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Finding the best hearing protection for an environment such as at the shooting and gun range, is particularly challenging. These environments can be quiet for long periods of time, during which you need to hear sound or ambient noises around you, followed by brief periods of intense noise.

The average gunshot sound level is anywhere from 140 to 190 decibels (db), which is more than loud enough to cause immediate hearing damage.  So, if you are a hunter or sportsman, then finding the best ear protection for shooting is a must.

You could spend hours on end searching online for the best shooting ear protection. Luckily, there’s no need to waste precious time when you have everything here to guide your decision making.We’ll share with you the best shooting ear muffs, top choices for electronic ear protection for shooting, and even gun range earplugs that act like shooting headphones. For all this and more, stay tuned!

Best Shooting Ear Protection

Types Hearing Protection for Shooting

When looking for the best hearing protection for shooting there are two major types you will need to known about, passive and electronic.

Passive hearing protection simply blocks the sound from hitting your ear by using a physical barrier, either inner ear (earplugs) or outer ear (earmuffs). In this case you typically want the highest protection you can get, but there are some minimums you’ll need to consider.

The amount of hearing protection is listed as the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) and it is rated in db of protection. Many people ask, ‘Is a higher NRR rating better?’ For louder noise environments, where you need maximum protection, the answer is yes. The higher the NRR, the greater the ability to reduce noise coming to your ear.

For outdoor shooting and hunting you typically want at least 20db of protection. 

Indoor shooting is louder and requires at least 25db of protection, although upper 20’s are preferable.

Electronic ear protection is generally considered to be the best ear protection for shooting overall.  It works by amplifying ambient noises using microphones and speakers so you can still hear what is going on. It then cuts off the amplification or lowers the sound level whenever there is a gunshot.

The result is protection when you need it, while still allowing you to hear voices and ambient noises.

You can also take a look at personal sound amplifiers, specifically the Walker’s Game Ear. Also, if you plan on bringing your dog hunting, make sure they also have sufficient dog hearing protection

In this review we’re going to take a look at the best passive and electronic ear protection for both ear plugs and ear muffs. In order to know how to choose hearing protection for shooting, you first have to understand the different types. 

And, whether you are looking for men’s ear protection or womens ear protection for shooting, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Let’s dive in and take a closer look.

The Best Gun Range Ear Plugs

Passive Earplugs - Howard Leight Laser Lite

Active Protection - Peltor TEP-100

How do earplugs work?

Ear plugs work by blocking the canal of the ear. They can either be disposable, typically made from foam or wax; or they can be reusable, typically made from silicone with a triple flange design.

When looking at the top ear plugs for shooting we consider two factors. Firstly you want the highest noise reduction rating earplugs you can get, which for earplugs is around 33db. Secondly, you should take comfort into account since you will regularly be wearing your earplugs for several hours on end.

Read all of our electronic earplug reviews here.

Top 5 Shooting Range Ear Plugs

Howard Leight Laser Lite High Visibility Foam Earplugs

Sometimes the best ear protection for the range is also the simplest. The Howard Leight Laser Lite High Visibility Earplugs are a simple pair of disposable earplugs designed for industrial environments. However, they are also one of the best range ear protectors.

Key Features & Specs

  • Great NRR Rating – These earplugs offer an outstanding NRR of 32db, more than enough for indoor and outdoor shooting. 
  • Comfortable Design – They use a soft, slow recovery foam that is easy to roll and position in the ears and stays put once it is there.
  • Competitive Price – These shooting ear muffs are affordably priced and come in bulk packaging that makes it easy to always keep a few pairs in your range bag or hunting kit. 

Con – They are not as durable like some of the other forms of shooting ear protection; although, for a disposable earplug, they do the job well.

Final Word – For a quality basic pair of shooting earplugs, and great to add to your handgun accessories, you can’t go wrong with the Laser Lite ear plugs.

Peltor TEP-100 Tactical Range Earplugs

With the Skull Screws ear tips the Peltor TEP-100s boast an outstanding NRR of 30db. This is more that enough for any shooting environment.

Key Features & Specs

  • Electronics Integration – In a very low profile and comfortable earplug you get all the hearing protection you need with the sound amplification you want. These are definitely the best active protection for shooting.
  • Design – The compact design makes these earplugs comfortable to wear and easy to transport.

Con – The sound quality doesn’t tend to be as high as you get using over the ear electronic hearing protection, but that is to be expected given the smaller space they have to work with in packaging the electronics components.

Final Word – The cost is significantly more expensive than other passive earplug options, but if you want the electronic amplification without the bulky earmuffs these earplugs are the way to go.

Read our full Peltor TEP-100 electronic earplugs review

SureFire EP4 Sonic Defenders

EP4’s were designed from the ground up with the shooter in mind. They use an innovative filter system that reduces the db level of impulse sounds (gunshots) above 85 db. The louder the sound, the more it reduces.

