A lot of target shooters and hunters have expressed their disappointments with their 22 NRR earmuffs. When they were shooting in the indoor range wearing it, they could still hear the gunshots loudly. Their earmuffs were not giving the expected ear protection from shooting. So they began to ask themselves whether 22 NRR is good enough or not.
I am an active forum member on several shooting community websites like Maryland Shooters Community and California shooting community. I have seen a lot of disappointments there from different shooters with their 22 NRR earmuffs. I tried to answer there, but I think my readers deserve to know what’s going on.
Is NRR 22 Good Enough?
In short, No. However, that totally depends on your gun. The gun used by other shooters surrounding you and how often you go to the range to shoot also are vital determining factors.
That being said, if you use Glock, S&W, or similar guns, they are still good. If you already have a Peltor Tac with 22 NRR, you can still use it for almost any gun. Use an earplug along with it if your gun is shotgun or rifle. Earplugs are so cheap!
In my opinion, using an earplug with your 22 NRR Peltor or Howard Leight is a smart idea. Then you will get almost 38 NRR altogether. How? Let’s say your earplug has the NRR of 33. Definitely, you won’t get 55 NRR if you use it with your Peltor Earplug.
You just add 5 to the highest NRR of any of the two. In this case, 33 + 5 = 38 NRR. That’s more than enough for any gun you use. This is my recommendation for you if you have already bought an earmuff with 22 NRR.
Many shooters have found excellent result using earmuff and foam earplug along with other shooting equipment like holographic sight. With their NRR 22 Peltor, their ears started to ringing after a while. So, they started to use foam earplug. Very effective to stop tinnitus even when your earplug has a low NRR.
But there is a catch….
The above solution is not suitable for an indoor shooting range. You have to hear the instructions from your instructor in the range, right? Well, you will face trouble hearing any such ambient sounds if you use an earplug along with your earmuff. But the solution is still good for other outdoor activities like hunting.
Ideal NRR for Shooting
But let’s say you are just planning to buy a new one. You should go for the one that has at least 25 NRR. Both the Peltor and Howard Leight have models with that NRR rating. They are pretty great and I found a lot of ex-troops have recommended both of the brands a lot.
If your gun produces loud noise of more than 105 decibels, a 25 NRR earmuff is still good. The noise level won’t be more than 105 decibels no matter whether it is indoor or outdoor shooting.
Here is another school of thought for you. Some shooters have recommended using plain plastic earmuff when you think the electronic one won’t do the job effectively. I never used the plain plastic earmuff and I do think they will be a pretty good choice when you use shotgun or rifle.
But then again, you will miss a lot of cool features of electronic earmuff like using Bluetooth and listening to music. If these are not so important to you, you are welcome to use plastic earmuff.
The rule of thumb is the more NRR the better. If you go higher NRR than 25, it’s even better. I don’t think there will any major differences in the cost. So, if I were you, I would go for the highest NRR available in the market. FYI: You can find up to 31 NRR earmuffs in the market.
Hearing loss is something that is really hard to recover. You go to a rock concert, shooting, or ride helicopters – all of them will lead to hearing damage with lower NRR earmuff.
You may not notice it momentarily, but you are damaging your hearing for sure. Why would you wait to become stone deaf using lower NRR? So, my advice to you: go to the highest NRR if you can.
Did I confuse you more? I am sorry if I did but there is no simple answer. It depends on a lot of other factors to determine whether a 22 NRR is good enough or not as I said above. Depending on your application and use of a gun, it may be perfect or maybe not.
Do I need to add something? Let me know in the comment box and I will modify the article accordingly.