Regular readers of ShootClay will know how important ear protection is when shooting – we’ve spoken before about the damage that a shotgun report can do to your hearing, and the need for comfort and function when you are wearing ear protection for a day at the Clay Ground, or in the field. So when our friends at Marsdens Country Clothing gave us a chance to review the TopGun Electronic Stereo Ear Defenders I jumped at the chance of getting out to a registered shoot and seeing how well my ears were looked after.
The TopGun defenders come packaged in a simple blister pack with a set of AAA batteries included – to replace the batteries is a simple process – just prise the ear cups apart using a thin screwdriver or a knife blade and remove the outer foam baffle, then replace the batteries and clip back together. The build quality is good, with a flexible and adjustable headband and a nice solid feel. There is an MP3/Radio socket which is particularly useful for groundsmen or trappers who need to stay in communication.
The headphones are quite slimline, with a microphone baffle and a volume control on each cup, they sit nicely on your head with a light touch so you don’t feel like your head is being squeezed wearing them. Switching the volume control on, I was able to adjust everything I wanted to hear – so conversations were at a normal level, but when my gun fired, the volume immediately dropped and cut out so that the percussion of the Shotgun wasn’t heard at all.
I found the TopGun Ear Defenders really comfortable, and they definitely provided excellent protection against multiple shots that go on around a registered shoot – I thought the constant dropping of volume would annoy me – but when you are in the cage the isolation of the headphones is excellent, I found that turning the volume down meant I got minimal noise from other shooters and it helped me enjoy the silence a little more. In the field, shooting game, I’d suggest turning the volume up a little more so that you can hear birds taking flight – very useful indeed. The ear cups are slimline enough that they did not interfere with my gun mount at all a key point for me, as I find some ear defenders too bulky and bashing against the stock when I am shooting.
Usually I swear by my in-ear defenders – but I shall be using these as well, particularly when the weather is colder as they have the added benefit of keeping your ears warm – in some instances, I may use both together for times when I really want to concentrate. Typically the electronic style ear defenders are a pricey proposition – with some running into the hundreds of pounds, but as seems to be the case with TopGun, they have found a much better value for money price point (£59.95) without sacrificing any of the quality needed.
Overall – I really rate these ear defenders, they come at reasonable price point with good build quality and performance – they will definitely look after your ears whether shooting Clay or Game. I would have liked them to have come with a carrying case or pouch, but this is a minor quibble as I suspect they will be in my shooting bag for a long time!