The Adept NovaSteel Helmet – High Cut

The lives of military and security personnel hinge on the reliability of their armor. It is important for reasons of survival and also to continue with a high quality of life that any person in those fields should choose their armor well. They should purchase the best that they can afford.

Via Laura Burgess Marketing, Adept Armor sent me the NovaSteel Helmet to review. I chose the high-cut model versus the low-cut ACH, or their helmet without the Ballistic Mandible because I wanted to use headsets, and also get a better cheek weld when using my rifle.  Adept Armor notes on their website that, “Adept is a research and development firm with experience in both inorganic chemistry – particularly metal alloys and ceramic compounds – and organic biochemistry.  Adept researches and develops the world’s most advanced body armor systems, and is pioneering the development of innovative materials and small-molecule therapeutics and ergogenics.”

Helmet, bag, circlet, pads, pen and hardware

Clearly, products of this nature are already pressure tested in labs, as well as through other methods. While I cannot pressure test the armor in a lab, I can give you my opinion, and hopefully bring awareness to the viability of this product for the end-user. Bloggers bring awareness as end-users to potential buyers by focusing on cost, comfort, durability and function; all important matters to a buyer.

The high cut model helmet is a very popular ballistic helmet and is used by professional military and police units in Europe and the United States. Adept entered the armor market by trying to revolutionize ballistic protection. The primary objective in creating their armor was to harness cutting-edge steel alloys to rival the ballistic capabilities of fiber composite ACH-style helmets.


I was given the NovaSteel Helmet and a Combat Circlet. The helmet comes in three colors: black, green and tan. It retails for $245.00 and is ready to ship within 0-2 weeks.  The Combat Circlet retails for $147.00. This brings the two together for a total price of $392.00 plus shipping. This price is within the realm of competitors, such as Hard Head Veterans Helmets or Protection Group; keep in mind much of what is out there is made with synthetic Aramid fibers. The helmet weighs 2.85lbs, which is on par with helmets constructed of composite type fibers, at 2.5lbs.. In the past armor of this type was quite heavy and burdensome to users. Some of the best forming helmets weigh in at 1.7lbs.  The trick is seeing what can withstand damages and protect your head against almost any non-ballistic threats, while not breaking your bank.

The Adept armor is thinner than the Protection Group but that doesn’t mean that it can’t take blows.

It comes with six pads, and a 4-point retention chin strap. The circlet mounts the helmet, and is held in place with nuts, washers and bolts as is the chin strap. The item came to me unassembled. I am not a fan of assembling gear but I understand how important it is to know how your kit is assembled, in case there are serious issues while using it.

I prefer the BOA type chin straps with a buckle system, which allows the user to fasten the helmet to their head comfortably and quickly by adjusting a rotary knob. The Adept helmet doesn’t come with one, but you can purchase these online as a substitution.  The helmet comes with six pads. I prefer 8-12 pads for comfort, and you can purchase these online too from dealers. This is of course subjective; you may find that you need less padding. The key is to find something that is ultra-lightweight, and extremely comfortable. The pads are modular and breathable comfort pads that can be customized and repositioned.

The NovaSteel™ Helmet is fully VPAM-3 compliant, The VPAM 3 compliancy rating means this helmet has unparalleled ability to stop a wide range of potent special threats, including 7.62x25mm Tokarev, 5.7x28mm ball rounds, and 9x19mm solid copper spun (SCS) rounds. Products that meet this standard are structurally flexible and can easily adapt to the shape of the wearer’s head and body. VPAM-3 provide protection against most types of short-barreled ammunition, such as the 9mm Luger (DM41) bullet. What sets it apart is its minimal backface deformation, ensuring the wearer’s safety without compromising performance. This armor was created in order to prioritize the wearer’s safety and well-being.

Unlike composite helmets with unknown functional lifespans, the NovaSteel™ Helmet boasts an indefinite service lifespan. Handled and stored with reasonable care, it maintains its full protective ability for many decades, proving nearly impervious to cold, chemicals, solvents, UV radiation, and structural loading. Its heat resistance surpasses polyethylene-based helmets, enduring steel-jacketed 9mm rounds at over 1400 feet per second after conditioning at 100°C, without penetration or excessive backface deformation.

While composite helmets demand immediate replacement after a single impact, the NovaSteel™ Helmet stands strong. Its battlefield durability allows it to remain in emergency service after sustaining impacts, showcasing remarkable damage tolerance without compromising future performance. Unlike composite helmets that offer limited protection around their rims, the NovaSteel Helmet provides full edge-to-edge protection. With an expansive coverage area exceeding 110 square inches, it surpasses leading competitors and ensures comprehensive protection against varied threats. This steel alloy construction minimizes concern about traumatic brain injury by distributing the kinetic energy of a projectile across the entire helmet and padding system. In blunt force trauma resistance, the NovaSteel exceeds ACH standards by almost 50%, with an average headform acceleration of 78.5Gs compared to the maximum allowed acceleration of 150Gs.

