DIY Operator’s Helmet

It is a little know fact that guys in team rooms back in the day (though not so much these days) used to give their older style issued helmets a more updated look by cutting out the ear areas like the MICH2001/2002 style lids and adding rails and things. So as I just so happened to have some time to waste and some extra bits and pieces lying around from previous projects, I thought I would give this a go.

(keep in mid that there are much cleaner ways to do this, but for the purpose of this write-up I wanted to show how the mod can be accomplished  by an untrained person with only minimal tools)

I started out with a Milsurp MSA TC-2000 Kevlar helmet, I lined up the rails and using them as a tracing guide, drew the outline of where the helmet had to be cut.


I carefully cut along the lines with a band saw and then useing a dremel. I then smoothed out any rough/loose edges.

I was hoping that the screw holes on the ACH rails would line up so that I didn’t have to put too many holes in the helmet, unfortunately I did end up having to drill two more in the back. I also drilled 3 smaller holes on the front part of the helmet for the VAS shroud.

Next I spray painted the inside of the shell with some flat black and the outside with some krylon camo tan and added some FAST helmet Velcro I picked up off eBay for around $5.

I found a cheapo plastic PASGT helmet replica my son had used for a Halloween costume a few years ago and carefully stripped off the rubber liner from the bottom edges of the plastic helmet and heated the liner with a heat gun to soften it up. Next I mixed some two part epoxy and applied it to the exposed armid edges. I then carefully pressed the rubber liner on, holding it in place useing some gorilla tape until the epoxy is set. Plenty of people that have worked in factories where these helmets are made have said that they themselves use everything from band saws to jigsaws to cut TC2000’s into a TC2002 because the helmets didn’t meet the weight tolerances. The most important thing to remember when performing this mod, is to make sure to thoroughly seal any cut edges and holes to prevent moisture or debris from getting into the material and so that the Kevlar does not delaminate.

At this stage I also took some extra epoxy and filled in the Center hole from the original NVG mounting plate skrew and then sanded it flush once it is completely dry.

Once any excess epoxy has been smoothed out with a dremel and paint is compltely dry, I clean off any obvious dust and dirt with a rag then I begin attaching the rails, the helmet liner, the H-nape, and helmet cover and it’s done.

(NOTE: incase of the absence of OPSCORE 22mm ballistic screws, you can order replacement screws directly from OPSCORE for about $10USD. Alternatively, you can pick up 4x M5 A2 25mm Slot Head screws which look identical to the OEM ARC/ACH rail screws once installed and painted)

The total project took about 4 hours from start to finnish. What I ended up with is a fairly nice looking “OPSCORE-style” brain bucket.



If I did have to buy all the parts for this build (not including the accessories) it would not be far from the following parts/price list:

  • MSA TC2000(used) $75
  • OPSCORE ARC/ACH Rails $110
  • H-Nape and Pads: $120
  • OPSCORE FAST Velcro patch set $20

For a grand total of about $385 dollars, which compared to a genuine Opscore Ballistic or even Carbon helmet (which are both close to $1,000) one can see why similar mods have become an attractive option with guys belonging to units that weren’t issued IBH/TC2002/Opscores/ etc.

I don’t know that I would personally stake my life on an untested DIY project but for what it’s worth it was a fun “make work” project.

I’d still have to do a bit more research into whether or not cutting aramid is detrimental to its ballistic properties. I know that a dead drop of a Kevlar plate or helmet even from waist height can cause bubbles in the aramid and ultimately damage it.  I do have the ear pieces that I cut out in this project so I may just have to do my own tests on them. I will update this post when I do.

Here is an actual OPSCORE Ballistic helmet fore reffrence, though I doubt anyone reading this wouldn’t already know what one looks like.

(other accessories: SS precision V-Lites, Manta strobe, ANVIS NVG mount, First SPEAR stretch cover, and Princeton Tech MPLS)

Thanks for reading.



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