Firearms are loud, so it’s important that you have appropriate hearing protection when you’re out shooting.
Though many people prefer the extra noise reduction offered by ear muffs (see the top ear muffs for shooting here), the convenience of using ear plugs instead can’t be overlooked. They offer a much lower profile than any set of earmuffs and are far lighter.
A major perk to ear plugs is that they can be easily used with ear muffs for greater hearing protection when you need it most.
So, if you prefer shooting with ear plugs, it’s important that you get a good pair. For you, we’ve rounded up a few of the best ear plugs for shooting on the market to help you find the pair that’s right for you.
Surefire EP4 Sonic Ear Defenders
These in-ear ear defenders from Surefire are a tactical product trusted by gun owners worldwide. They use a unique system for noise reduction that allows for harmless noise levels to be safely let through, whilst extremely loud noises are filtered out.
From a performance standpoint, these ear plugs are superb. Whilst the NRR is only 24 dB with the filter cap inserted, they’re designed for short bursts of loud noise, rather than continuous loud noise.
To ensure a great fit, they come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Most users will probably want the medium earplugs.
Further ensuring a solid fit in your ear is their patented EarLock design that fits ergonomically into the ear offering a fit that’s far less likely to slip out when walking or running.
The versatility of these ear plugs is impressive. They utilise a clever system that reduces the volume of dangerously loud sounds whilst still allowing you to hear ambient noise and conversations.
However, in situations where you’d prefer a higher NRR and don’t need to hear ambient sounds, you can simply insert the attached filter caps and use them in the same way as more traditional ear plugs.
Additionally, whilst not important for most users, the EP4s can be used as an earpiece for compatible radio communication systems.
Overall, these ear plugs are a great choice for shooting. However, these are also ideal for listening to concerts as they still allow you to hear the music.
Auritech SHOOT Ear Plugs
By Auritech, we have the SHOOT ear plugs. Like the Surefire EP4s, they use a design that allows safe sounds into your ear whilst blocking out any harmful levels of noise. They feature a universal fit design that allows them to give you a good seal no matter the size of your ears.
To extend their lifespan, these ear plugs are completely reusable. They can be easily cleaned, which is very important for everyday use. Given that they’re far cheaper than a pair of more custom fitted ear plugs, the potential longevity you can get out of them is very useful.
The noise filter inside the ear plug filters out dangerous levels of noise, preventing hearing damage whilst still allowing you to hear ambient sounds and conversation clearly. This is very useful when shooting, particularly if you’re hunting or just spending time at the range.
Shooter’s Aid Sonic Ear Plugs
On the more budget end of the spectrum, we have these ear valves by Shooter’s Aid. Like both the Surefire EP4s and the Auritech SHOOTs, these ear plugs use an ear valve design that allows you to hear normal conversations whilst still reducing the volume of unsafe noises such as gunshots or concerts.
Since these are a one-size-fits-all design, they lack the comfort that a pair of custom moulded pair of ear valves has.
However, at a tenth of the price, it’s worth trying these out before you decide to spend money on a custom set. Though not advised, users have reported increasing the comfort of the plugs by trimming the bottom section of each ear plug off.
Like many other ear plugs for shooters on the market, these feature an ear valve design that allows safe noises in, whilst blocking out the sound of gunshots.
Another major benefit to this design is that it eliminates that uncomfortable feeling of having your ears completely plugged. This drastically increases comfort over a pair of regular foam earplugs.
All-in-all, these ear plugs are a great option if you just want to try a set of ear valves without spending the money for a custom-moulded set such as those offered by ultimate ear.
Shooter’s Aid Sonic Ear Plugs are more than capable of blocking out the sounds of gunfire, but aren’t really comfortable enough for extensive use.