There are several types and styles of earmuff protection available to shooters. You may be thinking, “But, where do I start?” Let’s try to find the best ear protection for shooting. Most firearm calibers fire at 140 decibels or more, so protection is necessary. If you spend a lot of time at the range, choose electronic earmuffs. On the other hand, if you do not want the added expense, choose passive earmuffs. Otherwise, the brand and style you choose depends on the application. Let’s see the top rated ear muffs and best earplugs by Shooting & Safety Editors!

 

  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • 2 Pack Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff Set
  • Item Weight: 2 pounds
  • PRICE $$
  • BATTERIES : 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 22
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Howard Leight By Honeywell R-01902 Shooting Earmuff
  • Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
  • PRICE $$
  • BATTERIES : 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 30
  • 4.3 Customer Rating
  • Walker’s Alpha Series Power Muffs
  • Item Weight : lightweight
  • PRICE $
  • BATTERIES : 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 24
  • 4.6 Customer Rating
  • Glock OEM Hearing Protection
  • Item Weight : 11 oz.
  • PRICE $
  • BATTERIES - No battery required
  • NRR Ratings : 26
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • 3M Peltor Tactical Sport Hearing Protector
  • Item Weight : 1.1 pounds
  • PRICE $$
  • BATTERIES : 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 20

Best Ear Muffs For Shooting

2 Pack Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff Set

These high-quality earmuffs are a great choice since you get two for the price of one. The electronics in the headset protect your hearing as well, allowing for maximum protection while still being able to hear and have a conversation. In fact, it has a noise reduction rating of 22dB and major noise cancelation at 82dB, giving it a light protection rating, which is best for shooting smaller caliber firearms repetitively. Another important feature that is very common in the Howard Leight brand is the sleek curve at the bottom of the earpieces of the earmuffs.This allows for a smooth and fluid shouldering of your firearm, and it fits well with safety glasses and other equipment. The stylish color fits well with the rest of the hunting gear, too. The two AA batteries provide long life.They boasts a four-hour battery saving shut off, and it plugs into any mp3 device for music and media. Overall, this is perfect if are going to be spending ample amounts of time at the range and need good, long lasting hearing protection.

 

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Howard Leight By Honeywell R-01902 Shooting Earmuff

This is a high quality set of earmuffs with a colossal noise reduction rating of 30dB and major noise cancelation for dangerous noises over 82dB. This set is perfect for shooting high-caliber firearms. It boasts a four-hour battery-saving shut-off, and it plugs into any mp3 device for music and media. It fits well with safety glasses and other equipment. The color of the earmuffs makes them great for hunting, and the sleek folding design makes them great for packing into the field for safety while in the bush. True to the Howard Leight ear protection products trend, very low sounds are amplified while the potentially damaging ones are kept out very efficiently.

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Walker’s Alpha Series Power Muffs

The camouflage appearance might suggest that this set of earmuffs might just work well outdoors and beyond the shooting range, but this design is perhaps more for visual appeal than anything else. They definitely look good, but what one would remember these earmuffs for is how they epitomize the whole point of electronic ear protection for shooters. Basically the manufacturers have managed to ensure you can hear animals and people’s voices, even if you’re out hunting, but the potentially damaging noise of a gunshot somehow gets drowned out! Although each earpiece can be adjusted independently, be sure to equalize them and you’ll be able to pinpoint the exact direction of the “safe” sounds. Definitely outdoor hunting and shooting earmuffs, with wind resistance, microbial resistance (so no bacterial growth), hearing enhancement and a good Noise Reduction Rating of 24dB, cleverly activated by different sound types.

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Glock OEM Hearing Protection

The “Glock” name is known for their great firearms and firearm accessories,
typically in the realm of handguns. This set of protective earmuffs is passive so it is not rated as highly as others for noise reduction, but it makes up for this in size and convenience. 26dB is a solid enough rating though to offer more than adequate protection. The small but great-fitting earmuffs fold to a much smaller size, and it does not require batteries, making it perfect for any application. You can be sure that even though this product is a much simpler version of other offerings, it is a good product nonetheless, especially if you take into account its price. It’s all about performance with this pair of earmuffs because it just delivers good quality at the shooting range; quality in performance you can find very little to complain about this low budget alternative.

