Long Term Safety at the Range

In Bugle, Gear 101 by PJ DelhommeLeave a Comment

Let’s say you’re already well-versed in shooting range safety: always assume your weapon is loaded, safety on at all times, etc. But how about protecting your eyes and ears? Going deaf won’t kill you, but it will get annoying as you age. Get a blast of dirt, powder or a spent cartridge in your eye, and you’ll wish you had worn safety glasses. In this article we’ll take you through the basics of staying safe at the range for the long-term.

Eyes
Don’t rely on your prescription lenses as they are most likely not safety glasses and could shatter on impact. Look for shooting glasses like this pair made by Caldwell rated to the ANSI Z87.1 standard.

Wrap-around style glasses are best as they hug your face. Many come in various lens colors. Yellow and oranges lenses really brighten things up on overcast days while gray is good for blocking glare.

Ears
Sound is measured in decibels (dB) with normal conversation around 60 dB and a jet engine at 140dB. Your elk rifle starts at 140 dB and goes up depending on the caliber. Every shot from your rifle contributes a little more irreparable damage to your hearing, a compounding effect called noise-induced hearing loss.

Protecting your hearing is simple and can be bought with money found in your couch cushions. Or, you can spend a little more if you find yourself at the range every other weekend.

Foam and rubber earplugs must be inserted properly. Squeeze and roll the plug, pull the top of your ear up and back, carefully insert the plug in your ear (don’t go too far or force it) and allow it to expand.

Caldwell’s E-MAX LoPro Electronic Muffs ($37, with glasses) block noise above 85dB. The beautiful thing about muffs is that while they block rifle noise, they still allow you to have a normal conversation without yelling or taking them off at the range. The only drawback is that sometimes earmuffs will get in the way of a solid rest when you press your cheek to the comb.