Lining up my sights, I tried to focus on the target ahead but the pounding in my head increased with each passing second and before long I was packing up my range wares and popping a couple of Tyenol while I rested in the waiting area of my local range. Five minutes of breathing time before I braved the pain once more and finished my day of shooting. I grabbed my Howard Leight Impact Sport earmuffs, winced as they made contact with my glasses and went back to my lane to shoot.
While I have always preferred the protection earmuff style ear protection affords me on the range, I have never been a fan of the headache inducing pressure it puts on my glasses. Relying on my every-day prescription glasses to adequately shoot, the never ending cycle of headaches after a range day seemed to be the purgatory of which I was assigned. Until a new Kickstarter product popped on my radar in late 2017.
SightLines by Noisefighters promised to alleviate range day headache woes by offering a unique gel insert that better accommodated glasses and eye protection. I leapt at the chance to give these accessories a try and lucky for me the crew at Noisefighters were happy to oblige.
How SightLines work
SightLines are a set of gel earmuff pads that replaces stock pads in a variety of popular earmuff style headsets. SightLines easily pop into place, replacing the old pads. From there, users can slide glasses into the relief cuts positioned inside the pads. These relief cuts act like a shelf for glasses arms, securing them into place without pushing them into the wearer’s head.
Though the relief cuts offer a channel for glasses arms to slide into, they still deliver a tight seal around the ear area to protect ears from harmful noise. Sporting gel on the inside, the outside of the SightLines ear pads is constructed from polyurethane making them UV-resistant as well as waterproof.
There’s no fancy tools or extra grunt work required to fit them into the headset. In the case of my Howard Leight Impact Sport muffs, I simply removed the old ear pads and popped the new SightLines in. All in all it took just a couple of minutes to place both ear pads in each ear of the muff.
Out of the box, I noticed that the SightLines seemed thinner than my Howard Leight stock ear pads. I was curious how that would ultimately hold up against gun fire, but more on that later. The gel design is an interesting one. The pads are squishy, with some obvious give, but firm all at the same time. I liken it to a memory foam mattress. Push in on certain areas and you’ll get a little give but lay across the whole thing and it offers support, the same is true for the SightLines. The gel construction gives it a comfortable feel against the head and definitely reduces hot spots around the ears. I found that, glasses aside, I could wear the SightLines longer than I could the stock Howard Leight ear pads.
The true test, however, came when I slipped my glasses on. Noisefighters recommends that users put the headset on first, then guide glasses into place using the relief channels. The first time I tried, my glasses ended up crooked. I had missed the relief cut on one side. The second time I slowed the process down and correctly seated each glasses arm onto the relief cut. Lo and behold, I was wearing my glasses but I wasn’t squinting in pain.
The Sightlines worked as promised. Despite eliminating the immediate hotspots I was accustomed to while wearing my glasses, the pass or fail of the SightLines would come later that day when I strolled into my local range.
On the range
Steadying my sights on target, I slowly squeezed the trigger releasing another round down range. I had finished off one box of ammo and was now into my second. A full 45-minutes at my local indoor range – a perfect spot to test the validity of any hearing protection — had passed and my head was headache free. Again, the SightLines worked as intended.
When they first arrived on my doorstep, I had noted they were thinner than my stock ear muffs on the Impact Sports. I was afraid this would ultimately mean less sound muffling when met with gun fire; but to my surprise I was wrong. The gel used helps blocks sounds and the relief cuts that my glasses slip into allow a complete seal around my head – a factor my old ear muffs couldn’t achieve. Ultimately, I walked away from the range without any ringing and certainly without any soreness or headaches.
The SightLines came to me about six months ago and since then I have used them every time I visit the range. Affording me both adequate hearing protection and comfort, I don’t think I’ll be swapping the SightLines out any time soon. Available for a variety of shooting earmuff style hearing protection, the SightLines are well worth their $45 price tag.