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What helmets does the Russian army use ?

Would you like to know in detail the helmets worn by Russian army soldiers? Do you need more information to prepare your Russian airsoft or cosplay kit?

Now is the time to get to know the types of Russian helmets, who wears them and their history: this is the subject we are addressing today!

The official helmet of the Russian army in 2020 is the 6B47. That model was adopted in accordance with the Ratnik program, aimed at modernizing the equipment used by Russian soldiers. It was preceded by many models while most Russian special forces still use many different helmets.

Today you will find the first Russian helmets ever made to the most modern models of 2020 and of course helmets with face protection used by spetsnaz units such as FSB and Omon police units.

We start now !

History of Russian helmets

History is never restful. This is why medieval Russia was obliged to equip itself with protective helmets for its combat troops. But to do so, they had to invent models that corresponded to them ! Find out now what head protection was used by the Russian armed forces over time.

A/ The Russian guard helmets

The Russian helmet started its way in history with the so-called “carcass”. It is popular among the ancient Slavic and Germanic tribes. Let’s not forget that the Slavs are a European ethnic group, and the manufacturing methods used at that time were not very different from their neighbors. It is thanks to iron, copper or horn plates applied to the metal base of the helmet that they created truly unique pieces. Medieval Russian helmets ! Depending on the needs of the fighters, the helmet could be equipped with additional protective elements: face, ears, nasal tongue? They were never too sheltered from a misplaced sword blow.

Thanks to the examples above, you now know where we come from. I’m sure you’re just as interested in knowing where we’re going. Let’s continue.

B/ The Russian battle helmets

Everything changed during the First World War. Hard trench confrontations and the need to stick out their heads and wait for artillery shelling required something more serious on the fighters’ heads than caps or German leather “Pikelhaube”, suitable only for parades.

Battle helmets, or also “the helmets of the 20th century”, have little to envy their predecessors except for their looks. Indeed, thanks to a better-mastered use of resistant and lighter materials. Soviet soldiers, previously Russians, gained greatly in freedom of movement. Such a change is also largely attributed to new needs: the appearance of firearms to radically change the way of protecting oneself. Fighting now takes place at medium and long distances.

But that’s not all. After the construction of the first Russian helmets, many problems related to the protection of the soldiers were dramatically observed on the wounded: torn ears, metal brittleness in the skull … Luckily, the efforts of Soviet engineers were rewarded by significant improvements in terms of head protection. Let’s discover together what happened next.

C/ The Russian army modern helmets

The major notable evolution of Russian helmets is the creation of the latest version of the “Sfera” helmet in the 1980s. Even though it is now obsolete, its ingenious construction, materials and cost was a mix of clever ideas to produce the must-have of the Russian war in Afghanistan. It was the last model of a long series of helmets called “old fashioned”. The modern helmet of today’s Russian army is the 6B47, the latest in a long series of 6B helmets. Its refined shape, its front attachment for night vision goggles, and its side picatinny attachment for accessories (lamps or lasers), simply make it a must-have for all units of the Russian army with the adequate budget.

Soldiers from the VDV wearing the ratnik equipment and the 6B47 helmet

Why are Russian helmets so big ?

Russian helmets are known for their prominent shape, especially their mushignion shape. This idea of Russian helmets comes from the Soviet models of the SCH line: the SCH 68 model being the last of the line. This prominent shape was later taken up again with the 6B helmet line: the 6B7-1M, 6B28 and 6B27. This shape was chosen for protection purposes and is a real particularity of the classic helmets of the Russian army.

The shape of the helmet has different purposes : to accommodate hearing protection and radio headsets and prevent ambient sound cutout (helmets can reduce the ear’s ability to hear.)

The space between the helmet and the skull serves as a margin in case of deformation. When an impact hits the helmet material, the helmet material, whether it is made of Kevlar or resin, deforms inward under the effect of pressure. This can therefore be extremely dangerous if the helmet’s parries are too close to the soldier’s skull. At least it depends on the materials used. But if there is not enough space, the deformity sinks directly into the skull. This is a problem that Russian engineers have tried to correct with the Sfera helmet, made with 3 plates attached to a suspension shock absorber system.

Russian old school units wearing the SsH 68 helmet

Now you know all about the rather atypical shape of Russian helmets, especially why they are so big ! Then we will see how to recognize the helmet models by their markings.

Russian helmet identification : how to recognize them ?

