Team Erhardt Project: I Can Hear You Laughing

Jul 22, 2011
After last week's 'set back' where I didn't just lose but got spanked by a kid - a trash talking kid at that - I am having to regroup, refocus and redouble my efforts. I need to put that second place finish behind me and move on mentally. Of course, putting it all behind me might have been easier if I hadn't heard every single word Chris Johnston, the aforementioned trash talking kid, said. And how is it that I heard every word, every dig, every taunt even though I was on an active shooting line with nothing but the constant music of Steel Challenge bang-and-clang going on around me? Easy.
Pro Ears are used by top guns like Julie Golob, Max Michel, Dave Sevigny...and now me.
When I started this quest for shooting sports glory I knew I wanted to be like the 'big dawgs' so I got a set of über cool electronic hearing protection from Pro Ears. This is the same brand of hearing protection that S&W's Julie Golob, Sig's Max Michel, Glock's Dave Sevigny and others wear. I figured that even if I lose - yes, I know it's hard to believe that I might actually lose - I better look good doing it. And besides, the Pro Ears really do protect your hearing so no need risking coming out of Piru without both the trophy AND my hearing. After contacting the people at Pro Ears, once again on the advice of Julie Golob, they sent me a pair of green Predator Gold NRR 26 Electronic Ear Muffs. They didn't see the humor in me asking about a pink set which would have made me a hit with Julie, the rest of the Women of USPSA and probably Scott 'I ain't afraid to wear pink' Folk over at Apex Tactical. Early on Folk tried to convince me to go with a pink holster and mag pouches but I wanted the Safariland ELS rig and wasn't about to float the pink idea past Scott Carnahan. I'm not that stupid.
Sure they're light and comfortable, but I put the 'pro' in my Pro Ears Predator Gold muffs. Photo: Paul Dandini
So, I have this set of Pro Ears and they work great. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but a couple years ago I had picked up a pair from another company (we'll call them Brand P) which promptly crapped the bed. I say "crapped the bed" because this is The Shooting Wire and kids might be reading this, but you know exactly what I'm saying. There haven't been any issues at all with the Pro Ears. They are lightweight, weighing in at 9.3oz, have an auto-off and feature a low profile cup. I really wanted the lowest profile set of muffs I could get because I find those big bulky ones to be - what's the term? oh yeah - big and bulky. The larger styles work just fine, I have no doubt, but they aren't for me. The Predator Gold model even has a 3.5mm mini-jack to plug in your iPod, CD or MP3 player, motor sports scanner or radio. I bet these things are just the ticket for taking in a NASCAR race. Having spent a couple hours sitting in one of the corners at the Monster Mile in Dover, I can tell you NASCAR is brutal on your hearing. The real key to any electronic hearing protection device, obviously, is how it handles the crack of a gunshot.
Diagram of how the DSLC black magic turns gunshots into a soft pop.
Pro Ears uses something they call Dynamic Level Sound Compression™ which allows you to hear every sound even during high volume noise gunshots. According to their website, "DLSC works by instantly 'compressing' all noises over the 70 dB threshold by 50% to a safe level while amplifying all sounds below that to 70 dB. As they describe it, this turns the impulse sound wave of a gunshot into a soft, audible pop. The other feature which is really cool about the Gold series from Pro Ears is that each ear cup has its own circuit board. This means you can adjust each ear cup's volume independently of the other to suit your own preference.
With Pro Ears I can even hear the bullets missing the plates, as well as the laughing. Photo: Paul Dandini
Of course I probably should have used this feature to try and block out the young Mr. Johnston as he walked back and forth behind me at the Ohio 4-H camp threatening to beat me shooting from the holster, as well as the low ready. Out on the range at Piru this feature will come in handy when trying to block out the sound of the timer beep on the neighboring bay. More than one competitor has drawn off the beep of another RO. For my part, I'll look to use this technology to listen in on the conversations of my competitors, a la Jaime Sommers. Unfortunately, this also means I'll be able to hear them laughing at me. - Paul Erhardt Follow the Team Erhardt Project on Twitter at @TheShootingWire, use hashtag #TeamErhardt.