by Mark Kayser - Saturday, June 27, 2015
Shooting firearms at the range or on the hunt is an enjoyable and safe activity. Guarantee participant well-being with safety gear that fits and works correctly. Would you skydive without a parachute? No, so don’t shoot without proper safety measures.
First, protect your hearing. Sound is measured in decibels (dB). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, hearing damage and hearing loss can occur when exposed to sounds at 85 dB or louder for an eight-hour or more period of time. Most modern firearms create 110 to 185 dB of sound. Pain from loud noises may start at 125 dB, so block your ear canal from damaging noise.
Earmuffs are a top choice for ease and reliability. Models such as the Caldwell E-Max BTH electronic hearing protection allow you to hear normal conversations, yet automatically shut off with sounds at 85 dB or above. For a less-intrusive option, consider protectors that insert into the ear canal such as the Ghost Stryke series by Sport Ear. They also shut down automatically with loud noises, but can increase normal hearing by six times so you don’t miss important range commands or a sneaky whitetail behind your stand.
Your ears are important, but so are your eyes so protect them by wearing ballistic-quality safety glasses. Many approved models sport polycarbonate construction. A top choice by sport shooters and military operators are those manufactured by Wiley X, such as their Guard shooting glasses series. They come with three sets of shatterproof lenses in smoke, light rust and clear, plus other models can be fitted with prescription lenses.
Finally, don’t overlook a little cushion for your young shooter’s shoulder. Recoil can negatively affect accuracy with flinching. Don’t start down that road. Many shooting shirts and jackets are pre-fitted with padding to absorb light recoil up to abusive shooting situations. Check companies like Cabela’s for hunting and range clothing with sewn-in padding.
Shooting sports are safe, but you can make them safer by gearing up the right way.
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