. Someone e-mailed and asked what I recommend in the way of hearing protection. I thought I'd answer here, in case it helps anyone....
Recommend? That's a tough one. Every persons hearing protection needs differ quite a bit. Small booms and big booms are different. Shooting environments are different. Range duties are different.
Someone shooting small bore on a private range can make do quite well with some simple foam ear plugs. Bump that to big bore, and we better increase protection by adding some decent quality full size muffs to the mix.
Make it a public range, or one where commands need to be heard and understood, and suddenly the need to hear non-shooting sounds becomes important. If you ever have to serve as range officer, that need becomes critical.
So, rather than recommend, 'Ol Carteach will simply pass on how he chooses to take care of things. Most of the time, the hearing protection pictured above will be found on The Fat Man's head while shooting. These are Caldwell E-Max Low Profile Electronic Muffs.
These electronic ear muffs provide decent hearing protection across the range, from small bore to shotgun, up to most big bore. They serve well even during the rapid fire stage at our clubs high power match, where a dozen people will be banging away with big bore rifles all at the same time.
Almost as important, from my point of view, these electronic ear muffs provide stereo sound reproduction and amplification. That means I hear what people are saying, and where they are saying it from. For someone who is hyper vigilant to the actions of others on a live fire range, this is a huge comfort.
The sound amplification quality is not perfect. Turning up the volume rewards with some static with the sound. On the other hand voices, words, and commands are perfectly understandable.
Perhaps the best part.... They cost only $28, with free shipping from Amazon. That appeals to the cheap old b@$&@#% who lives deep in my soul. Also, they are cheap enough that I don't mind giving away a pair to a needful young shooter once in a while. That is why I always keep a spare set on hand.