I have a lot of hearing protection options. In the ear, over the ear, custom molded, electronic, passive…if they make them, I have them or have tried them.
I took the first plunge into the Bluetooth-enabled hearing protection world with a pair of Peltor Sport Tactical 500 muffs, which still top my list as best over-the-ear hearing protection ever devised by man.
I always thought Bluetooth connectivity in my hearing protection was a frivolous waste and a distraction. Now, not so much. You can always turn it off, but when you want or need to hear your phone for calls, texts, alerts or just to listen to music, it comes in pretty handy.
As for in-the-ear Bluetooth options, the best I’ve found are these ToughTested Ranger Bluetooth water-resistant earbuds.
They come with a carrying case and a range of ear plug options as well a rechargeable Power Stick. It’s basically a USB rechargeable battery you can take with you that gives you as much as 32 additional hours of use.
And that’s after the Ranger’s charge runs down (a full charge lasts about 6 hours).
I like that they’re corded (I have separate Bluetooth in-ear plugs that aren’t). The cord is Kevlar reinforced so should stand up to a lot of use and abuse. I’ve had mine for months and have used them continuously with no apparent wear.
The Ranger earbuds are water resistant, so you can wear them out in the elements and not worry about them. The backs of each earpiece are magnetized so you can wear them around your neck and connect them to hold them in place and ensure they won’t fall off.
They’re also excellent when used to take and make phone calls. The sound quality is as good or better than corded buds.
The unit itself has a small USB charging port with controls for connecting and disconnecting calls, skipping songs and on/off. It isn’t a volume control, however. Volume is handled on your phone.
The Ranger earbuds have a 23 dB noise reduction rating so they’re fine for use when shooting outside, but I wouldn’t rely on them for indoor shooting. The only in-the-ear plugs I’ve found that provide enough protection for indoor range concussions are custom-molded silicone plugs. And even then, I tend to double up with a set of muffs.
I’ve really been surprised at how much I like these things. The Ranger earbuds are really durable, well made and work as designed…something I can’t say for other Bluetooth buds I’ve tried.
They live in my everyday carry bag and I use them all the time for music, Zoom conferences and phone calls, not to mention mowing the lawn and listening to music or podcasts while walking the dogs. It’s good to have them with me for impromptu shooting sessions.
Maybe the best thing about them is the price. The Ranger Bluetooth earbuds run about $89 which, for good Bluetooth buds, is a downright bargain.
These things have become must-have items that I’d instantly miss and quickly replace if I lost them, putting them firmly in the class of gear I own that definitely doesn’t suck.