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3M Peltor Tactical Sport Hearing Protector

This pair of earmuffs is at the lower end of offered protection, with an NR Rating of 20dB. Don’t let that fool you though! The difference is made up by the integrated audio features it offers, including an mp3 port for listening to music or any other forms of audible media, or you can plug in your dog locator. The shortfall of the minimal protection it offers is also made up for by the unit’s amplification abilities. You can have natural sounds amplified while conserving battery life through the auto-shutdown feature, activated after two hours of idling. The shape of the ear-cups makes great use of the best ergonomic design principles, contoured to fit very well with the headband and deliver very long-lasting comfort. Basically you can put these earmuffs on the whole day while out shooting, even though they’re a bit on the biggish side in terms of both size and weight.

 

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  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • 3M Peltor SV Tactical Pro Hearing Protector
  • Item Weight : 0.85 pounds
  • PRICE $$$
  • BATTERIES 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 26
  • 4.5 Customer Rating
  • Howard Leight by Honeywell R-01530 Impact Electronic Earmuff
  • Item Weight : 15 ounces
  • PRICE $
  • BATTERIES -2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 22
  • 4.8 Customer Rating
  • ClearArmor 141001 Safety Ear Muffs
  • Item Weight : 9.4 ounces
  • PRICE $
  • BATTERIES - No battery required
  • NRR Ratings : 34
  • 4.4 Customer Rating
  • Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector
  • Item Weight : 1 pounds
  • PRICE $$
  • BATTERIES - 2 AAA batteries required
  • NRR Ratings : 22
  • 3.9 Customer Rating
  • Pro Ears Pro Mag Gold Electronic Hearing Protection
  • Item Weight : 13.5 ounces
  • PRICE $$$
  • BATTERIES - 4 medical style batteries
  • NRR Ratings : 30

 

3M Peltor SV Tactical Pro Hearing Protector

Making a quality pair of earmuffs, the 3M Peltor series offers a top of the line experience for the consumer. It offers a noise reduction rating of 26dB and also come standard with noise amplification as well. This allows you to intensify your hearing of the natural world around you, making your days hiking in the natural world that much better and it does this in high definition ambiance. This headset also features an automatic battery saving technology. It will go into standby after a certain amount of time and it runs 2 AA batteries. The active volume feature also allows you to cancel out extra loud noises up to 82dB. Therefore, the set is a very safe and effective pair of protective earmuffs. Made of high-quality materials, the durability of this particular set of earmuffs allow for accidents such as dropping the set or even spilling something on them.

 

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Howard Leight by Honeywell R-01530 Impact  Electronic Earmuff

This set of protective shooting earmuffs makes very effective use of its camouflage pattern to help outdoor shooters blend in with their surroundings while offering good hearing protection. Very good use of the electronic element of any earmuffs as it amplifies barely audible low sounds with the integrated microphone system so that you can better hear “important noises” while hunting. The headband is adjustable so you get a comfortable fit, but most importantly, potentially dangerous noise impulses coming in at more than 82dB are blocked very effectively. The official Noise Reduction Rating of this pair of earmuffs is 22dB and, since they’re electronic, you can turn the volume on or off by just turning a knob. This is a very useful feature whenever you might be compelled to use the MP3 input source feature to listen to some music while passing the time between spotting game to shoot.

