Tactical Helmets vs Motorcycle Helmets— Compared & Reviewed


Since protecting your head is a crucial matter when you’re a biker, one of the most critical decisions you’ll ever have to make is choosing an appropriate helmet. As a biker, whether you prefer a helmet that allows you to wear tactical motorcycle helmets or the other way around, what really matters is you choose one that has been given the nod of the DOT. However, you’ll find that aside from the typical motorbike helmets you see on the street every day, there’s another helmet that may be ideal for our protection too— the tactical ones.

Tactical motorcycle helmets, as the name suggests, are generally worn in combat scenarios. Often used by the military as well as those that work in law enforcement, they offer wearer protection from small caliber rounds and shrapnel. Over the years, however, these helmets became increasingly popular among civilians, due to their versatility. Also, many veterans still choose to use them when biking as the helmets help them reminisce of the time that they’ve been in the service.

person riding motorcycle

Tactical Motorcycle Helmets— What are they?

In the past, tactical helmets were designed to protect the wearer against arrowheads, stones and other projectiles. Back then, they used to be made of leather. Over time, as technology on weapons evolved, head protection did so too to keep up with the times. Today, tactical helmets are now made from materials that protect the user not only from shrapnel but also from ricochets.

Needless to say, modern helmets aren’t made from wood or leather anymore. Instead, these head protections are made from resilient and light materials such as Kevlar, strong plastic and carbon fiber. Not only is the resiliency of the materials improved but their comfort level as well, thanks to more ergonomic shaping and the addition of inner padding. In addition, tactical helmets these days are designed to stop direct gunfire, making them real lifesavers.

More than the comfort and protection that tactical helmets offer, different fittings are also used when mounting them. This allows the wearer to attach a bevy of accessories and devices including night vision accessories, cameras, lights, communication devices and many more.

What are the different types of tactical motorcycle helmets?

When researching about tactical motorcycle helmets, expect to come across descriptions like ballistic helmets or bump helmets. Note though that while both these terms refer to tactical helmets, you need to understand that these types differ and they each have their respective upsides and downsides.

Bump helmets are not only created to protect wearers from shrapnel but also from falling debris and other projectiles of low velocity like ricochets. However, it’s also important to note that they haven’t been tested for their ability to protect against direct gunfire. Helmets like these are equipped with a platform where different accessories can be mounted on. This includes hearing protection, night vision glasses, and communication devices among others.

Among the best things about bump helmets are its comfort and low weight. Their reasonable price tag means they make a fine choice as training aids. They are often the headgear of choice of paratroopers and pilots during combat situations.

riders tactical helmets

Uses of Tactical Helmets

When civilians choose to get a tactical motorcycle helmet or other military equipment, it’s usually to be prepared. Ballistic helmets would be ideal protection against armed thieves and home invaders. Whip out some night vision glasses and you can now see things despite it being dark— which should definitely give you the upper hand against your assailants.

If you live somewhere that is prone to natural calamities— where earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes are likely to occur, you’ll feel more reassured having a ballistic helmet around. While the protective gear may not be enough to stop bullets, it is sturdy enough to keep your life safe by keeping your head protected against falling objects or furniture, especially ones propelled by strong winds.

Some also prefer wearing these helmets when hunting. This is because they find it really convenient to mount GoPros on the helmet so they can easily record both the animals and the scenery. In addition, in places where it is legal to hunt at night, night vision accessories are a must for hunters to allow them to have eyes in the dark and have it mounted conveniently on the helmet. This allows for safer and easier navigation and hunting.

On top of that, these helmets will be effective at keeping you safe against falling branches. It would even keep you protected in case you fall off a deer stand. Camouflage may also be attached to the helmet too if you wish to break your silhouette pattern.

For the stay at home civilians, tactical helmets are beneficial when used for fiddling around the house. It’s a handy protective gear when cleaning your gutters, replacing the windows, cutting tree branches and any other repairs that need to be done that requires you to be at a height. You can also add air filters, noise protection, face shield and other accessories on the helmet.

These helmets may also be useful when doing extreme sports. A tactical helmet will definitely prove useful for such activities as biking, base jumping and climbing among others. They’re also helpful if you want to film the entire experience or you want to employ some lighting solution hands-free.

Motorcycle Helmets- What are they?

As the name suggests, these are headgears specifically designed for motorcycle riders to wear. It’s a bit different from tactical helmets since they cover the wearer’s face entirely. They are designed to minimize head tilting in accidents to reduce the possibility of spine and neck injury while also protecting the face at the same time.

Gaining control over your body’s behavior and direction in a collision is next to impossible. It’s possible that you’d fall face first or even skid several feet while rolling uncontrollably due to the impact. This is the reason that motorcycle helmets are designed to encompass the entire head to ensure that your head, jaw, skin and bones are all duly protected.

Motorcycle helmets are also designed to absorb and break the impact. This is mainly due to a foam interior and hard exterior that are combined together and designed to decelerate the head gradually in the event that it collides with stationary obstacles like a road surface or a car.

It’s common for motorcycle helmets to be aerodynamic and smooth. They will likely feature ventilation holes too. Usually, a transparent plastic sheet is used as visor material to ensure that the ride will have a good view of the road ahead. It’s also great at protecting the face against insects and the wind, especially when driving high speed. Some of these helmets allow a GoPro camera to get mounted for the driver’s recording needs.

regular motorcycle helmet

Final Thoughts

When comparing motorcycle helmets and tactical helmets, there’s really no clear answer on which one is the better choice. After all, both are designed with specific and distinct purposes in mind. While both are intended to protect the wearer’s head, the manner in which they do are intended for different scenarios.

Motorcycle helmets aren’t designed to catch a bullet and they don’t need to as this isn’t what they’re intended for. Ballistic helmets do not need to protect your skin, bones or jaw nor do they need to be aerodynamic too. It’s worth noting though that if you ever find yourself needing a motorcycle helmet but could only get your hand on a tactical helmet, you can use the latter. Any protection is more preferable than driving without any protection at all.

While tactical motorcycle helmets trump motorcycle helmets where versatility goes, wearing one every time you ride a bike is never advisable. The elements present when riding a bike is for a totally different setting— one which the tactical helmet is never really intended to be used for. Surface area and speed vary considerably when comparing a motorcycle accident to combat situations.

The best course of action is to always make sure that you are duly equipped with the right protective gear every time. Sure, both these helmets can do the job of keeping you safe, a motorcycle helmet is still the better choice when you hop on a bike. Make sure you do too, since your life may actually depend on it.

Mark Mayers

Growing up into the world of two wheels, Mark Mayers has since embraced motorcycling as a lifestyle. This led him to develop a blog site that aims to provide insightful content and reviews on all things motorcycles, gears, and apparel. Through his work at teknicgear.com, he wants to share the pleasures of motorcycling into the world. Besides riding his bike, Mark enjoys scuba diving and spending time with family and friends.

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