To facilitate their identification, each helmet has a marking. These are always written on the inside of the helmet. It can be inscribed on the inside of the helmet:

  • The date of manufacture
  • The manufacturer
  • The helmet model
  • A serial number
  • A size
Russian Markings on a ratnik helmet 6b47

Each of these elements allows a quick and precise identification of the helmet and its characteristics. It is not least thanks to these characteristics that you can identify a Russian helmet as original or not. A copy will never use the same terms as the original manufacturer of the helmet: you just need to know who the manufacturer is, with whom the army has a contract, to know if the helmet you have in your hands (or plan to acquire) is an authentic model.

Now let’s take a look at the main types of helmets used by the Russian armed forces.

A/ Russian Ratnik helmet

With its modern look, say goodbye to the mushroom shape of the old Russian helmet models! The 6B47 helmet is indeed the helmet of the Ratnik program in service in 2020. It is thanks to its remarkable performance that it beats all the old models.

B/ Russian infantry helmet

Many units of the Russian army use helmets other than the 6B47 ratnik. There are 3 of them today :

  1. The 6B27 : the oldest version of the 6B series, used by the infantry
  2. The 6B7-1M : used by the mechanized infantry
  3. The 6B28 : used by the VDV paratroopers
A mechanized infantry unit, all wearing the helmet 6B7-1M

You now know everything about Russian army helmets, it has no more secrets for you! One thing is still missing from the picture… The helmets of the Russian special units, the “spetsnaz”. Let’s see together now what a spetsnaz helmet is and what they are

What is a Spetsnaz helmet ?

Russian special forces units need mission-specific helmets. And these are very diverse and varied! Indeed, some Russian units are in charge of carrying out lightning anti-terrorist actions, others are in charge of the intelligence part and then interrogate suspects… And still others are there to make the gunpowder talk during attacks on fortifications by terrorists ready to fight to the death. Let’s find out now.

A/ Russian spec ops helmets : light and practical

Helmets used by regular troops are not entirely optimal for special forces missions. Lighter, more resistant, with the ability to attach active headsets and night vision goggles, Russian spec ops helmets are mostly used for Spetsnaz operations in enemy territory. You will find among the most modern models the LSHZ 1+ and the Kiver RSP from Armocom, both of which are highly appreciated by fsb units.

FSB spetsnaz operators wearing the helmet LSHZ 1+ (low profile version with rail)

B/ Russian military helmets with visor : the ultimate face shield

The Russian visored helmet : created to carry out violent and dangerous anti-terrorist actions, they are highly appreciated by the MVD units. As a reminder, the MVD units deal with the internal security of Russia. The watchword is therefore clear: destroy any threat to the Russians and their security. The first models were created in the late 1980s. We can mention the very famous Maska-1 helmet, which was used in the no less famous video game Rainbow Six by the character of Tashanka. It’s a massive piece of metal with a complete face protection. These helmets are still in use (unfortunately the Maska not), because until proven otherwise, they reliably protect the operator’s face from shrapnel and bullets. Thanks to the use of high-strength materials (often titanium for the helmet dome and reinforced Plexiglas for the visors), they are very popular and almost all special forces use them.

What helmet does Spetsnaz use ?

Now let’s find out which helmets are used by Russian special forces!
To begin with, it is important to know that not all Russian special units are the same. Some units are much less financed than others, some units have a clear preference for traditional Russian equipment, while others prefer to buy equipment from the United States at gold prices.
However, there is one thing in common: the helmets that the spetsnaz use are almost all Russian made. And the units always have a choice of the equipment they use! Some vdv spetsnaz units use the 6B28 helmet, others the 6B47 ratnik helmet, some MVD units such as the Omon (spetsnaz division itself subdivided by regions sometimes even sub-regions) will prefer the Altyn helmet or its secondary version without radio (the K6-3)… It is impossible to draw up a complete list of helmets used by Russian spetsnaz units. It evolves over time and according to the missions assigned to these units.

Equip yourself like a spetsnaz, but watch out for customs !

Now that you’re up to speed on the subject, you’re in a position to make a choice. Whether you want to play airsoft with decent gear and expose yourself with a really badass style, or do cosplay, the choice is yours !

Our advice is: choose your helmet according to your playing style or rebuild a specific unit. If you’re more of a door-busting, gushy type, then a good old fashion Maska-1 Sch or an Lynx helmet (with a built-in radio) will be just right for you. However, it is very unlikely that customs in your country will let you get a big Spetsnaz helmet: for whom, for what, where ? Avoid problems, and prefer a high-quality replica.

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