There was a wild squeal as gears shifted before the ramp to the C-130J opened, my peltors clicked out for a moment blocking the sound and all at once I felt the pressure change against my skin and deep inside my ears. The loud drone of the engines filled the inside of the aircraft as our eyes adjusted to the sunlight. The late afternoon sun burned away the darkness and illuminated us clad in Crye multicams with MC-6 static line parachutes on our backs and 50 pounds rucks hanging between our legs. The ramp opened fully and I could clearly see the ground flashing by 1250 feet beneath us as the C-130J slowed to a snail’s pace of 130 knots. I held my static line firmly as the Jumpmaster gave us the stand-by signal. The light turned from no-go to green go, “GO GO GO!” he gave the first jumper a solid slap on the ass, the first jumper walked off the edge of the ramp and we all followed.

I felt the familiar rush as I dropped from the C-130J, the gusts of wind quickly faded as my parachute inflated until the only sounds I could hear were the soft rustles of my parachute in the wind against the late October sky and my ruck creaking beneath me. I quickly tested the steering on my parachute to ensure my risers were working before I turned myself towards the designated landing area. 1 minute or so later and I was at 200 feet above ground level. I looked down and grasped my ruck’s release tab and pulled up, it released with a soft whoosh of Velcro and fell then stopped as my lowering line arrested its fall. So far so good. I steered my parachute into the wind and prepared for impact. I heard my ruck hit below me which gave me little less than a second before I impacted. A sudden gust of wind caught me and I landed cross-wind. In the blur of impacts that followed my head hit a rock.

The lightest ballistic helmet on the market | the Delta X from Safariland Group
Delta X helmet with PVS-14 night vision monocular attached up front, IR USA flag on the side with reflective square on top and MS-2000 IR strobe on the back.

I stood up, somewhat dazed, and gave the medics a thumbs up. I then continued for the rest of my mission. When it comes to hard impacts on ballistic helmet you want to be sure your helmet can take them and still retain full ballistic integrity. I had no qualms as I was wearing the Safariland Group Protech Tactical Delta X helmet. When working in non-permissive environments you expect a lot from your helmet. It needs to be light, have the highest fragmentation protection possible, and be able to stop type IIIA handgun threats. Most ballistic helmets do the latter. Fewer do frag and IIIA threats. And it gets narrowed down to a couple when it comes to being lightweight. The Delta X shell weighs a mere 1.26 lbs, and with suspension, rails, shroud and pads it comes in at 2.2 lbs. Compare this to most other high-cut helmets which weigh in around 2.4-2.8 lbs complete. This puts it as the lightest helmet meeting the above standards on the market as of this writing.