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It’s a great time to be a gun owner. Never before has it been easier and more enjoyable to exercise proper gun safety, especially when it comes to hearing protection. Once upon a time, wearing a hearing protective device caused a legitimate inconvenience when shooting – the headgear was too heavy, too uncomfortable, drained batteries too quickly, or was just plain ineffective. In this day and age, all of these concerns and more have been addressed by most hearing protective device manufacturers, and especially by Peltor’s Tactical Line.
Sport RangeGuard Hearing Protector Review
We’ve all heard the phrase, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. Well, there was nothing broken about Peltor’s previous models of hearing protective headgear, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t going to try to make them a whole lot better – and they succeeded with their Peltor Sport RangeGuard Hearing Protector. A follow-up to the popular Peltor 6S line, as well as something of a spiritual successor to Howard Leight’s earmuff line (the similarities are uncanny), the RangeGuard takes everything that was good about the older iterations of the Peltor protectors and enhances them across the board – build quality, noise reduction, sound enhancement, comfort, battery life, etc. It’s getting to the point with hearing protective devices where the issue is no longer whether or not the headsets are going to be effective – Peltor has that down to a science. All Peltor devices are assured to at least adequately block out loud noise and enhance ambient noise. We’re now at a stage where Peltor’s focus is on less substantive but still important advances that serve to improve the experience of the shooter. The RangeGuard model in particular is a shining result of these efforts.
With a noise reduction rating of 21, as compared to the 22 of the popular Peltor TAC 100 model, the RangeGuard offers solid, consistent hearing protection. If you’re shooting indoors, using an extremely high caliber weapon, or are surrounded by a significant amount of gunfire, your hearing may be compromised – although this is hardly a red mark for a model in the $50 price range. Outdoor protection is excellent, and under most circumstances you are assured of being fully protected. After over 100 hours of use with the RangeGuard (both indoors and outdoors with a wide variety of firearms), I never experienced any kind of noteworthy shortcomings in the noise reduction of the model. As stated, under some circumstances you may feel the audio coming in a bit louder than you’d like, but the average gun owner will never need a stronger model.
Sound Amplification and Features
The sound amplification feature of the RangeGuard does an outstanding job of picking up softer noises, such as talking or animal sounds for hunters. It takes some fine tuning of the easy-to-use volume knob to achieve the right balance that will adequately knock out the loud noises while amplifying the softer ones, but once you find that right setting, you’re good to go. The device comes with convenient tones to tell you when you’ve successfully switched the audio to on or off. It also has one of the better battery setups that you will find in an electronic hearing protective device. Switching out batteries is as simple as can be, with a battery compartment that is as easy to access as the one on your TV remote. Additionally, the headset can run for up to an impressive 350-hours – an unprecedented number for hearing protection in this price range.
Unlike the 6S series, the RangeGuard features an automatic shut off feature that turns the device off after four hours of non-use, which will help you get the most out of your batteries every time. Lastly, the RangeGuard comes equipped with a 3.5 mm jack for both audio and microphone, meaning they can be used for MP3 playback as well as for phone calls. The audio on this feature is not the greatest, but it’s hard to nitpick with a feature like this that is essentially a bonus to begin with.
Quality and Build
Comfort is where Peltor has really outdone itself with the RangeGuard. After years of trial and error with its many models, Peltor has redesigned its headband, introducing a reshaped version with more padding that is extremely satisfying to wear, especially for extended periods of time – it’s easy to forget that you’re even wearing the RangeGuard. The earmuffs are also significantly improved – cushioned sealing rings and padded ear cups make for the best combination of seal and comfort that Peltor has released to date. Sweat build up is less of a problem than ever – I’ve worn the headset for several hours at a time with extremely minimal sweat as a result of the headset. Peltor is still working with a primarily plastic build, but its use of a higher quality, textured plastic goes a long way towards improving the feel of the product – and it’s even easier on the eyes as well. Although the model feels a little flimsy in hand (a minor complaint at worst), the lightweight build of the RangeGuard is part of what makes it so comfortable to wear.
The Peltor Sport RangeGuard Hearing Protector is proof that Peltor isn’t finished making strides in the hearing protection device industry. Once upon a time, a model that offered this kind of sound quality, comfort, and battery life would have cost hundreds of dollars – at around fifty bucks, this is an absolute steal of a hearing protector that would make a great addition to any gun owners gear or collection. Despite a couple of very minor complaints, the RangeGuard is the prototypical budget-friendly hearing protection device that we’ve been waiting for.