I am a regular viewer of Sons of Guns and Gunsmoke. Both are extremely entertaining and instructive at the same time. Guns are not my specialty but are an interest mine. As I move from a grasshopper to ant, stumbling across these shows has fueled curiosity.
I do have a problem with both shows. Sons of Guns is very strong on the safety aspect “Don’t Try This at Home” whereas Gunsmoke is a little less preachy. Where both are lax is safety equipment, especially ear protection. Hearing loss is a big deal. It is cumulative (builds up over time) and irreversible. Wearing proper hearing protection is extremely important in their profession. When I see them wearing ear plugs instead of full-scale head phones, I cringe. I cringe more when I see them wearing ear plugs improperly or just sticking their fingers in their ears.
How loud is gun fire? According to this source, the decibel (dB) level is:
Peak Sound Pressure Levels (SPLs)
Type of Gun SPL (dB)
.44 Revolver = 170 dB
45 Automatic = 165 dB
M-16 = 160 dB
.357 Revolver = 160 dB
12 Gauge Shotgun = 155 dB
.38 Revolver = 150 dB
.22 Rifle = 145 dB
More data here.
Most ear plugs have a Noise-Reduction-Rating (NRR) of 25 to 30 decibels – best case. If they are not worn properly, you can get half of that. If you see the ear plugs sticking out of the ear canal, they are not being worn properly. You must roll them up, stick them in your ear and let them expand. Ear plugs also have a tendency to work their way out of your ear. After years working in a chemical plant, I know this all too well. thankfully, there are few places that exceed 90 dB where I work. Regardless, I carry a set of ear plugs wherever I go.
Ear muffs are superior to ear plugs. They provide more protection (30 – 35 NRR) and are easier to wear properly. They are the best option for frequent shooters, in my opinion. Spent the money to get a good set. It will save your hearing. There are just so many options available.
When it comes to eye protection, standard prescription glasses just don’t cut it. To often I see gun ranges allow normal glasses when they should require the Z87 industrial standard of protection. The Lucky Gunner has a great review.
Eyes and Ears. Too important to cheat.