Walker’s Razor Tacti-Grip Digital Muffs: I Love These Things!

Have you ever been on the range and not been able to hear range commands clearly? Not only can that be frustrating, but it can also prove to be dangerous. Suppose there’s an emergency on the range and you’re not able to hear vital instructions. Or perhaps you’re not able to hear the course of fire that is being announced. In both situations, you need to be able to hear what’s going on, but conventional hearing protection won’t allow that very well.

Listen up! (Pardon the pun.) We have an answer for you!

The Good Ol’ Days

Way back when I was a young’un, Dad would take me shooting. In fact, I fired my first shots when I was about five years old. Come to think of it, my addiction to the .22 Long Rifle began at that time as well, because that was what I cut my teeth on.

In those days, I had no concept of hearing protection or that loud noises such as gunfire could eventually cause hearing loss. I was five years old, after all. Apparently, neither did Dad. Sometimes, we took hearing protection along, but often we forgot about it and didn’t give it much thought.

As a kid, I thought it was normal for my ears to ring for a while after a shooting session. As I look back on that, it makes me cringe. I now have constant tinnitus, which is an incessant ringing of the ears, which I believe is largely due to shooting without hearing protection.

Aside from my experience shooting in my formative years, I also did a lot of shooting on the job. Being a member of a tactical team as well as instructing personnel on the range, there were times when gunshots rang out and my ears were not protected. Both during tactical exercises and on the range, it happened fairly often.

How many of us have been on the range and as we were trying to speak with someone, we pulled one of our ear muffs away from our ear so we could hear what they were saying? Just then, someone fires a weapon close by. I bet it’s happened to you too!

I’ll tell you what, if I were able to go back in time, I’d absolutely make a lot more effort to guard my hearing properly!

What Happens

According to audiologist Susan E. Terry (Au.D), “Gunfire is just about the worst thing you can do to your unprotected ears. Gunfire is impact noise and is more of an assault on your ears than a constant noise would be. Any time you’ve got impact noise, you’re going to have issues.”

A gunshot produces a loud burst of sound causing concussive energy that rattles the eardrum, the little bones in the inner ear and cochlea. Even a single blast or gunshot can cause permanent damage. And once that damage is done, there is no way to repair it.

Based on a 2011-2012 study by the CDC, between 10 and 40 million adults under the age of 70 have hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises. As many as 17% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 also have symptoms of hearing loss. This isn’t all necessarily due to exposure to gunfire, but the results are still telling.

Some causes of hearing loss can be due to close proximity to engines (lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed whackers, chainsaws, woodworking tools, motorcycles, etc.), audio music devices (such as those with earphones), concerts, and other sources. It’s important to realize that hearing loss doesn’t just come from gunfire, but from a myriad of sources.

And there’s another thing to keep in mind, having the eardrums blown out doesn’t just affect our hearing, but can also mess with our sense of balance (that’s the inner ear in action).

Standard Hearing Protection

Conventional (also called Passive) ear muffs and ear plugs are a couple of ways to prevent hearing loss. They’re typically inexpensive and easily accessible for most people.

The muffs are filled with sound-dampening material, which absorbs sounds that would otherwise harm our hearing. It deadens that shockwave that would like to assault our eardrums, thus preserving our hearing.

Earplugs can be a hit-or-miss affair for me. Maybe I have weird ear canals or something, but many times when I put ear plugs in, they don’t completely fill my ear canal or simply don’t fit right. As a result, they really don’t work all that well for me.

How does digital hearing pro work?

The Walker’s Razor Tacti-Grip Digital Hearing Protection muffs have two microphones (Hi Gain Omnidirectional type) to pick up sounds around you. I can actually hear better when I’m wearing them with the sound turned up than I can with my bare ears. Sounds are amplified and delivered straight to the shooter’s ears.

Walkers Razor muffs with a Blackhawk shooting bag and M1A Scout Squad rifle.
When you’re shooting the M1A Scout Squad Rifle from Springfield Armory in .308 with that muzzle brake, things get very loud! You’d best be using quality hearing protection.

There is a volume control knob on the side of one of the muffs so the user can control the volume level of the sound for both ears. The knob is large and very easy to adjust by feel.

I see you in the back there, wondering if that would make the sounds of gunfire and loud noises even worse. Good question, dear reader!

The answer is, not at all. Because there is Sound Activated Compression, which cuts out loud sounds. Walker’s says this happens in .002 seconds. That’s pretty fast.

