The company also makes a lightweight helmet designed for sport use, called the Base Jump Sport. It retails for $203.00. ($215.00 with shipping and handling.) The factory is seriously back-ordered, however, and you can expect to wait for as long as six months for your helmet to be shipped out! Their website says 12 weeks for most orders, however, after 14 weeks when I asked for an ETA on my order, I was told that it would be another 8 to 10 weeks on top of that. My expected delivery date won't be until late September of 2012.
|Ops-Core Base Jump Sport - $203.00|
They incorporate a low profile, non-snag, Accessory Rail System (ARC) to mount lights, Peltor communication headsets, video cameras, (Contour and V.I.O. POV cams) strobes, battery packs, clips for eye protection and goggles, and a front base shroud for NVG devices, drop-down visors, or a GoPro camera. Or my NVG Monitor System in my post: NVG monitor mount (Which will also work with a cabled GoPro LCD backpack monitor).
The Military version of the Sport, (Not available in red) also has tiny bungee cords integrated into the Night Vision Goggle (NVG) mount, to help stabilize and support NVG when utilized, but while the Sport can accept the bungees, they are not included. The bungees actually created a tangle hazard for me while kiting a paraglider, and also got caught up while I was removing a set of goggles. Some people might want to remove them altogether for these reasons.
The final difference between the mil and sport version is that the mil version comes with an extra rail adaptor, for Picatinny mountable devices) but these and other rail adaptors are available from Ops-core as well as from Airsoft suppliers.
All the helmets in this series, are designed with a high-cut around the ears to allow for Peltor communications headsets to be used. There is room for headbands to fit under the helmet, or special Peltor adapters can be mounted to the ARC rail, as shown below.
|Peltor ARC Rail Adaptor and a Picatinny Rail Mount|
Airsoft copies of these adapters cost about 20 bucks on ebay, but I've recently had an opportunity to compare them side by side with authentic Peltor adapters, and the Chinese knockoffs are junk. A friend was having trouble with a pair, and he sent them to me to see if I could see what was wrong. What's wrong, is that they are substandard copies, not as robust as the originals, and slightly wonky in terms of fit. Too bad.
I include a modification at the end of this post, to show how these knockoff adapters can be made to work, however, and also a link to adapt Peltor sound protection earmuffs, of the style used for attachment to construction helmets.
UPDATE: Crye Precision, a US military supplier of MilSpec gear has come up with an inexpensive set of adapters for their military helmets, that also work on Ops Core lids. They cost a mere $8.95 plus shipping, and work great. So if all you want is ear protection, get a pair of hard hat Peltor muffs, and integrate the Cry adapters, and you are good to go. Check them out here: http://cryeprecision.com/Item_Detail.aspx?ItemCode=ACCPA100000&title=Airframe%25u00e2%25u201e%25u00a2-Peltor%25u00e2%25u201e%25u00a2-Adapter-Set
It wasn't actually carbon of course - it appears to be ABS. But it was very solid ABS, a full 1/8" thick, and then a closed-cell foam layer at the front with positionable pads at the top and sides. The adjustable OCC-Dial system seems solid and providing further adjustment and fitting fine tuning. overall feel of the thing compares favorably - vastly superior in fact - to the fit and feel of my old NAC flying helmet, and all the bike helmets I have ever owned.
While it can't lay claim to the same OHS safety standards, (Some Airsoft gear can be trusted, and some can't) comparing this helmet to others I have worn, I believe this helmet would pass anything any underwriters lab could reasonably throw at it. With the usual disclaimers of caveat emptor and "this is opinion only," etc." I think in this instance you are getting a pretty good quality helmet for only 100 bucks. But if you're really concerned about the lack of actual CE EN testing standards for the copy, I recommend the Ops-Core Base Jump Sport as being only 100 dollars more, and you are also supporting American business.
But as far as safety is concerned, I am quite comfortable flying the "Carbon" copy.
And did I mention that they're way cool looking?
Post-Script - Just a few more words to help distinguish between the two Airsoft versions of these helmets: there is a lightweight plastic Airsoft version which I have thus far not seen close-up, and the seemingly more robust, "carbon" versions that I did get my hands on.
The so-called "carbon" ones are actually copies of the Ops-Core Carbon, a lightweight, carbon fibre version of the Ops-Core ballistic, but designed for things like recon, mountaineering, and fast rope ops.
Ops-Core FAST Carbon Helmet $593.00
The first indicator is price. The heavier ones are more expensive, typically running in the $89 - $115 dollar range. They have oval shaped vent holes, and extra Velcro on the top and back. Also, they have a more visibly pebbled surface texture, as opposed to the shinier look of the lighter Base Jump copied version.
|Original Ops-Core Base-Jump with Picatinny rail adapter, (side) and QD Night Vision Goggles cover|
The carbon version that I purchased was from seller tokyo2k, and is still selling as of June, 2012, if that helps.
I have yet to see one of the lighter grade copies up close, so I'm not able to comment on their suitability for any sporting activity beyond Airsoft, however.
I tried making my own, of course, weaving 1/8" shock cord through the holes, but decided immediatley that the system was over-complicted. Here is a link to the "War Bungee" installation guide: http://www.warsport-us.com/War_Bungee_Install_Instr.html I decided that a perfectly workable, but simplified system could be made from short lengths between each hole, simple loops formed at a level of stretch that I liked, and then stitched up with nylon thread. The rough side is slid to be on the inside of the helmet, and fit between the helmet pads. Alternatively, loops could go from side vent to side vent, along the forward axis of the helmet.
|Shock Cord sewn loops|
My Carbon copy, had the military chin strap, which I didn't like. So I cut off the upper of the two split-chin straps, and sewed on a tube of soft fleece around the strip of nylon webbing that goes under my chin.
PUT A NAME IN IT: I label everything that I take up into the air with me. Remember that helmets sometimes come off in flight if you forget to do them up, and I've seen that happen more than once.
ADAPTING REPLICA PELTOR HEADPHONE ADAPTERS: I do recommend buying real adapters. The copies are not Milspec. Firstly, the wires were wonky. They are designed to be able to allow the headphones to be pulled away from the ears with one click, and then snap down snugly again with another click. But on the pair I looked at, only one side worked. This was rectified by pulling the wires out a little, to reset them at a better angle. Fairly simple. Trouble was, when I tried this, when the phones were attached to the helmet, the knockoff adapters pulled right off the helmet! Not exactly Milspec, it appears. They can be made to work, however.
In the picture above, the 1/2" screw is the right length to go through the adapter base, and protrude enough into the rearmost vertical slot in the ARC rail to allow for a nut to be attached. The adapter base is now very securely attached to the rail.
Easier still is to pick up the newly introduced adapters from Crye Precision, (mentioned above) and integrate them with the hard hat style Peltor headsets. (Less than 15 bucks on Amazon.) Together, they are cheaper than a set of knockoffs from Asia, and are guaranteed to work.
Most helmets, I can't wait to get them off my head. This one, not so much, and often I'll even forget that I'm wearing it.
Even without the underwriter's certification, I'm not sweating the safety potential of the heavier version of the offshore knockoffs, and I wouldn't be surprised if I keep flying with it and pass the Ops-Core original along to someone else. We'll have to see.