Monday, June 15, 2009

Bleg: Electronic Hearing Protection Reviews

Shooting suppressed .22's in Tennessee spoiled me a little bit. I thought it was just too cool to be able to shoot with my boys and talk to them while guns were going off all around us. Now, I can't legally possess a suppressor, or "silencer" as they're known here, in the Land of Lincoln (State motto: "Did you know Lincoln lived here? Did you know you can still walk the route from his home to the drugstore where he bought his opiates?") But I spent some time thinking about this on the way home, and it occurred to me that maybe people wearing electronic hearing protection get most of the benefits of suppressed firearms. I mean, they don't hear the report, right? And they are able to talk to each other in normal voices, right? The only thing the electronic ears don't let you do, in theory, is shoot without bothering the neighbors (or the guy without electronic ears further down the line.)

So, do you have these magical audiological marvels? Do you think yours live up to the hype? At one time, people were saying the Howard Leight Impact Sport models were a good deal for the money. Anybody out there using these? What do you think? I like the price, but I don't really want to buy twice. What I want is something that will let me hear voices but cut out gunshots, and that's it. I don't need anything fancy, but I want it to be solid, and I won't have a fortune to spend.
Thanks, everybody.

Did I mention that the Second Amendment Freedom Rally in Chicago is less than two weeks away? I still need marshals, folks!


Sendarius said...

I have a cheaper pair - only mono, single volume control - and they are FANTASTIC.

I can't see how any of the name brands would be a bad choice by comparison, it would all come down to comfort and price, as performance seems a given.

Don said...

OK, but if you have something cheaper that is fantastic, you could share the name of your treasure with the class. :)

deadcenter said...

i'm using a pair of these:

i used to use the larger version, but find the low profile better for rifle and shotgun.

Sevesteen said...

I've gout a couple pairs from Harbor Freight. Mono. They go on sale around $13. Lots of places sell the stereo version that appears to be identical, for a good bit more.

I think these are a decent value, but not amazing. Quality control is horrible--I've got 3 working pairs, having to return two to get there. If you are a fathead like me, you'll need to bend the headband to make them fint. The other downside is response time--you can't have a conversation during a string of fire, because these don't just cut out the shots, they don't turn back on for half a second or so after. If you aren't trying to use them in an action shooting event (even as a spectator), this is less of a problem.

Anonymous said...

I have these.

Peltor 97044 Tactical 6S Active Volume Hearing Protector

they work well. I think they are "tactical" because they can be attached to a radio for communication purposes. i'm not sure that will ever be useful to me.


2nd_to_one said...


I have the Peltor 97039 Tactical 7S Hearing Protectors which I really like. Unlike many of the cheaper versions they do not shut off during loud events, they just clip (quiet) the loud noise. One thing that you definitely want to consider in your search is the noise reduction rating (NRR) of the units. The Peltor 7S has an NRR (claimed) of 24dB which is nearly as good as in-the-ear plugs. Many of the cheaper versions and even some of the expensive ones have NRR ratings much lower. In general, if the hearing protector cups are thin the NRR will be low.

Have fun shopping.


Anonymous said...

My Dillon set are my favorite. binaural, independently powered, independently adjustable for volume. My wife I outfitted with a set from Peltor, and she likes them fine. The cheap ones are getting much better than they used to be (Cabela's has some $30 pairs) but they tend to lack a bit in the total noise reduction arena and I get ringing in my ears after using them.

Biggest secret for using any electronic muffs is to put on earplugs underneath and then use them as AMPLIFICATION in addition to hearing protection. This helps to cancel out the advantages of the more expensive models, and in fact I don't really care if I have my good muffs any more as long as I use electronic muffs with the volume way up worn over plugs. YMMV.


Unknown said...

check out Walkers Game Ear for hearing protection.Has all types of hearing protection.

Anonymous said...

I'll second formerflyer, both on the Dillon muffs and wearing plugs underneath.

azlibertarian said...

The sort of shooting you do has an influence on which hearing protector you should select. I'm much more of a pistol shooter, so having an earmuff interfere with a cheek weld isn't a problem for me.

I use a Peltor TacPro. All of us over the years have acquired "stuff"-- holsters, cleaning supplies, doo-dads and what-nots. Looking back at it, some of this "stuff" was a good purchase; other stuff--not so much. However, this electronic hearing protector is clearly--clearly--the best money I've spent on my shooting hobby.

I'm a guy in my 50's, and besides my ear-drum shattering hobby, I've spent a career in aviation. In other words, my hearing is shot (no pun intended) to the point that I've got tinnatus (constant ringing in my ears). I've been very aware of the need to be careful with my hearing, but I guess some things just don't work out.

A word on the cheaper hearing protection: I've also got a pair of cheaper electronic earmuffs. Cheaper is cheaper for a reason. This pair, which I got from Cheaper-than-Dirt, are almost unusable as electronic hearing protection. I only use them with my loud lawn equipment.

FWIW, I only use earplugs and my electronic hearing protection when I'm shooting on an indoor range.

Firehand said...

While back picked up a pair of Caldwell low-profile electronic at Midway for $25. Not bad at all. Do a pretty good job of damping out shots, volume comes back on within a second; not as fast as some of the high-dollar models, but good enough.

Nothing is as good as when you can stand there firing a suppressed .22; but these work nicely, for a good price.

On indoor ranges I used plugs and the muffs with the volume turned way up.