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ClearArmor 141001 Safety Ear Muffs

 

Sporting a nostalgia-inducing neo-classic black design, this pair of earmuffs offers great audio protection. ClearArmor really went to town on the unit’s NRR, breaching the 30dB mark which is otherwise considered to be at the upper end of noise reduction you can get. An NRR of 34dB is offered to be exact, which makes this indeed the best protection one can get for their hearing. A great pair if what you’re solely after is audio protection, otherwise it is a bit bulkier than a lot of others in the same price range, but it’s very adjustable to offer a customized fit. Surprisingly good fold-storage for such a big set, and its durability adds volumes to the value it offers. If all you really want is to effectively protect your hearing with no frills, this is the set of earmuffs for you!

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Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector

This is the new and improved version of its predecessor, with the most notable improvement being the much lighter overall weight of the earmuffs. The head-band also offers a much better fit and the lowered ear cups make it great for outdoor shooting and hunting, particularly if a rifle is your number choice in hunting weapons. Most importantly perhaps is the protection it offers. You get a good NRR of 22dB which is reinforced by the comfort you get. It perhaps would’ve been nice to have a camouflage color variation, but black works well with this unit, further complementing use with a rifle-type firearm. A pair of AAA batteries powers up the electronic features of this set of earmuffs, so you can entertain yourself between shoots with some MP3 music or communicate via a 2-way radio. Connection: via a standard 3.5mm input audio jack.

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Pro Ears Pro Mag Gold Electronic Hearing Protection

When looking for a different style of protective earmuffs, try these. The set is made in America and designed to be simple and effective. The set itself offers a media jack for plugging in your basic audio device for great listening while on the go and the noise cancellation is great for the price. The batteries are a bit of a different size as the headset actually takes two N batteries. The earmuffs are also available in a multitude of colors such as green and black. The professional volume and cancellation knob allows for complete customization of the dB being picked up through the headset as well making this a great set of protective earmuffs for time at the range, or even a day shooting in the outdoors.

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Best Earplugs for Shooting

Since the main focus of shooting protection gear such as earmuffs is indeed to protect one’s hearing, the focus does tend to be on the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). Some of the biggest and bulkiest shooting earmuffs are “tolerated” by shooters who are launching some lead at the shooting range, but things tend to change when your shooting is taken beyond the range. If you’re out hunting for some game or for your lunch/dinner, all of a sudden those big and bulky earmuffs really get in the way, but you still want adequate protection nonetheless. This is when you’d consider earplugs over earmuffs because you want an effective solution to reduce those decibels while not getting in the way of your shooting.

With the amount of protection shooting earplugs manage to offer, one would wonder why they’re not used more at shooting ranges as well. Some of the best and simplest earplugs such as those made of foam can offer protection with ratings of up to 33dB, just a little lower than the highest NRR offered by popular earmuff brands. There are lots of different earplugs available which offer the portability you need, from simple foam plugs to corded, transparent and even electronic ones.

Let’s check out the 3 best earplugs for shooting!

Best Earplugs for Shooting Comparison Chart

PRODUCTWEIGHTPRICENRR RATINGS
3M PELTOR TEP-100 Tactical Digital Earplug
10.4 ounces$$$23
Ear Pro By Surefire 4 Sonic Defender Ear Plugs
1 pounds$24
Mack's Shooters Ear Seals Ear Plugs
0.3 ounces$27

 

3M PELTOR TEP-100 Tactical Digital Earplug

As is evident in just about anything they manufacture, 3M has this ability to produce simple yet effective products that simply do what they’re supposed to really well. It’s no different with this pair of digital earplugs. Outdoor shooting becomes a lot more fun with these earplugs, and there’s no need to worry about the elements, including water — it’s water resistant. The NR rating is just a bit higher than the lower end of the acceptable spectrum at 23dB, but if you’re looking for electronic earplugs then that’s precisely the range you’d be looking at. If they’re good enough for military personnel and law enforcement officials, they’re definitely good enough for practical hunting or shooting. Interchangeable ear-tips offer flexibility to the very portable unit, while the re-chargeable batteries it uses makes it the best earplug set we’ve tested. You get full value for your money here and it’s worth every penny!

