First available in early 2015, the Ops-Core Sentry and ACH Mandibles and Visors are now more broadly available through Ops-Core’s ecommerce website. Using a unique system design, the mandible and visor combine to provide full-face protection for Ops-Core Sentry Helmets, and ACH style helmets, including certain Gentex Tactical Ballistic Helmets (TBH) using an Ops-Core Upgrade Kit. Unique features of the mandibles include a front vent that prevents fogging and a folding mechanism for easy storage.
Ops-Core Sentry Visor and Mandible shown separately as well as on an Ops-Core Sentry Helmet.
Development of the Ops-Core Sentry Mandible and Visor started as a response to a U.S. government solicitation in 2013. The Program Office was looking for a Maxillofacial System (MFS) that could be worn in conjunction with a visor for complete eye and face protection. The Ops-Core Design Team learned from user feedback trials that dismounted infantry would resist adopting a rigid mandible due to the impediment it created to rifle sighting. This drove the Design Team to pursue two MFS paths: a flexible mandible for dismounted infantry that allowed for rifle sighting (the Ops-Core Gunsight Mandible) and a rigid mandible for mounted infantry manning turret guns (the Ops-Core Sentry Mandible and Visor).
While there wasn’t an Ops-Core MFS product at that time, the Ops-Core Design Team did obtain user input on competitors’ MFS products, which revealed tremendous frustration with existing solutions. Rigid mandibles were typically a one-piece static design that did not allow for exhaled breath to be vented out of the system. This consistently caused fogging on the visor and therefore rendered the product ineffective. In addition, these one piece static designs were typically as wide as a helmet and difficult to stow in a ruck sack.
The Ops-Core Design Team responded to these issues by creating a hinged MFS system that provided two benefits: 1) the hinge at the front of the mandible provided a critical exit for exhaled breath and a critical intake for inhaled breath so that the visor would not fog up; 2) the hinge allowed the mandible to fold up so that it could be easily stowed in a ruck sack and take up as little storage space as possible. The Design Team took MFS thinking one step further by creating a visor that attaches edge to edge on the mandible to create a sealed system, protecting the user from dust and debris.
From its inception, the use of the Ops-Core Sentry Mandible has matured and expanded beyond what the Ops-Core Design Team had originally intended. Designed for defense and law enforcement use, the Sentry Mandible is ideal for exposed vehicle crewmen. When used in conjunction with the Ops-Core Sentry Helmet, the Sentry Mandible creates a full-face ballistic helmet. The Sentry Mandible meets RTP 9mm protection requirements at 1400 FPS and the 17grain V50 requirement at 1800 FPS.
The Sentry Mandible is also a great choice for crowd and riot control. In 2016, the Sentry Mandible was chosen from a broad field of competitors to protect law enforcement at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The design quickly gained confidence and traction with the user community, so a second version was produced that fits ACH style helmets, once an Ops-Core Upgrade Kit is added. The Upgrade Kit includes Ops-Core Accessory Rail Connectors (ARCs), which allow for the addition of components such as mandibles and visors. Ops-Core offers almost identical mandible and visor configurations for ACH style helmets, the key difference being the different geometry between Ops-Core Sentry Helmets and the ACH.
Mandibles and visors continue to gain popularity with users based on their mission requirements. Not every user will want a rigid mandible because of the rifle-sighting impediment, but innovative solutions like the rifle stock that Sig Sauer has created to work with the Ops-Core Sentry Mandible strives to address this deficiency. The geometry of the rifle stock is shaped to go around the front of the mandible so that the rifle can be correctly sighted.
Given the success of the Ops-Core Sentry Mandible and Visor, different variations of them are currently in development, such as the mandible for the Ops-Core FAST Carbon Helmet, which is expected to be available in early 2017.