Best Electronic Hearing Protectors-Priced <$200

Len-2A Training

NES Life Member
NES Member
Feb 26, 2005
Feedback: 75 / 1 / 0
I'm starting this as a Sticky Thread for the purpose of keeping info strictly on what the best electronic hearing protectors are out there for LESS than $200/pair (discounted price, e.g. C&R FFL or LEO/Mil).

My motivation for this thread came yesterday when I thought I lost my Peltor 7S muffs! I've since found them, but came to realize that there may be better solutions than the Peltors out there over the past 6 years since I bought them.

Some brands to look at:

  • Browning
  • MSA/Sordin
  • Peltor (aka Aearo)
  • Dillon
  • Remington
  • Maximus
  • Radians
  • Caldwell
  • Pro-Ears

Some models sell for $300-400 and I'm suggesting that we exclude them, as they are well beyond what most of us are willing to pay.

Please use this thread ONLY as a "resource" for all of us on the better products and why they are better. Off-topic replies will be removed without notice as we want this to be a useful thread without clutter. Thanks.
I have an inexpensive pair of Caldwell electronic muffs. I'm sure they are not the best under $200, but they are reasonable for the price (can be found as low as $35 if you hunt around).

-Price !
-Good NRR: 29dB
-comfort is good

-delay after a shot is a little long
-general construction quality is low
-large size

If you do spend $200 on higher end muffs, these also make good backup or spares for guests to the range. I always give my electronic muffs to my guests so they can hear my instructions clearly.
Pro Ears

I bought a pair of Pro Ears Sporting Clays Plus 6 months ago and it was the best $150
I ever spent on a shooting accessory (C&R discount at brownells). The comfort is great,
it has good noise discrimination, and it is pretty low profile,
so it works ok with a rifle. At a class I took at Sigarms Academy, I wore a set of
disposable earplugs under the proears and turned the proears all the way up.
That way when the range was quiet I could hear the instructor perfectly and when
the shooting started it was wonderfully quiet. I didn't miss anything that was
discussed between strings as opposed to everyone else who had to take their
muffs or plugs off all the time.

I bought one pair that my Wife was using. She does like the Peltor Tac 6 better, so that's what she's using now and the HF ones are now spares like I had intended. When I bought mine, I also bought a pair for Derek and Brent. They'll have to pipe up on their experience with them. I'd say that they are excellent for short money but not one of the best out there. Very long delay after shot (relatively speaking) before you can hear anyone again, bulky and difficult to get at the batteries.
I originally bought a pair of Caldwell for around $40, and I was very unhappy with them. They were very inconsistent, sometimes turning the speakers back on too soon, other times they would cut out during conversation or a the slightest bump or knock. Also, the transition from amplified to non-amplified mode was very audible and full of static.

I returned them after a couple days, and bought a pair or Radians from Four Seasons for somewhere between $50 and $75. Unfortunately I don't have the model number with me, because I've been very pleased with them. The transition between amplified and non-amplified is so seamless, at first I didn't think they were working. They're also a bit thinner than most of the models I've seen, although they still rub a little when shooting rifle (not as bad as other models I've seen).
I bought a set of electronic muffs from Cabela's for about $42; they arrived today and are going back tomorow. Loud backround hiss, slow return after a shot, generally poor construction, and loopy wires that are bound to catch on something. I just ordered a set of Tac 6 Peltors from Natchez for $75.
PS What bothers me about these muffs is that the NRR is awfully low; most are in the low twenties. I prefer muffs with a rating closer to 30, like my Dave Clarks at 29.
Just got the Tac 6 muffs from Natchez; what an improvement. Good fit, easy to use controlls, stereo sound, and no external wires. The bad news is that the NRR is only 20 so I will be wearing ear plugs also.
Ok i might have missed this but anyone using there muffs while shooting rifles....(i know you neeed a notch out )
Ok i might have missed this but anyone using there muffs while shooting rifles....(i know you neeed a notch out )

I wear Tac 7s and no way are they compatible with any rifle that I've tried!

I bought the Tac 6 for shooting rifle, but now my Wife has usurped them. However, they have a cut-out on the top. I noticed some other owners had flipped them so that the cut-out is on the bottom . . . thus it MIGHT work with some rifles. I flipped them, but haven't had time to try them with a rifle yet.
I have seen identical models go for MUCH more than this.


