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  • Writer's pictureCaleb T. Hayes

I Tested And Ranked The Best Shooting Earmuffs In 2024

Whether you’re at the gun range or out hunting, you must protect your hearing. I’ve been testing shooting earmuffs for years, and here’s my ultimate ranking.

best shooting earmuffs

FYI, prices and ratings are accurate as of time of writing.


1. Peltor Sport Tactical 500 Smart Hearing Protector


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: Voice tracking seeks out voice from background noise.

Helpful review: As a gunsmith, I spend many hours at the gun range test firing or sighting in client and personal guns. Most of the time, I use the public outdoor range right up the road from my shop; other times, I use indoor ranges. Indoor ranges, especially in the cold winter months, or during the hot and baking summers in the high desert. When shooting at the range with clients, I need electronic ear protection for myself and my clients (if they accompany me) to communicate. A great set of earmuffs works best as they are comfortable and can be cleaned between uses with a simple cleaning agent.
The Peltor Sport Tactical 500 set of earmuffs is one of my favorites when visiting the range with clients. The clarity and voice tracking make communications a breeze, and the comfort level is welcome after a long day using the lead sled to adjust crosshairs until they are just right. On top of voice tracking, comfort is the highest need for a day of shooting. Even when I am not on the trigger, I still need hearing protection, and the Peltor 500 shooting muffs do the job. The ergonomics of Peltor 500 fit and finish make using them very comfortable. The Peltor 500 offers Bluetooth functions that allow me to listen to old cowboy music while at the range alone and not discuss things with a client or another shooter. This function may be one of the reasons I get strange looks at the range. I think I ended up talking to myself about singing along with "El Paso." I mean, who does not do that when they have a chance?
The sound-dampening quality is second to none. The Peltor 500 takes the ear-splitting report of rifle fire and the booming sounds of shotgun blasts easy to deal with, and when discussing things with clients, the background noise is gone, and the voices are sharp and clear. The volume function buttons are large and easy to find. The Peltor 500 setup uses buttons, not knobs, so a solid click to the next level is easy to use and easy to find. — Harold Daniels

Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns

 

2. Walker's Rechargeable Firemax Behind the Neck Earmuffs


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: USB-C rechargeable, no more batteries!

Helpful review: I am searching for a better hearing protection set-up when shooting rifles at range. The standard over-the-ear shooting muffs are great until you put your check to the rifle's buttstock. When getting up close and personal with the rifle, my earmuff often rises off my ear when it contacts the rifle stock. When this happens, I only wear one side of my hearing protection. This is unacceptable as my hearing is getting worse as I get older, and I need to keep what I have working as long as I can.
The behind-the-neck feature drew my attention to the Walker Firemax, but the USB-C rechargeable feature kept my attention. The behind-the-neck function feels weird to me, to be honest; that is because the headband feature is new, and I am not used to it yet. The best part about the behind-the-neck band of the Walker Firemax is the ability to wear a hat in the sun and not bake the skin off of my head at the range. When I wear the over-the-top earmuffs, I try to do the over-the-hat thing, which is very uncomfortable quickly. It's not as uncomfortable as a sunburned noggin, so I deal with it and look stupid. The behind-the-neck is my next attempt to fit into my environment.
My favorite part of the Walker Firemax is the rechargeable feature. Nothing is as frustrating as getting to the range and having dead batteries, and they are AAA for the most part, so that is a bigger pain in the neck. Having the ability to keep the Firemax on my phone charger when my phone is not plugged in is an answer to a prayer or a great way not to cuss at the range when kids are around. Both are good things.
The Walker Firemax has four settings for sound clarity, and I keep mine on "Clear Voice" if I am with others and need to talk; if I am solo sighting in client rifles, I use them with my phone to listen to cowboy music while twisting turrets and getting the scope dialed in. The Walker Firemax can use the Walkie Talkie accessory with them, and I will get this upgrade like the Walker Razors I use when teaching at the range if I decide to use these for teaching. To spend time sighting rifles, I don’t need to use a walkie-talkie to myself.
I took these to the indoor range to shoot handguns, kill paper targets, and test the "Clear Voice" function. The Walker Firemax set did a great job cutting out the loud noise from the voices. The range office commands were clear and easy to hear; the echo that other hearing protection turns into a medium-level buzz is not there with the Walker Firemax. I also used the Walker Firemax set when we took the RZR out for a spin at the cabin. The Firemax made conversation easier and cut the howl noise from the tires down to a comfortable level while being able to hear passengers talking. I have not used the Walker Firemax in the shop when using power equipment yet, as my go-to set of earmuffs is in the designated space, and old habits die hard. — Eddy Travis

