Peltor has been making hearing protection for many years. The Peltor Tactical 500’s are one of their newest releases. They sent me these after talking with them at SHOT show. As we all know, hearing protection is very important. Especially if you do a lot of shooting. The Tac 500’s will help with that and even give you some bonus features.
I am not new to electronic noise cancelling hearing protection. I’ve used a set of Peltor tactical 6-S’ for almost 20 years, as well as other manufacturers also. These new Tac 500’s have way more features than my old trusty 6-s pair. They have a noise reduction rating of 26 dB while reducing any sound above 82 dB. In order to reduce the sound of loud noises, the tac 500’s use what Peltor calls “Dynamic Suppression Time” technology. What this means to you, is that the electronics monitor the harsh sounds and echoes to determine how quickly and how much to mute the volume. This feature works outstandingly well. I really liked how it only cut the gunshots or loud noises to a manageable level. While still being able to hear them. They do not cut out the sound completely like my 6-s or some of the less expensive hearing protection.
Another feature that somewhat resembles the Dynamic Suppression, is the “Clear Voice Tracking.” The Clear Voice tracking also appears to work very well. What it does is sense voice levels getting input from the microphones. It then enhances them so that you can clearly hear what others are saying. Ant time I was wearing the Tac 500’s at the range, I had zero problems understanding or hearing people talk. It sound almost as if I didn’t have the hearing protection on at all.
The Tactical 500’s were comfortable when worn. Except the headband can press in the top of your head some and cause discomfort. I noticed this a little when wearing them without a baseball hat. But when wearing them over the hat, they were comfortable to me for long periods of time (6+ hours). The headband is vented some, it has three vent squares in the top. One of these vent squares is made to clear the button on top of a hat, so that the button doesn’t press into your head and start hurting. The ear cups were also comfortable for me. They also sealed over my glasses pretty well. I believe the gel cups that 3m sells will fit on the Tac 500’s also.
Hearing protection that rides up, or opens up, when shooting rifles can be a real problem. Peltor has made the Tac 500’s with a cut-out, or scoop, on the bottom of the ear cups. This cut-out help them sit lower when putting your cheek on a rifle. The 500’s worked well for me when shooting rifles and shotguns. They didn’t try to lift up like my Howard Leights do. Even though the 500’s are larger, size wise, then my 6-s’, I didn’t notice any differences in comfort.
Possibly one of the coolest features of the Tactical 500’s is the built in BlueTooth. This allows you to pair your smartphone to the hearing protection. I think most people have missed a phone call or text while at the range. Having the bluetooth feature allows for you to hear incoming notifications from your phone. You can even answer a phone call by pushing the center of the right ear cup. Because of the dual microphones in the headset, people can actually hear you talk, within reason, you are still at a shooting range. This particular ear protection has an annoying whine or static when turned on. It happens with the bluetooth on or off. If you up the volume, it just gets louder. If these didn’t have that whine, I’d give them a much better rating. Having the bluetooth also allow me to listen to music when I wear these around the house, lawn mowing and the like. These are not music headphones, so the sound quality of music is pretty blah. Another feature with the bluetooth, is being able to use it with a shooting app on the smartphone. It makes it super easy to hear the tones, or beeps. If you want to use them without bluetooth, they have a 3.5mm audio jack and come with a cable.
The Tactical 500’s also fold up into themselves. Of course this is for storage. But they also include a nice bag for putting them in. A rechargeable battery pack is also available and can be charged with a micro usb plugged into the right ear cup. Otherwise it uses 2 AA batteries. But don’t worry, it has an auto off feature for people like me that forget to turn stuff off. The Tac 500’s will also alert you, by talking, that your batteries are low or when you “power on” and “power off” the hearing protection.
I probably missed something that the Tactical 500’s do. I have a love / hate relationship with them. I love all the features, but hate the annoying static sound when they are turned up. Go check them out if your in the market for some electronic hearing protection.
Firearms Insider Reviews - 8 Key Points
Claim to Fame:
Noise cancelling over ear hearing protectors
Shooters, Hunters, anyone needing hearing protection
FNBs (Features & Benefits of this product):
26 dB NRR
Clear Voice Tracking
Cheek cutouts for rifle stocks
3.5mm Audio Jack - Cable Included
What other aesthetic options or finishes are available?
None - You get Black
What others are saying?:
From 3M - ⅘ stars.
Dynamic supression great, but odd interference
I bought these a few months ago and use them at indoor and outdoor ranges and also while I'm woodworking (both handtool for chopping mortises and dovetail waste) and when using power tools. It is great to be able to hear sounds and voices. In fact, these have an uncanny way of amplifying low level sounds, which is kind of cool. As to ear protection, these work well for both indoor and outdoor ranges as well as in woodworking. As others note, the headband can be uncomfortable. It appears that 3M simply didn't user test these, which is very odd. If I am careful about positioning I can usually wear them for hours, but if they are slightly off the top of my head starts hurting. For me though, the main issue is the strange audio signal that I hear. I'm not sure what it is from, perhaps bluetooth, but it is almost always there and detracts from the experience. As to music quality, these are only OK. My Bose QC35s blow them away. Listening to music through the Peltors is not a great experience--it all sounds flat and compressed. But I didn't really buy them for music--that's just an extra for me.
From Amazon - ⅗ stars
A lot of unnecessary feedback and buzzing in the headsets
Bought so my kids could go hunting with me. A lot of unnecessary feedback and buzzing in the headsets. Any solutions to this would be appreciated.
Link to other reviews:
MSRP = $199.99
Retail = $119.99 on Amazon
I need it now! Availability:
Excellent Noise cancellation
Uses AA batteries
Fits over hat button
Score: 7.50 Good
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