the neodymium magnets supposed to be for? Is that the fastening mechanism, or were they just put in so the website could boast about more additional features?

    The thing about the heavy armour worn by knights in the central Middle Ages is that it was only intended to protect the knight during the brief moment of a head-on cavalry charge. Once that rush was out the way the great helm was usually abandoned, along with the lance, in favour of a smaller metal skullcap, or just a mail coif. Or the knights, having successfully broken through and made a gap the enemy battle line, would leave the dirty, close-in melee work to their men at arms on foot. If you were planning on spending any length of time in close combat then the really heavy stuff was just a liability.

  13. cartomancer says

    For actual intruder-deterrence, though, you don’t need a protective mask – you need an intimidating one. A beatific visage in gold, crowned by the sun’s rays, would go well with most dressing gowns. They could even build in a speaker system that plays the more dramatic bits of the Carmina Burana when you blink.

  14. says

    cartomancer@#19:
    Devtac also sells the “menpo” for airsofters – it appears to be a poly/resin casting of a samurai’s lower face-mask.

    So your suggestion is … oh, wait, you said “beatific”

    A beatific visage in gold, crowned by the sun’s rays, would go well with most dressing gowns

    Little glass diffraction rods and some lasers would give you that sun ray crown… Hm. It’s doable! (I also approve of using O Fortuna! from Carmina Burana – especially the chanting before the drop with the big kettle drum and instrumental.

  15. says

    cartomancer@#18:
    What are the neodymium magnets supposed to be for? Is that the fastening mechanism, or were they just put in so the website could boast about more additional features?

    The don’t ever tell us. My bet is that’s how the helmet closes onto your head – which would be pretty cool – snap on armor.

    Once that rush was out the way the great helm was usually abandoned, along with the lance, in favour of a smaller metal skullcap, or just a mail coif. Or the knights, having successfully broken through and made a gap the enemy battle line, would leave the dirty, close-in melee work to their men at arms on foot. If you were planning on spending any length of time in close combat then the really heavy stuff was just a liability.

    Yup. As the crusaders found out to their dismay at Hattin. Although, to be fair, they probably knew it beforehand – they just wound up there, anyway.

    When I was a kid, Knight Crusader and The Talisman were big favorites of mine. Both had fairly congruent accounts of Hattin, so I assumed that they were pulled from the same sources.

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