Product Review: Sperian Impact Sports Earmuffs

When I wear my Field & Stream earmuffs at The American Firearms School, I’m good to go. After a while. Provided someone isn’t firing an AR-15 or 12-gauge shotgun in the next lane over. All of which means I’m always on the lookout for better ear protection. And by better I mean more. More protection. Or, as the ear protection pros call it, a higher NRR (Noise Reduction Rating). In case you hadn’t noticed, I take this hearing protection stuff very seriously. I have to. I have a seriously flinching problem. Well I do if the sound of gunfire reaches a certain level. And flinching sucks, from both the hey look at that wimp flinching and tactical point of view. Consider this comment by Dr. Barry underneath a primermagazine.com post about the optimal home defense weaponry . . .

Great discussion! I own all three being discussed, a 12 gauge Benelli semi (never, ever has it not properly recycled, so don’t go there) loaded with 5+1 00, an AR-15 with a 30 rounds, and as backup, a Colt Detective with 6 rounds of 38+.

We have no kids, none are allowed in as our home as it is not kid proofed anyway, and we live in solid block homes so a .223 is not going through 2 solid block walls, mine and his, to endanger him.

I totally agree on the use of brains first, knowledge of your layout without lights, etc. However, no one has discussed how important hearing is to the choice of a HD weapon.

With any these weapons follow up shots must be anticipated either for bad guy number two (or three) or if bad guy number one is still a threat to your life.

But shot number one, on bad guy number one, with a 12 gauge loaded with anything will COMPLETELY take out your hearing for 20 plus minutes. If there is a bad guy number two or three and they are not directly in your now VERY limited line of sight due to your adrenaline dump, then how are you possibly going to HEAR them to know where they are?

A 12 gauge shotgun loaded with magnums is approximately 170 decibels. An AR-15 is around 140 decibels. Decibels being on a logarithmic scale, this means the shotgun is 1000 times louder (10×10×10)!!!

For me, this changes the entire equation of which weapon to use at 3 in the morning. If I am incapacitated by limited sight already due the tunnel vision of the adrenaline dump, I hardly want to completely lose my hearing as well. The 140 decibels of my AR-15 will at least keep me in the game if bad guy number two is to my side, on a different floor of my home, etc.

Please don’t tell me to move to a better neighborhood where only one bad guy at a time will even think of attacking our home. I live in an expensive gated community and my neighbor was attacked at gun-point by two intruders with a third in the stolen get-away car a block away.

I have considered using amplified hearing protectors such as those made by Peltor, but that just seems like another 10 seconds to turn them on and put them on before reaching for my weapon. Any thoughts on this?

Absolutely Doc. Take the two seconds you’ll need to pop on and activate a pair of Howard Leight by Sperian Impact Sport Electronic Shooting Sports Folding Earmuffs. The built-in microphone will pick, indeed amplify, the bump in the night sounds. When you let rip (Heaven forefend and defend your forend), the muffs will prevent permanent hearing loss. And you’ll be able to take that follow-up shot or three.

BUT you will experience SOME hearing loss and pain. “The Impact’s 22 NRR is relatively modest,” Sperian’s Volker Fremuth admitted this morning. “Outdoors, for a shotgun, the muff’s are fine. But they’re not adequate for a handgun fired in an indoor range. You need to wear earplugs as well.”

Roger that. I tried the Impact Sports down at American Firearm School. I slipped them on as Adam Decciccio began firing the Kimber .45 Ultra Elite at the range’s private Simulation Room. Review to follow. Right after I put some earplugs underneath the Sports and reshoot this video flinchfest. Suffice it to say, my ears still hurt.

After returning to the range and using ear plugs AND the Impact Sports, I still didn’t get enough ear protection. So Sperian’s Channel Manager is sending TTAG another free set of muffs and a whole bunch of Super Leight ear plugs.

Meanwhile, you have been warned: do NOT use these earmuffs without earplugs AS WELL. Which is, in fact, good advise for any earmuffs. At least until Sperian releases their new, higher DRR electronic earmuffs (2012 ish) or you get a hold of their military-spec meisterwerks. Which is exactly what I plan to do, too.

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