Do you notice that part of every shooter’s gear includes ear protection? This is because the best shooting ear protection plays a big part in ensuring that the shooter doesn’t go deaf. Each gunshot has strong percussive vibrations that can actually kill the vital hair cells of the inner ear. Once damaged, it can lead to a permanent case of hearing a humming noise or high pitched ringing in the ears also known as tinnitus.

The best shooting ear protection is one of the most important and basic safety tools to be paired with firearms, whether it is used for work, sport or recreation. Exposure in a shooting range without the best shooting ear protection can put the sense of hearing at risk of exposure to permanent hearing damage. When firearm bullets are fired in quick succession, it tends to produce high levels of harmful noise, hence, the need for the best shooting ear protection.

Why do you need the best shooting ear protection? You might think that simple ear plugs, ear muffs or the combination of both can help protect your ears from loud sounds brought about by firearms. Yes, it would help protect your ears, but when it comes to loud sounds like those produced by firearms, you need to make sure that you are using professional and the best shooting ear protection. Why? It’s because noise exposure is cumulative. For every loud sound that your ears are subjected to, the hairs inside the ears are dying and the effects cannot be reversed.

In this article, we will give a review on the best shooting ear protection in the market to help guide you in making the ideal choice suited for your needs and budget. Before going through our selection, we need to discuss something very important – what is noise reduction rating or NRR? This is a unit of measurement used in determining the effectiveness of hearing protection devices in decreasing sound exposure in a given environment. 

For the best shooting ear protection to be considered as high quality, it must have a high Noise Reduction Rating to ensure that the product can really protect the sense of hearing of a buyer or user. 

What is NRR in shooting? When it comes to choosing the best shooting ear protection in the market, you need to choose a top rated product that can effectively block out noise or attenuate sound. As a buyer, you need to be aware that the best shooting ear protection can either come with an ear muff design or a plug. A product with an NRR of 26 can block out up to 26 decibels of noise. Hence, the higher the noise reduction rating, the higher protection you can provide to your hearing organ.

Now that we’ve gotten past the “Do you really need to protect your ears?” questioning stage and have established the importance of using the best shooting ear protection, we can now dissect each product to help you with your research.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Walker’s Razor Slim Electronic Muff

What We Like:

  • Comfortable 
  • Built-in volume knob

What We Don’t Like:

  • Hard to tell direction of sound

Our first entry for the best shooting ear protection is the electronic ear muffs from Walker. It has two omnidirectional microphones that can smartly detect noises above 89 decibels with a reaction speed of 0.02 seconds to dampen and filter the incoming noise. The overall NRR of this best shooting ear protection is 23 decibels but if you want to add more, you can blast your own white noise on the headphones for additional protection.

It also has a headband designed for comfort so you can carry on your shooting with ease for long periods of time. Thanks to the built in volume control knob, users can adjust the audio input level with ease, without needing to fiddle around the connected device. This pair of best shooting ear protection has been getting great reviews especially from individuals who need casual shooting ear protection. The noise dampening feature is also impressive, activating only when it is needed unlike other best shooting ear protection devices that have an ‘always on’ status.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Electronic Hearing Protector

What We Like:

  • Bluetooth capability
  • Amplifies low sound and speech
  • Situational awareness

What We Don’t Like:

  • Earband no so comfortable

The Bluetooth feature feature of the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 allows it to be synced with a mobile device, keeping annoying cables out of the way, which is actually a great personal feature especially when firearms are involved. This is one of the best shooting ear protection in the industry thanks to its dynamic suppression that automatically adapts to the ambient noise level and smartly dampens the audio anytime a loud noise is detected. It also adjusts automatically to compensate for any speech that it picks up.

Just like most of our selection for the best shooting ear protection, the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 has a noise reduction rating of 26dB. The design is pleasing to the eyes with a simple and comfortable impression, perfect for shooting in any environment or weather. This is the best shooting ear protection for when you need to keep track of speech or listen to people who guide or cascade instructions from a companion in the shooting range.

If you are looking for the best shooting ear protection that allows you stay alert, aware and full-prepared in any situation, the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 is an ideal choice that’s worth your money. This best shooting ear protection can also help you identify speech while simultaneously keeping gunshot sounds less intense.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders

What We Like:

  • Removable filters
  • Compatible with most head gears

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lower noise reduction rating than Walker’s and Peltor Sport Tactical

SureFire is a known manufacturer that offers some of the best shooting ear protection in the market. The earplugs are designed with special filter caps that offer to provide the best shooting ear protection. It’s Noise Reduction Rating is at 24dB, 2 decibels lower than most of the best shooting ear protection. The SureFire EP4 ensures that your sense of hearing will be safe and protected from the harmful effect of a gunshot and other loud noises while being comfortable and easy to wear.

