Hearing protection is somewhat of a sensitive subject to me, especially after getting my first set of hearing aids before age 50. My problem is a frequency loss resulting in tinnitus (ringing)—otherwise known by many in my profession as “gun writer’s disease.” Whether the cause was my fault, military or professional service, or hereditary is a matter for debate, but the performance of Walker’s Razor Series is not.
I have always tried to be careful, but who hasn’t felt the crack of a rifle or pistol report when the seal of their earmuffs broke due a cheek weld or safety glasses with a set of frames that were a little too thick? How about a trigger-happy buddy in a duck blind? Or, the bay next to you touching off a few rounds from a big bore?
Instances such as these have made me very conscious of my hearing and the environment. In fact, I have an entire shelf in my man cave that is practically dedicated to hearing protection. I have buckets of the foamy plugs, several sets of custom molded plugs, and a couple of dozen pair of muffs. The electronics still work on a few.
I have always worn double protection when possible, but at times you, need to hear what’s going on around you—range officer instructions, the beep from the starter, product demonstrations, or game animals when hunting. Yet, with everything I have, I find myself tempted to stroll through the isle with the muffs when I am cruising the sporting goods isle of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s website looking for the perfect pair of muffs.
I am not going to say I found hearing protection nirvana just yet, but I moved a helluva lot closer the day a set of Walker’s Game Ear electronic muffs arrived in the mail. I received one of the Razor models from the Slim Shooter Patriot Series. Perhaps I am not the poster child of ‘slim’ shooters, but I’d nail the fan boy portion for the Patriot.
I’ll get to all of the awesome features in a minute, but I am bursting at the seams to talk about my favorite part. It was the seal that impressed me the first time I donned my Patriot. The closest comparison I can make is to a pair of expensive Bose Noise Cancelling headphones I once borrowed for an overseas flight while sitting two rows behind the engines. The seal was tight—tight enough that I decided to forego a second set of hearing protection on my next range trip, opting to wear my hearing aids instead. I am pleased to report the experiment was a success, but I am getting ahead of myself.
There are a couple of caveats worthy of mentioning. As I early stated, heavy-framed safety glasses are almost always going to prevent a consistently tight seal. I would recommend either glasses with thin arms or hooking them over the muffs—not over the ears and under the pads.
The second death nail to a solid fit is sweat. Too often, a pair of muffs that offer otherwise solid protection, seem to fail when the shooter is sweating. I am not sure what the solution for the malady is, but perhaps some readers might—especially those who served in the Sandbox, were ground crew on a carrier, etc.
I am long past the days were I may have been considered tactical, but occasionally I model for a tactical magazine photo shoot. For me at least, the Razor Slim Shooter Series fits (a little snug) under an Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) with minimal adjustment to the pads.
The omnidirectional microphones did a great job—even with my hearing aids. In fact, between shooting strings, I was able to pick up bird chirping much better than I could without the combination of the two. Likewise, I was better able to hear the timer’s ‘starter beep’ when shooting a local IDPA match. My hearing aids are Bluetooth, so this did not apply to me as much, but the Razor features a headphone jack with rubber dust cover that you can use to pipe in some music while spectating or talk on your phone. A huge improvement over jamming the against one ear while jamming your finger in the other…
The Patriot operates on two AAA batteries (included), which makes swapping the batteries quick, easy, and best of all, cheap. The control knob is large enough to be easy to locate and adjust. The headband uses a neoprene-like outer cover with padded faux leather inner for all-day comfort. Although the ear cups are thick and sufficiently deep, the overall profile is still thin.
The sound microphone on each ear features a metal cover for durability, yet performs as well as a foam cover on a competing pair used during testing in the wind. The overall angular look probably spawned the name; at any rate, the design and moniker compliment one another. And, speaking of looks and design, the Patriot comes with Velcro side patches ready for your favorite custom unit or moral patches. In case you are not so tac-ti-cool as to have a clever moral patch in your pocket, the Patriot comes set of the stars and stripes to display your patriotism, but Walker’s Game Ear also sells a pack of four different designs. They say black goes with everything, but the Razor is also available in OD green, Kryptek camo, pink, blue, dark earth, and flat dark earth (FDE).
The Razor Patriot is the probably the best $40 you’ll spend on yourself all year!
Do you own a set of Walker’s Game Ear Razor Slim Shooter Series electronic muffs? How’s the fit and sound suppression? Do you have a tip for getting a better seal? (ACH) with minimal adjustment to the pads. Share your answers or favorite hearing protection in the comment section.
Growing up in Pennsylvanias game-rich Allegany region, Dave Dolbee was introduced to whitetail hunting at a young age. At age 19 he bought his first bow while serving in the U.S. Navy, and began bowhunting after returning from Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Dave was a sponsored Pro Staff Shooter for several top archery companies during the 1990s and an Olympic hopeful holding up to 16 archery records at one point. During Daves writing career, he has written for several smaller publications as well as many major content providers such as Guns & Ammo, Shooting Times, Outdoor Life, Petersens Hunting, Rifle Shooter, Petersens Bowhunting, Bowhunter, Game & Fish magazines, Handguns, F.O.P Fraternal Order of Police, Archery Business, SHOT Business, OutdoorRoadmap.com, TheGearExpert.com and others. Dave is currently a staff writer for Cheaper Than Dirt!
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