MICH Helmet (Modular Integrated Communication Helmet) is a result of research contracted by SOCOM (United States Army Special Operations Command) and was meant to replace old PASGT helmet (called 'Fritz'). Main reason for replacement of 'fritz', was poor support for any headphones used with communication systems.
This research was a part of SPEAR project, under which, whole new special forces equipment were being designed. At first, helmet was meant to replace 'fritz' only in special forces, but it came out to be that good and available product, that in the end it replaced the old model in whole US Army.
At the beginning it was designed by CGF, then Gallet and at present MSA Gallet. Three versions available: TC-2000, TC-2001 and TC-2002 have different shape. Various versions of MICH are presently used by SOCOM dependent forces, MARSOC (Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command), and as well by some Army Reserve forces, Home Guard, Air Force Defense Forces, AFSOC (Air Force Special Operations Command), and also by law enforcement powers like SWAT or private security companies.
ACH (Advanced Combat Helmet) is now a standard US Army helmet - which is one of the variants of TC-2000 but contracted by four different producer: MSA, Gentex, SDS, Rabintex. Main difference between ACH and MICH, is that ACH is not admitted as a motorcycle helmet.
For review purposes, we have received MICH copy, produced by Polish company - R2 Invest. It makes a good impression since the very beginning. Outer texture is similar to the original, though it is a bit finer, and because of that it is a bit more alike PASGT texture. On the inner side, you may find some typical for kevlar genuine checkered pattern, though after closer look, there are visible differences. Helmet body is a bit thinner than original one and is a bit lighter (100-200g) but it is much heavier than any of the plastic replicas, which are ridiculously lightweight.
Shape is well resembled, though after closer look, there are some differences. Forehead is less rounded than in original and headphones profile edges has sharper bending. Nevertheless if you would not put the original next to the replica it would not be noticable.
Replica is green, but significantly darker than genuine helmet. Assuming that genuine helmet probably had faded away a bit, it is not that bad - though it is still a bit too dark.
Self-adhesive velcro discs stick firmly and make in general a reliable impression. Its placement should not be considered as any problem, since anybody might place it as it is most comfortable, and furthermore - they would eventually wear down and had to be replaced.
Paddings would be the first major difference to original. They are different size, use different material and are fitted with fillings of various firmness. It is interesting solution which makes it more adjustable, by taking out, or putting in some fillings (which are included). There is number of hard fillings in the set (for adjustments), and one soft for each padding, which is at the side next to the head. Original paddings cannot be adjusted, so for any changes we are obliged to buy set of our size - though those are filled with gel which fits the shape of the head immediately and gets softer in touch with human body temperature.
Genuine Oregon Aero paddings
Middle paddings (left: Oregon Aero, right: Volver)
Small paddings (left: Oregon Aero, right Volver)
Big paddings (left: Oregon Aero, right: Volver)
Fillings for paddings adjustment
Paddings adjustment manual.
Paddings cover material seems to be a bit vulnerable and I suppose that after a long lasting usage it might get worn out on the velcro side. Those paddings also tend to absorb sweat.
MICH goes with 4-point sling with padding which props the neck. Such a solution makes it comfortable to wear and stable. It ensures that the helmet would not fall down and as well prevents from using it to suffocate when attacked from behind. Slings are not colliding with any headsets.
As probably in every helmet replica, sling quality is a big handicap. It is made of low quality nylon, which is pretty reflecting, and makes an impression of being vulnerable to any damage. Sling is mounted to helmet, by leather-like flaps and screws, which at the first glance are similar to those from original helmet, though inside they are mounted by regular nuts (in genuine MICH those are made of the same material as sling, and stiffened by plastic insterts). Part which goes under chick has insert of leather-like material, which is not present in the original. Screws are long enough to mount at the back of the helmet - slings fixing goggles.
Sling and neck padding (above - replica, below - genuine SDS)
Chick sling (above - replica, below genuine SDS)
Slings and mounting screws (above - replica, below - genuine SDS)
Volver MICH helmet replica is the best replica of this helmet, I have ever had a chance to see. Though if strong resemblance to original product is important, it is a must to replace a sling with the original one. Paddings are made well enough, helmet body itself looks real enough so there is no need to use any casing, just to cover that it is a replica.
Helmet is available at Allegro for only 139 (about 39USD). It is available in green, black or sand yellow.
Replica was supported by R2 Invest Sp. z o.o. Thank you!
Big thanks to Szaszłyk for giving me a hand during writing this article.