Howard Leight Impact Sport Review 2023


Howard Leight has led the hearing protection industry for over 30 years by offering the most choices of innovative protection products. They have continually developed new designs, technologies, and materials to make the most comfortable and effective in-ear and over-ear protection forms.

One of their most popular and iconic models is the Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuff. This is a basic electronic earmuff with a low-profile design made for shooters.

These are one of the most popular sets of ear protection on the market for shooting sports. They offer incredible performance for the price and will protect your ears and hearing easily from dangerous noise.

The Criteria to Rate HL Impact Sport

There are a lot of electronic earmuff models on the market which are great for shooting, but the Howard Leight brand provides a lot of confidence in quality. Here are the criteria which we evaluated these earmuffs.

  • Protection from hazardous noise
  • Sound amplification
  • Quality of microphones and electronics
  • Comfort and customization
  • Compact size

Earmuffs such as Howard Leight’s Impact Sport can significantly reduce the loud, abrasive sounds from the environment while still allowing the wearer the ability to hear the surrounding ambient noise and maintain good situational awareness.

The Impact Sport is featured first in our Howard Leight Earmuffs Reviews.

Howard Leight Impact Sport Review (R01526)

Features Overview

  • ​NRR 22 dB
  • ​​Equipped with an audio input jack cord
  • Wind noise reducer built-in
  • Independent volume control
  • Foam ear cushions
  • Built-in directional microphones
  • Average Battery Life 350hr
  • 3.5 Audio Connection Cord

Shooting enthusiasts might choose Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs for several reasons:

  1. Protection from hazardous noise: These earmuffs are specifically designed to shield users from hazardous noise, such as gunshots, while still allowing them to remain connected to their environment. They have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) of 22 in both on and off modes, which indicates they can reduce noise by 22 decibels.

  2. Sound amplification: The earmuffs amplify low-level sounds, allowing users to clearly hear ambient noise (like human speech). Any sound louder than 82 decibels (like gunshots) is effectively blocked. They revert to passive earmuff mode once noise reaches 82 dB, reducing any impulsive damaging noise by 22 dB.

  3. Microphone and electronics quality: Although Impact Sports are among the cheapest electronic earmuffs, their audio quality isn’t considered the worst. They feature two directional microphones – one on each ear – contributing to a good audio experience.

  4. Comfort and customization: Users can install gel cups like Noisefighter Gel Cups or cheaper options available on Amazon for a more comfortable experience. Gel cups have been reported to enhance the comfort of these earmuffs considerably.

  5. Compact Size: Compared to similar models like the Walkers Razor, the Impact Sport earmuffs are more compact and, thus, easier to fit into travel bags, making them convenient for users who may need to carry them around. read more about Howard Leight Impact Sport vs Walker’s Razor.

Noise Reduction Rating

Rather than blocking out all noise from the user, the Impact Sport can reduce loud impulse sounds down to 82 dB while amplifying conversation noise, range commands and ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB. 

This means that all the obnoxious and abrasive noise will be reduced to a safe listening range while still allowing the user to hear the surrounding environment. So if you’re in law enforcement, a gun aficionado at the shooting range, or simply looking for a fun and creative way to blow off some steam, Howard Leight Impact Sport is perfect for indoor range shooting and other sports.


It has a low profile and sleek design to allow for a full clearing of the rifle stock. It’s also got a built-in auxiliary jack that allows for connecting to MP3 players and scanners. They are equipped with a four-hour shut-off to maintain the impact sport electronic earmuff’s battery life. 

And no need for a Howard Leight Impact Sport battery replacement—these earmuffs function off of two AAA batteries. It has a convenient folding design for storage reasons, and it is water-resistant.

Ear Cups

The gel ear cups are incredibly comfortable while maintaining a low profile to have your gun stock at a good distance while hunting. The gel ear cups are the answer to uncomfortable ear protection with foam cushions. They will stay tight around your head during many sports.

Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt

Howard Leight - R-02232 Impact Sport Bolt Digital Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Gray

What is the difference between the Howard Leight Impact Sport and Sport “Bolt”?

Howard Leight Impact Sport and Impact Sport Bolt are both popular models of hearing protection earmuffs, but there are a few notable differences between them:

  1. Sound Amplification Levels: While the design and the Air Flow Control Technology (AFC) are the same for both models, the main difference lies in the ambient sound amplification levels. The Impact Sport Bolt offers 5X Sound Amplification with an all-new digital compression circuitry, presumably more than what the standard Impact Sport model provides.