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Ear Pro By Surefire 4 Sonic Defender Ear Plugs

A convergence of a modest budget, practicality, and good functionality produces a nice mid-range set of shooting earplugs in the form of these Surefire Sonic Defenders. Adequate hearing protection is provided as these earplugs come with an NRR of 24dB. What you also get is protection from any skin breakouts as these earplugs are made out of a soft, medical grade anti-allergic polymer, which means they’re also very durable. Adjust only once when you first fit them and they’ll fit you comfortably every other time. You can pop the stoppers out so that “safe” noises are audible enough without having to take the plugs out completely. This pair of shooting earplugs essentially caters to someone who seeks to maintain the enjoyment they get out of a day out shooting or hunting, with suitable and adequate protection.

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Mack’s Shooters Ear Seals Ear Plugs

New -Mack’s Shooters Ear Seals Ear PlugsFor some apparent reason, some shooting enthusiasts still insist on overlooking ear protection to preserve their hearing. They don’t quite take things like earplugs seriously. If price is the reason for your unconvinced attitude towards using ear protection, perhaps the best ones which are available at the cheapest price are these Mack’s Shooters Ear Seals. The design is definitely unique to say the least and they have a surprisingly big NR rating of 27dB for earplugs of this price. Perhaps the only disadvantage is that there are better earplugs for things like hunting, because of the colors these ones come in. The cord they come with can be detached for convenience, while you’d probably use these in a noisy environment or for protection at the shooting range. Another surprising feature of these budget earplugs is just how comfortable they actually are, so they make for a great affordable alternative.

 

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5 Things You Should Know to find The Best  Earplugs

At the very core of selecting a pair of shooting earplugs is the protection they offer to prevent long-term side effects such as hearing loss and other audio-related complications. Gun enthusiasts and shooters are usually fully immersed in their favorite pastime of visiting the shooting range or even going out and hunting for sport, fun or for their next freshly-killed meal. Whichever form your flavor of shooting enthusiasm takes, it’s very important to take care of your sense of hearing and wear protective gear for your ears. There you may find further information in WearPlug.

If you are indeed on the market for earplugs as your selected form of protective ear-gear, you’re probably more of an outdoors type of shooter as opposed to someone who visits the shooting range as a hobby. This is not to say that earplugs aren’t good for the shooting range, but shooting earplugs do tend to offer a lot more flexibility and features such as discretion, which can come in really handy if you’re more of a practical shooter like a hunter. It would look quite ridiculous to go out shooting game with a pair of big earmuffs, so shooting earplugs only make sense in this regard.

Before buying shooting earplugs however, there’s a selection of five important factors to consider if you’re to get the best out of your final selection.

Noise Reduction Rating for Ear Plugs(NRR)

The Noise Reduction Rating of your shooting earplugs is undoubtedly the most important consideration. At the end of the day, what you want is effective protection. As you’d naturally be aware by now, 140dB or more of noise can really do some long-term damage. There are many different types of earplugs on the market however, which work to reduce noise by up to about 33dB on average. Good earplugs tend to have an NR rating of between 23-33dB, with a few brands pushing those boundaries a bit on either side. Although they are a lot smaller in size than earmuffs, shooting earplugs tend to offer slightly higher noise reduction than earmuffs. Even some of the cheapest earplugs which are very simple in their appearance and design can offer standard NR ratings of around 27dB. The disadvantage of these types of budget earplugs is that you’re stuck with one NR rating and if you’re completely blocked off from any sound entering, there’s nothing much you can do about it. That’s where alternatives and variations such as electronic earplugs make for a better option, which are covered below under the Additional Functions, Features & Extensibility section.

Comfort

Fit and comfort are two interlinked factors which can either turn a great pair of shooting earmuffs bad, or enhance them further. You might be out hunting for hours on end and so you’ll need something which doesn’t very quickly turn into an unbearable irritation. Certain materials used could cause skin reactions and invoke allergies, so part of what makes up comfort and fit is the types of materials used to produce your chosen earplugs. An adjustable pair is also always a great bet for fit and comfort.

