Who Needs a Communications Headset?
This is where we need to start. If you’re entering this space, you need to be prepared to spend upwards of, at the very least, $500 to get yourself quality gear. So, the first question we want you to ask yourself is this. “Do I need a communications headset, or just hearing protection?”
There’s a lot of people in the industry of shooting who do need communications gear. Not only do professionals in Military and Defense Contracting often need this type of equipment, but so do our Law Enforcement Professionals. That said, just because you’re not in those three specific groups doesn’t mean you don’t.
Maybe you’re in the preparedness community and you’re looking to up your small group’s capabilities. Maybe you’re very heavily and seriously invested into the Airsoft community, or group sports shooting and you want to elevate your game to the next level. If either of these apply to you, then chances are you might actually need a communications headset.
But what kind of radio am I going to run if I’m not using issued gear you ask? Don’t worry, we will cover this in another review!
Communication and Feature Considerations Pre-Purchase.
Before we start making recommendations for headsets, let’s get you educated first. There’s a little bit that goes into making this leap into the tactical communications gear space, and we want you want to enter it armed to the teeth and ready to buy.
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
A noise reduction rating is given to each device, generally from a 3rd party laboratory. Similar to ballistics tests done on armor plates and helmets, this is something you absolutely want to know before you purchase anything.
Here’s how it works. First, you need to know the noise reduction rating of the item you are looking at. Next, you take the NRR of the item, and you do a little bit of math because the NRR isn’t the actual number of decibels reduced by the item.
This is how the math works. You take the base NRR of the item, and first subtract the number seven. So, if our NRR is 33 – 7 we are left with 25. We then divide that number by two and round up. So, NRR = 33-7/2 = 13. The final number is then subtracted from the decibel number of the noise source for our actual reduction in noise.
If a company does not publish their NRR, you need to steer clear. Your ears will thank you later.
Ingress Protection Rating (IP)
IP ratings stands for “Ingress Protection.” Each device intended for operational use will have some sort of functioning IP rating published within the specs of the device. This is usually found somewhere near the NRR.
IP obviously stands for Ingress Protection Rating, but the numbers granted both mean separate things. So, if you have a device rating with IP68, the 6 will be the rating against particle protection, and the 7 will stand for water protection.
If there is no number provided for particle protection, there will simply be an X put in its place. That means, anything with an IPX rating will only tell you that items rating for water proofing.