Ear Pro Part 2 of 4: Howard Leight Impact Sport

In part two, we’ll be chatting about the Howard Leight Impact Sport electronic ear pro. I have owned this set of ear pro for 1.5 years, and I wore them for part of my time on Top Shot Season 4. I have seen a number of shooters wearing this set of ear pro at Bay Area, California ranges, both on the static shooting lines and in competition matches.

The Impact Sport has a single volume on/off knob which is straightforward. It’s also got a 2.5mm input jack if you want to connect an MP3 player or scanner to it (I’ve never had a need for this, but I’m sure it’s useful for some shooters).

It blocks noise above 82db, and automatically shuts off after 4 hours if you forget to turn it off, and there’s no noise to block. It runs on 2 AAA batteries, and I found I can get about 30-40 hours of life. Of course, your mileage will vary. The noise cancellation is very good, and the Impact Sport carries and NRR of 22.

It can fold into itself which is nice since it takes up less room in your range bag.

The downside of these cans is that they can sometimes interfere with my cheek weld when rifle shooting or shotgunning. I also can’t wear them for more than 30 minutes before I need to let my ears breathe since sweat builds up around the ear cups. The final thing is that the eyeglass arms can sometimes dig into my temples when wearing the Impact Sports, causing some mild to moderate discomfort.

However, at $49.95 on Amazon.com, the Impact Sport gives you a pretty good bang for your buck. www.howardleight.com

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career. He shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. www.TopShotChris.com.

Chris Cheng

Chris Cheng is History Channel’s Top Shot Season 4 champion and author of “Shoot to Win,” a book for beginning shooters. A self-taught amateur turned pro through his Top Shot win, Cheng very much still considers himself an amateur who parachuted into this new career.

He is a professional marksman for Bass Pro Shops who shares his thoughts and experiences from the perspective of a newbie to the shooting community. He resides in San Francisco, CA and works in Silicon Valley.



  • Josh

    I thought i was the only one with cheek weld problems and these headphones. I can’t shoot any rifle while wearing these. I just can’t the stock high enough to see the sights. Great for shooting pistol though.

  • Michael

    Hm. I wonder if these would be effective while I’m using power tools (or even a hammer).

    • gunslinger

      i’m not sure. it depends on the noise profiles. i’m guessing here, but i think there’s a mic that hears what sounds are being made, then produces a negative soundwave to “eliminate” the sound of the bang. there may be a threshold db level. say a gun is at 160, the cans will activate at 150. if your power tools are at 120, then it won’t “mask”

      but i’m guest guessing

  • I am left eye dominant and shoot right handed and my exaggerated cheek weld which helps me acquire a good sight picture works well with the Impact Pros. I also do a lot of photography/video at shoots also and the Impact Pros are AWESOME for that!! When I take them off though I either offset the ear cups or place a cloth or paper towel between them as the drying sweat will literally glue them together (ALL muffs have sweat issues in my experience though, and I am a very skilled at sweating!)

    I also have a Peltor 6s unit which I could NOT gain any sort of cheek weld with which sucks since I have a unilateral hearing loss and the ability to separately adjust the volume for each side was great. Also installing the batteries on the 6s, two per side, is a HUGE pain and some guys I know have damaged their muffs trying to pry the pads free to access the inside (the Impact Pros are VERY easy to change the batteries on.) Consequently, the 6s lurks in my range bag as a loaner for others to use while shooting.

  • TZH

    I own this ear protection and I really like them a lot. Its great to carry a conversation w/o yelling at each other and I feel like I have super-hearing.

    They’re used for my IPSC competition. I connect an MP3 player to it to chill out in between stages.

    My buddy uses these to protect his hearing from various machines at their company’s machine shop.

    save your hearing! science can’t bring it back

    • Michael Mol

      Can you do a test for me and see how they react to noise from power tools and hammers?

      • TZH

        my dad has an auto shop. I guess I could drop by this weekend and have them turn on some power tools. I’ll just list down what we used and I’ll post it here. cheers

  • Fyrewerx

    Like Gregory, I am also left eye dominant. I started out with a set of non-powered, but excellent protecting, Glock branded muffs. It only took one session with a rifle to find out there was no way I could get a cheek weld. They were just too thick to get my head near the stock. I grabbed a pair of these thin Leight protectors, and was good to go.

  • Paul O.

    Have to double up (ear plugs) for rifle use. Particularly with anything with a muzzle brake!

    • Matt

      You are definitely not the only one. I bought 2 pairs of these and absolutely HATE them. They don’t fit my head right, are always leaking noise in, and I don’t trust their noise cancellation feature. With that said I have two almost new pairs if anyones interested!

  • Chance

    I may be in the minority, but these headphones never fit on my head correctly. Maybe I have an oddly shaped head (I’ve suspected as much for any number of reasons…), but the phones never closed over my ears enough to adequately block out noise.

    Also, some electronic ear-pro will completely eliminate the noise of the gun (at least the initial report, not any subsequent snaps), whereas the Howard Leights seem to muffle the noise, rather than “cancel” it. I have also had some issues with a solid cheek weld, as other commenters have noted.

    I traded these with my father, who likes them just fine.

  • KC

    I tend to have problems with ear muffs, even with handgun shooting, I roll my shoulders up so high, they touch the bottom of my ears. Needless to say, I have a hard time finding ear pro.

    one thing that’s fascinating is I’ve found that I can tilt my head to the left and roll my left shoulder over my left ear and it completely covers my it. Even with carbines with the “extended arm, thumb over bore” technique.

    anyway, I think the audio jack can be used for radio/communication equipment too

  • Albert

    I had a pair of these and the microphones dont react well to shooters next to you. These muffs would have a 1 second delay. I went back to ear plugs

  • Nicks87

    I like these for pistol shooting but like others have stated when it comes to rifles I like to have a bit more protection. Also I agree that plugs are better for rifle shooting as well because of cheek-weld issues when shooting from a rest or bipod. However when shooting from a standing position with a reflex sight I dont really notice it as much and the muffs seem to work just fine.

    I will admit I bought the Howard Leight muffs because they felt comfy and looked cool. They are not as bulky as some other ear cans I’ve used in the past. Nothing wrong with a little tacticool range fashion. 🙂

  • Andrew

    Great series of articles. I might just have to place an order for the Impact Sport soon.