Saturday, 14 July 2007
When I shot at West London earlier this week I took the chance to try out the Napier Pro-9 ear defenders which I've had in the car for ages and not got round to testing.
I never really had much confidence in them, to be honest. They just don't look like they're capable of making any real difference to the noise of gunfire. A couple of years ago I made myself temporarily deaf trying out another brand of earplugs on a simulated game day. My whole head seemed to be ringing for three days afterwards. So I'm reluctant to sacrifice what's left of my hearing in the name of journalism!
Still, memory fades, and it seemed the right thing to do - so I wore the Pro-9s to shoot 150 or so shells at W London.
Result? Total astonishment! They really do work. No batteries, nothing stuffed inside your ears, no clunky cans on the side of your head. And most of all, no ringing in the ears afterwards.
OK, they feel different, but after a couple of stands I had forgotten about them. Like plugs, they do muffle normal conversation, but I managed to hear the instructor's curses well enough!
I only had one minor niggle - the thin band across the top tends to slide backwards, so the whole unit pivots about your lugholes until you're wearing it around the back of your neck - although it still works in that position of course. Maybe I'll experiement with taping a bit of foam rubber around the top band.
Overall: at under £25 they're not ridiculously priced, and I found them more comfortable and effective than my usual plugs. I reckon I'll be using them a lot more in future.