At darn near every single range, there’s a basic requirement for all people entering the shooting area: ear and eye protection. At a minimum, this usually includes protective eyewear and earplugs. Optimally, those earplugs should be doubled up with some form of electronic hearing protection like a noise actuating headset so you can hear what other people are saying but still protect your hearing from damage.
If you regularly shoot without hearing protection, you’re going to lose your hearing in one or both ears.
The eye protection is mostly to prevent against hot brass or lubricant or metal shavings from flying up into your eyes. Some people have gotten away without the eye protection. Sadly, all it takes is one mishap to land in a permanent world of misery.
That’s why we’re bringing it up: hearing and eye protection for everyday concealed carry.
2 Essential Items for Everyday Concealed Carry Hearing and Eye Protection
I’ve heard plenty of concealed carry shooters argue, though, that in the event of an actual defensive shooting situation, there won’t be any time to don protective gear. For those who shoot on private ranges with no supervision, there’s nobody to stop you from letting rounds fly without eye and ear protection. One guy even told me he wants to get used to the sound of his concealed carry gun at full volume, so he doesn’t panic if he has to use it in real life.
I’m going a different direction.
In my daily everyday concealed carry routine, I’ve found plenty of space to accommodate a few accessories that can easily help protect my ears and eyes. The likelihood I’ll ever need to use my concealed carry gun to defend myself is pretty minimal. The sacrifice of some amount of my hearing so I can faithfully put 9mm +P JHPs on target is acceptable.
However, the loss of my eyesight for any amount of time is a huge liability.
I don’t think ballistic eyewear to the likes I wore in the military is necessary. I don’t need to wear prescription glasses so wearing a good pair of glasses is not in my cards at the moment. So, I’m going to look at the three major “occupational” risk factors associated with shooting a gun. I put occupational in quotes because let’s be honest, shooting a gun for a living isn’t my job, but the risk factors are commonly associated with people who operate loud machinery or firearms.
Hearing Protection In Everyday Life
Those are the principal risk factors. Potentially, lead contamination is a factor if I’m blowing through 1,000+ rounds a day in a poorly ventilated environment and I don’t take steps to decontaminate my face, hands, neck, and clothes. That’s not me either – so I’m leaving it off the list.
For hearing, I’d love to wear a heavy headset out into public, but I would stand out like a clown. I can, however, wear earbuds. That’s normal and acceptable. Even if I’m not listening to music, some earbuds are battery operated, connect to my cell phone via Bluetooth, and modulate themselves based on ambient noise levels. This is a plus-plus.
I can hear a conversation going on, respond to people talking to me, and keep my situational awareness without sacrificing my hearing beyond reason.
I went with a pair of Bose noise-cancelling Bluetooth earbuds. They’re rechargeable, so I’m not blowing through batteries, and they’re great in the gym or out about town. No one looks at me twice for keeping them in, and I can still hear people talk.
The second set I picked up for last year’s Christmas, and I still wear them on occasion. They’re the Walker’s Razor XV rechargeable Bluetooth earplugs. They do primarily the same thing as the Bose but are actually rated to protect my hearing – NRR 31dB protection. For my personal handgun, that’s perfect.
Everyday Vision Protection for Concealed Carry
Ballistic rated eyewear typically needs to meet, at a minimum, ANSI Z87.1. However, most lenses I run into are perfectly fine for deflecting a stray 9mm brass shell. I’ve been clunked in the head by 9mm brass before. It leaves a light welt at best. Damn near any pair of lenses will do the job for that. If I want to get fancy, I can pick up a pair of Oakleys that adjust between light and dark. The big piece I’m worried about is metal shavings flying up in my eyes and grinding up my irises. Most any pair of glasses will do that. I prefer polarized lenses.
Hope this helped shed some light on some options you can take to protect your hearing and vision in the very off-chance chance you need to use your daily concealed carry handgun to defend yourself. Keep carrying on!