I recently decided to bite the bullet and invest in some new hearing protection. For the last couple of years I have been using budget Shooters Aid plugs that cost around £10-£15. They have served me well and I have little complaints given the ease of use and price range. They did do the job well, however they are not the most comfortable for me and also pick up a large amount of wind noise.
As I have shot more I have kept considering investing in some custom made hearing protection more for comfort than anything else but the price kept putting me off. You can't put a price on your hearing I know, but there are a lot of capable hearing protection products out there at a really good price.
I first came across Custom Fit Guards a year or two ago when my dad bought some for his clay shooting and they looked great. The company are located in Warwickshire and provide custom moulded ear plugs taken from a direct impression of your own ears. Custom Fit Guards manufacture custom fit hearing protection and custom ear plugs for sports shooting, industry and motor sports. They offer individual custom fitted products that protect people who are exposed to high levels of noise on a regular basis.
Custom Fit provide hearing protection using the latest noise filtering technology from passive products to digital. Custom Fit Guards manufacture reliable products with complete protection and comfort. Each individual product gives constant protection from dangerous levels of noise whilst giving the user the ability to communicate and take instruction.
The manufacturing processes uses soft medical grade silicone enabling the ear plugs to be very comfortable and be a perfect match of your ear impressions. Each earpiece is individually moulded to your ear which gives a much more comfortable fit compared to off the shelf products you can pick up on a budget.
Custom Fit offer a couple of different products depending on what you want and of course what your budget is:
The CF Digital is their premium product at £349. It offers a unique design unlike any other digital product on the market, the latest digital technology is incorporated inside of the custom fit ear piece, giving a less obtrusive look and more protection of the electronics within. This makes the CF Digital at the forefront of earplug technology, with an integrated microphone system that shields against dangerous noise levels, the user may choose between four (4) programmes consisting of : Game, Clay, Social and Competition/Mute shooting. This gives the user the ability to have enhanced noise settings tuned to the environment they are in, whilst knowing as soon as the gun is fired there is a complete block against external noise within a fraction of a second.
The CF Duo is the mid range product and the one I went for at £99. Again it offers a unique design unlike any other passive product on the market, the latest filter technology rocker switch is placed inside of the custom fit ear piece. This makes the CF Duo at the forefront of passive earplug technology, with a brand new technology filter embedded in a soft silicone. The user may choose between two different levels of ambient awareness dependent on how much environmental sound they wish to hear. This gives the user the ability to block out as much as possible when being exposed to high noise levels and then being able to switch to the alternative setting when needing the ability to hear and communicate whilst still being protected. This filter is the best at reducing wind noise on the market, allowing the user to concentrate on shooting with no distraction.
The CF Passive – £89 Designed for shooting, this uses a passive filter encased in a protective housing. The wearer gets the opportunity to carry on a normal conversation with a slight reduction of volume, whilst the unique filtering technology will protect you from any sudden high level sound. This new age fitler gives extra clarity in sound whilst maintaining its quick impulse protection.
I went for the CF DUO range and the guys at Custom Fit were extremely helpful in sorting me out. I first started by contacting the company to let them know what product I was looking for and they pointed me to a local company that could take my ear impressions. The cost of this was £30, however this came off the end price of the product. Once my impressions were done I sent them to Custom Fit who manufactured my bespoke plugs and had them returned to me inside of 10 days.
My first impressions of the plugs were very good, they come very well packaged and are manufactured to a very high quality. In terms of comfort they are absolutely fantastic, you could easily forget you had them in your ears after a days shooting. I took them out on the shooting ground at the weekend and the one thing I was really pleased with was the reduction in wind noise and the comfort. Also, I didn't need to take them out to hear conversations around me yet they still provided good protection when shooting.
When you buy your plugs they will be delivered with; Custom Moulded ear plugs, Custom Fit Guards Pocket Pouch, User Guide, Wax Pick, Ear Lubricant, 1 Year Warranty
My only slight concern is that the rocker switch on the CF Duo doesn't seem to make much of a noticeable difference. To the point that I have stopped bothering with it. On either setting I seem to get good protection but no difference from what I cant tell. This was disappointing as it was marketed and sold on this innovative technology that I couldn't really see the benefit of. I was told by Custom Fit that it should make a difference of about 5db when applying the rocker switch but I certainly couldn't notice this. Having just had my ears tested as well Im positive it's not an issue with my hearing. Due to this, if I were to purchase again I would probably go for the entry level plugs.
That being said, although the rocker switch on the CF duo doesn't seem to make much difference, you cannot avoid the comfort and aesthetics of this product, they are great! The communication and customer service from the Custom Fit team has also been exceptional. I would recommend this product to any shooter looking for a bespoke high quality ear plug. They allow you to really focus on your shooting rather than worrying about messing with your ear plugs to get them to fit comfortably. If I were to purchase again I would go for the entry level product or invest in the high end digital product.
These plugs are easy to carry around, easy to clean & maintain and also look great. They are available in clear, orange or black colours and come supplied in a nice little carry case that will easily fit in to your bag or pocket. Take a look at the custom fit website (below) to see the full product line and read more on the manufacturing process and benefits of having your own bespoke custom made hearing protection.
Contact Custom Fit HERE:
Custom Fit Guards Unit 1, Holly House Queensway Trading Est Queensway Leamington Spa Warwickshire CV31 3LT