Trooper Tech: NVG Counter Weights

Last week, the Kit Up! team spent several days at a live fire training event with the Navy’s Detachment 1, Riverine Squadron 3 in Fort Knox, Ky. We’ll be spooling out a variety of content from that mini-embed over the next couple days, but I thought I’d lead off with one of the cleverest ideas I saw for dealing with the pesky weight of NODs.

As most of you have already seen, lots of special ops types wear battery packs attached to the back of their helmets for both continuous power and to assist in the “moment” created by binocular NODs. Well, the Riverines may sometimes be as high speed (try 40 knots) as their snake eater friends, but they don’t quite have the budget or acquisition advocacy for the battery packs.

So what they do is attach 4 or 5oz. duck hunting decoy weights to their helmets to counteract the natural forward tilt of the NVG on their noggin’s. The Riverines spray paint the flexible lead weights the same color as their helmets, attach hook and loop fastener to the helmet and the weights, and apply them as needed whether they’re on a day or night op (most just leave the weights on the helmet).

Some of the Sailors attach the weights in a horizontal line like the ones pictured above, while others sometimes attach them in two vertical rows of two on either side of a helmet bracket. One coxswain told me he used to have to prop his arm up on the edge of the cockpit to hold his NODs up during long missions until he MacGyvered the “duck weight” solution to his lid.

  • SteelMedic

    I love this idea

  • Neal

    Good on ’em!
    Something I’ve been thinking about the past few days: Once you have to go to those spare batteries, your helmet has lost its better balance and no your NODs are probably deployed, thus shifting the center of balance even farther forward.

    I still believe that extra batteries couldn’t hurt. Pre-weight the helmet like the Riverines and attach batteries to the sides or even inside the kevlar?

    • Juan

      Not sure if I understand correctly what you’re saying, but it seems that you’re thinking that the battery packs actually hold spare cells meant to be taken out of it’s casing (correct me if I’m wrong). The battery packs the OP refers to are actually that, battery packs with a cable running towards the NVG, usually ANVIS 9’s. Pretty much as in this pic

      btw, I’m just an armchair commando so take my words with a grain of salt.


      • Neal

        Oh wow… That shows my experience with NODs. Absolutely zilch.
        Thanks for the clarification!

  • Jon

    From what I understand the batt pack on the back is the power source for the NODS, so in essence there will always be weight back there.

    What Juan said.

  • SD.


    • Bill

      Nonsense, it was all a hoax. Michael Moore will expose this in his new film

  • mcknight

    as an FMF 8404 HM2 this is an extremely pratical and tactical solution to a problem i have experienced myself. i cant wait to try this out next deployment

  • Zak

    We have been running 1 or 2 lb dive weights on the back of our helmets for sometime now. Helps balance out the forward pull by the PVS-14’s.

    Just look for a bagged 1 or 2lb dive weight at any dive store (or online) and simply slip it in behind your helmet cover. If you don’t roll w/ the covers, the above mentioned article works the best. Just get velcro tape from any DIY / hardware store and cut to fit.

  • Hate

    As my DI would say: Why and the F@#K would I give two S#&TS about some squid’s grape cover?! There’s body’s to be slayed and baby’s to be killed!!

  • bob marley

    we use weight bags, made in house. We are special

  • Navyfella

    Some actually attach spare batteries for 152 hand held radios. Run with velcro on both the one in current use as well as the spare on your helmet. Works great for extra power but duck and the stick on wheel weights have become the norm. Not a lot of use for spare 152 batteries when there is a power cradle on board the boat to swap with.

  • Check this out:

    Relates to your discussion. If you want to discuss further, let me know. Jamie