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When I’m shooting, I like to keep things light and cool. That means avoiding large, heavy over-the-ear muffs whenever possible. Not only are they hot, but they can also interfere with a good cheek weld on some long guns.

A pair of 10 cent foam plugs work OK for some applications, but once you experience good electronic hearing protection, you don’t want to go back. AXIL’s GS Extreme electronic ear buds perform three functions in one affordable headset.

The GS Extreme comes with a range of both silicone and foam tips in a couple of sizes. The foam tips block outside sound better, with a noise reduction rating of 29dB vs 19dB for the silicone tips.

The plugs are very comfortable and can easily be worn all day without discomfort. The first three inches of lanyard extending from each plug bends to go around your ear and retains its shape.

The real selling point here is that the GS Extremes do three things and let you choose what features to use and when. First, there’s the standard stuff-your-ears with a couple of plugs on a lanyard hearing protection you’re already familiar with.

Feature number two is audio enhancement. On one side of the GS Extreme lanyard are the controls for the electronic noise protection and enhancement. Slide the switch on and you can hear what’s going on around you, making these ideal for hunting or use at an outdoor range. One gripe…the GS Extreme seems to magnify the sound of wind which can be annoying in some conditions.

You can raise or lower the volume to enhance your hearing and pick up ambient sounds or voices. The electronics then sense the surge of a gunshot and shut down to protect your hearing.

On the other side of the lanyard are the Bluetooth controls. The unit is easy to pair with your phone (or any other device) letting you use the GS Extremes to listen to music, podcasts or take phone calls.

The center Bluetooth multifunction button is used to pair the headset you your phone (a one-time process). Then when in use, it can answer calls, hang up, call the last number back, or even activate Siri.

The best feature of the AXIL GS Extremes are that these functions are separate. You can just stuff them in your ears and shoot, if you want. You can turn on the electronic protection to talk to others on the range, or hear game moving through the brush…or not. You can link to your phone with Bluetooth…or you can stay blissfully disconnected.

Both electronic features are independently controlled. You can use one, both, or none of them as you wish.

As for power, the GS Extremes have a lithium battery and charge with a standard micro USB cable. The headset is rated for 120 hours of standby time or 12 hours hearing protection continuous use. I’ve gotten it up to eight hours of use without the power running down.

I use these daily, most often to listen to podcasts while walking the dogs, listening to music…whatever. At an outdoor range, they’re great and protect your ears well in just about any circumstances. The only shooting circumstance where I won’t use them is at an indoor range. In those enclosed situations where someone with a muzzle braked AK might be down the line, I want the added protection of an over the ear muff.

That said, the AXIL GS Extreme’s are a great option. They perform all the functions of more expensive Bluetooth-enabled electronic sets at a pretty reasonable price ($139.99). And they do it while keeping you comfortable a cool.



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  1. I have to slightly disagree. I wore the GS Essentials for years, switched to the Extreem. No matter which ear tips I used, it was as if I had no ear protection. However, I contacted GS & to their credit, they allowed me to swap the Extreem back to the Essential. They do have excellent customer service.

    • I’ve never had the Essentials but I have the Extreems. No matter what tips I use they don’t fit, no protection from loud sound at all. Perhaps I’ll contact Axil.

      • I replaced Axil’s tips with Comply Foam Canal Tips with excellent results. Their memory foam is a huge upgrade in noise isolation over Axil’s foam tips, and even more over Axil’s silicone tips. They come in two lengths and four diameters so one is sure to fit your ears.

        • Based on this comment, I ordered the Comply tips. They are too small for the earbud. Which model did you get?

  2. Blue tooth.
    No Way,,, it’s got little microphones in it so the gubment can spy on what your saying and where your at.

  3. “The electronics then sense the surge of a gunshot and shut down to protect your hearing”

    This is a common misconception / misstatement; all of this class of ear pro are actually just passive plus an electronic *amplifier* for anything below hearing safe threshold. It’s an important distinction because if it actually did have to “shut down” it could fail open and leave you with no hearing pro at all.

  4. I am in the market for some new Electronic Hearing Protection and especially if it is not over the ear.

    Just checked the link in the article as I was interested. They are $279.00 not the $139.99 in the article.

    There are better options out there at that price range.

  5. I picked up my first pair of active muffs just last week, and call me impressed, considering their 55-dollar price.

    The basic ‘Howard Leight Impact Sport’ stocked at Bass Pro. Cranked all the way up, it gives a bit of the ‘super hearing’ effect. And if the electronics up and die, they revert back to standard muffs.

    I’m getting a second pair, it will be well worth it for introducing folks to firearms.

    Something everyone should have…

    • I’d recommend you look at getting ear pad replacements that you can find on Amazon (ugh) as well. They work very well and are more comfortable than the originals on those HLIS. I replaced mine after 2 years when the foam was spent. Great feel and good protection once again!

  6. I have used these since late last summer and am generally satisfied. Plusses include the small size so there is no inference with cheek weld on a rifle or shotgun, the amplification is very good and comfort is good. The one negative I have found is the need to turn them off while shooting, even outdoors, to get adequate ear protection. Turning them on or off is easy. Having used electronic earmuffs I can say the Axil is not nearly as good at cutting off loud sounds, but using earmuffs with a rifle does not work for me. I have found the sound canceling with power tools to be excellent.

  7. Disappointing that they are like all of the rest of hearing protection and are still using microUSB. I really don’t understand these companies; just add 10x the tiny cost difference to the MSRP. I have a set of walker silencer rechargeable and they’re just OK. I’ll probably buy the first replacement not by Walker that charges with usb-c so I can quit carrying around the extra charging cable.


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