The filters of the SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders ensure that noises above 85dB are reduced while still allowing low-pitch or background sounds in (e.g. speech, personal conversations). If you are looking for the best shooting ear protection that is subtle to the eyes, the Sonic Defenders are a great choice because at a glance, they simply look like a helmet or just a pair of ear protection muffs. 

This pair of best shooting ear protection from SureFire also has a unique feature called EarLock system that allows a user to lock the ring in place, ensuring a good and snug fit even if it’s not worn regularly. Some ear protection products seem to get out of shape especially if not used regularly, but for this model, the foam is durable and truly worth its price tag. This is one of the best shooting ear protection and highly recommended for those who like to wear head gear or helmets because its design and size is compatible with most head gears while still providing protection from a source that amplifies noise.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Pro

What We Like:

  • Automatic shut off system
  • 30dB noise reduction
  • durable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slightly bulky

The best shooting ear protection must have comfortable ear cups, effective noise reduction and long battery life. Fortunately, this product checks all the boxes plus, it is also made of durable materials ideal for outdoor usage. It can withstand heavy outdoor activities even if the user gets down and dirty with debris during shooting or other sports.

Another great feature of Howard Leight’s contender for the best shooting ear protection is that once it is activated, it is programmed to automatically shut itself off after four hours, extending the battery life of the device. Additionally, the built-in technology amplifies the volume level of background sounds without necessarily increasing the volume of gunshots and unnecessary loud noises that are damaging to the ears.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: DECIBEL DEFENSE Professional Safety Ear Muffs

What We Like:

  • Extra foam padding
  • No batteries needed
  • Foldable and compact

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not as advanced as other models

If you’re looking for the best shooting ear protection that’s not only effective but absolutely comfortable, the Decibel Defense is worth checking out. Whether you are shooting indoors or outdoors, this is one of the best shooting for ear protection because it is highly wearable for long periods of usage and reduces unwanted pressure on the head and itchiness. This product is also compact and foldable, making it convenient for camping or travel.

Noise reduction rating is higher than other products mentioned in our list for the best shooting ear protection at 37dB. Gunshots become impressively quieter without necessarily muting the important background noise such as speech and other audio. If you are looking for the best shooting ear protection with a non-electronic design, the Decibel Defense is a great option. You can use these anywhere without having to deal with cumbersome cables or batteries.

This model may not be as advanced as other brands in our list of the best  shooting ear protection but the simplicity is actually their edge. If you or your friends get an impromptu shooting date, you can rely on the Decibel Defense to get you through without having to worry about securing an electronic device to protect your sense of hearing.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: 3M PELTOR X5A Over-the-Head Ear Muffs

What We Like:

  • Insulated to prevent electrical hazards
  • Adjustable cup tilt

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not so comfortable to be worn for a long time

3M’s best shooting ear protection comes with twin headbands that support balance to reduce the risk of irritation on exposed skin. Unlike other best shooting ear protection gears, the ear cups of the 3M Peltor can be tilted, allowing users to adjust the gadget until the full noise reduction rating is maximized (31 dB).

It doesn’t need a lot of product research to know that 3M is a brand known for promoting safety, hence, it’s not really surprising that the manufacturer went ahead and made the headband insulated to prevent electric shocks. Similar to the SureFire EP4, the 3M Peltor is also compatible with most helmet designs to ensure better hearing protection in non-shooting situations.

If you are shopping for the best shooting ear protection that’s versatile and durable, the 3M Peltor is a great general-purpose product ideal not only for shooting but also for other noisy tasks (e.g construction, factory worker, etc.)

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector

What We Like:

  • Recessed microphones for high wind noises
  • Two-hour shutoff

What We Don’t Like:

  • 22dB noise reduction rating

We have another one from Peltor to enter our list of the best shooting ear protection. This has an automatic shutoff quite similar to the Howard Leight Peltor by Honeywell but it has a shorter shutoff at two hours. This feature is very important especially if you need to conserve battery life. The recessed microphones also filter noise to reduce loud, boisterous sounds that may be damaging to the ears.

If you are going hunting or shooting outdoors, the best shooting ear protection needs to be able to combat the wind, specifically reducing the sound of high winds to make it easier to hear what’s going on in the background. Among all the products included in our list of the best shooting ear protection, the Peltor Sport Tactical 100 has one of the lowest NRR ratings at 22dB. Nevertheless, it is still a reliable pair of best shooting ear protection that can reduce gunshot sounds and other loud noises that can damage the sense of hearing.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: ClearArmor 141001 Shooters Hearing Protection

What We Like:

  • Portable and compact
  • Minimalist design
  • Also works for sensory/auditory protection needs

What We Don’t Like:

  • Slightly bulky

Looking for the best shooting ear protection that’s portable and easy to store, the ClearArmor 141001 is an ideal option. It is also made of industrial grade material which means that it is made to be durable and long lasting. The earcups are also designed with a noise dampening foam that boosts the noise reduction rating of the product up to 34dB. 

