For the last 4 or 5 years, I have been a huge proponent of the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs; that was until I broke more than six pairs in the span of a couple of years. This last set gave up the ghost a couple of months ago, and it was the last straw. Since my birthday was rolling around, my wife asked what I would like as a gift. Since the day prior my Howard Leights had stopped working and was properly retired with several 9mm bullets, I told her that some nice electronic muffs would be perfect.
A few days later my beautiful wife presented me with a set of MSA Sordin Digital Pro X earmuffs with the woodland camo band. She couldn’t be any more perfect. Shortly after I had reason to go to the range and eagerly took the Sordins with.
Since my friend Scott was still rocking the Impact Sports, we decided to compare them a bit, other than the obvious differences, the one that stood out most to me was the larger earcups. That was always a point of annoyance with my old muffs, this time my ears fit inside the cushions almost entirely without being pinned down by the cushions.
The set I was given featured the removable and washable woodland camo headband cover. The headband cover has four velcro tie downs to keep the wire in the right spot as well as a velcro closure. On the bottom side of the headband, you find some absorbent material to wick some sweat away.
While I may upgrade to a set of the gel cups later to do a post on if they are worth the spend, the standard foam units came standard on my set of muffs. The standard foam cushions feel perfectly fine when wearing them for 6 hours or less, past that I found that the pressure gave me a bit of a headache if they aren’t removed during a cold range.
Inside the earcups is some sturdy foam with what appears to be a knit screen to absorb any sweat your ears might produce. Over time, I feel like a hygiene kit would be a necessity since the foam is going to get pretty stinky. Thankfully those are readily available at a reasonable $15 for the foam cups and $43 for the gel cups at the time this was written.
The battery compartment is well thought out and weather sealed. The muffs take two batteries, the first is inserted negative side first and pushed down to clear the battery hole; the second will be positive side first. Make sure to not over tighten the battery cap, it is rather easy to do and will require pliers to get it back off. Thankfully with a 600-hour battery life from two AAA cells, changing batteries is a task that is rare. Some users have reported three years of use on the same set, but I think I might change them yearly to prevent damage.
MSA fitted the muffs with two mics that are situated on either side. Out of the following list of electronic muffs, the MSA Sordins seem to have the best sound quality I have come across yet. Sure, the Sordins are in the next price bracket, but if you want the best sound quality, the Sordins seem to be the go to.
I appreciate the departure from the dials and wheel controls found on most muffs. The buttons are easy to locate and provide a very tactile click as well as an electronic beep when depressed. Most importantly, the muffs feature an auto shutoff after 4 hours of no button presses.
My one and only complaint about the MSA Sordins it how large they are when collapsed. My old Howard Leights got very tiny when folded up; the Sordins are notably larger due to the adjustable plastic headband. While it isn’t that big of a deal, it is a small annoyance that I am more than willing to deal with for the level of quality that the Sordins bring to the table.
Like I would expect, the Sordins also feature a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can pipe music or radio into your ear pro. I find this useful when I am running a shot timer on my phone and don’t want to turn the volume to the max setting.
After spending several weeks with the MSA Sordins, I think I have found my new go to muff. I didn’t find it got in the way of any rifle or shotgun that I fired regardless of what shooting position I was in. The muffs are low profile enough to stay out of the way.
So the question remains, are the MSA Sordins worth the $265 that they are going for currently? I think so. If you are a heavy shooter like I am and have broken several sets of cheaper muffs, the Sordins are just the ticket. Built to be bomb proof and filled with some of the best electronics on the market, you are getting more than you are paying for in my humble opinion.
The MSA Sordin Digital Supreme Pro X retail for anywhere between $265 on up to over $300 depending on options and if there is a sale going on. I wasn’t able to track down a hard MSRP at the time this post was submitted but if we find one after publication we will add it.