Appearance

When I speak about the appearance of your protective earplugs I’m not talking about how good they look in terms of their design. I’m talking about the functionality of their design. When you’re out hunting game the last thing you want is a bright red, luminous green, or fluorescent yellow set of earplugs catching the often very good eyes of your game and giving your position away. Well-designed earplugs appearance-wise blend in very well with their surroundings, so they either have a clear color or their colors correspond to your hair, shooting glasses, firearm, etc.

Additional Functions, Features & Extensibility

Some earplugs naturally tend to offer a little bit more than the standard features of noise reduction and comfort, with electronic varieties bridging the gap between fixed, high NR ratings and lower ratings that allow you to hear natural or “good” sounds. You can also get some waterproof or water-resistant plugs if your outdoor shooting exploits will expose you to more elements than just the sun and wind.  A number of manufacturers really try to be innovative with their extra features, functions and the extensibility of their earplugs, but any extra feature you go for must not take anything away from the primary function of offering you hearing protection. Re-chargeable batteries that come with your electronic earplugs for example should not replace the comfort, basic usability and the protection offered.

Price

Price is an important consideration because it’s not as simple as saying you have a big budget and so therefore the top price you’re willing to pay will automatically buy you the best protective earplugs. Earplugs which sell for under $5 could very easily carry a greater NR rating than those which are at the upper end of the pricing scale. It’s all about mixing and matching the features offered and ultimately just choosing earplugs based on what you ultimately need for your protection, comfort, and usability.

How To Protect Yourself while Hunting

There are several different ways to protect your hearing at the range. The best is to wear the proper protection and understand what different types of protection are available. Some protective earmuffs are better than others naturally and different firearms fire at different decibels. While shooting a firearm you won’t go deaf from just one shot being fired. It is a gradual thing that can happen to anyone who actively visits the range. “what is the best way?” you may ask. Well, the best way is to be educated in the dangers of shooting without hearing protection. Educate your young ones as you pass down your favorite pastime to them no different than you teach a child to wear a helmet while riding a bike. Buying a great set of protective earmuffs does not have to break the bank either. There are thousands of affordable options available. Hearing protection can be a bit quite costly for the higher quality earmuffs but do not worry, you will not have to spend all that money for a set, and not only ear protection important, you will need waterproof boots and safety clothes as well. For all types of boot reviews, check Boot Ratings!

 

hearing protection earmuffs

How Loud Can A Gun Really Be?

Firearms are typically 140 dB and above depending on the caliber and most properly rated headsets can cover these figures without a problem. For those who think that they may not need any hearing protection think of this before you make that decision. The average firearm is 140 dB and you shot 50 rounds off at the range today, that amounts to 700 dB passing through your ears and if you went to the range 4 times a month that amount to 28,000 dB of damage done to your unprotected ear. Hearing loss is something that builds over time and can leave you hard of hearing in no time at all.Looking at these figures and realizing that 140 dB is on the smaller end of how loud a gun can be you can really start to see the toll that shooting firearms without hearing protection can have. These are the reasons why we have the need for the protective earmuffs that we have today, the noise reduction cuts the majority of those decibels down to a safe and tolerable level for us to listen to. Guns can be very dangerous and not just in the obvious way. The noise that they produce can cause hearing issues at an early age and seriously change a persons’ hearing for the worse. Shooting is a great and enjoyable sport when done safely and ethically.

 

best shooting ear protection

Types Of Hearing Protection: Electronic/Passive

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to both sides. Look at the battery powered options first, they typically can be mounted to any mp3 jack for listening to your favorite music and can be used in unison with other electronics as well. They also typically can more greatly muffle the harmful noises of the shooting range making the experience more safe and enjoyable. Some even have features like radios and audio enhancement for better listening on the road trail while hiking and or hunting or just enjoying nature. The other side are the passive protective earmuffs that may not offer the great features that their counterparts offer but they do offer a usability that the electronics do not, and that is that they do not need power of any sort. These can be taken for several days to into the field without the need to pack extra batteries for them. These are going to be more affordable options for those that are on a budget. The passive style protective earmuffs are also more likely to fold down into a smaller size to simplify the need for storage while enjoying the outdoors. Many outfitters recommend the passive protective earmuffs for those who intend to go camping for extended periods of time where you would need to pack batteries for the electronic versions. It is important to choose the correct one for what it is that you do. If you simply visit the range for a few hours a week or you spend a week in the backcountry will play a major role in your choice as well it should.