The streamlined design of the NovaSteel Helmet, with a reduced standoff distance and a thinner shell, offers enhanced comfort and balance. A correctly installed helmet will not interfere with your vision at all, and normal hearing can be achieved. A loose helmet might not offer protection if it’s pivoting on your head; if it is too small and on tightly it’s gonna suck for you. The cut of this helmet will allow for clearance of large communication headsets.

The Combat Circlet: Enhancing Functionality

The Circlet, is made from glass-filled polymer, and weighs only 2 oz. Additionally, Adept Armor offers an optional “Ballistic Mandible” faceplate for added ballistic and blunt force impact protection. The Combat Circlet, is an ideal mounting platform to integrate with the NovaSteel Helmet. Its features include an NVG bracket, M-Lok side rails, a vertical crest for stability, and clean routing points for wires and cables, enhancing the helmet’s adaptability in various operational scenarios.

Most helmets traditionally use three-holed shrouds. There are conversations about how one-hole alternatives lack lateral stability. There are always discussions about the compromise of the structural integrity when doing this. I do not believe this is true, but I haven’t seen the data to say otherwise. Boltless helmets relying on adhesives like epoxy for shroud attachment face challenges related to reduced longevity, diminished modularity, and stability concerns in extreme temperatures. Numerous combat helmet analyses reveal that the front of the helmet is frequently impacted by bullets and fragments, with up to 72.4% of shots entering through this region [1, 2, 3]—highlighting a critical flaw in the design.  Adept however chose to go with the circlet to bypass what is a perceived weakness, and therefore does not rely on adhesive bonds. The Combat Circlet—seems to address those issues with ingenuity.

Key Features of the Combat Circlet:

  1. Stability Without Compromise: The Circlet securely fastens to the NovaSteel helmet’s retention system bolt holes, ensuring superior stability. An arm clips onto the helmet rim, and a rear bar adds an extra layer of stability by tying down the rear helmet rim.
  2. Modularity and Versatility: M-Lok mounting slots on the sides and crest of the helmet allow easy attachment of accessories such as lights, comms, IFF, and forthcoming modules like Ghille and camouflage helmet cover modules.
  3. Durable Construction: Crafted from tough glass-filled polymer, the Combat Circlet is built to withstand the rigors of field use. The NVG mounting bracket, made of anodized aerospace-grade aluminum, ensures durability and longevity, even in harsh conditions.
  4. Enhanced NVG Stability: Compatible with industry-standard bungee cords and clips, the Circlet offers enhanced NVG stability and retention, providing a secure platform for critical equipment.





Cost: 4/5 Would be rated higher if it included a BOA Fit buckle system. Most good helmets using fibers price around $600-$1000 and the best run upwards of $1600-$1900. For a person looking for something reliable, this is a good intro to armor.

Comfort 4/5 Comfortable. I believe it is sufficient for daily use, however when it comes to the head and shoes I prefer lots of cushioning. Pads can be switched out if desired.

Functionality 5/5 Facts can’t lie. Armor companies are responsible for putting out quality products that meet safety regs, or they will cease to exist. They must meet performance standards and compliance testing.

Durability: 5/5 Unsure of long term but believe this is a solid product, based on the data and the fact that it is steel versus fiber. I will keep using it.

Weight: 4.5/5 The helmet weighs the same as comparable models. Lighter helmets often mean higher-priced and often much better protection, but for the money this is definitely a good product.

Overall 22.5/25

I think this is a solid helmet and I am rating it well. Safety should be your first consideration, then durability and I think price. Cost is last for me when it comes to protection. Protecting your head is important. You don’t want a cheap product when it comes to protecting your life. I think the circlet is an interesting concept. I will have to keep testing it. I am quite used to three-holed shrouds but will see the Adept as a good alternative. Give this product a consideration. In the end, ask if you are looking for protection against shock or bullets; perhaps both. Even simple helmets can save your life and protect your head from potential injuries. This is a good start.

I received this product as a courtesy from the manufacturer via Spotter Up so I could test it and give my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give this product a good review. All opinions are my own and are based on my personal experience with the product.

*The views and opinions expressed on this website are solely those of the original authors and contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of Spotter Up Magazine, the administrative staff, and/or any/all contributors to this site.




By Michael Kurcina

Mike credits his early military training as the one thing that kept him disciplined through the many years. He currently provides his expertise as an adviser for an agency within the DoD. Michael Kurcina subscribes to the Spotter Up way of life. “I will either find a way or I will make one”.

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