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It isn’t every day we get excited about a topic as banal as hearing protection, but at SHOT Show 2017 we got the scoop on two new ear pro offerings (plugs from Beretta will go up in a post tomorrow) that are worthy of some oohs and aahs. At the 3M Peltor Sport booth, we learned about their new Tactical 300 and Tactical 500 muffs, which boast a heck of a lot of technology at a very reasonable price.

Most notable for me, the Tactical 500s are Bluetooth enabled. Connect to your mobile device and listen to music or even take calls. The really trick audio processing and noise cancellation will apparently make you sound clear and crisp even if you’re in a noisy environment. That Bluetooth logo in the middle is a button that can answer and end calls or pause/play music. Estimated battery life of two standard AAs while actively using Bluetooth functionality is in the 30- to 50-hour range.

The Tactical 300s do not have Bluetooth, but both models offer all of the following features: 3.5mm audio jack, tactile switches (instead of knobs), recessed microphones, 2- or 4- hour auto shut-off (user programmable), safe volume control technology, standard AA battery compatibility with a lithium rechargeable pack optional, an external battery door with tether, and more.

On the high-tech side, “Dynamic Suppression Time” varies the duration of noise suppression based on the intensity of the loud noise and any echoes, while “Clear Voice Tracking” identifies voices and actively filters around that frequency band to preserve the volume and clarity of conversation, even within a noisy environment, as much as possible.

The headband has cutouts for comfort while wearing a cap (i.e. a baseball cap with a button on the top) and to keep it from getting hot.

Medium profile ear cups have cut-outs on the bottom to provide relief for a shoulder stock, and also have rubber bumpers to preventing marring the gun’s finish.

If the rechargeable lithium battery pack is used, it can be charged via a micro USB port without removing the pack from the cup.

The Tactical 300 is rated for a 24 NRR reduction and the Tactical 500 a 26 NRR reduction. MSRPs are ~$149.95 and $199.95, respectively.

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  1. That all sounds very nice (no pun intended). I just wish the NRR was a little higher; I shoot inside quite a bit, and even with NRR 30’s (Howard Leight Impact Pros) I still am more comfortable doubling up with earplugs.

    • I’d have to try them first but the NRR doesn’t matter as much with electronic muffs (some extent with plugs or passive muffs too), it has to do with transient response times and duration. I’ve got electronic ones from 3M, MSA Sordins, and the ProSound M4/M2 twins. I find the M4s the best indoors, but I double up plugs anyway, outside they’re all pretty good. But I still find that plugs plus good passive muffs (Howard Leight’s IIRC) work much better inside since you have so much reverb on everything, plus if your stall is next to someone with an AR/AK with a tacticool brake, its gawdawful. Like leave the range bad.

  2. If you actually need to answer the phone while shooting… you’re shooting when you shouldn’t be, your job is intruding a bit too much into your life, or you should hand your personal assistant the phone and let them field your damned calls.

    I can predict with utter certainty the next round of tech-driven-insufferable-douchery now….

    BANG! BANG! BANG! “Hey dude! Guess where I’m” BANG! “calling you from?!” BANG! BANG!“The range!”

    • Or you have a flexible schedule. I routinely take calls on the range, of course it is a private range so there is rarely anyone else there. But having this would make things easier. As with a full competition belt it takes a lot of effort to dig into my pocket to get my phone, remove my earmuff, my ear plugs, and then finally taking the call.

      But OTOH it is a Peltor, and IME their quality is lacking. Particularly important to me is something that is completely waterproof. At least once or twice a year I have to shoot in rain storms.

      • I have a different Bluetooth ear pro set that I’ll be writing the review on any day here, and they’re handy for mowing the lawn, snow blowing, etc. Take calls from your tractor.

        • I use my ear pro for wood working with power tools, power saws, etc.

          I use my in-law’s property for shooting, but sometimes their dogs get too agitated, resulting in someone calling me to let me know the dogs have had enough.

          In both situations being able to hear the phone ringing would be better.

      • Fair enough, but I would offer that you’re conflating flexible schedule with on call. Which are two very, very different cauldrons of pescaderia.

