shooting range

Best Ear Protection For The Shooting Range

The noise level of a 9mm handgun typically reaches around 160 decibels, a level high enough to cause irreversible hearing damage if no ear protection is worn.

In comparison, a 5.56 caliber rifle with a 16-inch barrel produces an average noise level between 166 and 171 dB. Even with the use of a suppressor, these levels drop to about 135–145 dB, which is still dangerously high for unprotected ears.

With that said, you should aim for ear protection that delivers a noise reduction rating of at least 22, although a noise reduction of 30 is desirable if you’re shooting larger caliber firearms. 

Best Ear Protection For The Shooting Range
Senior Airman Anjelo Pool, 341 Missile Security Operations Squadron, Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana, participates in the Nuclear Advanced Designated Marksman course March 16, 2022 at Camp Guernsey, Wyoming. NADM is the initial qualification on the M24 and M107 weapon systems and teaches counter-sniper skills with the same weapons. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sarah Post)

Based on that criteria we chose the Safariland Liberator as the best ear protection for the shooting range.

Now, let’s dive into our list of the best ear protection for shooting.

Summary Of The Best Hearing Protection

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best ear protection for shooting range
FORT DRUM, N.Y. – Nancy L. Vause, a hearing conservation consultant with U.S. Army Public Health Command, assists a Soldier from 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI), with properly fitting hearing protection before the start of a live fire training event near Fort Drum, N.Y. Aug. 22. Soldiers from 2-22 Inf. participated in a hearing conservation and protection study conducted by USAPHC to measure the impact firing a large weapon system has on hearing as well as measuring the effectiveness of properly fitted hearing protection both before and after firing the weapon. (Photo by Warren W. Wright Jr., Fort Drum MEDDAC Public Affairs)

Best Ear Protection For The Shooting Range

Best for Indoor Ranges: Peltor Sport Tactical 500​​

When it comes to indoor shooting, ear protection is non-negotiable. Among the plethora of options, the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 ear muffs rise to the top, distinguishing themselves as the best in class. Their exceptional performance is attributed to several key features:

Advanced Sound Technology: These ear muffs utilize innovative 3M SMART technologies. This means they not only dampen harmful gunshot noises but also amplify low-level sounds like conversations. This is particularly beneficial in an indoor range where communication and situational awareness are crucial.

best ear protection for shooting range

Comfort and Fit: Designed with ergonomics in mind, the Tactical 500s are lightweight and have comfortable ear cushions, making them ideal for prolonged use. The adjustable headband ensures a snug fit, essential for effective noise reduction.

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR): With an NRR of 26 dB, they provide substantial protection against the loud, reverberating sounds typical of indoor ranges.

Bluetooth Connectivity: This feature sets the Tactical 500 apart. Shooters can connect their devices wirelessly, allowing them to take calls or listen to music without compromising on protection.

Durability and Battery Life: These ear muffs are built to last, with a robust design and long battery life, ensuring they stand up to regular use at the range.

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Best In-Ear Electronic Hearing Protection for Shooting: AXIL XCOR Digital HearPro Wireless Earbuds

The AXIL XCOR Digital HearPro Wireless Earbuds are a top choice if you’re looking for an in-ear type of ear pro. This is due to several impressive features:

Advanced Sound Filtering: The XCOR Digital HearPro Earbuds are equipped with state-of-the-art sound filtering technology. This allows them to precisely block hazardous shooting noises while enhancing ambient sounds. Shooters can hear range commands or converse with peers without removing the earbuds, ensuring continuous protection.

best ear protection for shooting range

Wireless Convenience: These earbuds eliminate the hassle of wires, offering unparalleled freedom of movement and comfort. This feature is particularly beneficial in shooting scenarios where unencumbered movement is key.

Customizable Fit: The AXIL earbuds come with multiple tip options, ensuring a secure and comfortable fit for a variety of ear sizes. A snug fit is essential for effective sound isolation and protection.

Long Battery Life: They boast an impressive battery life, crucial for extended sessions at the range. Shooters can rely on their consistent performance throughout their training or recreational shooting.

Durability: Designed for the rugged demands of shooting environments, the XCOR Digital HearPro Earbuds are both water-resistant and sweatproof, making them a durable and reliable choice.

Best ear protection for hunting (Over-Ear): Walker Razor Bluetooth Quad​​

When it comes to selecting the best ear protection for hunters, the Walker Razor Bluetooth Quad stands out. These ear muffs are not just about hearing protection; they are about enhancing the hunting experience. Here’s why they are the top choice:

High-Fidelity Sound: The Quad’s four high-gain omnidirectional microphones provide crystal-clear sound quality. This feature is crucial for hunters who rely on sound to track game.

best ear protection for shooting range

Advanced Noise Reduction: With a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 23 dB, they efficiently block out the harmful noise of gunshots, while allowing for softer sounds to be heard. This balance is essential for safety and awareness in hunting environments.

Bluetooth Connectivity: The integrated Bluetooth technology allows hunters to connect with their devices seamlessly. This means they can take calls or listen to music without removing the protection, maintaining continuous safety.