Get it from Amazon now: $199.99 & FREE Returns

 

3. Sordin - Supreme Pro-X Ear Neckband Defenders


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: Extreme comfort when wearing at the range all day.

Helpful review: I was sent a couple of pairs of the Sordin Supreme Pro X shooting muffs to try out and review. The first thing I saw on the box was the military-grade rating. The next thing I saw on the box was the words “Waterproof.” There is no way a smart ass like me can see that and not test the waterproof rating. I am unsure when a waterproof rating is necessary for shooting muffs other than dropping them from a boat when duck or goose hunting.
My test of the waterproof rating did not use the dirty water from a lake shore; I used the sink in the bathroom and the shower. The first water test was to put them on and get in the shower; they worked flawlessly, silent showering. The next test was to throw them in the sink and leave them for two hours. After two hours, I took them out, put them on my head, and turned them on. With water running down my face, the microphones were full of water, and the feedback was horrible. The input is a thing to be careful of, but they did work, just like the box said. Another issue was that there was no way to drain the water from the earmuffs, so it took about two months before all the water evaporated.
While the first set was air drying in my office, I took the other set to the range for a day of rifle testing. The design of the outer shell is not the best for sighting in a rifle; they are a little on the big side, but for function testing and free-hand shooting, they are fine. The greatest part of the Sordin is the comfort level. I wear glasses, and the way the foam is designed on the Sordin Supreme Pro, they do not smash my ears into the glasses frame, making my ears sore. The Sordin hearing protection is easy to wear all day, and the microphones make range commands on other shooters easy to hear.
The only thing I can see the Sordin brings from the military grade is the ability to purchase a two-way radio setup that will employ two radios into a splitter of sorts. I don’t need anything like this, so I did not buy some to test them out, and I can only let everyone know it is available. The radio setup uses a 3.5mm jack, or you could plug an earphone from your phone into there to have some music or something to keep your company at the range.
The day these were delivered to my porch, I had some millwork to do on a few lowers, so I put them on my head to see how they worked in the shop. The Sordin Supreme Pro made the milling noises go away and cut the sound of my air compressor in half. I listened to the TV in the background playing some Chris LeDoux while making new AR lowers born into the world that day.
For the price of the Sordin hearing protection, the low-level hiss noise from the electronics was somewhat disappointing. The noise is not loud, but less expensive muffs don’t seem to have this noise. Even the ones full of water had the same noise before and after being submerged.
When I was at Shotshow 2024, the Sordin booth had folks lined up down the aisle, so I could not talk with reps and see if there was a way to fix the hissing noise. The Sordin folks did create a buzz at the show, and many shooters were happy to try them on and test the whisper-to-each-other function, which I understand if they are used for military-grade hearing protection. The Sordin muffs will cut noise from shooting and increase noise if I hear someone sneaking up on me or others whispering at night. — Gary Anderson

Get it from Amazon now: $319.00 & FREE Returns

 

4. Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs by Howard Leight


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: My first pair of electronic muffs, and remain my champions.

