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Hey guys, I've got a review here that I hope some of you will find helpful when shopping for new hearing protection. I'm hoping I posted this in the right subcategory, if not, mods can feel free to move it wherever they think is most appropriate.




For the past couple of years I've been using the Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic earmuffs, but recently I wanted to find something new. The muffs made my ears quite warm on hot days, plus they became uncomfortable later in the evening after a long day of shooting. I started hunting around for a new solution and came across the Gunsport PRO GSP•1 ($449 MSRP) and GSP•15 ($499 MSRP) electronic earplugs made by Etymotic. Being something of an audiophile, I was already familiar with Etymotic products, but was unaware that they had made a foray into the firearms hearing protection industry. I tried searching for a few reviews, but came up with basically nothing, it seemed like no one on any of the gun forums had tried them. Therefore, I contacted Etymotic and asked if they would be willing to ship a pair to me for an evaluation, which I'm glad to say they agreed to.




Etymotic decided to send me their GSP•15 model, which differs slightly from their GSP•1 model, but I'll get to that later. When I opened the box, I found that they came with a manual, warranty information, batteries, case, cleaning tools, filters, and an assortment of tips. I quite like the case, it's sturdy and seems pretty durable. The batteries were also a nice surprise, I was expecting to have to go out and purchase a set of batteries myself.



To operate them, you insert the air activated batteries and close the battery door. The plugs are always on as long as the battery door is closed, so to turn them off, simply leave the batter door cracked open. Even so, these batteries self deplete over time, so their life is limited once you remove the seal over the air ports.




I was somewhat worried about tip variety, as earplugs heavily rely upon the seal made inside your ear to help block sound. Without a proper seal, sound can leak through and the plug's efficiency is drastically diminished. Thankfully the largest foam tips sealed very well, so I had no issues with that. I could've used some of the smaller tips as well to get a deeper fit, but I found that they weren't quite as comfortable, but your mileage may vary. With the tips I used, I was able to complete an entire day without the plugs fatiguing my ears, which is not something I can say about regular earmuffs.

Now, how do they actually work? I'm pleased to report that they work EXTREMELY well. When in amplification mode, you pick up on the tiniest sounds, yet are still protected from loud blasts when firing. The sound cutoff is actually more of a squelch, which I thought was odd at first, but it gets the job done. And the amplification is a lot more sensitive than I had imagined as well. Not a very scientific test, but I stood on the second floor of my house, next to the stairs, while my wife was down in the living room. She tried whispering under her breath and I could still hear her. The amplification feature is extremely handy for law enforcement, as you'll be able to hear subject's conversations when usually you would be out of earshot. You can also keep your radio turned down practically as low as it will go and you'll still be able to hear it, while those around you will not.

When you flip the switch to "normal", the amplification stops and you're able to hear at a close to regular level. I could carry on conversations with those around me without shouting, which is nice. Etymotic markets this feature as useful for use around loud machinery, but I didn't get to test the plugs in this environment, so I'll leave it at that.

These electronic earplugs also turn into regular earplugs when unpowered, so you're still protected should they happen to run out of juice during the course of fire.

The two major downsides that I see are that they're expensive, $499 is getting up there in price for hearing protection, and that the batteries only last for 3-4 weeks, so you'll need to always keep a pack of batteries in your range/patrol bag. Overall, I really like these plugs and will continue to use them. They're small, so they take up less space in my bag. They work well, I feel that the blast cutoff is faster than my current earmuffs and the amplification is more sensitive. And they're comfortable, I can use them all day and they allow a better cheek weld with certain rifles/shotguns.
 

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Great review! Thanks for the write up with pictures! I really enjoy reading product reviews like this. Unfortunately, at $499, I won't be in the market for these. I would rather have another M&P and keep using the cheap disposable Howard Leights!!

For the right person, I can see a great use for these electronic earplugs.
 
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