Tactical Thoughts

Brought to you by Gunsite!  Actually, this was something that Ed Head, the honcho of training at Gunsite mentioned that bears repeating.  The conversation was on home defense carbines, and Ed mentioned that if you don’t have a suppressor on your carbine, that you should have a pair of electronic hearing protection by your nightstand.

I’d expand that to say that if you have a gun for home defense period that you should keep a pair of electronic hearing protection on the nightstand, and here’s why.  Ed pointed out that obviously they’ll protect your ears if you have to light a round off indoors, but the other function of electronic ears is that they amplify quiet sounds.  Quiet noises…like the ones a burglar might be making as he’s skulking around the downstairs.  I had never thought of hearing protection as being something that could give you a tactical advantage in a home invasion, but Ed’s logic made sense to me.  You want to be able to hear quiet sounds, and not be deafened by the sound of a .357 going off in the house.


  1. I’ll have to think about this some more but my first thought is not so much. After 7 years I feel pretty in tune with the creaks and groans of my house. Putting on ear protection, electronic or not, seems like it would invalidate pretty much all of that…

  2. I’m not going to claim to be smarter than Ed Head, but a great deal of medical and psychological data show that the body can shut down hearing in high stress events, preventing the ringing after effects (Grossman, On Combat).

    I keep going back and forth on putting my can on the HD AR. Yes, it will protect my hearing, but it adds overall length and there’s the jury stigma to overcome after the fact.

  3. I’ve read this for years in hunter mags. You’ll see ads for electronic earplugs that have a built-in mic so you can hear better….but they go dead with loud noises so your gun won’t make your ears ring.

    Never really used them, I buy non electronic ears for my range time and just shout like a fool on the firing line.

    I imagine if I have to pop somebody the ringing in my ears will be the least of my problems.

  4. Tried this a while back and was surprised; walking around the house with the volume turned up I could hear the dog panting quietly in his sleep, couldn’t hear him without the amplified muffs. Except for range trips, they’re always in the night stand.

    I wonder, though, would wearing muffs during a confrontation appear to a zealous prosecutor as a premeditated act? Why were you wearing muffs if you weren’t planning on shooting someone?

  5. but a great deal of medical and psychological data show that the body can shut down hearing in high stress events, preventing the ringing after effects (Grossman, On Combat)

    Yeah, I recall that they had a panel of experts talking about “auditory exclusion” at ILEETA a few years back. Grossman, Ayoob, etc…

    John Krupa got up and asked how many have heard a gun without hearing protection?

    A few hands up in the crowd.


  6. Dunno about hearing stressful situations (While I’ve been in a few, they didn’t involve firearms, though they did involve other sensory and memory anomalies – in particular I have hard experience about the lack of pain while adrenalized – dislocated my elbow and didn’t notice until the match was over); but I wandered into a norminally outdoor firing range looking for a representative of the PTB there; someone touched off something in a handgun, and the ears they started ringing immediately. (We stepped “outside” to have our discussion – other side of a cinderblock wall).

    So, yeah, I’d be one for hearing protection. Given my wife and cats are about, I’d prefer not to completely damp out ambient sounds until the time comes, either.

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