I have them, they work well, I can shoot rifle with just them on, and if I lose them, I'm only out $20

These are on sale at Harbor Freight now. I paid $11.99 for a pair on Saturday just to keep in my range bag.

BTW, I found that Harbor Freight has actually opened a store right around the corner from the Big E. I found it a very easy to spend money on things you never knew you needed until you saw them.

It makes it far easier to spend money than flipping through their catalogue.Now just browsing the aisles becomes an expensive proposition if your inclined to purchase inexpensive tools :). I'm just glad that Springfield is a long drive from Somerville. [smile]

Formerly Bugieman
Maybe I missed it, but what's the NRR on these Harbor Freight muffs? Their web site doesn't say. I'm looking for an extra pair for guests. (I brought my wife today and she wore the non-electronic muffs, but she couldn't understand much of what I was saying.)

I currently use Pro Ear, probably bought about 3 years ago for around $200. I hope they've come down in price since then (but I have no idea). They work very well, no "cut out" that people keep talking about... it's seamless. And with their 8X amplification, it's also interesting to be able to listen in on people who are quite some distance from me. I wish they used AA batteries instead of N, though.
I bought a pair of North's Dual Electronic Gun Muffs and shot with them a few times this week. I'm happy with their performance.

They are low-profile so OK for long arms and rated NRR 29.

Unlike Peltor they don't just "cut-out" all amplification with loud noises, instead they use sound compression to keep out only the sound over 85db. They were $89.95 which I believe is very good for muffs with sound compression. Here is a link:
The November Midway USA flier just came out. They have Peltor Tactical 6S Electronic Earmuffs for $64.99 and the Caldwell Sound-Right Stereo Electronic Earmuffs for $19.99. The latter are great if you need a pair or two of loaner electronic earmuffs for training students or for friends to borrow.
I have the pro ears stalker and wear custom fitted plugs underneath. I turn the vloume on the pro ears up all the way and I can hear fine but when a shot is fired the sound is clipped.

I have sensitive ears and this set up is superb. I shoot handgun, shotgun & rifle with this and am very pleased with the ear protection and the ability to hear what is going on around me.

eye glasses

Can anyone comment on how these can work with eye glasses? I can wear contacts if I have to but find them not worth the trouble. Do eye glasses make them less effective?
As dumb as it gets

I have seen identical models go for MUCH more than this.


I have them, they work well, I can shoot rifle with just them on, and if I lose them, I'm only out $20

I bought 3 and now that I have them can't see how to open the battery compartment. Heck I can't find a battery compartment.
Instructions say to use a coin in a slot and the only possible slots I see are where the headband attaches...but that is questionable.
I don't want to break one to find it so can someone give me a hint?
Can anyone comment on how these can work with eye glasses? I can wear contacts if I have to but find them not worth the trouble. Do eye glasses make them less effective?

Glasses are a problem with any type of muffs. There's always a slight gap with the stems. The thinner the stem, the less the gap. For this reason, I always wear muffs and plugs when shooting. I had the plugs custom-made at our club when the vendor came out. Their NRR is 35. That's better than any muff, electronic or not. I wear the Tac 6 electronic, or the Howard Leight Leightning which has a NRR of 29.

As others have written, the electronic types tend to have NRR's in the low-to-mid 20's. That's not enough for high volume shooting.

Cabelas also has a set of make-your-own plugs, which consist of a soft, two-part plastic. Mix the parts together and push into the ear. When it sets, you have a set of custom-molded plugs. These aren't quite as good as the custom-made ones, but for $13, they're tough to beat.

The OSHA folks have a great web site which explains hearing protection, and rates the various types. Here is the link:

I talked with the folks who did the research, and they are very knowledgeable.

As with most folks, I have very little confidence in the US Government doing a lot right, but this is tax money well-spent.

Peltor 6-S vs S&W

Has anyone tried the "Smith and Wesson Active Listening Earmuff" ?
MSRP is $99.

The S&Ws look more comfortable:

Amazon has the Peltor's for $69. Also...the Silencio Falcon is similar in headband style to S&W (looks more comfortable) and is about $80.

One of these will be my first pair of active muffs. Experiences please? Thx.
Last edited:
The S&W muffs are merely NRR 22; this is typical for electronic muffs. That's not enough.

I'll stick with my NRR 33 conventional muffs, thank you. FAR better protection and leather earcups for 1/3 the price. And I'll STILL put foam pads in my ears if I'm near compensated guns or shooting indoors.
Top Bottom