Protect Your Eyes And Ears

Shooting firearms, whether for sport or hunting, is an enjoyable activity. But like many pursuits you need to have proper gear to ensure safety. You wouldn't ride a motocross dirt bike without a helmet and shooting sports also require foresight in gearing up.

First, consider your ears. Sound is measured in decibels (dB) and according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hearing damage and loss can occur when exposed to sounds at 85 dB, or louder for an 8 hour or greater period of time. Most modern firearms create 110 to 185 dB of sound and pain can begin at 125 dB. This means you need to cover your ears while shooting to enjoy a lifetime of good hearing.

Ear muffs are a top choice and models such as the Caldwell E-Max Low-Profile Muff allow you to hear normal conversations, yet automatically shut off with sounds at 85 dB or above. For a less intrusive option consider protectors that insert into the ear canal such as the Ghost Stryke series by Sport Ear. They also shut down automatically with loud noises, but can increase normal hearing by 6 times to aid you on the hunt or at the range.

Your ears are important, but so are your eyes so protect them by wearing ballistic-quality safety glasses. Many approved models sport polycarbonate construction. A top choice by sport shooters and military operators are those manufactured by Wiley X. They can be fitted with prescription lenses and meet U.S. military ballistic standards for Combat Protective Eyewear (tested to the updated GL-PD 10-12 MCEP Standard, which supersedes the MIL-PRF-31013Ballistic Standard).

Lastly, if you plan on shooting multiple times with a shotgun or high-powered rifle, you may wish to consider a shoulder shooting pad. Many shooting shirts and jackets come pre-fitted with padding to absorb even the most abusive of recoil situations.

Shooting sports are safe, but you can make them safer by gearing up the right way.


For more info on NSSF's Project Child Safe go to ProjectChildSafe.org.


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