by Charles Gaines
This is the second in a series of reviews of US army equipment being used in Afghanistan. The first was on the M-4 carbine and it’s associated accessories, the PAQ-4 infrared laser and M-68 close-combat optic, and shoud still be up on the main page if you’re interested.
First, the PVS-7D Night Observation Device, or NOD. This is a binocular NOD, which means that both eyes look can through it. And herein lies the problem. To actually get a single image through the PVS-7, you have to…
close one eye. While this isn’t a big problem when in a vehicle or a patrol base where you aren’t moving around, it is a serious problem if you get into a firefight at night. To bound effectively in pairs, you need to be able to see your battle buddy, and the FOV on the PVS-7 is such that you usually see your buddy when he’s already gotten to his next piece of cover, which is a serious aggravation, as it screws up the next team bounding.
However, aside from this problem, (which is easily solved by not wearing them unless absolutely necessary) the PVS-7 is a pretty good piece of equipment. This NOD when used in conjunction with a PAQ-4 that’s properly veroed makes you a God at fighting at night. You can see; your enemy cannot, and you can also aim, which puts you into a major advantage. While it makes your K-pot forward-heavy, there’s way to minimize that. Otherwise, it’s a great little piece of technology, particularly in the desert, where you can see for miles, even at night.
Now, the new Modular Integrated Communications Helmet. The replacement for the ’80s-era K-pot ballistic helmet, this is a great little helmet design. It’s smaller & lighter than the k-pot, although it still provides a good level of protection against 9mm and shrapnel. It also has pads on the inside, which makes it hugely more comfortable than a K-pot could ever be. Another side effect of it’s smallness it that it’s easier to hear with one on as compared to a K-pot. A K-pot is wearable for maybe a few hours before it gets really painful for most of us. A MICH you can wear all day and barely feel it.
While the NOD mount is still stupid (it places a lot of weight out on the front end of the helmet, which is a pain in the ass) in all, the MICH is much better than it’s predeccessor. Kudos to the Army for picking a great design.