The 1950’s New Old Stock USMC M-1 Helmet

This complete USMC version of the M-1 helmet took about a year and half to complete. My overall goal is to always build out a complete helmet using new old stock (NOS) or minty components. This is the best USMC M-1 Helmet I’ve been able to put together to represent the Korean War / Early 1960’s era.


The most important component you have to track down when you start building a USMC M-1 Helmet is the Korean War cover. Finding a mint example happens from time-to-time. I was very fortunate to find one in May of 2017.


This particular example has an extremely strong contractor mark still visible. I have one other USMC cover from 1953, but the contractor markings are smudged and I am unable to see the contract in clear view like this example.




The next part of the project involved tracking down a clean steel pot and helmet liner. I choose to go with the earlier OD green A frame hardware and used at 1951 dated CAPAC liner. This liner is one of the nicest examples I’ve had. There are probably more black A frame examples available as NOS or mint, but this one truly turned out to be better than described when it was purchased.


This particular M-1 helmet liner produced during the Korean War is a great example of how WWII production and design carried over into the early 1950’s. If you collect WWII M-1 helmets you will immediately see the similarities to 1950’s production and design.

One of the easiest items to track down, even in 2017, are the steel pots from the early 1950’s. These steel pots were never sought after and most army navy surplus dealers would have cared less about what era a particular helmet was front if it had post WWII hardware with swivel bales. You can still find these steel post for as low as $10.00 to $35.00 in the US when you shop around at everything from an flea market to a militaria show. There’s just not a ton of interest, but that will change over time.


If you happen to find one of these grab it if the price is reasonable. They have never been plentiful on the surplus market and will only get harder to find.  This example has the early OD green hardware, swivel bales, rear seam and sand finish. This is a difference you start to see in the 1950’s steel pots. Cork was used during WWII, this pot is a good example and I’ve tried to take several photos to show you the finish up close.

The rest of the project is all about the internal parts used with the M-1 helmet liner. There are three main items you have to track down and you should do you best to find the correct version for your liner. If you want all OD green hardware then do your best to find those examples. I try to be patient and always remember whatever you are looking for is out there, you just have to wait for it. Sometimes the hunt is as more fun than the get. A lot of hard work goes into putting these helmets together and I try to remember that. At the end it looks easy, but gathering and hunting for the right part is what makes this fun. You also learn a ton from other people looking for the same things.

Here are the helmet liner parts I tracked down and added to the 1951 CAPAC liner.

  • Chinstrap:  Korean War era M-1 helmet liner leather chinstrap with the unmarked flat buckle cam.
  • Sweatband:  1953 M-1 helmet liner sweatband made with OD herring bone twill (HBT) material and OD green painted alligator clips.
  • Nape:  1953 M-1 helmet liner nape band made with OD HBT, OD sizing clip and black anodized United Carr male snaps.

Well after all the hunting and gathering I ended up with a complete helmet. All the items are in great shape for their age and work well together for a display. I have chosen to not cut holes in the 1953 USMC Camouflage Cover and keep it in NOS condition.





Thanks for taking a look at the helmet I built. Please look for my next post on the 1959 USMC Mitchell Pattern Cover.

1 Comment

  1. Thanks Matt for the detailed and step by step explaination on each part.
    As many years as I have collected, the little details on pots, liners, and OD vs black pieces still baffle me.
    The bales are easy , but the internal hardware of liners make me crazy.
    A lot are dry rotted out and I rip the guts out and strip the liners back to original but then have to get parts etc rebuild them.
    Between paint and parts, it becomes a pain and I just pass on 90% of the ones I see due to issues and no desire to rehab them.
    The cover is excellent, nice find in mint! Congrats!


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