Key Features & Specs

  • Filter System – The result of the filter system is an earplug that acts very similar to electronic hearing protection, but without the need for batteries. Voices are still very clear, but gunshot noises are reduced to a safe level.
  • Clarity – Crispness in sound is noticeably better in these earplugs that other.

Con – Although this isn’t really a con, it’s worth mentioning that gunshots will still sound very loud and crisp with these earplugs in. The good thing though, is that the sounds won’t leave your ears ringing. That tends to take people by surprise the first time they wear them.

Final Word – With an NRR of 24db these are really only appropriate for shooting outdoors so don’t plan on wearing these to the indoor range. The combination of clarity and protection does make these the best hunting ear plugs on our list.

Decibullz Custom Molded Shooting Earplugs

Decibullz uses a very innovative approach of combining an inner ear silicone earplug with an outer ear canal custom molded putty. The result is a combination inner/outer ear protection that provides an excellent 31db of protection and custom comfort at the same time.

Key Features & Specs

  • Great NRR rating – For shooting earplugs, the best have over 30db of protection, and Decibullz definitely fall into that category. However, NRR of over 30db are generally seen in disposable earplugs. This is an outstanding rating for a pair of reusable earplugs.
  • Custom Design – The custom molding make them extremely comfortable for long term wear.
  • Comfortable Wear – You’ll be able to spend an entire day at the range, without taking home a set of sore ears as a souvenir.

Con – One of the only cons with these is that they may not be suitable for all ear canal sizes, i.e children.

Final Word – If you’re looking for a shooting ear protection recommendation that doesn’t fall short, this pair of earplugs is a great choice!

Peltor Combat Arms Gun Range Earplugs

The final product on our best shooting ear plugs list are the Peltor Combat Arms Earplugs.

The Combat Arms were designed specifically for use with the military. They are one of the best gun ear protection items for the range, and for working in consistent noise environments. If you are looking for pistol accessories, this is one of the ones you’ll want to have.


Key Features & Specs

  • High Protection – The yellow end offers noise activated protection up to 22db that is perfect for the gun range or hunting, where you will have loud bursts of impulse noise, while the olive end provides constant protection for passive noise at an NRR of 22db.
  • Innovative Design – The innovative dual sided design is great for protecting your ears from loud noises.

Con – This product has limited availability, as the manufacture has now discontinued it. If you can get your hands on a pair before they’re all gone, you’re in luck! 

Final Word – These earplugs are ideal for environments where you would experience many different types of hazardous noises; it is for this reason these earplugs made our top 5 list.

The Best Ear Muffs for Shooting

For Indoor Gun Range - Howard Leight Impact Pro

For Outdoor Shooting - Walker's Razor Slim

How do ear muffs work?

Ear muffs cup the ears to block noise rather than sitting inside the ear canal.  Many of the best earmuffs for shooting also include electronics integration.

This is because the earmuffs offer significantly more room in which to include the electronics. This means that they can be integrated at a much more competitive price.

You can take a closer look at electronic earmuffs here.

Whereas the price difference with passive and electronic ear plugs may be several hundred dollars, the difference between passive and electronic ear muffs may be $50 or less. This makes the electronic versions of earmuffs much more attractive and as a result you’ll find that they feature heavily in the earmuffs portion of our shooting hearing protection reviews.

Let’s look at the top earmuffs models of the best hearing protection for shooting ranges in more detail.

Top 5 Gun Range Ear Muffs

Howard Leight Impact Sport - Best Ear Protection For Shooting Range

The Impact Sports are the top selling earmuffs in the Hunting and Shooting Earmuffs category on Amazon. This is a well deserved spot for an outstanding set of earmuffs, and one of the reasons they earned our the top spot of all our shooting ear protection reviews.

Key Features & Specs

  • Great NRR Rating – The Impact Sports have an NRR of 22db.  This makes them good for outdoor shooting activities and hunting. They can be used for indoor shooting as well if they are doubled up with inner ear protection.
  • Microphones – This model features directional microphones. These are recessed and covered with foam to protect them from wind noise,which is something that can tend to plague electronic hearing protection.
  • Battery Life – The Impact Sports have a long battery life
  • Design – Slimline design for comfort. 
Con – When using inside, they don’t muffle the best, but they are great for outdoors.

Final Word – These are a great pair of earmuffs to use for a day at the range. Consider buying these if you’re looking for the best protection for the range.

Or check these out:

ClearArmor Safety Earmuffs - Best Hearing Protection For Indoor Range

These are one of the best passive shooting hearing protection for indoor ranges, where there tends to be extremely high noise and less reason to be able to hear ambient noises.

