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March 8th, 2013

Slim, “ShotGunner” Ear Muffs Offer More Stock Clearance

A Forum member recently asked if anybody makes a thinner, less-blocky earmuff that won’t interfere with head placement on the stock. We understand his inquiry — big, over-sized muffs tend to bang into the stock and sometimes even disturb the gun in the bags.

Our first suggestion is use quality foam earplugs. The Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) for a quality foam plug is better than nearly all earmuffs. But for those who prefer earmuffs, or who “double up” muffs over plugs, AO Safety (Peltor), makes the ShotGunner Folding Earmuffs, item # 97013. Peltor’s ShotGunner muffs feature tapered ear domes, which are cutaway on the lower half for stock clearance. These muffs, which retail for $16-$20, also fold up into a very compact package for storage. This Editor has used the Shotgunner Muffs (NRR 21) and they are very comfortable. Because they fit well they actually seem to work better than some big bulky muffs (with higher NRRs) that don’t seal so well.

Peltor ShotGunner Muffs

Comparative Noise Reduction Ratings
The ShotGunner folding muffs have a NRR of 21 db — compare that to 25-30 db NRR for big, heavy muffs and 29-33 db NRR for good ear plugs, such as the Howard Leight Max UF plugs (33 NRR). Of course, to achieve those 30+ Noise Reduction Ratings, earplugs must be inserted correctly. The 3M Occupational Health and Environmental Safety Division has prepared two YouTube videos which illustrate how to properly use foam earplugs and flanged (pre-molded) earplugs.

VIDEO ONE: How to Use Soft Foam Earplugs

VIDEO TWO: How to Use Pre-Molded Flanged Earplugs

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February 10th, 2012

Leight Quiet Band — Comfortable Alternative to Plugs and Muffs

Effective hearing protection is a must whenever you are shooting firearms or when you are in the vicinity of gun-shots. For ultimate protection, we recommend a good set of tapered foam earplugs, topped by ear-muffs. However, there are situations when you may prefer lighter-weight hearing protection that can be quickly removed. For example, if you are standing well behind the firing line as an observer, or if you are working as a rangemaster or waddie some distance away from the shooters.

In addition to traditional ear plugs and ear-muffs, new band-style protectors provide a third sound-blocking option. Howard Leight, a top name in the sound-protection business, now offers the “Quiet Band”, a device with soft foam plugs attached to a plastic band worn around the neck. This “Quiet Band” product is comfortable, easy to deploy, and surprisingly effective.

Howard Leight Quiet Band qb2

Howard Leight Quiet Band qb2Three Quiet Band Models
There are three (3) types of Leight Quiet Band® sound protectors. We prefer the QB2 Supra-aural model (item QB2HYG, NRR 25). As shown in the photos, the NRR 25-rated QB2 positions cone-shaped foam pads next to the ear openings and holds them there with light pressure from the orange-colored band. There is also an Inner-aural version (item QB1HYG, yellow band, NRR 27), and a Semi-aural model (item QB3HYG, red band, NRR 21). Our preferred QB2 Supra-aural (orange band) model is just as comfortable as the QB3 (red band) version, and offers much better protection. The QB1 Inner-aural (yellow band) model requires that you place the ear buds in the ear canal, so it’s not really any easier to use than conventional earplugs. That’s why we like the QB2 Supra-aural model best of all. Other users agree. Here’s what two QB2 owners had to say:

Hickok45 leight qb2“I first saw these used by Hickok45 on Youtube and he talked positively about them. I got two and gave them a try. At first, I didn’t think they were going to work very well. After some fiddling, I found they work pretty darn good. With my ears, they fit the best if the band starts on top of my head, I insert the plugs then rotate the band behind my head. PRESTO, perfect fit. Shooting the 9mm and 12 gauge out back was comfortable with no ringing afterward. [They are] small and easy to transport — just throw in the range bag. Yet, they are big enough to keep around your neck out of the way[.] I can sit these Howard Leights down on the shooting bench without worrying about them getting dirty since the band is curved, placing the plugs in the air. I highly recommend them to anybody needing banded hearing protection.” — Tom W.

“Great for woodworkers — These are lightweight AND very effective at reducing noise. When not in use the band hangs loosely around your neck, out of your way completely. Very cost effective for a great product!” — Sheri D.

Quiet Band® sound protectors can be purchased from many online vendors for under $5.00 per set, which includes a spare pair of ear buds. Amazon.com has the Leight QB2 (by Sperian) for just $2.50 per set, while Enviro Safety Products currently sells the QB2 for $3.87 per set. Replacement ear buds are available and sold by the pair. Ten-unit Bulk packs are also available for $35.00 with free shipping.

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