Earmuffs: Choosing the Right Type for Shooting Targets

Statistics show that gunfire is one of the most hazardous non-occupational noises that Americans are exposed to on a regular basis. In fact, a single shot can lead to both immediate and/or permanent hearing loss. It can also cause tinnitus, which includes the following symptoms: hissing, ringing and/or humming in the ears. Most people mistakenly believe that if they have been around previous gunshots and not suffered hearing damage, they can continue to be around loud noises. This is not true, as anything over 85dB can cause hearing damage and the average gun shot rates at 157. It is vital that shooters and people close to the vicinity of shooters wear hearing protection every time, which helps avoid ear and hearing damage.

Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the rating used within the U.S. They estimate that it is possible to achieve 98-percent protection when hearing protectors are correctly fitted in laboratory settings.

  • Electronic Headsets vs. Passive Earmuffs – Earmuffs do not cause discomfort or pressure inside the ear canal. They are available in standard over-the head, cap-mounted and behind-the-neck models. The cap-mounted design generally mounts inside a hard hat that features side accessory slots. The behind-the-neck style is used while wearing hardware and is the preferred choice among most shooters. Classic earmuffs are the least expensive, but have a higher NRR. Electronic Earmuffs offer the identical protection as standard earmuffs, but also feature modern-day advantages. These headsets protect the ears from loud noises, while still allowing shooters to hear low sound levels, such as conversations and still controlling automatic shut offs, volume controls, audio jacks and distortion free amplification. These headsets are more expensive and do require batteries.
  • Safety Glasses – Shooting glasses come in several different levels of protection and styles. The most common type of glasses worn for shooting targets provide 99.9-percent UV protection and are ANSI shooting safety approved. Ballistic glasses provide safety glass protection impact that is four times greater than ANSI and CSA safety standards. These are among the most popular types of shooting glasses in law enforcement and in the U.S. military.

There are also special safety vests that shooters can wear when practicing with steel targets. These orange blaze vests help make it easy for shooters to practice shooting AR 500 steel targets on both private and public lands while being readily visible to the human eye. These types of bright colors make it easy for bystanders and curious onlookers to easily see that shooting practice is underway and not to enter the direct path of the target or shooter.

Safety equipment is a necessary component of being safe hunters, helping preserve and protect hearing and eyesight for many years to come. Additionally, it also sets a great example for today’s youth, teaching them the importance of always practicing safety protocols when hunting or shooting.

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