TACTICAL HEADSET BUYER'S GUIDE

Tried & True

Best Bang For Your Buck

Ease of Purchase

Best Bang For Your Buck

Best Bang For Your Buck

Budget Headset

3M PELTOR COMTAC LINE

MSA SORDIN LINE

SAFARILAND LIBERATOR LINE

OTTO NOIZEBARRIER TAC

GENTEX OPS-CORE AMP

OPSMEN M32 ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS

PROS

Most people with a military background are going to have immediate familiarity with these. On top of this, we also have the gel inserts in the earmuff section of the headset, which provides comfort to the user over extended periods of time. If you’re looking to make a large purchase order for a department or unit, 3M also offers great deals on bulk orders for government organizations and are incredibly familiar with the purchase process. Did we mention you can generally find these for around $400?

When it comes to the Supreme MIL CC, we’ve got a very slim profile design that allows the headsets to used comfortably with a wider variety of ballistic helmets. This includes use with the ACH, LWH, and even the older PASGT style of helmet. It also has a back strap, and hook and loop style top strap to keep the headset firmly in place without the use of rail adapting systems.

The Liberator’s have very close similarities to the Sordin line up. Though we cannot confirm if they are re-branded Sordins or not. Either way they have a unique and interesting feature that some of our other headsets simply lack. Digital Situational Awareness Enhancement, otherwise known as DSAE, provides 360 degrees ambient sound reproduction that gives the user a much more specific direction towards the sound that is being amplified than other headsets.

The largest win here for the end-user is that they are getting a fully operational headset that has everything they need straight out of the box. At around $800 total, this item will come straight out of the box with everything you need to get it mounted on your lid and straight into operations. There’s no need to purchase extra accessories with the Otto NoizeBarrier TAC. It’s ready to go on mission straight away.

The amp is far and away one of the most comfortable headsets on the market today. With all the extras that are available for them, they’re also one of the most innovative and capable sets that were truly designed with helmet mounting in mind. Once you have a set of these, it’s immediately clear that they were designed specifically for use with a ballistic helmet in absolutely every sense.

We’ll shoot you straight here, you’re going to make sacrifices entering at this price point. That said, the biggest pro is you are entering at this price point with a fully functioning headset that really punches above it’s weight. Is it the coolest looking? No. Is it the most comfortable, Not really. Does it get you communicating with your team without breaking the bank? Yes.

CONS

The primary power source for these headsets are AAA batteries. As a result, you have to minimize and maximize your time with the headsets turned on. Changing these batteries out in 3M brand headsets also takes some practice to do it efficiently in a field environment and causes wear to the device over time.

Somewhat hard to purchase. The best way to find a set of these is through sites like e-bay, where you can find them used ranging from $600 to $1,500 USD. With that said, you can find the lower echelon versions on Amazon for around $300 to $400 easily.

The price-point. While easier to get your hands on than Sordin’s top-end military issue headsets, the Liberator line has no lower level options for the end-user. That means you can expect to pay between $700 and $1,400 for this headset.

The biggest con to this headset is the lack of military or law enforcement service. It’s not a deal breaker, and the headset will work efficiently for you, but they do lack the service record of some of the other headsets on this list.

All those extras we just mentioned? They’re sold separately. That’s the largest drawback to this headset. If and when you choose to go this route, make sure you put everything you need, and some of things you might not need, in your shopping cart with them. Otherwise you’ll find yourself making a second purchase later down the road.

The largest con to this headset overall appears to be some minor issues in quality control, with some users complaining that overall, they simply fit way too tight. It’s also worth noting that with the QC issues mentioned above, you may want to double up on your hearing protection your first few times out to the range just to be sure. That said, at the price point, and since Opsmen has a great return policy, we’d suggest giving these a go if you’re in dire need with low cash flow.

OUR RATING

Due to the lower price point of the ComTac III from Peltor, and our familiarity with the platform, we still highly recommend picking up a set of these. We know they won’t disappoint or fail to accomplish the mission.

These are a solid choice in headset, if you can get your hands on them. We highly recommend this set to anyone with the capability of finding them, as they are an absolute must have for individuals with lower cut helmets. Even the lower price-point Sordins are an incredible value.

If you can find a set of these on sale, or are prepared to pay the price-tag, these are almost a must have item in our opinion. If they’re good enough for our nation’s top communicators, then they’re perfect for your mission too.

All around, this is a solid headset that we cannot recommend enough. They are produced by Otto, which is a great company with a solid reputation and the products are all produced here in the United States. They won’t cost you an arm and a leg, and you can land yourself a comfortable headset that will attach directly to your helmet with no fuss.

With the base price of this headset being $945, you’re getting exactly what you pay for. On top of this, you’re also getting one of the most comfortable and capable communications headsets that exists on the market currently. Just make sure you buy everything you need the first go-around, and you’ll enjoy this purchase for a long time.

At the sub $100 price point, you really can’t complain about these. Generally speaking, at this price point you’re not getting any communication capabilities whatsoever, but with the M32 you’re getting a whole lot of bang for your buck. We rate these as the best budget option in the entire tactical communications space. If you’re not looking to spend $350 + this is where you need to be.

KEY FEATURES AND SPECS

PTT – Dual Channel Capable

NRR – 20 dB

IP Rating – IP67

Amplification – Environmental Listening

Our Comfort Rating: 5/5 Stars with Gel Cup Inserts

PTT – Dual Channel Capable Depending on Model

NRR – 19/27 dB

IP Rating – IP67

Amplification - Environmental Listening

Our Comfort Rating – 4/5 With Gel Cup Inserts

PTT – 250 Different Radio Interfaces and Manufacturers. Dual Channel Capable.

NRR – 21/29 dB

IP Rating – IP67

Amplification – Revision (REV6) Digital Sound Processing

Our Comfort Rating – 4/5 With or Without Gel Inserts

PTT – Dual Channel Capable

NRR – 23 dB

IP Rating – IP68

Amplification – 3D Soundscape with Advanced Situational Awareness Technology

Our Comfort Rating – 5/5 Heavily Depends on Helmet Cut.

PTT – Dual Comms Capable

NRR – 22dB

IP Rating – IPX7

Amplification – 3D Hear-Through Technology

Our Comfort Rating – 5/5 Without Double Hearing Protection Option

PTT – Single Channel Communications

NRR – 22dB

IP Rating – IPX5

Amplification – Basic Sound Amplification

Our Comfort Rating – 4/5

The Ultimate Communications Headset Buyer’s Guide

So, you’re in the market for a communications headset, but don’t have the slightest idea of where to start? Perhaps a fast helmet type headset or one for a MICH helmet that provides under helmet hearing protection. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve laid out some of our top picks for tactical headsets in this article and given you the pros and cons of each along with the price-points.


On top of this, we’re also going to give you some insight into what types of comms equipment you should consider running, and how you should consider running that in conjunction with your kit to see the best results.


We can’t claim to make you an expert on this topic with a singular article. We can however share some of our experience and expertise with you to make you an educated buyer. Educated buyers make better decisions with their money, and this is certainly a space where you could burn a ton of money by mistake. Also you won't find affiliate links to headsets here, just our thoughts to help you out!


Let’s get into it.

How We Decided

Each headset tested was purchased or borrowed, we never accept anything from product manufactures.

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Models Tested