October 2002

Electronic Ear Muffs: Peltor Leads The Pack in Hearing Protection

A six-way test of ear muffs that allow shooters to hear range commands — but without sacrificing their hearing — shows the Tactical 7S to be the priciest set, and also the best.

Peltor’s Tactical 7S

Serious shooters are serious about their hearing protection. They’re also serious about being able to interact with companions, range officers, and competitors effectively.

Gun Tests recently looked at a half-dozen electronic hearing protectors (click here to view pictures). Although we subjected these to both outdoor and indoor testing scenarios, it’s worth keeping in mind that some models are designed particularly for one or another, and if your shooting tends to cluster around one predominant form you should keep that as an important ingredient in your decision. After shooting .30-caliber rifles at an outdoor range, calibers from .22 rimfire up to .45 ACP indoors, and evaluating all models for noise reduction, low-level sound amplification and comfort, here’s what we found.

Peltor’s Tactical 7S, $248. Our Pick. Testers gauged this model to be tops across the board. Downside: It has a correspondingly high price tag, but our view is that our hearing is worth protecting.

Remington R2000, $147. Buy It. Although listed second here, the Remington R2000 is probably a better value than the Peltor. It came in just behind the Peltor. The difference: One tester gave it a “fair” rating under Overall Impression, even though he graded it “good” in each specific category. Obviously, it has a much friendlier price tag.

Beretta Stereo Electronic Ear Muffs, $130. Conditional Buy. Not as comfortable as others; consistently rated “fair” overall by testers; some artifact noise experienced by one tester.

Dillon HP1, $135. Conditional Buy. Noise reduction rated less efficient than others at the indoor range.

Ridgeline Pro Ears Dimension 1, $220. Conditional Buy. Good quality; comfort rated “fair” by one tester; overall impression rated “fair” by another. Pricey.

Silencio Low Pro ELP-97, $130. Conditional Buy. Quality of sound amplification not as high; good noise reduction.