Gun owners have come to expect a lot from their hearing protection devices (HPD’s). With manufacturers producing headsets that cost hundreds of dollars and feature all kinds of fancy bells and whistles, it’s easy to forget that the ultimate goal in wearing a HPD is to simply block out noise. That is why people wear hearing protective devices: to protect their hearing. Yet therein lies the age-old debate in the HPD community: Electronic or Passive?
For those unfamiliar with the terms passive means it blocks all noise past a certain threshold. Electronic hearing protection can protect against super loud noises while amplifying the lower ambient noises. This is ideal in tactical situations where you need to hear instructions while also protecting your ears from loud noises.

Some gun owners have become so spoiled by the fancier, more expensive electronic HPD models that they can’t fathom shooting without them. And yet the truth is, if you’re willing to wear a headset that doesn’t amplify softer noises (like the TAC 100), you can get great protection for a fraction of the cost of most newer headsets. The king of these kinds of headsets is undoubtedly the Peltor H10A Optime Earmuff. This headset protects your ears at a fraction of the costs of other models. 

And now time for a quick history lesson on the Peltor company. Peltor began in 1950 in Sweden. They specialized in face, hearing and head protection. They were bought by 3M and now continue to produce as an subsidiary of the corporation. 3M has it’s own illustrious history but that is for another article. Now back to the regularly scheduled program.

Peltor H10A Optime Earmuff Review

One of the most popular hearing protection headsets available, the H10A offers elite protection at an incredible price – just around $20 through most retail outlets. With a noise reducing rating of 30 dB, the H10A is bound to protect your hearing, and although it may not do a whole lot else, that is the ultimate goal of a HPD.

Noise Reduction

optime 105 earmuffs
optime 105 earmuffs

This is what the H10A does – it reduces noise. Peltor has manufactured some really cutting edge and breakthrough electronic headsets in recent memory (the Sport RangeGuard comes to mind), but the H10A is very much a back-to-basics entry for the acclaimed headgear manufacturer. Suitable for every kind of shooter, from novice to pro, the noise reduction rating of 30dB is simply elite for this price point – you’re not going to find more effective ear protection for anywhere near this price. I’ve used the Peltor in a number of situations and with a variety of high caliber weapons, notably in an indoor range and surrounded by other gunfire, and the H10A passed all tests with flying colors. I knew the H10A meant business when I partook in a shooting drill in a row of .50 caliber sniper rifles – indoors, no less – and my ears came out completely unscathed. The bottom line is, if you want to block out loud noises, this is the best *affordable* model you’re going to find.

Sound Amplification and Features

Sound amplifying has become such a fixture in the hearing protection device industry that it is actually a preset category in this series of Peltor HPD reviews. The H10A, being a non-electronic earmuff, doesn’t offer sound amplification. In other words, for hunters or shooters to whom sound amplifying is preferable or even necessary, the H10A is a non-starter. Being a hunter myself and knowing how critical it is to be able to hear when tracking game, I’ve only ever brought the H10A’s to the range, as they would be no help to me under most other circumstances. As far as features go, given the price range of the H10A, you are unsurprisingly not going to be getting a lot of goodies here. This model has been made strictly with function in mind, and as such the only considerations taken into designing the headset were noise reduction and comfort.

Quality and Build

ear protection is keyGiven the price point of the model, it’s pretty incredible how well Peltor has done with designing a fairly comfortable headset. The stainless steel wire adjustable headband aligns the ear cups perfectly with the ears and offers solid support, as well as nice padding. However, at nearly one pound, the headset comes in on the heavier side compared to other Peltor offerings like the Tactical 6S. This can take its toll on your neck and head when using it for extended periods of time. In addition, the sweat buildup when using the H10A for extended periods is significant – the plastic design of the ear cups does not perform well, particularly in warmer weather. Lastly, it must be said, you’re not going to win any best dressed awards while wearing these things. The oversized earcups, while effective, are almost comically large – this may be a problem for some but not for others.


Ultimately, Peltor’s H10A Optime 105 Earmuff does what it sets out to do – it blocks noise and protects your hearing. If that’s all you’re looking for in your hearing protective device, you’re not going to find a better option at anywhere near $20. Yes, there are a number of electronic models available on the market today that can do more, but it’s hard enough to convince many gun owners to wear protective headgear, let alone lay out a significant amount of money for a pair. Again, for hunters and other shooters who want to hear ambient noise when wearing their HPD, this model is not an option, but it would make an excellent addition to most people’s kits or gear. It may not be the flashiest headset in the world or the fanciest, but the H10A gets the job done.

Rating 4/5 Stars

Thanks for tuning in to our Peltor Tactical Line Reviews – We hope you enjoyed our reviews and once again remember, protecting your hearing is extremely important, you only have one pair!

Nate M.

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