Each of your senses is a priceless asset, whether you're going about your daily routine or struggling through a survival situation. Therefore, it's only logical to do your best to protect these senses. Hearing is especially fragile, and can be damaged easily by the sound of gunfire if adequate protective gear is not used. This is why quality ear protection is essential for indoor and outdoor shooting — it preserves your hearing for when you need it most.

However, when it comes to ear protection, there is such a thing as too much noise reduction. If virtually all sound is cut off, it becomes frustrating to have conversations or hear commands, resulting in a lot of quizzical looks and utterances of “What did you say?” The solution to this is adaptive noise reduction, which intelligently blocks gunshot sounds and other dangerously-loud noises, while allowing voices and communication to come through clearly.

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3M introduced two new PELTOR electronic hearing protectors at SHOT Show last month. The PELTOR Sport Tactical 300 and 500 feature new proprietary 3M SMART technology, which automatically adjusts to a shooter's environment and firearm sound. According to the company, this SMART technology “measures the energy in gunshot noise as well as echoes in the environment and automatically sets suppression time for optimized comfort and communication.” Any gunshot noise above 82 dBA is attenuated, while low-level sounds are amplified.

The Tactical 300 and 500 are designed for extended wear and maximum comfort. Both feature foldable vented headbands for heat release, and low-profile cups with rubber bumpers and cushioned cutouts for use while shouldering long guns. The SMART microphones are recessed to reduce wind noise on the range or in the field, and the interface offers voice guidance for safe operation without removing the headset.

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The PELTOR Sport Tactical 300 is mobile device compatible, and offers a 24 Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). MSRP for the 300 model is $150.

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The PELTOR Sport Tactical 500 includes Bluetooth to enable two-way communication and use with cell phone functions. This headset also offers a slightly higher 26 Noise Reduction Rating. MSRP for the 500 is $200.

For more information on the new 3M PELTOR Sport Tactical ear protectors, or to find a local retailer, visit 3Msafety.com.

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