Sharing the rules of firearm safety seems redundant at times, but it’s important that the diverse new gun owners know how to protect their senses as well as their lives. We’ll start with the four rules and then talk about protecting the ears and eyes.
Howard Leight expands hearing- and eye-protection choices for women, youth, and others with a focus on fit and individual preferences
CANTON, MA (February 7, 2022) – According to data from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), 39.7 million background checks related to the sale of a firearm were conducted in 2020—a 40 percent increase over the previous year. “We estimate that up to 40 percent of those gun sales were for first-time gun buyers,” says Joe Bartozzi, National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) President and CEO. NSSF research also suggests that gun ownership is becoming increasingly diverse, as women accounted for 40 percent of all sales in 2020, and purchases by African Americans increased by 56 percent compared to 2019.
Resources for Women
Several organizations exist to serve new female gun owners, hunting, and shooting sports enthusiasts with information, instruction, and ample opportunities for fun and camaraderie. These groups can be great resources for both new and experienced female gun owners, providing the help, expertise, and knowledge necessary to participate in the shooting sports safely and with confidence. Among these groups are Shoot Like a Girl / Hunt Like a Girl, A Girl and a Gun Women’s Shooting League, DIVA Women Outdoors Worldwide, and Babes with Bullets.
Safety Equipment for Women
Growth in firearms ownership also means growth in the safety, hunting, and shooting sports accessory markets, as gun owners need the products that allow them to store and use their firearms safely. Eye- and hearing-protection products are fundamental to all forms of shooting sports safety.
Howard LeightTM has been serving the personal protective needs of shooting sports enthusiasts with reliable, effective and well-fitting hearing- and eye-protection products for over 35 years. The company has anticipated and responded to increasing diversity in the shooting sports with an unprecedented launch of new products that deliver an improved fit and increased choices for an even greater range of today’s shooting sports enthusiasts.
“We’re offering additional styles, sizes, and color choices across many of our lines to better serve the needs and preferences of these diverse new participants, while also expanding options for seasoned participants,” says Nancy Kufferman, Senior Offering Manager – Howard Leight. “From women and youth to more specific applications such as hunting and tactical, Howard Leight is delivering more styles, more sizes, and more aesthetic choices in reliable, high-quality hearing protection. And our equally broad selection of comfortable and stylish UVEX protective eyewear delivers safety without compromise, all of which meet ANSI and CSA impact standards.”
Kufferman says all firearms users should understand the importance of fit with respect to their personal protective equipment.
Choosing Hearing Protection
“When it comes to hearing protection, proper fit is not just important for comfort, it’s critical to the performance of whatever particular hearing-protection device you are wearing,” Kufferman says. “All hearing protection devices sold in the United States are required to have a Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) displayed on the product packaging. This number tells consumers how much protection a hearing-protection device is capable of providing, but the device must be worn and fit properly in order to deliver the advertised NRR. In the case of foam earplugs, they must be properly inserted and allowed to expand deep in the ear canal to form an effective seal. In the case of earmuff-style hearing protectors – either passive or electronic designs – the muff must seal around the ears and stay in place to provide the intended protection.”
Heads and ears differ in size, and ear location varies, too, so adjustability is an important consideration. “When shopping for passive or electronic muffs, look for models with earcups that completely contain your ears, with vertical adjustability to ensure they stay in place,” Kufferman says. “Ear cushions should form a tight seal around both ears. Our popular Impact Sport line of electronic muffs includes 20 different models in two sizes, 16 distinct colors and patterns, and with or without Bluetooth connectivity to ensure a proper fit and meet the personal style preferences and functional needs of a wide range of shooting sports participants, including women and youth.”
In-ear electronic hearing protectors have become popular with shooting sports enthusiasts because, like electronic muffs, they allow the amplification of ambient sound while protecting hearing via passive design. Unlike muffs, however, these small, lightweight, electronic ear buds fit directly inside the ear canal to offer the best features of foam plugs.
