Some of the first accessories I shopped for after buying my HK VP9 were eye & ear protection. I mean they are pretty much mandatory for shooting. Hearing loss isn't anything to scoff at. As someone who frequents lots of live music, I don't attend a show without in-ear plugs. As a matter of fact, I even wear them to the hockey games I attend. I take it that seriously & you should too. That ringing in your ear you get after a concert or loud event might not be painful but it's an indicator that your ear drums have taken a beating. Hearing loss occurs gradually over time and one day that ringing might not stop. When it came to the shooting range, I had no intention of compromising on the ear protection that I was going to use. I've used many different over-the-ear hearing protection brands during my various visits to the range but never gave them much thought until I needed to buy my own pair.
I knew that I wanted a pair that was slim, had a good noise reduction rating, wouldn't impact my shooting, fit comfortably with my eye protection, and I didn't want them to make my head look bulbous. I mean, c'mon just because I'm hitting the range doesn't mean I can't look cute. Ya feel me, right ladies?!
I ordered a few different pairs online to test out the fit and look. It definitely wasn't an easy task to meet all of my criteria. Some were immediately uncomfortable and some didn't fit my head properly.
I finally settled on the Howard Leight Leightning L0F. They are a slim black pair with a noise reduction rating of 23. Not the highest but not the lowest. To help further reduce noise at the range I also wear in-ear plugs. Double-ear protection...all the time. It's really a smart combo that I've found works well for me. The only issue I was running into with the double ear protection was being able to hear my instructor or the husband if they were talking to me or giving me direction.
I recently switched to the Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuff and they turned out to be great. I initially looked at electronic earmuffs but didn't really think I needed them considering this was my first pair. After a few wears with the electronic earmuffs I was converted. Electronic earmuffs have a component built inside with microphones that pick up outside sound. These components amplify low-level sounds and conversation while at the same time reducing loud gunfire noise (#WinWin). They also have a volume control that allows you to adjust the level of sound within the earmuff. It's kind of impressive how they work. Additionally, these met all my criteria. They had a slim profile design, were adjustable & comfortable, worked with my eye protection and had a noise reduction rating of 22. And as with my non-electronic Howard Leight earmuffs, these also collapse and fold up so they take up less space in my range bag. I tried them out with my double-ear protection method and was still able to hear the husband clearly but also have the surrounding gunfire noise reduced to where it didn't bother me like it used to. One of the main things I like about these is that they pick up ambient sound around me making me feel much more aware of my surroundings and that's always a good thing.
The final bonus of the pair of these electronic earmuffs is that they come in olive green and ya'll know I love me some olive green.
Disclosure: This post was in collaboration with Howard Leight. As always all opinions are my own. Additionally, the information provided here is based on my opinions and for informational use only. I am not an expert in this field and any items/services/products mentioned in these posts should be used at your own discretion and in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.