Monday, July 9, 2012

1985 Kevlar PASGT Helmet, Manufactured by Devil's Lake Sioux, "K-Pot", "Fritz Helmet"

In my quest to bring my tactical gear "up to date", I decided that I had to pick up a PASGT Kevlar helmet.  I surfed the backwaters of eBay and located an overlooked and under-priced helmet that I ended up buying for a VERY affordable price.


The helmet looked a bit rough in the listing photos, but when it arrived, it turned out to be in great shape, but needed a new paint job.  The exterior of the helmet had been painted in standard "SWAT - Police" black, and was quite worn.  I pulled out my trusty can of Rust-Oleum Camouflage paint, in Ultra-Flat, Olive-Drab Green.  Two coats later and the new helmet was good to go!  I highly recommend Rust-Oleum brand camo spray paints.  It covers well, sticks to everything including plastic, and after it cures, it wears like iron......... and it's "Ultra-Flat" and non-reflective.  Great Paint!

This particular helmet is a size Medium and was manufactured in 1985 by the Devil's Lake Sioux Company.  The date, size and makers mark are all molded into the inside helmet surface.  The date is indicated as an 85 in a circle and the manufacturer's mark is a circle with a lightning bolt and horse inside.  The size is indicated as M-4 (the 4 indicates the fourth run off of the mold).  The number 8478 is hand inked in four places in the interior.  This may be the last four digits of the prior owners Social Security Number (Used as the soldier's "Serial Number" in the US Military).  You will also notice a large "+" symbol molded in.  This is an alignment mark for the mold.


 Sioux Manufacturing Corporation


One particularly interesting thing about this helmet is that it was manufactured by a Native American Tribe!  The Devil's Lake Sioux company is owned and operated by the Spirit Lake Sioux Tribe of North Dakota.  


It is more than a little ironic that a Sioux Tribe should make military gear for the US Army after all of the atrocities and war that were waged against the Sioux people by the same US Army, 100 years earlier.........
The Devil's Lake Sioux Manufacturing Corporation opened its doors for production in 1974 and they continue to this day, manufacturing Kevlar fabric and ballistic armor for the US Military and numerous other countries.

The PASGT helmets were first mass produced in 1983.  They were used as the standard US Military issue helmets up until about 2004.  I believe they are still used on board US Navy ships and they are widely used by US Police and various law enforcement agencies, as well as numerous armies around the world.  The initials PASGT are pronounced as "Pass-Get" and mean: Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops .
The helmets are manufactured by a number of different companies, with the majority being made by Devil's Lake Sioux and Unicor.  They are often referred to as "K-Pots", "Fritz Helmets" or as "Kevlar Helmets".


The different manufacturers can be identified by their maker's marks inside the PASGT helmets:

Unicor:     Cluster of blocks that form an abstract "elephant".
Devil's Lake Sioux:     Circle with lightning bolt and horse inside.
Specialty Plastic Products:     SPP
Gentex Corps:     GENTEX
Gibraltar Industries:     Sometimes use the GENTEX mark.
Stemaco:     STEMACO


Let's take a closer look at this helmet:



Here are a few photos of these PASGT helmets in use:



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