Etymotic GunSport Pro

We are giving away one set of Etymotic GunSport-Pro electronic earplugs.  Entry is free to all users – as with all giveaways on THR it is up to the participant to insure that the product is legal in his or her area, though I’m not aware of any restrictions on hearing protection.

What is this?

This is a pair of electronic earplugs.  Conceptually these are the same thing as the amplified earmuffs you have probably used, except they are much smaller.  These are essentially the same size as all earplugs (military issue shown in comparison below,) but with the capability of the larger amplified earmuffs.

Size comparison as you would pack in a bag or vest

Big difference in size when you’re using them. It’s much easier to get a good cheek weld with earplugs, while getting the same sort of performance as you expect from amplified earmuffs

GunSport Pro earplugs versus the plugs I was issued a couple of decades back.  About as small as the ear canal will allow.

So what am I going to get if I win?

Straight out of the box

Included in the package is the hard case containing the earplugs and neck cord, batteries, an assortment of eartips, and a cleaning tool.

What if I don’t win?

If you enter and don’t win you’ll receive a discount code good for xx% off your purchase.

In Use

These are really straightforward.

First, you’ll need to insert the batteries.  The battery compartment slides open and the battery is inserted flat side up:

Inserting the battery – the compartment is simple to pull out. Note that the orientation shown is normal – the earplug is right-side-up here.

Once you’ve inserted the batteries in both earplugs, insert them in your ears.  By default you’ll be in what Etymotic calls “Automatic Hearing Protection + Blast Protection Mode,” which in my experience means the mode most similar to walking around without hearing protection on.  Some tonal ranges seem a bit muted, but not nearly as bad as you would expect with non-electronic earplugs.  After a couple of minutes using them everything seems natural, and there is some amplification going on, but not enough to really be noticeable.

This switch controls sensitivity. Flip it up for “enhanced” mode

Flip the level shown above up and you’ll get amplified hearing, similar to what you’re used to with amplified earmuffs with the volume turned most of the way up.  The only difference is that it’s either enabled or not – there’s no dial to control sensitivity like you’re probably used to.

So, how well do they work?

Shockingly well.  I can’t come up with a scenario where I would choose any of my legacy hearing protection over these.

I used these while running a chainsaw, installing cabinets, and while shooting and in each case they just worked.  That sounds boring, but ambient sound came across as normal, and loud noises were well handled.  Overall these are simply outstanding.

I found the eartips that came installed on the earplugs to be very comfortable – wearing the plugs for extended periods offered no discomfort.  There are a half-dozen other options though, so everyone ought to be able to find something that’s comfortable.

The only criticism I have is this: the batteries.  Zinc-air batteries are used, and these last about 9 days after you peel the backing off the battery to install it.  I think it’s fair to say you will get about a week’s worth of use out of each pair of batteries.  The good news is that if you shop around replacement batteries can be had for $0.25 each.

Powering the house via a portable generator

Purpose of this article

I had a friend who bought a generator because the hurricane was coming to town and one was available, and had no idea what to do with it.  My goal with this article is to tell him what I wish I’d known a year ago, before Matthew killed my power for a week.  After actually getting to test my setup with a real power outage, I feel qualified to do so. Continue reading

Pentax K1’s Pixel Shift Really Works

You’ve read the reviews so you probably knew the feature worked already, but if you are like me you’re taking someone else’s opinion for the difference in picture quality because it’s not very visible on screen.  So last night I set up my new tripod (carbon fiber is way lighter than steel, and the BH-55 ballhead is pretty solid), pointed the camera at a bookshelf, and shot 2 photos for a quick comparison to see if I could see the difference everyone was talking about.

It’s there.  I think this comparison makes it pretty clear. Continue reading

Southeast Aircraft Painting PIREP

When I bought my Skylane it came with a questionable paint scheme, but the real issue was the that leading edges of the wings and struts had paint peeling off.  The previous owner said a friend borrowed it and flew through freezing rain and that was the result, so initially I planned to simply redo the leading edges and call it good enough.

How my plane looked the day I flew it home

How my plane looked the day I flew it home

Continue reading

Evaluating an 8-bay Qnap TurboNAS

Qnap offers a confusing number of products in the NAS space – seventy-nine at the time this is being written.  When shopping for a NAS unit I bought one on faith as there was really very little information online (especially compared to Synology – the main competitor in the home/SMB NAS space) and overall I’d say I made a good choice.

This article is my attempt to put some meaningful information on these units out there so others can make a more educated decision.

Continue reading