Helpful review: I bought my first Howard Leight Impact set at a gun store where I worked long ago. We had the only electronic muffs in stock, so I bought them while working on the range. I loved them so much that I bought more for a range of excursions for everyone in the family. I did not know I was buying the “cheap” set of electronic hearing protection; I just knew they worked.
The Howard Leight Impact hearing protection earmuffs are easy to use when sighting a rifle. The slim profile doesn’t rise off my ears when my check is in stock. On top of fitting well when using the Lead Sled, the Impacts are light, barely noticeable on my head for long-range days. After trying on many different makers and styles, I still reach for the Impacts when I sight in client guns at the range. This may be due to the way they work for me, or I am a creature of habit, probably a little of each. Since I stopped caring what the cool kids wear long ago, I deal more with the best working and functionality than the name brand.
The Howard Leight Impact muffs cut the noise down, even when using them on an indoor range while keeping communication clear and easy. My wife enjoys hers so much she does not even bother trying the more expensive ones. I enjoy the Impacts' ability to turn the sound level to the max, hear weeds blow in the wind, and have zero background noise. The microphones do not make a hissing noise, which is great for hearing coyotes sneaking through the sagebrush if they are close anyway.
I can talk all day about how great the Impacts are, and to be honest, they do have one drawback for me: the ear padding wears on my ears, where it is smashed against my glasses. I have read that a gel pad can be purchased to replace the stock pad. I need to get this upgrade and see if that works better. — Eddy J. Roberts

Get it from Amazon now: $91.81 & FREE Returns

 

5. Walker's Razor Slim Electronic Earmuff


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: Walkie Talkie add-on for teaching classes on the range.

Helpful review: A long time ago, when I was a young hunter and shooter, we did not use hearing protection. Then, the magazines (Guns and Ammo) started publishing articles about hearing loss and that ringing in our ears that never seemed to go away. What I know now versus then would make my aging years much easier to hear grandkids. When I teach a class on the range (NRA courses), the communication gets a little muffled. Even using electronic hearing protections can’t fix all of the muffled noises, and the background noises also get in the way.
The answer to the communication issues on the range is the Walker Razor Slim. I issued them to all the students, bought the Walkie-Talkie add-on, and fixed all communication issues on the spot. The only place this setup works better than on the outdoor range is the over-loud indoor range. With this option added to amazing shooting muffs, I am talking directly in students' ears. If the student has a question or concern, they push the button and talk directly in my ear and the entire shooting line's ears.
I have read reviews of the Walker Razor Slim that say they make a constant noise when worn to the range; all of mine do not have this issue. I don’t know what could cause this noise or feedback, so I can't give any troubleshooting advice here. No student or personal experience gives anything but the highest marks for the Walker Razor Slim hearing protection. With the slim design, shooters do not encounter many displacement issues when shouldering a long gin and having the stock push the earmuff away for the ear. Batteries (included) are easy to change; the access door is outside the ear fitting and does not require the removal of hearing protection to replace them.
The Walker Razor Slim earmuffs and headgear fit very well. The fit is right on the money for tightness on the head “grip,” for lack of a better word. Some hearing protections are very tight, and I feel like they are squeezing my ears together. Wearing the tight-fitting muffs makes wearing glasses, yes, shooting glasses as well, uncomfortable, to say the least. Uncomfortable safety gear will cut your day at the range short and can be miserable in short order.
On another note, earmuffs that fit too loosely will flop around and not keep the noise out and may simply fall off with simple movements at the shooting bench. To reiterate, the Walker Razor Slim earmuffs fit perfectly with a “medium squeeze,” making wearing for a whole class easy and comfortable for long periods of use. — Mike Rogers

Get it from Amazon now: $69.99 & FREE Returns

 

best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: 34dB noise reduction.

