Tried and tested – Clever ear pro­tec­tion from Cus­tom Fit Guards, Havalon’s ver­sa­tile Hy­dra Dou­ble Blade, the new and im­proved BL-HD bino range from Mi­nox, and more

Sporting Shooter - - The Marketplace - TESTED BY: DOM HOLTAM

The CF Duo is a pas­sive (i.e. non-elec­tronic) de­vice that utilises a spe­cial fil­ter to re­duce the sound lev­els reach­ing the ear while still al­low­ing you to hear con­ver­sa­tion and nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­men­tal noise. Where the CF Duo is dif­fer­ent from other de­vices is that it of­fers two dif­fer­ent lev­els of use: one with max­i­mum noise sup­pres­sion; and one al­low­ing a greater level of en­vi­ron­men­tal noise if you like to chat or have more aware­ness of the world around you. A sim­ple rocker switch is used to shift be­tween these two modes and it is very easy to do by touch.

The cus­tom fit­ting process only takes a few min­utes and con­sists of the strangely en­joy­able sen­sa­tion of hav­ing your ears filled with cool ‘goo’ that slowly blots out the rest of the world. Blissful!

With a cus­tom mould of your lug­holes cre­ated, the team at Cus­tom Fit Guards then fab­ri­cate a set of hear­ing pro­tec­tors from med­i­cal-grade sil­i­cone. You can choose from all sorts of colours but the clear ones give you the chance to see all the in­ter­nal gub­bins – es­pe­cially cool on the elec­tronic mod­els!

A week or two later, the plugs ar­rive in a neat box, along with a pro­tec­tive pouch and a small tub of ear lu­bri­cant (Vase­line, ba­si­cally!) to help insert the plugs eas­ily. There is also a wax re­moval tool to clean the plugs and an in­struc­tion book­let.

There is def­i­nitely a knack to get­ting in-ear plugs in prop­erly, but a bit of lu­bri­cant or saliva should en­sure a nice snug fit and a bit of a twist when you put them in also helps.

The plugs are quite soft and very com­fort­able to wear even for ex­tended pe­ri­ods. The ad­van­tage over muff-type pro­tec­tors is that when wear­ing glasses and a hat (as most clay shoot­ers do) there is noth­ing to break the seal around the ear. There are no bulky plas­tic shells to in­ter­fere with your gun mount, or to make you sweaty in hot weather.

The price tag of £99 might seem quite a lot for a pas­sive plug, but they are well made and are com­fort­able and ef­fec­tive. We sim­ply can­not over­state the im­por­tance of look­ing after your hear­ing, and even if, like me, you are al­ready hav­ing some prob­lems, good pro­tec­tion will min­imise any fur­ther hear­ing degra­da­tion.

For more in­for­ma­tion on the CF Duo, or the other mod­els avail­able, visit www. cus­tom­fit­guards.co.uk or call 01926 640786.

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