The 3 Best Shooting Ear Protection [2021 Update]

Today I’m going to show you the best shooting ear protection on the market today.

In fact:

I’ve hand-tested over 10 shooting ear protections alone for this review.

The best part?

I’ve sorted them by use. So whether you’re on a budget or looking for the most premium ear protection, you’ll find it here.

Let’s get started!

The 3 Best Shooting Ear Protection

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best shooting ear protection:

  1. Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs: Best Earplugs
  2. Howard Leigh Impact Sport by Honeywell: Best for Kids
  3. SureFire EP3 Sonic Defender: Most Affordable Earplugs

1. Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs: Best Earplugs

The Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs are the best for protecting your ears while shooting at the range or on a hunting trip.

They’re incredibly comfortable and made from latex-free foam, making them hypo-allergenic for most people.

However, they’re not reusable or washable, so are they still a good, cost-effective choice?

Let’s find out!

Noise Reduction

The Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs have a Noise Reduction Rating of 32, meaning they block out up to 32 dB of ambient noise.

This is one of the highest NRRs you’ll find on foam earplugs, which makes them some of the most protective and efficient earplugs on the market.

They’re perfect for hunting and range shooting, as they provide enough protection that you won’t have to worry about any loud sounds damaging your ears.


The Ear Buddy earplugs are made of non-abrasive, latex-free polyurethane foam, which is an added bonus for anyone with a latex allergy.

They’re very soft and comfortable yet snug, with a slow rebound time for optimal comfort.

Make sure to insert them following the instructions on the bottle for the most comfortable fit, and the earplugs should expand to be nice and tight in your ears within just fifteen seconds!

They’re tight enough that they won’t fall out, but you also don’t have to worry about any earaches or discomfort due to the pressure. They provide a very comfortable fit for anyone with medium to large ears.

Whether you’re deer hunting with a drone or hiding in the brush with your ghillie suit on, you’ll be able to focus entirely on hitting your target, and not worrying about your earplugs falling out or not doing their job!


A bottle of 50 Ear Buddy foam earplugs sells for around $18.

They’re not washable or reusable, so one bottle will keep you protected for up to 25 hunting trips or days at the range.

They are a little expensive to keep buying, but they’re very high-quality and comfortable earplugs.

Plus, there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re in any way unsatisfied!

Are the Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs Worth it?

If you’re looking for the best earplugs to protect your ears while shooting, I’d fully recommend the Ear Buddy Foam Earplugs.

The Ear Buddy Premium Soft Foam Ear Plugs, Noise Cancelling Earplugs For Sleeping, Hearing Protection For Concerts, Work, Shooting & Travel, Noise Reduction Rating 32 Decibels, 50 Pairs
  • BLOCK OUT THE NOISE, PROTECT YOUR HEARING, AND ENJOY A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP OR YOUR MONEY BACK! Our Noise Cancelling Ear Plugs Are Perfect for Sleeping, Construction, Concerts, Hunting, Shooting Ear...
  • VERY IMPORTANT** For Optimum Results Ear Plugs Must Be Inserted EXACTLY As Directed; Follow The Simple Instructions As They Are Stated On Product Package To Experience OUTSTANDING Results!

Here are some of their best features:

  • Comfortable
  • Hypo-allergenic (latex-free)
  • One of the highest possible Noise Reduction Ratings (NRR)

They’re incredibly effective at blocking ambient noise, so you’ll never have to experience a ringing in your ears after shooting ever again!

2. Howard Leigh Impact Sport by Honeywell: Best for Kids

The Howard Leigh Impact Sport earmuffs are the best shooting ear protection for kids.

The headband is comfortable and adjustable to provide the best possible fit, and they’re relatively lightweight, so you don’t have to worry about them weighing your child’s head down.

But, can they really provide kid-friendly protection at such a low price?

Let’s find out!


The Impact Sport earmuffs don’t just protect your ears from the loud noises at the range – they also include built-in, directional microphones that amplify conversation, range commands, and other ambient sounds up to 82 dB!

Other types of ear protection block out all noise, making it hard to hold a conversation or hear what’s going on around you, including important range commands.

Not these earmuffs!

They provide a natural, distortion-free amplification that automatically shuts off when sounds exceed 82 dB.

They have a Noise Reduction Rating of 22, and the patented Air Flow Control technology helps to reduce noises at all different frequencies.

I’ve found that they work best in outdoor settings, or in indoor settings with the volume turned off.

With the volume on in enclosed areas, some of the sounds can still be a bit too loud for young ears.

Overall, the Impact Sports provide excellent protection from loud gunshots while still letting you hold a conversation and stay aware of what’s going on.


The Impact Sport earmuffs feature a soft, ventilated headband to reduce the pressure on your head while still providing a secure, tight fit.

The ABS plastic material is surprisingly durable and water-resistant, even in heavy rain!

They feature a folding design and low-profile earcups for easy and compact storage. All you have to do is fold the earcups in and pull the headband tight to secure them.

The easily adjustable headband is thinly padded for a comfortable fit. All you have to do is place the earmuffs on your head and slide the band up or down until the earcups are securely molded to your ears.

The ultraslim, snap-in earcups help keep a low-profile for optimal stock clearance. They’re also easily replaceable to keep your earmuffs more hygienic and performing better for longer!