Helpful review: Like many non-electronic earmuffs, the Pro For Sho is better at noise cancellation, which beats the rest when it comes to quiet. However, they lack the ability to communicate while shooting. This harkens back to the pre-electronic days of huge cans on my ears and lots of yelling or leaving the range to talk to one another.
The biggest advantage of the Pro For Sho hearing protection is that it can be used for shooting indoor ranges on a busy day. If the range allows rifle fire, you should step back from technology and embrace more noise cancellation. They can add more sound insulation by not involving a microphone, batteries, and the speaker side of the electronic muffs in the shells (?).
Before getting my hand on the Pro For Sho earmuffs, my go-to super quiet set of hearing protections was from Howard Leight, who made the Impact electronic muffs I spoke about earlier. The non-electronic muffs are less expensive and almost always have a high-quality build. I use my Pro For Sho earmuffs almost exclusively when running saws in my shop or building new stuff for my shop. Honestly, I can barely hear the saw running, and when I put OSB sheets through the saw to make shelves or storage boxes, the only ears annoyed by the sound are my neighbors – sorry, folks.
I have also found the Pro For Sho earmuffs to be the best at pneumatic tools and air compressor noise canceling; I know that is not shooting-related, but we are talking about hearing protection, not just shooting muffs.
If I go to an indoor range to sight in a newly mounted scope, I always take the Pro For Sho set with me, and I can spend hours sighting in the optics. Their ear comfort level is good, the noise cancellation is fantastic, and the padded headgear makes for a long-range day that is easy on the shooter. I also use the Pro For Sho earmuffs for new and nervous shooters when teaching one-on-one classes. Taking the noise levels down relaxes the stress levels in new shooters. Removing all the distracting noise from the range experience allows the new shooter to concentrate completely on the matter.
The only issue is that we must leave the range or firing line to discuss what happened and what to do next. If you are on a live range, and many shooters are there, step away from the line and have the student change out the Pro For Sho set of hearing protection for electronic muffs, and you can talk and be safe at the same time.
Let me spend a few minutes discussing the noise reduction between the different types of earmuffs. Most electronic earmuffs cancel out 24 – 27 dB of noise. The Pro For Sho set of muffs cancels 34 dB of noise! The difference there may be the difference between eventual hearing loss after many hours and years of loud noises. If you are exposed for long periods to loud noises, forget the awesome electronic muffs and go with the quietest hearing protection earmuffs, and use ear plugs as well. You will also get pretty good at making up and reading hand signals with the people you work with. — Chris Wagoner

Get it from Amazon now: $25.55 & FREE Returns

 

7. Walker's Ultra Low Profile Passive Earmuffs


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: It folds very compactly and can fit in the cargo pocket between matches.

Helpful review: The Ultra Low Profile Walker Razor hearing protection muffs are designed for smaller heads. The packaging and Walker website will tell you they are made for women and kids. For an over full-size adult male, super noggin like mine, that is a problem as they feel like they are trying to squeeze my eyes out of my head.
I started with a bunch of these for range loaners in CCW classes. They are very affordable and fold into a tiny bundle, and I can fit 6 pairs in my range kit; I thought I had the perfect answer. For many students, this was about money; this was a good enough answer for others. Then I found the Walker Razor electronic, to which I can add the Walke Talkie, my training go-to now.
Back to the Ultra Low Profile set of earmuffs. The Ultra Low-Profile muffs will reduce noise at 27dB, which is very effective for shooing and protecting everyone's ears. This setup will do the job of hearing protection exactly as advertised, and if they fit the shooter's head, they will be comfortable for a long time. They seem to fit around the earpieces of eyewear just fine and do not allow a lot of noise to “leak” past the padding. Another thing about the Ultra Low-Profile earmuffs is the weight. Again, smaller heads usually come with a smaller neck, and the lightweight earmuffs will improve some shooter's range day experience even more.
I found that the Ultra Low-Profile setup will fold in itself as many others do, but the tiny package, after folding, will tuck into a cargo pocket and make keeping hearing protection on hand convenient. That same small package worked like a champ when setting up the teaching kit for the range; I stopped at 6 pairs of earmuffs when I had more and more students with not small heads signing up and complaining of discomfort when wearing them. The students and shooters with the right size head for the Ultra Low-Profile muffs seemed to love them. I kept two sets for grandkids to use for right now and donated the rest to new shooters who needed to save the money for ammo to practice with their newly bought handguns. — Dan Howard

Get it from Amazon now: $29.99 & FREE Returns

 

8. Awesafe Electronic Shooting Earmuffs


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: Comes with a 3.5 wire to connect to music.

Helpful review: The Awesafe Electronic Shooting Muffs are a more affordable option and will take care of your hearing when shooting. They reduce the noise level by 24dB, not as much as most, but still good to keep your hearing safe on the range.
At this level of noise reduction, use the foam earplugs and turn the volume up so you can hear when someone is talking to you. The microprocessor will reduce the loudness of the talking to a normal range, but an indoor range noise level will not damage your hearing. By doubling up on the hearing protection, you may need to step out of the indoor range lanes to discuss things.
On an outdoor range, the Awesafe hearing protection will work fine unless you are next to big magnum rifles or someone has a muzzle break on their rifle. The muzzle break is the fastest way to make a regular rifle sound like an artillery gun; most noise exits the sides of the muzzle and delivers a lot of noise up and down the firing line.
Most shooters will add hearing protection on days the big boomers show up. Easy enough to do, the foamy ear plugs are about a quarter each, and you can fit 10 sets in your front pocket. Never hesitate to add protection or leave the firing line if you keep the noise level is more than your hearing protection can accommodate. No one will think less of safety, and the folks who do think less of safety are the ones who ca t hear you anymore, and that is a reason for better hearing protection. — Shane Davis

