Hearing protection selection


New member
In the past I have simply used regular industrial type earmuffs. I am anticipating doing more shooting in the future and having to be able to be understood by my wife while we are on the range. Come to think about it, if hearing protectors will accomplish that, we need to wear them at all times.

I am thinking that active earmuffs are the solution most likely to serve my needs. What I am looking for is the "best" muffs to buy. And I am open to reasons why another technique would be better.

Let the list begin.

I usually wear ether the foam ear plugs or molded ones. The molded ones seem to block more sound. I do wear some electronic muffs, but usually with a set of foam plugs. The muffs tend to give me a headache from pressing on my head. The muffs I have tried are caldwell and radian( I think that is how to spell it). This is a good topic, maybe there are some muffs out there that are more comfortable.
I don't have a lot of experience with the active (i.e., electronic) earmuffs, but I do have some. Howard Leight model is the one I currently use, and my wife prefers one by Caldwell. Both take normal AAA batteries, and last a good long time. Both are under $50 a pair, very comfortable, with a noise reduction rating (NRR) of around 22 or 23 dB. Perfectly fine for normal small arms fire. If you're shooting a 50 BMG or some other type of magnum cannon with a compensator, you might want to look for something more in the 30 dB NRR range.

Bottom line, I love the electronic earmuffs. I can hear everything between shots, which is a huge safety bonus, and they're every bit as comfortable as the passive earmuffs. Plus, as an added bonus with my particular model, I can plug my mp3 player into them and listen to good tunes while I shoot (keeping the volume at a reasonable level, of course, so I can still hear my surroundings). Some shooting schools require the electronic earmuffs for safety reasons. I'd tend to agree. Get on Midway USA website and check their selection out. You don't have to buy from them if you prefer someone else (you'll probably find a better price somewhere else), but at least they have a wide selection, and you can easily do comparisons based on price, NRR, and other features, and make a good decision.

Last word...you get what you pay for. I'm not saying by a $300 pair of Walker's, but if you buy a pair of $25 cheapos, don't be surprised when they crap out on you.
I usually get the highest NRR rating I can. I use Radians ear plugs (32 dB NRR), and then I use muffs. I have used some 33 NRR muffs, but just bought Link Removed. I used them today, but can't give you a good review as I shot less than 100 rds, but I did hear what was around me and it seemed quiet.

I do recommend that you always double plug, but at least wear something for your ears.

If you go electronic, you want something that will limit at 85dB or less (my pro-ears limit @ 82dB). This will allow for safe limits of sound levels. (8 hours @ 85dB is permanent hearing loss) Preferably, you don't want something that shuts off as it will leave a gap in the audio you hear.
I have Caldwells. I bought them at Bass Pro and love them. Hearing between shots is huge. It is really good when shooting with my son.

I bought the Ryobi electronic muffs at Home Depot, originally for use while on a riding mower (2-3 hours at a time).

I decided to try them at the range and they work great.

The teacher of one of the handgun classes made us double up on the pro; I couldn't hear him very well. The muffs are just fine w/o plugs. You can turn them off for passive use too.

I don't know how much they cost now, but they were more expensive than others. However, they are part of a set of tools that use a common rechargeable battery pack. The charge lasts a long time.
As a married man I would say you should try to understand your wife ALL THE TIME, not just at the range! ;-)

I have several sets of Caldwell Electronic Earmuffs, they have been working well for me.

Members online

No members online now.

Forum statistics

Latest member