Gun Science: Active Electronic Ear-pro deep dive


Not sure what’s more disturbing, the badly fitting ear-pro or the “model” wearing it…

My recent Gear Review of the MSA Sordin Supreme ear-pro barely touched upon the significant differences you’ll find across the price spectrum, and provoked a number of follow-up questions.  The majority of those inquiries can be summarized into three questions:

  • What do you get when you spend more?
  • What are the trade-offs between large, mid, and slim ear cup sizes?
  • What features really matter when I’m shopping for electronic ear-pro?

Let’s dive headfirst down the ear-pro rabbit hole and see what we find… Continue reading


Trevor’s truck tool kit needs an upgrade

The go-bag tool kit in Trevor’s truck desperately needs a cutting-tools upgrade before the upcoming Memorial Day trip into the northern CA countryside. The Leatherman Charge Ti that lives in the go-bag has very nearly been outmatched by downed trees and brush across trails on recent trips. Needed:

6-inch fixed blade knife
Hatchet or light axe
Folding saw

Looking for recommendations in the “reasonable” price range. For me reasonable means less than hard-use grade, but won’t break or bend the first time I put 200lb of torque on a handle/grip.

What say you, folks?

MSA Sordin Supreme performance: the misleading “NRR=18dB” rating

MSA Sordins Butthurt Dweller

When you bring up MSA Sordin Supreme ear-pro among folks who are serious about shooting sports, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll hear spec-sheet-based performance objections from at least one person.  After all, what self-respecting gear whore (myself included) doesn’t review the spec sheets when making a buying decision?  Actual quote from a recent discussion on

These [MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X’s] have a woefully low NRR rating of 19. I wear a pair of {OtherProducts} rated 25 outdoors and another pair of 33 indoors. I tried on a pair of these Sordins and they were also rather small fitting for those with large brain boxes.

How do we reconcile these objections with the fact that MSA Sordin is, as far as I can tell, the alpha dog supplier of mission-critical ear-pro to hardass pipe hitting bearded trigger-pullers from every NATO country and then some? One might think that the special forces teams do a little more than read the promotional flyer before buying $300/pair ear pro for their hitters. Resolving this will require looking a little deeper than the spec sheet… Continue reading

Pro-Tips: MSA Sordin Supreme series hearing protectors

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)


Tips and tricks for owners of MSA Sordin Supreme-series hearing protectors, from experienced users who have been there and done that.

If you haven’t already read my MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband review, you might want to check that out first.

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Gear Review: MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband hearing protectors

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro-X Neckband (OD Green)

Hearing protection is a topic I feel very strongly about, due to personal experience with the hearing damage than can quickly accumulate when unprotected ears are exposed to loud environments.  In my teen years, during the late 1980’s, a good friend of mine organized several road trips to rock concerts in nearby cities.  Every single one of these concerts was at an indoor arena of some sort, and after every one of those concerts my body was sending me warning signals that I was damaging my hearing.  In those days, though, there were no tables with volunteers handing out free pairs of foam earplugs, and I had no idea I was permanently damaging my hearing.  As a result, I have persistent tinnitus in my right ear, and mild hearing loss in certain frequency ranges, all 100% preventable with proper hearing protection.

These days, I’m deadly serious about my hearing protection.  I double up with earplugs and over-the-ear muffs at indoor ranges, so the advent of decent affordable electronic over-the-ear (muff-type) hearing protection was very welcome.  Amplified ear-pro allows me to turn up the volume a bit so normal sounds get past the earplugs, but I still get full protection when a loud sound triggers the suppression circuit.  For the last 3+ years I’ve used the ubiquitous Howard Leight Impact Sports, which are an excellent budget option for electronic ear-pro.  When I got serious about shooting, though, it was time for something that would be comfortable being worn all day, survive any weather conditions, and deliver great sound quality.  Oh, and it had to be hat- and helmet-compatible…

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My (not especially) triumphant return to USPSA


After being forced to skip the twice-monthly USPSA matches for about 6 weeks straight due to injury and schedule conflicts, I was excited to make it to today’s match.  It was a typical sunny, cool Northern California spring day — 60F, a bit chilly any time the sun was blocked by passing clouds, beautiful the rest of the time… and, of course, quite windy at times.  This was also my first match shooting from my concealment AIWB (appendix in-waistband) holster.  I’ll just note that everyone at TASC-IPSC (which is really a USPSA club) was totally cool with me shooting from AIWB, and in fact a number of folks struck up conversations to learn more about my setup and how it worked for me.

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