Looking to make your next trip to the range a quiet riot? Check out these top hearing protection options from Caldwell.
What Are Caldwell's Top Hearing Protection:
- Caldwell Passive Muffs
- E-Max Pro Electronic Muffs
- E-Max Pro BT Muffs
- E-Max Power Cords
- E-Max Shadow
Nostalgia is a terrible liar. Wistfully looking back at the “golden age” of shooting, the mid-20th century, often omitted are many of the less-desirable aspects of the discipline. Sure enough, some classic guns made their appearance in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. But there were quite a few “downers” in the era.
Ammo wasn’t half as good as it is now. Optics were, at best, a spotty proposition. And safety equipment—if considered at all—was clunky and, truth be told, marginally effective. All of these have advanced beyond any seasoned shooter’s expectations at this point, particularly the last category and especially hearing protection.
Quietly (pun intended), the options to protect your ears have improved by leaps and bounds from the old plugs and mammoth muff of yesteryear. At the forefront of this advancement: Caldwell. The gun accessories company has rolled out numerous options that not only keep shooters’ hearing clear as a bell, but also enhance their overall experience behind the trigger—in the field, range or otherwise.
Given its fairly sizable catalog, hashing out which Caldwell hearing protection device is right for you can prove a challenge. But never fear: We’ve gathered five of Caldwell’s best options that do more than safeguard your auditory organs … they also enhance your shooting experience.
Importance of Hearing Protection
Before touching on the hardware, it’s worth a moment talking about what’s on the line.
Hearing damage happens faster than a … speeding bullet. While it might be nice to console yourself with a shot at a cottontail here or a trigger squeeze at a steel plate there is acceptable, it’s anything but. Play fast and loose, and you’ll pay the price. Always keep in mind that one shot can be enough to damage your hearing permanently. Is any bullseye really worth a lifetime of tinnitus or constantly asking “What did you say?” in polite conversation?
Some examples are in order. On the low end, the humble .22 rifle produces around 140 dB of sound pressure. Conversely, the barky .357 Magnum revolver kicks out 164 dB of pressure. Considering that 140 dB is unsafe for any duration, both guns have the potential to pound eardrums.
Only a piece of the picture, painful reports also affect accuracy. You heard that right. A loud gun produces fliers. Think of it this way: It’s akin to recoil in your ears—sharp enough, and you’ll flinch. And no amount of concentration and intentionally working against it will completely banish the balk. Protective gear will.
That’s a pretty potent combination—health and accuracy; and more than enough reasons to consider quality hearing protection.
Top Caldwell Hearing Protection Options
Caldwell Passive Muffs
Pitch a metric ton of lead regularly, and maximum protection is required. To this end, it’s difficult to beat Caldwell’s traditional Passive Muffs. Yes, they’re analog. That means they don’t have the bells and whistles of digital hearing protection. But, boy howdy, they’ll make your favorite rifle or handgun church-mouse quiet.
The great thing is that the Passive Muffs are available in two strengths—30 NRR (Noise Reduction Rating) and 23 NRR. Bulky enough to reduce any firearm report to a safe level, the 30 NRR model is the ideal choice for long sessions with loud firearms, while the 23 NRR option is more streamlined and perfect for plinking around with a rimfire or safeguarding your ears on a pheasant hunt. In both cases, the muffs ring up at an extremely affordable price (MSRP: $16.99), so there’s no excuse for shooting unprotected.
E-Max Pro Electronic Muffs
There was a time when electronic hearing protection was spotty and expensive. Thankfully, those days are long gone, as the E-Max Pro proves. Offering 23 NRR in hearing protection, the muffs make the vast majority of firearms—short of a field howitzer—perfectly safe on your ears. At the same tick, they don’t sacrifice situational awareness.
Sporting twin microphones, the E-Max Pro gives you the ability to pick up ambient noises (say, a buck snapping a twig) or carry on a conversation. In a split second, when a high-decibel noise is detected, the sound system shuts down, and hearing protection kicks in. This is a huge advantage, giving you every reason to stay protected when on the hunt. Mercifully slim in design, boasting push-button controls and running off AAA batteries, the E-Max Pro is one of the top values (MSRP: $44.99) in Caldwell’s catalog.
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E-Max Pro BT Muffs
Love it or hate it, we’re a country of multitaskers. While most of us like to tune out the world and tune in the bullseye at the range, many don’t have the luxury. Yes, work and family bleed into trigger time, but Caldwell has an excellent compromise.
Fully Bluetooth compatible, the E-Max Pro BT muffs link with almost any smart device presently made, meaning that you get to unlock their full potential at the range. There’s one way to make that weekly, all-hands call-in meeting bearable … maybe. Or, there’s always the option for some tunes or your favorite podcast while you shoot. The sky’s the limit.
Even with improved functionality, there’s no compromise in protection with the E-Max Pro BT, which provides a respectable 24 NRR. Push-button controls make the E-Max Pro (MSRP: $99.99) simple to operate, and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries always have them ready to roll. These muffs take shooting sessions to the next level.
E-Max Power Cords
Slimmer and lighter, earplugs for many have a decided advantage. Yet, this style of hearing protection has been woefully behind the times, compared to the technology found in muffs. Until now.
Caldwell’s E-Max Power Cords boasts all the advantages of electronic hearing protection, but in a package you can fit into your front pocket—not bad, especially given that they’re relatively affordable (MSRP: $99.99).
All in all, the tight-sealing plugs have 25 NRR, which makes them more than sufficient for almost any firearm out there today. At the same time, they’re loaded with the same functionality you’ll find in much larger devices—namely, Bluetooth compatibility. Given that they aren’t outfitted with microphones, you can’t take a call on them. On the other hand, you can set your shooting session to music if you wish.
Attached via a cord with a volume control situated in the middle, this minute device is easy to keep track of and operate. It’s just the thing to jazz up the next trip to the range.
Sometimes, you need to go the whole hog. Protection, versatility and functionality—that’s what E-Max Shadows deliver in an elegantly small package.
To start, the electronic hearing protection has a respectable 23 NRR. Unless you’re pitching belted magnums for six hours straight, this should prove adequate protection for most shooters. And, you can pick up everything else going on around you.
The device’s twin microphones enhance situational awareness, allowing you to detect quiet sounds or converse at a normal volume. Plus, it’s Bluetooth-compatible. In turn, you can take calls with the E-Max Shadow, as well as crank up some tunes.
Outfitted with rechargeable batteries, the device gets five hours of use between chargings. It stows away in an attractive hard case when not in use. While the E-Max Shadow coasts a little more (MSRP: $149.99), it most certainly gives a lot of bang for the buck.
For more information on Caldwell hearing protection, please visit caldwellshooting.com.