  2. Attack Time: The Impact Sport Bolt has a digital microprocessor that delivers a lightning-fast 0.5 millisecond attack time, 250X faster than the standard Impact Sport models. The “attack time” refers to the speed at which the earmuffs react to reduce any sound that surpasses a safe level (82 dB in this case).

Although the Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the same for both models (22 dB), these differences in sound amplification and attack time can lead to a different user experience.

Please read our full review of the Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt here.

Pros of Howard Leight Impact Sport

Based on Howard Leight Impact Sport’s electronic earmuffs reviews, customers seem to enjoy the fit and the construction of the earmuff’s design. They consider it one of the best earmuffs compared with the competition due to the Howard Leight Impact Sport tactical’s ability to maintain situational awareness. This advantage allows the user to focus on hunting or shooting while protecting their ears from harmful noises.

Reviews state that the features of the Impact Sport are unlike many others in this price range. The advanced technology of microphones and volume control is easy to access with the push of a button. When used for hunting and hearing protection the features are perfect; the Impact Sport has everything you need to hear the right sounds.

Customers love listening to music or their two-way radios through the earmuff’s auxiliary jack and enjoy being able to have conversations at the gun range. Many people do not solely use their earmuffs for shooting, but for other things such as working with power tools or using them to cut out the noise to help them sleep. Customers have continued to buy a new pair over the years and to this day praise these earmuffs highly.

We recommend purchasing Howard Leight shooting glasses to go along with the ear protection for a perfect fit without digging into your head.


Over the years, however, there seem to be some issues regarding the wear and tear of the fitting feature. For example, Howard Leight Impact Sport reviews claim that the top band has trouble adjusting. After a matter of time, the earmuffs will have trouble sealing, especially when used often for shooting sports. Eventually, the earmuff’s ability to cancel out the noise will malfunction. 

Once the volume is high enough to listen to a conversation, the gunshot sound can be a bit overbearing. Additionally, there seems to be an issue connecting these earmuffs to an iPhone: a persistent static sound is always in the background.

Another notable comparison is Howard Leight vs Peltor Tactical earmuffs.

​Howard Leight Impact Sport Battery Replacement

​This is a common question among users of this product. You may be wondering how to replace the batteries in the Impact Sport as well. Here is the answer and procedure to change out the batteries in your muffs. You need two 1.5 V AAA batteries.

Just like many other devices, these earmuffs take AAA batteries and are easy to replace when needed. Although these muffs are quite durable, be sure not to force the cover closed if it does not fit, this may lead to damage.

Where is The Battery Compartment?

howard leight impact sport battery compartment

The battery compartment is located on the outside of the earmuffs, at the top of the ear cup by the AUX jack. Once you remove the cover, you will be able to see a separate piece which you can open.

If you have any questions about locating the compartment or how to replace the batteries, you can consult the Howard Leight website.

Where Can I Buy Impact Sport earmuffs?

You can find these earmuffs and other Howard Leight products at many retail stores nationwide, such as Albertsons, ACME, Dollar General, Save Mart Supermarkets, and CVS/pharmacy. These earmuffs are about the same price at all retail stores, but you can find the Howard Leight R01526 on the Internet for much less.

Whether you work in a noisy office building, a construction site, or just hitting the gun range, sometimes you need a little quiet; and not complete and utter silence, but a cancelling of all the unnecessary sounds that do nothing but distract and disrupt you from the flow of the day.

Unfortunately, the days get to all of us, and the noise from the hustle and bustle can be distracting and sometimes harmful, but the Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuff is our remedy. These are the answer to your problems.


Our final thoughts on this set of hearing protection are they are one of the most versatile and straightforward ear protection sets you can buy on the market today.

You can expect nothing to last forever. And like everything else, these ear muffs are subjected to wear and tear over the many times you will use them. Unless you are hunting every day, these will last quite a long time. 

But using them for shooting sports, such as the gun range, may wear them out faster. But you will use them, and you will be wearing them many, many times—and you’ll definitely want to buy yourself a pair to put in your bag.

Also Read:


Caldwell vs Howard Leight

Leave a Comment