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Discussion in 'Shooting Gear and Storage' started by AJRL, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. AJRL

    AJRL member

    (I realize there are several other threads on this topic, but after reading through all of them, I decided to start another. Feel free to combine it with one of the older threads if necessary.)

    I need opinions on earmuff-style ear protection. I've only gone shooting once. It was at an indoor range with ten people at a time firing anything from 9mms to .45s. I used the loaner ears and eyes that the range had, and they were completely awful.

    I plan only to shoot handguns (at least for now), sometimes at an indoor range but hopefully more often at the outdoor range near my house. Being able to hear commands isn't really an issue for me because I'm not military or police, but it would be nice to be able to communicate if possible. After reading posts on various websites, it seems to me that some cheap foam 33-NRR Hearos combined with high-quality earmuffs will give me the best combination of protection and economy.

    I'm hoping not to spend more than about $150, although my biggest concern overall is protecting my hearing. I've read conflicting things about passive vs. electronic earmuffs; that doesn't matter a whole lot as long as I get the highest degree of hearing protection.

    Suggestions or recommendations? Also, if anybody thinks that the Hearos+earmuffs idea is terrible for whatever reason, let me know.
  2. Vector

    Vector Well-Known Member

    Hello and welcome to the forum.

    If you have been reading my thread, hearing protection comes with a wide variety of opinions. To me the maximum protection should be key as many an older shooter laments about not having protected their hearing over the years, and are now deaf or nearly so.

    The ones I've used for years have a high NRR, but I need at least another pair or two for family/friends to shoot with. Additionally there is something to be said for being able to hear others while at the range/fireline.
    So I am leaning on getting electronic ones while simultaneously wearing plugs. However I do not want to spend as much as you in the $150 range. If you look at my last post, you will see ones that are rated pretty high for electronic ones, and are in the $70 range. While I have not settled on those, I do think they are a possibility. Yet others will probably chine in saying they are too bulky for firing long guns, which may in fact be a drawback.

    Bottom line is that you probably should have muffs at least in the high 20's with 30's being preferable from a safety standpoint.

  3. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    You know those foamy ear plugs? Absolutely invaluable. Properly inserted in the ears, they are phenomenal.

    Add a comfortable set of ear muffs for double hearing protection and you're set for anything short of some heavy duty stuff you don't really see much.

    Neither needs to cost you much.

    You can certainly spend a few hundred on ultra high quality stuff, even electronic muffs. But the attraction of electronic muffs is that they allow normal conversation to pass through, while blocking the loud impulse noises from gunfire. That pass through part is a convenience, not a part of the effective blocking of gunfire related noise. They don't do that much better, if at all better, than properly inserted foam ear plugs.

    Look at the noise reduction rating (NRR) of anything you might be interested in. Higher is better. Foam ear plugs are typically around 29. Higher prices with ear muffs do buy you some higher NRR's relative to lower priced ear muffs, but I believe the biggest difference will be in comfort. (Which is not to be ignored, either.)
  4. Outlaw Man

    Outlaw Man Well-Known Member

    It's all relative. Even the most expensive electronic muffs are cheap compared to a suppressor. :D

    That said, high quality electronic plugs can be even higher.

    My personal preference is plugs and muffs for handguns and/or indoor ranges. Outside with most rifles, I'm comfortable using plugs only - though I don't have any of those monster rifles. I haven't found any muffs that let me get a comfortable and consistent cheek weld without compromising hearing protection.

    As such, I've gone with a really good (custom) set of passive plugs, combined with a decent ($20-25) passive muff that has a good seal and good noise rating. I can't remember what brand mine are. With both, I can barely hear normal conversation. Like you, though, I'm not doing anything where I need range communication.
  5. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Well-Known Member

  6. bill3424

    bill3424 Well-Known Member

    Indoors....plugs and electronic muffs.

    Outdoors (depending on how many and what is being shot).....plugs or just electronic muffs.

    I like MSA Sordins, but they are pricey.
  7. Ehtereon11B

    Ehtereon11B internet infantryman

    It is very important to your hearing to double up when shooting indoors. Shooting weapons in an indoor range means the sound waves have nowhere to go but ears and bounce around 4 walls so plugs and muffs are a must. I am not a fan of the disposable foam or rubber ear plugs because I like reusable ones so I can just keep the same pair in my jeans for those spontaneous trips to the range. I use Surefire EP3 and they work great for the relatively low price tag. Bring them home, wash them in the sink and they are good for another day. Never a worry about running out.

    The Surefires are low profile so I wear muffs over them when shooting indoors, which is a rarity. Using Plugs and muffs exponentially increase your NRR hearing protection. I am not sure the math but it is more than just NRR of plugs + NRR of muffs = total NRR. So even the cheapest muffs you can find, combined with plugs will be more than adequate. I saw some muffs with NRR of 20 at Bass Pro the other day for around $12 and almost bought them to replace the muffs I got at a NASCAR race years ago.
  8. RetiredUSNChief

    RetiredUSNChief Well-Known Member

    Funny you should say that!

    I ran across something on another website about this (maybe The Box O' Truth?) where a guy talked about how he hated waste and thought up a way of salvaging those foam ear plugs.

    Save 'em up, put them in one of those zipper laundry bags, like what women put their pantyhose in to protect them, and simply toss them in the washer like you would any other clothes.

    They come out squeeky-clean.


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