I first saw 3M Peltor’s new line of Sport Tactical electronic headsets at SHOT Show early this year.
These were new additions to the commercial electronic headset market with some features that have yet to be introduced. Updated software for better sound quality and Bluetooth capability.
I received a set of the Sport Tactical 500, which is the higher end model with a 26 NRR rating and has the Bluetooth technology on board. It takes AA batteries or optional rechargeable lithium batteries, sold separately. The set came in a jet black finish and felt lightweight with bigger sized l ear cups when compared to low profile tactical models like the Com Tacs. The headband is a skeletonized, made of a rubber-like material that makes it lightweight and breathable. Due to the design profile, these were not meant to be worn under a helmet. That’s why it has “Sport” in its name.
The main purpose of the Sport Tactical line is for Range use and recreational activities. Having the blue tooth capability makes them even more useful in other ways. You can listen to music, watch a movie on your mobile device and even answer phone calls (you can only listen, while you’ll be using the phone’s mic to talk back)
I usually have the 500’s with me everywhere I go since it isn’t just range ear pro, they’re really good headsets for music and watching videos on a phone or tablet. I have them right next to my AR Pistol ready to go for home defense.
The 500’s are easy to use. Once you place them on your head, hold down the power button in the rear of the right ear cup for a few seconds and then you’ll hear a female voice telling you, “Power On”. Volume control and Bluetooth mode is on the center, outward side of the same ear cup with the volume up and down buttons at above and below the Bluetooth button in the middle. The Volume control beeps every time it is pushed. To activate or deactivate the Bluetooth mode, hold down the button until you hear “Bluetooth On” and do the same when you want to turn it off. You’ll need to pair it with your device and it’ll let you know with “Bluetooth Connected”. That’s pretty much it for the controls.
There are two covered ports on the bottom of the ear cup that is for an auxiliary audio jack and a micro USB port for charging the optional lithium-ion battery.
Sound quality is very good, clear and clean. That is true for listening to the audio from the Bluetooth source and the ambient noise around you. You are able to listen to your music or video as well as hear what’s going on around you. Each ear cup has it’s own microphone so you can differentiate which side the sound is coming from. The sound does click down or snaps a bit when a loud noise is detected. This could get a little irritating when you’re trying to pay attention to what you’re listening to over the Bluetooth connection, then again the main priority and purpose is for range use and hearing protection so it’s just something to expect when you’re using them as a listening device.
I’ve used them at every range session since I got them, both indoors and outdoors and they did a great job at keeping a tight seal around my ears throughout each session. Again sound quality was excellent, allowing me to hear my friends while shooting and protecting my hearing from the harmful reports of the guns at the range. I had them on when firing my AR Pistol build with a 7.5″ barrel and the ridiculous blast and noise never bothered me.
What about the answering phone calls over the Bluetooth? I called my wife using the 500’s as the headsets. I was able to hear her well but since you’re still using the phone’s mic to talk, she had a hard time hearing me unless I held the phone near my face. It’s a good feature if you are on the live range and someone calls you and you have to take the call, you won’t have to remove your headset to hear the caller. It’s there if you need it in a range environment, but for regular phone calls off the range, you’re better off not using the 500’s.
Like I said earlier, I have the 500’s pretty much everywhere I go. They’re on top of my AR Pistol every night near the bed, ready to be thrown on for that bump in the night.
Overall the Peltor Sport Tactical 500 is a great set of electronic hearing protection that does a lot more than that with the Bluetooth capability. You can get them on Amazon for $119.99 (but they are on sale right now for 10$ off), which is a very competitive price for a high quality, feature packed headset.
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