If you've ever spent much time with any old shooters, it doesn't take
long to realize that most of us don't hear very well. I remember when I bought my first
.357 magnum at the age of sixteen. I purchased a box of magnum
hollowpoints, loaded and fired six rounds, and my ears rang for several days. Most shooters back then never
did much about hearing protection, except maybe for stuffing a little cotton
in each ear.
Shooters today have many options in hearing protection, with the various
muffs, plugs, and combinations of both. Sometimes when shooting the heaviest magnum handguns, I wear
both plugs and muffs. Most people don't realize that the report from even one shot can do long-term damage to
the ears. Even relatively mild rounds such as a .22 long rifle, while not painful, can do serious damage to
one's hearing. Once the damage is done, that part of the hearing ability is
One of the newer hearing protectors available is the electronic shooting
muff. These devices were first developed for use by law enforcement entry teams that had the need to talk to
each other, while at the same time protecting their hearing if it became necessary to fire their weapons in the
confines of a building.
One of the newest electronic hearing protectors on the market, and the
subject of this article, is from Dillon Precision Products. Dillon's reloading
equipment is well known and second to none in quality and service. The HP1 shooting
muffs are lightweight and compact while still having a noise reduction rating
of 21, which compares favorably with non-electronic muffs available to shooters. The advantage of the
electronics is the ability of the shooter to carry on a normal conversation with
other shooters without having to constantly scream at each other. The Dillon muffs
also allow the shooter to hear range commands while shooting at a match or
These new Dillon muffs have the latest type of electronics that never
completely shut off, but reduce loud, harmful noises to a comfortable level.
This type of system is preferable to the type that is constantly cutting off and
on. The HP1 muffs also have true stereo sound with separate volume controls for
I tried the Dillon muffs while shooting some heavy-loaded .45 Colt rounds
through a Ruger Vaquero. It is amazing how good these muffs are at picking up sounds that are normally
not heard while shooting, such as the sounds of the action of the revolver
working and the bullet striking the target. The ear pads are very comfortable and seal very
well. The muffs use 4 batteries, size AAA, and the battery compartment is on
the outside of the muff where it is easy to access. They are also low profile so
as not to interfere with the gunstock while shooting long guns.
These new Dillon HP1s should be great for hunters, too, as they protect
the ears from noise and cold, while allowing the hunter to hear every little
sound in the woods. After trying these muffs, there is no reason not to always
have hearing protection while shooting. They are available direct from Dillon for $135.
While not as cheap as a pair of foam plugs, the benefits of the stereo electronics
make them well worth the price. Dillon can be reached at www.dillonprecision.com
or by phone at 1-800-762-3845.
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