Decided my dome was worth more than the standard issue and finally started making purchases against that claim. Posting the original lid for comparison and contrast with though process.
My preliminary purchase was the following:
-OpsCore FAST Maritime in Multicam with Occipital Dial and X-Nape accommodation. The lid came with a OpsCore Skeleton shroud, EPP pads, ARC rail
-3M ARC Rail Adapters for Peltors
-Peltor COMTAC III, Coyote Brown
- The factory OCC dial and EPP pads are uncomfortable (but still worlds better than the standard issue), will be ordering Team Wendy Epic Air + Cam Fit Rentention system soon. That being said, anything retention wise from OpsCore (as seen in my standard issue) has been nothing but excellent. I never have issues with tilt and slide when using H nape or this factory X-nape in the new setup.
- Will replace OpsCore skeleton shroud with Wilcox L4 mounting system, NVG coming later...
- Satisfied with ARC rail adapters, much more practical than just running the factory headband under the FAST headband (which was factory instruction recommended). I tried that and it was not only uncomfortable, but actually squeezed my head.
- Although running regular factory headband was an issue, the saving grace was the gel cups that I bought with the Peltors, they make pillows against my face/ears. I know they're going to make me sweat, but that was unavoidable with this kind of design of ear pro (electronic, over the ear, cup style) versus alternatives that are ear plug style. Although both styles now have electronic amplification capability, I still prefer the protection of the ears (although this style is at the expense of lid coverage of the head. I acknowledge and accept that risk in knowing I can have more situational awareness with the ability for the ARC adapter pivot out and in for both comfort and SA purposes. If I somehow need to get access to my ears (i.e. stethoscope, Satphone, handheld mic...etc), I appreciate the ARC rail adapters ability to pivot completely away from the face rather than stuck underneath the full coverage of the standard cut ACHs.
- I run the comms line internally because I believe that to be a cleaner, less snag-prone option.
Why I went with OpsCore:
-It was the product that I had most contact with, and seen more unit/PMCs end-users pick up.
-It had clear options at the time of purchase (MSRP: $1718) that I could marry my already purchased Peltors to the provided ARC rail. OpsCore sold this lid to me at a Black Friday sales price which brought it down.
-I first ordered to their measurements, but found the M/L size lid to be too tight on my face, I returned it and received my new replacement XL lid within 1 week. Kudos to the turnaround time on the sales dept.
-On the point of sales, my experience was that they vetted my credentials and verified what role I took, which is comforting to know that the company wouldn't value sales/profit over their due diligence.
On more research:
-As I read on with more research I found the following:
o Team Wendy internals and suspension systems seem to be highly favored, also a Team Wendy Lid retailed at the time of this writing for much less (MSRP: $1011), and it included all the internals that I will not shell out to purchase as well as the better Wilcox shroud that I will be buying anyway.
o The only additional purchase I would have had to incur upon completing this updating project would have been another set of adapters straight from Team Wendy that would have accommodated my Peltors on their own proprietary EXFIL Rail 2.0
o All in all, going with Team Wendy Exfil system would have saved me about 630 bucks give or take. That being said, as I've committed by purchasing the 3M ARC rail adapters and knew that its characteristics running with interfacing with with the Peltors have been tested, so that's a wound to the wallet I'll have to recover from.
o The difference in price point is need for additional purchase of:
-new rail adaptors for Peltors
-Wilcox Industries shroud
-TW Epic Air internal pads
-TW Cam-fit retention system
My understanding is that OpsCore, Team Wendy, Crye are the big three reliable companies right now that produce the top notch helmets that are attempting to meet the needs of the industry.
Much of my current insights come from the Primary & Secondary ModCast and I am really grateful that these folks are willing to have these discussions made public so that folks like me with lesser experience can benefit from their investments in time and know-how.
I hope this gives everyone some insight as to the though process and the road it took to get the gear right.