        With a ‘flexible schedule’ they can wait till I’m done. If a building is on fire, they know to call 911, calling me won’t change a thing. If they can’t live without me for and hour or two, one has distinctly failed as a person who leads others. Or failed to sanction incompetence. Or deluding oneself, and sneaking out when still needed.

        “On call” means you’re actually supposed to be ready to drop everything, and go work at 100%, so I do hope you aren’t a trauma surgeon. I can just hear those settlement negotiations now if anything went wrong, after being called in from the shooting range. (Not saying it would be right, but the expert witnesses would have a field day on diminished capacity.)

        • Not everyone has a traditional job. I’m an IT expert that works hourly, so “on call” means nothing to me. My clients call and I take the calls. I triage their needs, if they have immediate needs that might mean going into one of the range buildings and handling their needs on my laptop while I am at the range.

          But my lifestyle is a little different, some weeks I work 60 hours a week, others nothing. Sure sometimes it might interrupt things but I get paid for every minute I work and if I want to do take time off no one cares because they aren’t paying for it. And if you think being interrupted at the range is bad during my vacation last year I was on the other side of the world and I took a conference call it was late afternoon for them but it was like 7 in the morning for me.

        • Which speaks to a larger discussion of work/life balance/compartmentalization, but that’s a philosophical discussion for another platform.

        • You might have a different view on things if you realized that I spent most of today at the range. And I will spend Saturday loading, and Sunday at a match.

    • NRR numbers are deceptive, because they are an average. The headsets with super high NRR numbers typically aren’t that much better in the frequencies that matter to shooters. I’ve seen cases where the average NRR might be as much as 10-15db more but in the shoot frequencies it might only be 5-6db more suppression.

      That I why I suggest comparing the attenuation chart side by side instead of just the average NRR. And if a company doesn’t publish that information you shouldn’t do business with them. You wouldn’t buy a motor oil that didn’t give you the specs would you?

  3. Oh great, more BlueDouche tech. Now people apparently talking to themselves like they’re crazy and being super loud dicks about it isn’t just for the airport, mall, grocery store, liquor store, barber shop, every restaurant ever and practically everywhere else you might go.

    Oh no, we had to open up the gun ranges and hunting areas to that obnoxious ” Hey dad! Can you hear me!?!? No, tell mom the meatloaf was fine! What about a band? Hey, can you guys keep it down? I’m on the phone!” shit now too. Thanks 3M.

    Do they have a version that puts the caller on speakerphone, like a really, really loud speaker phone? You know so they can hold the muffs out in front of their face and scream at them about how some kid broke their arm or how grandma has a yeast infection?

    • Grandpa, your room is back this way. You know you just get riled up when you leave your room during nap time…

      -Can someone talk to the orderlies about making sure his room is locked during nap time?? This is the 3rd time he’s gotten loose. Maybe up his medication a little bit-

  4. Great,,,,,I would use these while operating heavy equipment,,,i.e. Dozer and trachhoe work or when using my sawmill.

    As for shooting ,,,,, nope!

  5. I love to listen to music or the radio while I’m at the range so I’ve been looking for something like this. Currently I have an AUX jack but often the streaming from my phone creates that buzzing noise in the ear muffs. At a private range where, as someone mentioned above, I’m often the only one there, listening to music, talk radio, or whatever is a great afternoon. Life doesn’t get better than that!

    • Yeah, I listened to some podcasts on mine while out in the woods testing guns and such. It was great. Now, I have done that before with an aux cable into other electronic headsets, but going wireless is quite nice.

      • Hello Sir.
        I am looking forward to getting a pair of 500’s when they get back in stock.
        How is the padding on the ear section?
        I notice they sell gel replacements for their other product but I am hoping
        that is not needed with these. Do you think you can use the gel padding to
        begin with? Thanks for your review.

  6. I’m intrigued. I’m also curious to know how well these devices would perform in industrial settings, where people may not be able to exit a high noise environment in order to answer a call.

    I’d love to see this article in a printable format, too – I know quite a few people who would be interested in learning about this new product, as well.

  7. I’ll use Bluetooth for my smartphone shot timer and music sometimes.
    Can’t hurt to have them for off the range, planes etc.
    Hard to find in stock right now. I have on back order.

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