Noise Reduction Rating

Noise reduction rating, or NRR for short is a unit of measurement that is used to measure the effectiveness of protective hearing gear of all kinds from foam ear plugs to shooting protective ear muffs. The scale is also a great tool for shopping for hearing protection earmuffs. This scale will easily enable you to understand just how “protective” a pair of earmuffs are and what the actual rating is for that particular pair. With a NRR of 30dB being about the highest you will see shooting earmuffs at and a NRR of 22dB being the lowest, you can use this scale to help you decide on which product to choose from. The scale was originally put into place and administered by the American National Standards and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for the purpose of workplace safety. Expanding on the scale it was applied to all of hearing protection nationwide. It is a very important tool and asset to the consumer as it can help the consumer verify that he or she is getting exactly what is needed and not a cheap “look alike”. Many major online retailers of sporting goods products will either on the front page of the item show you the NRR or there will be a “more details” button or something similar.  Make sure that you are able to find the NRR number before you buy. Always remember that you are the customer and you deserve to get the real thing.

Tips Before Buying The Best Electronic Hearing Protection

We assume you already have other tactical gear like tactical flashlights and hunting binoculars. There are several things to remember when buying a new protective earmuff for your shooting and hunting adventures. You are spending money for protective equipment and you want to get it right the first time. If you cannot find this rating anywhere, contact the seller or staff of the store you are in to ask and verify or do not get that particular product. Remember that 22dB is the low end and that 30dB is the high end as far as protection is concerned. Take all that you need into account as well. Are you going to the range with a friend all the time? Then maybe a set that is a bit lower in protection that also allows you to have a conversation while wearing them. Does the idea of having music while you shoot appeal to you? Then maybe you would be interested in the electronic versions that can take audio input jack or maybe even a radio. Do you go into the field for days at a time and don’t want to pack extra batteries? Then I would think that the passive models would be the correct choice for you. There are virtually thousands and thousands of choices out there. Take your time and do the research and you can find the one that tailors to exactly what type of shooting activity you personally enjoy.

Best Ear Protection For Shooting Comparison Chart

PRODUCTWEIGHTPRICEBATTERIES NRR Ratings
2 Pack Howard Leight R-01526 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuff Set

2 pounds$$2 AAA batteries required22
Howard Leight By Honeywell R-01902 Shooting Earmuff1.3 pounds$$2 AAA batteries required30
Walker’s Alpha Series Power Muffs

lightweight$2 AAA batteries required24
Glock OEM Hearing Protection

11 oz.$No battery required26
3M Peltor Tactical Sport Hearing Protector

1.1 pounds$$2 AAA batteries required20
3M Peltor SV Tactical Pro Hearing Protector

0.85 pounds$$$2 AAA batteries required26
Howard Leight by Honeywell R-01530 Impact Electronic Earmuff15 ounces$2 AAA batteries required22
ClearArmor 141001 Safety Ear Muffs

9.4 ounces$No battery required34
Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector

1 pounds$$2 AAA batteries required22
Pro Ears Pro Mag Gold Electronic Hearing Protection

13.5 ounces$$$4 medical style batteries30

 

Bottom Line

We can see that there are several types of protective earmuffs available for consumers to choose from, but as far as the best hearing protection for shooting goes, there are virtually thousands of options that you can choose from and the best one out there is the one that suits your pastime the best. Be sure to match the pair you pick to what you really want in the field and take your time in choosing the particular product you decide on.