Key Features & Specs

  • Comfortable Design – The ClearArmor Safety Earmuffs are very comfortable. They have a full ½” of foam on the headband, by far the most of any of the earmuffs we are looking at today.
  • Incredible NRR – These muffs have a rating of 34db, the highest of any product we are looking at today. 
Con – They do have large earcups that are a bit bulky and can be a drawback
Final Word – In terms of overall performance and comfort these are definitely one of the best hearing protection for the range.

Peltor Tactical Pro - Electronic Shooting Earmuffs

Peltor is widely recognized for producing the best electronic ear protection for shooting.  Peltor built this reputation by building products for US Special Operations Command, and this expertise has carried over into their commercial products.

Key Feature & Specs

  • Innovative Compression – The reason Peltor has a reputation for the best electronic ear muffs for shooting is they use a compression technique rather than a clipping technique. Other brands shut off amplification whenever there is a gunshot, while Peltor compresses the sound to safe level. This gives a superior experience while shooting and listening for voices or other ambient sounds.
  • High NRR Rating – A NRR of 26db means these earmuffs are a great choice for either indoor and outdoor shooting.

Con – There are no major cons to note.

Final Word – The Tactical Pros are the top of the line offering from Peltor for the commercial market. 

Howard Leight Impact Pro

The Impact Pro’s offer the highest NRR of all the electronic hearing protection on our best ear muffs for shooting list. They have an outstanding NRR of 30db, this means you’ll be well protected no matter how loud the shooting environment you are in.

Key Feature & Specs

  • Comfort Design – The Impact Pros are designed for comfort in addition to performance. They feature large ear cups and soft foam padding around the ears that will let you wear these earmuffs for hours on end with no discomfort.
  • High Value – For all the protection and features these earmuffs provide they are probably the best value for the price earmuffs on our list.
Con – This model is a bit bulkier than some, and they don’t fold down like compacts.

Final Word – If you think a pair of heavy duty electronic earmuffs will make the best protection for the range for you, then you certainly won’t be disappointed with the Impact Pros.

Walker’s Razor Slim Game Ears Shooting Muff

The Razor by Walker’s is the slimmest electronic earmuff we’re looking at in this review.  These earmuffs won’t feel bulky on your head or interfere with anything else while you are shooting.

Key Feature & Specs

  • Good NRR Rating – Their NRR is a respectable 23db, which makes them very competitive with the top selling Impact Sport model.
  • Solid Design – Walker really focused on style and aesthetics with the Razor. They have a very aggressive profile that consumers love and come in a variety of colors to match your individual preferences.
  • High Clarity – These earmuffs provide outstanding clarity thanks to their top-notch electronics.

Con – The fit on these aren’t as great as other with models.

Final Word – If you are looking for a combination of form and function then definitely take a closer look at the Razor’s

FAQ on Hearing Protection for Shooting

There are many questions about ear pro for shooting; because of the wide range of situations where you need hearing protection from guns, not to mention higher noise ratings from different caliber ammo. Here are some commonly asked questions about shooter hearing protection.

What level of hearing protection is needed for shooting?

If you’re doing outdoor shooting you want no less than 20db of protection, while for indoor shooting, you should consider at least 25db. 

Are earplugs good enough for shooting?

Using a pair of earplugs is a great way to start protecting your ears while shooting, but you really should use more protection to guarantee your ears are safe!

Do I need to use ear plugs and earmuffs together?

While this is not necessary, by choosing to use both, you will improve the level of noise you are protected from. For example, using foam plugs and regular earmuffs offer a great level of hearing protection, and requires much less budget than some electronic hearing protection.

Can I use earplugs and electronic earmuffs at the same time?

You really could do this, but it is not necessary at all. If anything you should use a pair of passive earplugs, with electronic earmuffs on the outer, if you please.

What are the best electronic ear defenders for shooting?

Of all the best electronic ear defender muffs we feature in our list. the best ones would be the Peltor Tactical Pro or Howard Leight Impact Pro. You can’t go wrong with either of these two.

shooting earmuffs and plugs


As you’ve seen in our shooting hearing protection review, there are a lot of great options out there to suit your individual needs and preferences.

Remember to start with you’re protection needs first when making a decision on which pair of shooting headphones to buy . If you shoot primarily at an indoor range it won’t do you much good to select hearing protection designed for outdoor shooting.

After you’ve determined what level of ear protection you need for shooting, the next step is to look at the best inner ear and outer ear options that match up to your needs. From there you can select other features that may appeal to you.

There are a lot of great earplugs and earmuffs out there and you may need multiple types for different situations, for instance, electronic earmuffs for hunting and a pair of passive earplugs to use indoors.

No matter what products you decide on, you’ll find that any of the options on this list will leave you incredibly satisfied with your purchase.

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