Hearing protection is something I rarely give much thought to. It all works reasonably well. From the 99 cent disposables to the Peltor 500 Tactical ear pro I’m currently using. The goal of hearing protection is simple, and it’s in the name. Protect my hearing! One of the joys of living in a western capitalist country is choices. A pair of squishies works well, but does something like the Peltor 500 Tactical ear pro offer enough to spend the extra dough on?
What Are they?
The Peltor 500 Tactical ear muffs are electronic muffs that do the typical song and dance of reducing loud noises and amplifying low ones. Anything higher than 82 dB will be reduced, and any low-level sounds will be amplified. However, they are trying to do it a little smarter. In fact, they call the system SMART technology.
According to Peltor, the Smart technology ‘measures the energy in a gunshot noise as well as echoes in the environment and automatically sets suppression time for optimized comfort and communication.
This technology offers a variety of shooters some advantages. For example, hunters can hear game approach, you can carry a conversation at an indoor range, and if you are taking classes y,ou can listen to your instructor. The whole time your ears are protected.
They run on double As and have a low battery indicator. If the batteries die, they do still function as ear protection, but you lose your amplification component.
The Peltor 500 Tactical has Teeth! (well a tooth)
The Peltor 500 Tactical muffs also pack a Bluetooth option. Bluetooth lets you pair your phone to your headset. Why would I need to do that? Of course, you can take and receive calls using the headphones and the built-in mic. I see this pretty valuable for large classes for a quick response, and an easy way to address a problem. Let’s not forget this could solve communication problems when pulling pits for rifle ranges.
There is also an AUX cable port and included AUX cable for other noisemaking devices.
To me, most importantly, I can listen to music while shooting. If you haven’t caught on the captions of these photos are from some of my favorite rap songs that feature guns.
Let’s talk protection. I use these mostly at my outdoor, private range and there they work brilliantly. Mostly because I don’t have anyone else to worry about. During a recent out of town CCW class, I had the perfect chance to try them at an indoor range. While it’s much louder indoors, I never had protection issues.
I could easily listen to students as other people shot around me. It would have been perfect if every student had a pair of these, but alas I wasn’t giving them up.
Oh man, they excel here. I thought my Walker’s were comfortable. These things are lightweight, the ear cups are super soft, and they fit my big head well. I’ll let you guys in on a behind the scenes secret to this job. While I try to take as many action photos as possible, I often fail. This means lots of reshoots, many of them dry to capture that perfect feeling.
Typically when setting up for a shoot (camera kind), I immediately ditch the ear pro and go to work. Just something about wearing ear pro when it isn’t needed irks me. However, with the Peltor 500 Tactical ear muffs, I never felt that way. Maybe it was the Wu-Tang Clan blasting in my ears, but I’m pretty sure it was the comfort level I felt.
I’ve been wearing this exclusively while I work, through different gun reviews and different situations I’ve used them extensively. I’m often wearing them for over an hour after I’m done with any live fire. I just forget they are there. That’s a sign of comfort to me.
These aren’t designed to give you Bose levels of sound quality, so don’t expect that. The quality is more than enough to listen to music that’s being interrupted by gunshots though. Call quality is great. It’s easy to hear your side, although people have told me it sounds like they are on speakerphone on their side.
Overall I‘m impressed and satisfied. The Peltor 500 Tactical ear muffs are simple, robust, and reliable. The controls are all intuitive and easy to use while wearing the headset. Peltor did a good job, and while the MSRP is 200 bucks, they can be found for less than 150 online. Check ‘em out and let us know what you think.