Unlike other best shooting ear protection, the ClearArmor doesn’t have complicated features, making them an ideal choice for quick, easy yet reliable noise management gears for different situations. The ClearArmor 141001 can also handle sound vibrations close to the user’s body making it a simple yet very efficient contender for the best shooting ear protection. The headband is also fully adjustable allowing users to have a custom, comfortable fit regardless of their head size.

Want to know a little secret about the ClearArmor 141001? Well, this is not actually a secret anymore as this has been going around the music community for quite some time. If you haven’t read about this yet, you’re in for a treat. If you love to listen to music on your MP3 or on your smartphone and have no budget for noise-cancelling headphones, you can actually put the ClearArmor 141001 on top of your earbuds and get pretty much the same noise cancelling effects. This product can also serve as your lifesaver during study sessions where you absolutely cannot be distracted. In short, the ClearArmor 141001 is not only constrained to be one of the best shooting ear protection, it can also serve lots of practical purposes (noise cancelling for MP3 or smartphone music, study companion, etc) for individuals who are on a budget.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Mpow Professional Ear Defenders

What We Like:

  • Comes in a set of two
  • affordable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not compatible for people with large heads

When you purchase the Mpow Professional Ear Defenders, be prepared to get not one, but two pairs. This is probably the only brand featured in our list of best shooting ear protection to offer such a deal. At a glance, the Mpow Professional Ear Defenders are simple shooting ear protection gears that feature a double-layered section of acoustic foam to reduce or dampen all loud noises.

The noise reduction rating of the Mpow Professional Ear Defenders is 28dB and it runs independently without needing to be connected or powered to another device. In terms of design, it is easy to adjust so that users can customize the fit depending on the angle, size and shape. This pair of best shooting ear protection from Mpow also has protective and comfortable earcups that won’t slip easily, which is a big plus during shooting so that the user can focus more on the sport rather than worrying about the fit. The Mpow Professional Ear Defenders come in a set of two and also have a drawstring bag that makes it easier for them to be transported and stored. If you are looking for the best shooting ear protection that’s budget friendly and will stretch your dollar, you won’t go wrong with the Mpow Professional Ear Defenders.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Electronic Hearing Protection

What We Like:

  • Can run on AAA batteries
  • With volume jack and audio knob

What We Don’t Like:

Our last but certainly not the very least entry for our best shooting ear protection list is the Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Hearing Protection. This is one of the best shooting ear protection that’s popular among shooters and hunters because it has a custom design that can compress and reduce loud noises while amplifying subtle or quiet sounds. The balance of this feature is very important because shooters or hunters still need to be aware of what’s going on around them instead of having everything muted all at once.

The Caldwell E-Max is also lightweight which is a bonus for shooters and hunters who don’t really want their gear to weigh down their performance and accuracy. What makes this product unique from other products listed in our best shooting ear protection is the fact that it can run on AAA batteries – no need for complicated electronics or constant charging. Another basic yet cool feature of the E-Max include its audio jack and a traditional volume control knob that can easily transform the gadget into conventional headphones.

The Noise Reduction Rating of this best shooting ear protection from Caldwell is at 25dB and it is also recommended for first time hunters and shooters because of its easy navigation and simple design.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: Pro Ears Pro Tac Slim Gold

What We Like:

  • 250 hours battery life
  • 3.5mm jack

What We Don’t Like:

  • Pricey

One of the premium and best shooting ear protection is the Pro Tac Slim Muff from Pro Ears. It has a Noise Reduction Rating of 28dB that protects the ears from loud sounds while still maintaining incredibly high quality situational awareness.

This pair of best shooting ear protection has dual circuit board technology that can adjust amplification and hearing levels individually to make up for the uneven hearing loss. The dual knob system allows the user to adjust the amplification and hearing together with the low and high gain using the internal pin settings. The Pro Tac Slim Muff is a premium choice for the best shooting ear protection, providing comfort, reliability and excellent performance.

Best Shooting Ear Protection: MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X

What We Like:

  • comfortable
  • great sound quality

What We Don’t Like:

  • lower NRR at 22dB

MSA is known to be the manufacturer of one of the best shooting ear protection in the market, existing for more than a century already. The products of MSA are known to be high-quality and reliable, with safety as their core concern and the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X is not an exception.

It’s not surprising that the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X is highly preferred by ground military personnel, heavy machinery workers, miners, range shooters and hunters because of its incredible safety hearing protection combined with heightened awareness of background sound. Considered as a premium choice among our list of best shooting ear protection, the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro is made of high quality materials that truly make it a standard piece of hearing protection. Plus, it is also waterproof so that is definitely a big bonus.

So that concludes our list of the best shooting ear protection. Keep in mind that each product is good and of high quality in its own right and it would be best that you consider their individual features first before purchasing. Aside from the features and specifications of the best shooting ear protection, you also need to consider if the price fits the budgets of consumers. Each brand and product featured here can be purchased through Amazon.