Get it from Amazon now: $36.98 & FREE Returns

 

9. Walker's Electronic Hunting Muffs


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: The optional Gel Inserts will increase the comfort factor many times.

Helpful review: The Walker Hunting Muffs are the same as the Walker Slim earmuffs but are made to be worn all day long as a hunting kit. When you order these, get the gel inserts as well. Replace the foam ears with the gel ears, or you may regret it the next day. The foam inserts will keep the noise out, no problem. The gel inserts will be much kinder to your ears when you wear them all day.
The exterior of the ear shells is rubber coated for protection from the elements and the sticks and rocks encountered when hunting. The biggest advantage of the hunting muffs is the camouflage options in which they can be delivered. If you have a specific camo style (real tree), Walker Hunting Muffs will have a “skin” that will work with your camo and not against staying hidden. The next most important feature is the pair of omnidirectional microphones. The pair of microphones can be turned up to maximum to hear critters, and they will still drop the noise level to safety when it comes along.
Using the turned-up microphones will allow hunters to communicate in whispers about 10 feet apart. How amazing is that? These earmuffs will allow a hunter to hear an animal walking through the brush and leaves from many feet away. This is like a cheat code for hunters, especially archery hunters. Of course, our archery hunters do not need hearing protection, but they can benefit from altered hearing ability.
The Walker Hunting Muffs can be used as headphones by plugging in a music device. This may not be a good idea at the range, and it's up to the hunter to use them for music in a tree stand, but mowing the lawn will be much friendlier and enjoyable. The 3.5 jack can attach to some phones and can be used as the earpiece for talking on the phone. If phone use is included in your plans, you will still need to speak into the microphone. — Amanda Dunn

Get it from Amazon now: $44.99 & FREE Returns

 

10. Impact Pro Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff


best shooting earmuffs

Highlight: Automatic shutoff feature when not in use.

Helpful review: The Impact Pro set of earmuffs is the best hearing protection for indoor ranges. The materials used to make the walls at your indoor range will reverberate, focus gunshot noise into your ears, and can lead to damage, even past regular earmuffs. I don’t know of an indoor range made of anything other than concrete. Some ranges install sound baffling along the ceiling and maybe near the top of the walls to help limit the noise on the range.
I found that some indoor ranges required earplugs and my Howard Leight Impact muffs. This was not an issue and was easy to do, but I wanted to hear other shooters more clearly. I looked into the other Howard Leight muffs and found the Impact Pro offering. I love my Impact shooting muffs, and I have most of the box of electronic muffs, so I had to purchase the Pro offering.
The improved hearing protection is complemented by the auto shut-off feature. This feature prevents the AAA batteries from dying when I take them to the indoor range, which is my standard. After I set the earmuffs on the shelf, looking at guns I should not afford, then folding them up and putting them in the shooting bag, and not switching off the knob, they will switch off after four hours.
The Pro earmuff offering has the same listening improvements as the Impact Sport models. The difference is the bulk. Howard Leight can only improve the dB reduction by adding more sound insulation. If I decide to get a spare set of these, I will only get one set for a shooting partner at the indoor range. The bulk that comes with the Pro offering makes sighting a rifle complicated and possibly dangerous to my hearing. On top of the bulky size, the Pro series is heavier, and if you have some neck issues or just a weak neck, this may be an issue for you.
After all the talk about this Pro offering, it may sound like the price is much higher than Impact Sport, but that is not the case. They may be twice as much as the Howard Leight Impact offering, but the Pro offering is around a hundred bucks, so it is affordable for indoor shooting ranges or folks with hearing loss who must protect what they have left. — Larry Bolster

Get it from Amazon now: $88.69 & FREE Returns

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