Dom Holtam sings the praises of the good old ProTac ear defenders. You don’t have to spend a fortune on high-tech plugs; if you’re on a budget, these will do the job without breaking the bank

credit: Archant

I try my hardest to live life without regrets but I really wish I had taken more care of my hearing, earlier in my shooting career. I shot without a moderator and without hearing protection too many times and now the incessant screech of tinnitus accompanies my every waking minute. That will never fade, and my lost hearing won’t ever come back. But I am determined not to make matters worse and now use moderators on every rifle I own and ear defenders whenever I go shooting.

credit: Archant

Big rifles equal big noise, and while I prefer slimline muffs when shotgun shooting, on the range with the rifles I am just after the best attenuation. Chris Parkin trialled the Peltor ProTac IIs a few issues ago and had nothing but praise for them. However, I have various sets already so thought I’d try the more affordable new ProTac Shooter.

credit: Archant

Priced at under £90 these look like terrific value for a top-quality brand. They offer 32dB of sound attenuation, which is impressive, but they are pretty big! There is a slimmer ‘Hunter’ model at the same price that offers a lower 26dB attenuation.

So far I have spent a few hours wearing the ProTacs in the office, much to the amusement of my colleagues, as well as at the range. They are comfortable for long periods – which is essential. You don’t want to be tempted to take them off in the field, after all. The sponge is nice and soft and seems to create a good seal, even when wearing specs. When there’s a lot of noise in the office they do a great job of blotting it out, but at the push of a button I can hold a normal conversation. I like the audio telltale that clearly informs me when I power on and off and when I am cycling up or down the volume control’s five levels. These can amplify outside sounds by up to 8dB – useful when stalking and you want to whisper, or when listening for the crack of a twig from the high seat.

I love that they run on plain, simple AA batteries – not an expensive or obscure model, but the most common battery there is, one that can be found in the ‘man drawer’ of any house, or bought at any corner shop or petrol station. I also love that they will eke 100 hours of use from them and, if you are as forgetful as I am, you’ll be grateful for the auto off function that kicks in after four hours of inactivity. There is an audible reminder when the power is running low and the batteries need replacing, too.

The electronics are on the outside of the earcups and protected by a double wall to keep them safe from both precipitation and perspiration. All the control functions are easy to use, even with gloves on and there is a useful 3.5mm jack plug if you want to connect up to a radio (or listen to some tunes, perhaps?!).

I think that these are an absolute bargain… I just wish I’d started using them 15 years earlier.

For more information about the ProTacs and other products in the range, visit the John Rothery Wholesale website at or contact your local retailer.