Peltor Sport Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector: Review
Hearing protection is one of those things I have scattered throughout my packs and shooting bags.
The need to suppress the noise from a gunshot is obvious, but what if you need to communicate with someone while you’re shooting? That’s where electronic hearing protectors come in handy. They suppress harmful noises while enhancing low-level sounds, like voices and footsteps. A good example of this type of protection is the Peltor Tactical 100 Electronic Hearing Protector.
My first experience with electronic hearing protection left me with mixed results.
They worked well, but the switches were inevitably left on, killing the hard-to-access batteries in each ear cup. Peltor has addressed that with the Tactical 100. They use a two hour auto-shut off and an exterior battery compartment that holds the two “AAA” batteries. The door has a small tether to keep you from losing it, too.
The Tactical 100 has a single rotary switch that detents when off and allows a range of amplification when on.
It’s located behind the right ear cup, and emits two different tones as you scroll up or down to let you know which direction you’re going. That can be handy when there’s no ambient noise to help judge how much amplification you might want, like in a hunting situation. For this review, I used two sets of these during last November’s deer season. They allowed me to have whisper-level conversations with my kids, as well as to pick up sounds of animal movements. Being able to wear hearing protection full-time to keep your ears warm is a big bonus to me! The recessed microphones are intended to be worn facing forward, but I found they could be useful when pointed behind me for certain situations.
The headband and ear cups are comfortable, with a one inch range of adjustment.
The headband is 1 5/8” wide and well-padded, but not obnoxiously so. The attachment sockets in each ear cup allow the Tactical 100 to adjust from 5” to 6”, measured from the inside of the headband to the center of the ear cup. The ear cups are comfortable and seal very well. The tension in the headband allows a good seal across a variety of head widths. My 10-year-old son had no problems keeping this protector in the right place.
The Tactical 100 is rated for 22 decibel reduction and worked very well at providing it.
Just about every rifle I shoot and hunt with has a muzzle brake. Depending on where your ears are in relation to the direction the brake is discharging, the noise is much louder than from an open muzzle. For this review, we fired several hundred rounds with these protectors on, with rifles ranging from a 260 Remington up to a 338 Edge +P. They instantly attenuated the bad noise, then quickly returned to allowing normal sound levels. They also have a natural sound to them, meaning ambient noises are heard much like they are without the muffs on. I’m wearing them as I type this and listening to the freezer running in my fridge 20 feet away. It sounds much like it does without them from a few feet away. I can also hear normal everyday sounds from the road outside my house. Peltor uses Adaptive Frequency Response to help reduce background noise. It seems to be doing its job.
The construction and finish of the Tactical 100 is of high quality.
While not the deciding factor when buying hearing protectors, the quality of an item’s finish often indicates the level of its function. From the recessed microphone openings to the stitching in the headband, this hearing protector seems to be well made. I found no blemishes or parts that didn’t fit well on the three protectors in our inventory.
It includes an audio jack and accessory cord for radios, phones, or MP3 players.
Having dual-function gear is always handy. If you want to keep your eyes on a clearcut instead of a paperback, you could listen to the book instead with an audio file. Or you could monitor radio chatter while on stand. I listened to music while plugged into my iPhone.
They are compact and reasonably lightweight.
Mine weigh 10 ounces with two “AAA” alkaline batteries installed. I can’t give you an exact battery life, but I know they’ll last at least 10 to 12 hours with heavy use. I would assume longer if the amplification level and attenuation were used sparingly. I replaced the original batteries at the end of the second day of hunting. They fold down to 4 ½”x 5”x 4”. I usually clip mine to the outside of my pack for easy access, but at that size they’ll fit anywhere.
Time will tell how durable the Tactical 100 proves to be, but so far I’m impressed. For under a hundred bucks, I think they’re a pretty good value. I found mine locally, but like everything else, Amazon.com has it here.
When talking about suitable entry-level Peltor hearing protectors, Tactical Sport and Tactical 100 are two of the best contenders. Peltor Tactical Sport seems to be a better option in terms of battery life, volume control, and recovery time. But when it comes to better hearing protection, the Tactical 100 gets the upper hand with its slightly higher NRR.