Hunters and shooters know that they must take care of their hearing while they are using their firearms. For example, a 12-gauge shotgun being fired is 156 decibels (dB), while anything over 85 dB can cause hearing damage. So it’s no wonder that shooters take their hearing protection so seriously.
The downside to hearing protection is that it doesn’t just block out the loud crack of the gunshot; it also blocks out non-harmful sounds such as voices. Fortunately, electronic hearing protection has been developed to fill this gap.
Electronic hearing protection uses external microphones to pick up non-harmful noises and then relay them to speakers inside the headset. The result is that you can hear the voice of your hunting partner while still being protected from hearing damage as a result of a gunshot.
Today we’ll be looking at an example of the electronic hearing protection category of products in this Peltor Tactical 6S review.
My Criteria For Choosing The Best Hearing Protectors:
First and foremost to consider with any hearing protection is the noise level in the environment you expect to use them in. The noisier the environment, the more protection you will want to have.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
The level of protection a product provides is known as Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). NRR is measured in dB and is the amount it reduces noises reaching the ear. For instance, if you were standing next to a noisy machine that was 95db and was wearing hearing protection with an NRR of 20, the noise level reaching your ears would be 75db.
Design and Comfort
The second criterion is designed both for comfort and maintainability. For example, hearing protection does you no good if you aren’t wearing it because it’s uncomfortable. As a result, comfort is key, as you will often need to wear it for a half or full day. Similarly, if the batteries or ear pads are difficult to replace, this can impact the overall satisfaction with the product.
Price is a consideration as well. Be careful that the price does not necessarily indicate the amount of hearing protection you will be getting. Some low-priced hearing protection provides an outstanding level of NRR, while higher-priced protection may be designed for lower noise level activities and provide a lower level of NRR. Therefore, it is important to determine your needs first and then look at products that meet those needs in your price range second.
With electronic hearing protection, another factor to consider is the quality of sound reproduction. Wind noise, in particular, can create an issue for electronic hearing protection and, in the worst circumstances, can completely negate its effectiveness.
The Tactical 6s is the slim-line electronic earmuffs offering by Peltor. Competitors include Impact Sport by Howard Leight and Razor by Walker.
Slimline earmuffs are designed to have a smaller profile that is more comfortable to wear while shooting. As a rule, the tradeoff is in NRR provided, and as a result, they are most appropriate to wear for outdoor shooting and hunting or everyday noisy activities such as mowing the lawn.
Also Check Out: Peltor Rangeguard Earmuffs
Peltor Tactical 6S Features:
The Tactical 6s has an NRR of 19db. While this is enough for outdoor shooting activities, it is a low overall NRR, and you definitely wouldn’t want to wear these at an indoor range.
For comparison purposes, the Impact Sport and Razor have an NRR of 22 and 23, respectively. NRRs of 20 to 25 is typical for this market segment, so 19 is low but adequate as long as it’s being used in the environments it was designed for.
The Tactical 6s is a very comfortable set of earmuffs, but there are design issues with changing the batteries. Replacing the batteries requires you to pop the earpiece into two pieces to access the battery compartment. Users report a lot of frustration and some scraped knuckles trying to swap out dead batteries.
This was a poor design choice by Peltor but fortunately doesn’t affect the overall performance of the earmuffs. Several Peltor Tactical 6s reviews on YouTube can help you address this issue. In addition, here’s a video that helps with battery changeover if you’d like to see the process.
The Tactical 6s is on the more expensive side. Competitors can have products that are below $50, which is a significant cost saving. That being said, Peltor does have the best reputation in the industry, accounting for some of the disparity.
Sound reproduction quality is very high on the 6s. This is because it has two large external microphones to catch the smallest sounds and foam coverings to ensure no wind noise issues.
If you are looking for a pair of electronic earmuffs for occasional outdoor hunting or shooting, I think you’ll be very pleased with the Peltor Tactical 6s earmuffs. They are comfortable for long-term wear and offer great sound reproduction quality.
If you are a more frequent user who will change batteries frequently or expect to be in louder noise environments, you may find that the Tactical 6s aren’t adequate for your hearing protection needs.