The total sound reduction for the Razor Tacti-Grip Digital Muffs, according to Walker’s, is 23 decibels.

What are the advantages of digital hearing protection?

Some hunters have taken to wearing digital hearing protection, both to protect their hearing and also to be able to hear game approaching. I could see this being a good thing for tactical operators, and many teams are doing just that; wearing them for training and real-world call-outs.

For the homeowner, having a pair of these muffs by the bedside would also be an advantage. I have a friend who has a set on his nightstand in case he has to defend the castle at night. This makes a lot of sense, as we could hear an adversary and protect our hearing.

If you’ve ever touched off a live round inside a structure or a vehicle, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It is LOUD!!

Do the muffs still work if the batteries die?

If you forget to turn the unit off, there is an automatic shutoff to preserve battery life. But, in the event that the batteries die, Walker’s digital hearing protection (and other electronic muffs) will still protect your ears if the batteries fail because they’re filled with sound-absorbing material, just like passive ear muffs. So if the batteries die, the worst thing you’ll have to face is not being able to hear range commands and sounds around you very well. But at least you’ll still have hearing protection.

Walker's Razor muffs.
Walkers Razor Tacti-Grip digital hearing protection. An input jack for hooking up other electronics to take phone calls or listen to music. They are powered by two AAA batteries (included).

Incidentally, the Walker’s digital muffs are powered by two AAA batteries (included). I appreciate that they use standard batteries rather than something obscure that’s difficult to locate. I can walk into any store and pick up AAA batteries easily enough. Big points in this department.

Are Walker’s ear muffs comfortable?

With some other ear muffs, the material that seals around the ears isn’t always very soft. Sometimes it’s rigid. Because I wear eyeglasses, that becomes an issue. It puts a lot of pressure on the arms of my glasses, which then skews my vision because the lenses move.

Jim Davis wearing walkers razor hearing protection
Walkers Razor Slim digital earmuffs allow plenty of room for a proper cheek weld. They’re also very comfortable to wear. The rifle is a Savage MK II FV-SR.

Additionally, that rigid material will not always allow a seal around my eyeglass arms, so there are small gaps where the two meet, which lets in a certain amount of noise (which is what ear muffs are supposed to prevent). This can allow hearing damage to take place.

The material on the Walker’s unit is soft enough to allow a good seal and also not mess with my eyesight. This product gets major points in that aspect.

Audio Input Jack

The muffs are equipped with an audio input jack that utilizes a standard 3.5mm male connection so your device can be connected. Being slightly less than tech-savvy, I did not use this feature. However, those who are more adept might enjoy it, as they can take phone calls or listen to music via the input jack.

Compact for Storage

Walker’s Razor Tacti-Grip muffs collapse, which makes them pleasantly compact. They won’t take up much room in your shooting bag. If your shooting bag is like mine, there’s a lot of stuff in there, so having compact items goes a long way in keeping things manageable.

Walkers Razor Tacti-Grip digital muffs fold up very compactly.
The Walkers Razor digital muffs fold up into a very compact package, making them fit nicely into a range bag. 

The Verdict

I love these things! And I can’t believe I didn’t try them sooner. Actually, it seems like I’m saying that for quite a few products that I test out these days. But seriously, these electronic muffs work exactly as advertised and they are now a permanent part of my range bag. I’m considering getting another pair for my nightstand because that just makes so much sense.

They dampen damaging sound, amplify helpful noises, and they are comfortable. This product does exactly what it says it will, and does it well.

walkers razor muffs, shooting bag, M1A Scout Squad.
Walkers Razor electronic hearing protection is now an integral part of my shooting bag.

Another aspect that I like is that they’re easily adjustable and the headband is the most comfortable of any unit that I’ve ever used. In fact, the headband really adds tremendously to the comfort. Two thumbs up for this product!

Jim Davis served in the PA Dept. of Corrections for 16 ½ years as a corrections officer in the State Correctional Institute at Graterford and later at SCI Phoenix. He served on the Corrections Emergency Response Team (CERT), several of those years as a sniper, and also the Fire Emergency Response Team (FERT). For 25 years, he was a professional instructor, teaching topics including Defensive Tactics, Riot Control and Tactical Operations, Immediate Responder, and cognitive programs as an adjunct instructor at the DOC Training Academy. He was then promoted to the title of corrections counselor, where he ran a caseload and facilitated cognitive therapy classes to inmates. His total service time was close to 29 years. He was involved in many violent encounters on duty, including incidents of fatalities.

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