Howard Leight ImpactTM Sport In-Ear Hear-Through with Amplification and Howard Leight Impact Sport In-Ear Hear-Through with Bluetooth® ear budsare in-ear electronic hearing protection done right, offering a superior combination of features at prices any hunter or shooting sports enthusiast can afford. Both feature a NRR of 29dB, a rechargeable 200 mAh lithium battery, hear-through volume control, and automatic attenuation of dangerous sounds over 85dB. Both models come with three pairs of foam ear tips (small, medium, and large) and flexible, moldable ear hooks for an effective, comfortable, and secure fit on a wide variety of shooters.
Choosing Eye Protection
In the case of protective eyewear, the assumption that regular eyeglasses or sunglasses will provide adequate protection is a primary pitfall. “Unfortunately, a lot of well-intended folks think their standard sunglasses or eyeglasses provide adequate impact protection,” says Kufferman. “The truth is they are taking serious risks with their vision. Safety eyewear must conform to a higher standard of impact resistance than regular eyeglasses and sunglasses.”
This higher standard applies to both the lenses and the frames.
Kufferman says fit is also just as important with eyewear. “Look for comfortable wraparound designs that fit close to the face and afford ample side protection. Such designs minimize the potential for ejected casings – often from adjacent shooting lanes – to find their way between the face and the lens,” she says. “Aside from its superior protection, our Howard Leight UVEX Genesis eyewear is a great choice for most shooting sports participants – including women and youth – because of its significant adjustability. Genesis eyewear meets ANSI Z87.1-2015 high-impact standards, as well as the Military V0 ballistic test for impact, and its available with clear, amber, or vermillion lenses. Genesis features a soft and flexible ventilated brow guard, plus adjustable temples and nose piece for maximum comfort and a customized fit. I’ve heard from many female shooting sports participants at trade shows how happy they are with the way their Genesis eyewear fits. Of course, Howard Leight has many other eyewear options for women and others to consider. All Howard Leight eyewear is designed for protection and comfort and will not interfere with the fit of Howard Leight hearing protection. Finally, lens coatings that prevent scratches and fogging are another consideration, as is a lens’ ability to block harmful UVA and UVB rays.”
When it comes to protecting eyes and ears at the shooting range or in the field while hunting, be aware that the way your hearing and eye protection fits can either help or hinder its performance; one particular size or style may not fit all. In addition to providing built-in adjustability, many trusted Howard Leight hearing-protection products are now available in different sizes to facilitate a proper fit on a wider range of people. Different styles of hearing protection – from foam earplugs, passive earmuffs and electronic earmuffs to new in-ear electronic ear bud designs – are also available to make choosing the best-performing and best-fitting hearing protection easier, while an extensive selection of unique colors and patterns are available to meet individualized needs and preferences. Additionally, Howard Leight’s vast and trusted UVEX line of shooting sports eyewear is also designed to give all shooting sports participants more choices in selecting great-looking and great-fitting options for safely protecting their vision while increasing their performance at the range or in the field.
ABOUT HONEYWELL HOWARD LEIGHT
Honeywell Safety Products empower individuals and families across the globe to enjoy more and worry less. Our high-quality hearing and eye protection help people to more safely enjoy the events and activities they love. Our broad selection of comfortable and stylish protective eyewear delivers safety without compromise, many of which meet ANSI high-impact standards and offer UVA/UVB protection. Building on over 30 years of innovation, we’re continually developing new designs, materials and technologies to enhance comfort and protection for industry trade professionals, recreational and competitive shooters, DIY homeowners, and all fans of live music and sporting events. Whatever your passion, trust Howard Leight to block out the noise so you can listen to what’s important, while staying safely focused on the big moments that matter. Learn more at howardleightshootingsports.com.
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Mia Anstine is an outdoor writer, licensed outfitter, hunting guide, life coach, keynote speaker, and range safety officer, firearms instructor, and archery instructor. She is the founder of MAC Outdoors and Host of the MAC Outdoors Podcast.
Mia Anstine strives to encourage others to outdoors, hunt, fish, shoot, and survive life with others in a positive way.
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