Comfortable for Long Use: Designed with comfort in mind, the Walker Razor Bluetooth Quads have a slim, low-profile design and soft ear cushions, making them ideal for long hunting sessions.

Durable and Weather Resistant: Recognizing the rugged conditions of hunting, these ear muffs are built to withstand tough outdoor environments, ensuring reliability and longevity.

Best for Kids: Walkers Youth Folding Muff

Ensuring safety for young enthusiasts is crucial. The Walkers Youth Folding Muff is one the best options for kids, offering a blend of safety, comfort, and effectiveness. Here’s why:

Designed for Young Ears: Understanding the sensitivity of young ears, these muffs are specifically engineered for children. They offer a high Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 23 dB, which is vital for protecting kids’ hearing in the loud environment of a shooting range.

best ear protection for shooting range

Comfortable and Adjustable: Comfort is key for kids, and these muffs deliver. They are lightweight and have padded headbands, ensuring they can be worn for extended periods without discomfort. The adjustable design means they can grow with your child, providing a lasting fit.

Durable and Portable: Recognizing the active nature of kids, the Walkers Youth Folding Muff is built to be both sturdy and easily portable. The folding design makes it convenient to carry and store, perfect for on-the-go families.

Safety Colors: Available in bright, visible colors, these muffs are not only appealing to kids but also enhance safety by making them more visible to adults at the range.

Kid-Friendly Design: The overall design is user-friendly for children, with easy-to-operate features, ensuring they can be used independently by older kids.

Best tactical ear protection: 3M Peltor ComTac V Tactical Headset

Designed for demanding tactical environments, the Peltor ComTac V headset offers a combination of features that make it the preferred choice for professional shooters and law enforcement personnel. Here’s why:

Enhanced Communication Capabilities: The ComTac V features advanced sound amplification and noise-canceling microphones, facilitating clear communication in dynamic environments. This is crucial in tactical situations where coordination and clarity are key.

best ear protection for shooting range

Superior Hearing Protection: With a high Noise Reduction Rating (NRR), it provides excellent protection against the hazardous noise of gunfire while allowing situational awareness.

Adaptable to Various Environments: It is engineered to perform in diverse environments, from indoor ranges to outdoor tactical settings. This versatility is essential for tactical users who operate in varied conditions.

Durability and Comfort: Recognized for its rugged build, the ComTac V can withstand harsh conditions without compromising on comfort. The ergonomic design ensures it can be worn for extended periods, a necessary feature for lengthy operations.

Integration with Tactical Equipment: It’s designed to integrate seamlessly with helmets and other tactical gear, making it a practical choice for the Military, Law Enforcement, and other professions requiring this level of communication.

Check out Comm Gear Supply for a variety of tactical ear protection options.

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Best All-Around Ear Pro: Safariland Liberator

The Safariland Liberator next-generation headset combines unparalleled audio clarity with robust protection, making it an ideal companion for any shooting range environment.

best ear protection for shooting range

Key Features of the Liberator HP 2.0

  • Multi-Mode Adjustability: It features groundbreaking multi-mode adjustability, including Active Noise Reduction (ANR), Active Noise Cancellation, and a hybrid mode combining both. This adaptability ensures optimal auditory protection in varying shooting scenarios.
  • Three Distinct Hearing Modes:
    • Enhanced Mode: Filters out loud impulse noises like gunshots while allowing speech and environmental sounds for situational awareness.
    • Move Mode: Provides complete auditory isolation from external noises, perfect for focused shooting.
    • Clarity Mode: Blocks all external sounds except speech, facilitating clear communication.
  • Slim and Durable Design: The headset boasts slim, scratch-resistant earcups, engineered with advanced sound barrier technology for effective noise insulation without bulkiness.
  • High-Definition Audio: Equipped with high-definition speakers and enhanced electronics, it delivers crisp, clear sound quality.
  • Comfort for Extended Wear: Comes standard with gel ear seals, ensuring maximum comfort during prolonged use at the range.
  • Dual Fuel Battery Compartment: Versatile power options, running on either 2 AAA batteries or a single CR123 battery.
  • Extended Battery Life: Offers an impressive 160-300 hour runtime, varying with the selected mode.
  • Impressive Noise Reduction Rating: With an NRR of 26dB, it provides excellent protection against the high-decibel sounds typical of shooting ranges.
  • Proudly Made in the USA: Designed, engineered, and manufactured in the USA, ensuring top-quality craftsmanship.

The Safariland Liberator HP 2.0 sets a new standard in hearing protection for shooters. Its advanced features cater to every need, from enhanced situational awareness to complete noise cancellation. This headset is designed to offer the best in comfort, functionality, and protection.

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Conclusion

When it comes to choosing the best ear protection for the shooting range, it’s clear that different scenarios and preferences call for different solutions. 

From the high-tech capabilities of the Walker Razor Bluetooth Quad for hunters to the 3M Peltor ComTac V Tactical Headsets, each product offers unique features suited to specific needs. 

The Safariland Liberator stands out as the best overall choice for all-day comfort, balancing effective noise reduction with ergonomic design. 

Whether you’re a tactical professional, a recreational shooter, or introducing young enthusiasts to the sport, selecting the right ear protection is crucial for safety and enjoyment.