Walker’s Recon Ear Pro

By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor

By now you might think we are a bunch of hunting and shooting hoodlums. Fair enough. We sell a hat that says “Safety Third” for God’s sake (and we do really well with it). But the truth is, we are simply poking fun at all the self-appointed civilian safety officers who’d like to pad the world with maxis and rid it of snakes. Obviously we believe in gun safety. And we know firsthand—via stupidity when we were young—that hearing protection saves ear drums. Our fathers were all near-deaf when they reached their 70s, and so we know it sucks to be deaf, not just for Pop but more so for the grandkids who can’t understand why Pop stands there with a half-smiling, half-confused look on his face instead of answering them.

We all know it. Yet it still amazes me when a buddy pays 3K for a new scope, 60k for a truck, and a criminal amount on health insurance, yet he won’t drop more than $3 for a pack of orange foamies when it comes to saving his senses. 

While there’s nothing wrong with the foamies when they are in the ears—and I get it, they’re easy to use with no batteries involved—here’s the problem: When talking on the range, as guys must naturally do, either we can’t hear well with them in, or we remove one each time someone says something, which is constantly if your friends are anything like mine. In the interim, shots will be fired that reach your unprotected ears, and often you’ll drop them in the dirt and/or lose them. The point is, over time—cumulatively—your ears will take damage that they do not have to take. Technology has afforded us great and relatively cheap electronic hearing protection. Just like red dot sights and everything else, they’ve come a long way from when they first appeared on the market. 

There are plenty of great units out there, both in-the-ear and muffs—but recently I’ve gone to Walker’s Recon muffs for several reasons, mainly because I randomly picked them and have yet to find anything better for the money. 

They are comfortable yet seal out noise, and there’s a fine balance between the two. They are durable with a rubberized headband that doesn’t crack when I drop them, and I’ve dropped them a bunch. Third, the rolling volume dial has been modified so that it must be pushed in to turn the unit on and off. This is a better system because I’ve found it makes me more likely to turn them off after use, thereby saving me frustration later. Finally, the Recons are remarkably better, stereophonically, than electronic muffs used to be just a few years ago thanks to advanced digital circuitry and quality speakers. Soft sounds actually sound good as they are amplified to my liking so I can hear and talk normally on the range, and not like WWII artillery vets at an NRA meeting.

With all that said, my godfather once told me that there are some benefits to being deaf—something about it saving his marriage—but do as you will. 

Cost: $70

Pros: Can keep you from saying “WHAT?” constantly, could be used for hunting, long battery life, headphone jack for injecting music into your ears as you mow the lawn 

Cons: Cost more than foamies, may look silly to wear at the dinner table (unless you are a teenager)

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