The microphone runs on two AAA batteries. If you forget to turn it off, it will automatically shut off after 4 hours to ensure optimal battery life. One set of batteries will last you approximately 350 hours of use!

When you do need to change the batteries, you can do so easily by removing the battery cover on the right earpiece.

There are some wires that can protrude out and get in the way while you’re changing the batteries, so keep this in mind and be careful not to damage anything.

One cool feature of the Impact Sports is the AUX input.

This allows you to plug in your smartphone, mp3 player, or a scanner to listen to music while still protecting your ears from loud shots!

The microphone or AUX power and volume are integrated into one perpendicularly-oriented knob at the edge of the earpiece.

This is kind of an odd design, as adjustments will require an unnatural left to right tuning.

However, it’s nice to have one simple, easy to find knob to prevent any confusion!


The Impact Sport headphones include a microphone to amplify voices while still keeping louder noises quiet.

The input microphone is covered with felt, and protrudes slightly past the earpiece.

This design does leave the potential for snagging, so just make sure to be aware of the microphone’s location while aiming your gun!

There is some lag when you turn the volume on or adjust the volume, and it can sometimes pick up static from your phone if you have it plugged into the AUX input.

However, they still give you pretty good sound and pick up significantly less background noise than other similar models!


The Impact Sport earmuffs will cost you somewhere around $40-$50 online.

This includes two AAA batteries and a 3.5mm connection cord for the AUX input.

At this price point, you won’t find anything better.

They’re built very well and offer kid-appropriate ear protection.

Are the Howard Leigh Impact Sport Earmuffs Worth it?

The Howard Leigh Impact Sport earmuffs offer high-quality, comfortability, and a relatively light weight that makes them perfect for smaller ears.

Whether you’re going pellet hunting or just taking your family to do some target practice, these earmuffs provide great protection for sensitive young ears at an unbeatable price.

If you’re looking for the safest, most affordable ear protection for your children, these are the ones to go with!

Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff
  • Sleek, extremely low profile earcup design allows for full clearance of firearm stock
  • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
  • AUX jack connects to MP3 players and scanners

3. SureFire EP3 Sonic Defender: Most Affordable Earplugs

Ear pro is an essential piece of equipment (unless you have loads of money and suppressors).

Surefire claims the EP3 Sonic Defenders will provide great noise canceling and low decibel audio passthrough with no problem.

Is it a gimmick or are they a stellar addition to your everyday life, whether you’re working a construction site or just taking a day on the range?

Find out in my review of the SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders.

Construction and Design

The Sonic Defenders feature a comfortable pair of retention rings that have seven points of contact to ensure that your ear protection stays in your ear securely and unobtrusively.

The entirety of the Sonic Defenders is made from a soft, durable, medical-grade polymer, which helps ease fatigue and discomfort on the ear.

The most impressive aspect of the construction is the filter tips with a smart design that can sift through sounds louder than 85 decibels, while still allowing you to hear regular sounds like the chatter from your buddies or the sound of ducks if you’re out hunting.

With the tips closed, you’ll benefit from the noise filtering, but with an easy flip of the filter tips, you’ll be able to hear the sounds around you like you weren’t wearing anything at all.

Not to mention these earplugs are incredibly low profile.

They sit flush with your ear so you don’t have to worry about them catching on clothing, masks, hats or anything else in the headwear arena.


The SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders hit a sweet spot between full-on muffling earplugs and fancy electronic over-ear muffs.

With your standard foam or polymer earplugs, you definitely don’t need to worry about sound passing through, but you’ll sacrifice lower decibel hearing since these earplugs cut off essentially all noise.

Electronic ear muffs have some really great features and technology, but you need to replace batteries or deal with electronic failure to get solid sound passthrough.

The Sonic Defenders alleviate all these issues by having non-electronic noise passthrough and sound dampening.

They work great and do precisely what they advertised.

I use them every time I go duck hunting; I can hear my friends and the ducks, but won’t go deaf when I pop a shot off.

They have become a staple in my own range bag as well.

Now they can’t compete with my electronic headset, but they take up much less real estate in the bag and I use them for almost anything except for deer hunting.


The SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders have a very affordable price tag of $12.49.

That’s a pretty killer price for such a quality product.

I reckon that’s still a smart buy even if you only use them as a backup pair of ear protection.

Are the SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders Worth It?

The answer is a resounding yes! The SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders are worth it.

SureFire EP3 Sonic Defenders filtered Earplugs, double flanged design, reusable, Clear, Medium
  • 24dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) with filter caps inserted, Hear safe sound levels (with filter caps out) as if you weren't wearing ear plugs
  • Soft, adjustable, double-flanged stems provide secure seals in ear canals and all-day comfort
  • Low-profile design allows you to keep them in place while wearing a mask, helmet, hat, or while using supplemental hearing muffs

Here’s why:

  • Functionality, these work incredibly well, filter tip in or out
  • Comfort, the security, and the unobtrusive fit make for an easy experience
  • Cost, these are super cheap for the quality and comfort

Now It’s Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best shooting ear protection guide.

Now I want to turn it over to you:

Which ear protection will you pick?

Let me know by leaving a quick comment down below.

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