Everyone who has worn Night Vision Goggles (NVG) for only a short while, will recognize that the helmet is not balanced correctly for this. I have hundreds if not well over a thousand hours with NVG’s mounted. And we, regular mortals, have never been issued a solution that worked well for us. The old PVS-7 facemask gave you jaw ache and pressured on your forehead. And with NVG’s mounted to the M/96 helmet it was impossible to keep it in the same position in front of your eyes.
(Only reason I’m looking slightly happy in this picture is because the PVS-7 is off my facemask)
Using the PVS-14 monocular and the issued Revision Cobra helmet, I experienced headache pretty fast, when I tried to stabilize the helmet with the internal adjustment dials and pads. It only took about 10-15 minutes of wearing it before it became uncomfortable. That makes for a long night in pain, if it doesn’t get corrected, when you wear your NVG all the time.
To avoid this, you need to bring your helmet into balance. This is normally done by mounting a counterweight on the rear of the helmet.
Several foreign makers have done counterweight pouches. Most of these are made to contain small batteries or strobe lights or have incorporated lead or another heavy metal to balance the helmet.
If you want to be serious about balancing your helmet, you first have to look at the total weight of the NVG and mount on the front.
On my very scientifically correct kitchen weight, my PVS-14 NVG, with battery and helmet mount weighs: 554g
This means to balance the helmet, when the NVG is attached, there should be an identical weight on the rear to counter it.
Putting lead or another heavy metal into a pouch and attaching it to the rear is a dumb idea. It might, size wise, be the lowest profile solution, but it is dead weight, which doesn’t do anything other than giving you more to carry around. So it should contain something from your gear that you would be carrying around anyway.
Orion Defence has designed and produced NVG counterweight pouches for an Air Force unit before incorporating a MS2000 strobe light, so coming up with solutions to problems and integrating already carried gear is nothing new for them.
The Counterweight, Cobra M/12 pouch is made specifically to fit onto the Revision Cobra helmet and is the best solution I have seen so far.
It is designed to take a battery for the PRC-152 and a chemlight underneath, so it acts together and within the SOP’s for Combat ID/IFF.
A 152 battery weighs 377g.
The pouch from Orion Defence weighs 39g, add to that a chemlight, it’s a total of 59g.
Combined with a PRC 152 battery, you end up with a counterweight of 436g.
A difference of 118g. This is close enough to balance the helmet adequately, if you want to geek out totally, just add a few smaller batteries with velcro on the back for the perfect balance.
Mounting it to the helmet:
The way I mounted it was I pulled the rear most pad out and placed the two one-wrap straps inside the helmet and made sure the chemlight loops were free at the bottom. Then I put the pad back in, on top of the one-wrap.
Then flipped the pouch up and mounted it to the velcro on the helmet cover.
This is the way I did it, you could obviously also do it by mounting on the outside first, then removing the inner pad etc.
The pouch has velcro on the outside, both on the flap that it attaches with and the cover flap for the pouch itself. Here you could place ID markings or other items like a velcroed on small strobelight like the S&S Precision Manta strobe for instance. Orion put in a IR-reflective company logo patch, which I though was a neat thing. Orion also makes custom IR flags, unit patches etc.
I practical use:
Since I didn’t have access to a PRC-152 battery, at home, I tested the pouch out with a lead weight (550g) for perfect balance.
I took a leisurely stroll for a couple of hours one night and did not experience the usual headache coming on with no pressure points. Furthermore the NVG stayed in place in front of my eye during the entire time, I used it. Satisfied with the result, I proceeded to use this setup during the Urban Combat Instructor course a week later and had absolutely no issues with this setup.
If your job entails using NVG’s and you experience headaches, take a look at the Orion Defence counterweight pouch. I am certainly happy to have found a solution that works with my gear and doesn’t add to it, using unnecessary dead weight to balance my NVG.
110% Tactical.dk approved and recommended
Orion Defence can be reached through their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/oriondefence.eu/