MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X Electronic Hearing Protection – Review

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X muffs

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- For the longest time, I relied on the cheapest “tactical” style muff on the market, the Howard Leight Impact Sport, and had results that were less than encouraging. After a couple of years and several (six) pairs of failed muffs, I started searching for something that would hold up to the one to two full 10-hour days that I was spending at the range each week. Since the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X muffs had gained a pretty reliable reputation in the tactical community over the last several years, that seemed to be one of the better choices for my needs with the added benefit of looking tacti-cool.

Now a $250 pair of shooting muffs might not be for everyone, but after eating through so many muffs in such a short period of time, it was time to upgrade my hearing protection game to something a bit more durable. Even though the Howard Leight muffs had a pretty solid warranty, I really didn't like the idea of keeping a spare set around to use when I sent in a non-functioning pair for warranty.

The last range trip with a set of brand new, but still broken Howard Leight Impact Sport muffs.

Full disclosure: My wife purchased the MSA Supreme Pro X muffs for me as a birthday gift so I may be a bit more emotionally attached to them had I bought them myself or received them as a review unit.

Since the MSA Supreme Pro X muffs were a direct replacement for the Howard Leights it seems natural to use the outgoing muffs as a point of comparison. While the Impact Sport and the MSA Sordins have many of the same features like a single 3.5mm input jack, dual mic pickups, the need for 2 AAA batteries, and the all-important electronic amplification of hearing safe noises like conversation and wildlife, they are about as different as two things can be when you get down to the build quality and the durability of the muffs.

MSA Sordin muffs compared to Howard Leight Impact Sport

While the MSA Sodrins are a bit bulkier than the Impact Sports when folded, they are still reasonably packable and travel with me anytime I go to an industry event. The ridged over the top headband wouldn't be my first choice if I were to buy them again. They are not as comfortable as the model designed for use with a helmet in my opinion, but they are a touch more compact when folded. If space is a concern, this is the model for you.

Like previously mentioned, the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X has a single 3.5mm input jack to pipe in whatever your heart desires. Personally, I have never used it but could see the value if you wanted to listen to music when alone on the range all day or needed to pipe in a communications device for whatever reason. The model I purchased does not have a boom mic, but that option is available.

The MSA Sordin muffs fold up nicely.

Controls on the MSA Supreme Pro X are simple and rather rugged. Instead of the wheel on the Impact Sports, the Sordins have three buttons, one for power, one for volume up, and one for volume down.

Controls on the MSA Sordins are simple and easy to use.

The two mics that pick up conversation and ambient noises have foam to manage wind noise as well as a rubber cage to protect the foam. The foam protection was a particularly nice selling point for me since the wind protection foam on my outgoing Impact Sports routinely got a bit torn up and sometimes became lost when rolling around in my range bag.

The Sordins have well-protected microphones.

There are several headband cover options as well as some aftermarket solutions, I opted for the OG Woodland camo since I am a nostalgic sucker. The inside of the headband has some soft absorbent material and the whole cover is retained with hook and loop much like those wraps that used to come on entry level bicycles to protect your “bits” should you slip off the seat.

A nice removable headband is easy to wash.

Two AAA batteries power the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X Muffs for over 600 hours according to MSA's specs. Practical battery life isn't easy to measure with the auto cut off feature, all I can tell you is I use two sets of batteries a year with an average of over 800 hours of use yearly. Installing the batteries is a bit of a pain in the rear, you have to insert one into the muff and shake it to the bottom then install the second battery and tighten the cap.

Thankfully it only has to happen once every 6 months or I might actually ding the muff of the battery compartment but it is probably the most rugged battery compartment solution that I can think of short of internal rechargeable batteries.

The battery compartment, while rugged, is slightly complicated.

The ear cups on my particular muffs were the standard plastic covered foam but were replaced shortly after I got the muffs with the highly desirable gel type cups. Why did I spend extra cash on some fancy ear cups? The gel cup conforms to the temple pieces on my eye pro as well as the transition from my hat to the side of my head for slightly better noise reduction than with the standard part.

Do yourself a favor, opt for the gel cups from the get-go.

Out on the range, the muffs perform exceptionally well with both handguns as well as long guns. Unlike many other muffs on the market, the MSA Sordins do not come unsealed when shooting a shotgun with a high comb or a rifle with a high cheekpiece. The noise reduction offered by the Sordins isn't as high as some of the other ones on the market, but it is more than serviceable with the gel cups on an outdoor range.

Would they be my first choice if I primarily shot indoors? Not even for a second.

Are they serviceable outdoors? Yes, especially when paired with some foamies.

MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X
Running the MSA Sordins while shooting an FN SLP shotgun.

So what have I learned after owning the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X muffs over more than 2 years?

You shouldn't balk at the price when you are buying top end gear, always opt for the gel cups from the get-go, and never leave home without a set of spare batteries because there is no real warning when they are gonna die on you.

At the end of the day, I couldn't be more pleased with the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X muffs and am blown away that they work just as good today as they did over 2 years ago. As far as physical wear, they are handling it like a champ.

Still interested in the MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X? They usually run for about $300 and are readily available on numerous sites. You can find more specs on the MSA website, but don't expect too much, the site is kinda rough.


About Patrick R.Patrick Roberts

Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup, but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.

  • 5 thoughts on “MSA Sordin Supreme Pro X Electronic Hearing Protection – Review

    1. Mr Roberts
      Nice review on the MSA ear muffs. I am very interested in them, but I have not been able to try them with a shotgun mounted. The Howard Leight works good with a pistol but it interfers with the butt stock when mounting a shotgun for me. The Walker Razor muffs do not do that to me. I am looking to upgrade my hearing protection and seriously looking at these to replace my Walker and Howard Leight models. You noted there was not interference when mounting your shotgun. I was wondering if that is the sentiment by most that try this muff. It will be expensive to try these if they do not fit well or interfere with mounting without trying them first. Do you know anyone that routinely carries this model? I would love to try these before deciding to purchase

    2. Good article!!!! It is an often ignored topic, like adequate eye protection. Very accurate information, and yes, good electronic muffs are costly, but worth it! I’ve had several long discussions with industrial hygienists over the past few decades concerning the difficulty of coming up with meaningful numbers for measuring gunfire noise attenuation. It is problematical mainly because gunfire is a very sharp impact. Also, a “NRR of 18” (to give a “for instance”) is an average based upon a weighted curve of values recorded over a range of frequencies, which may or may not accurately represent gunfire. The average, you see, can be calculated in various ways. That’s why plugs and muffs are best.

      I’d certainly agree with gel cups for comfort and a good seal as long as ambient temperatures are not too low, hardening the gel. When used indoors, and even perhaps outdoors, and especially on children, the muffs should be worn along with either foam or better still, custom plugs. Foam cups need replacement every couple of years, as they harden with time. If you can’t hear enough with plugs in both ears, at least use well-placed plugs which fit well (NRR of at later > 26 or more db) on the side which shifts the cup when you mount a long gun.

      Also, be sure to wear hearing protection when using power equipment or riding mototorcycles, and watch those music levels! Don’t save your hearing in one area only to lose it in another! Consult an audiologist if needed; insurance will often pay if your primary care doctor or and ENT specialist refers you. By being careful, I’ve shot a lot, regularly used power tools, and ridden motorcycles, yet still have above average hearing for 67 years of age. You can do that, too. (I don’t wear muffs or plugs while hunting, except for varmits)

      Try to use plugs with NRR of 32 under electronic muffs giving at least NRR of 25 -and no, it is not an additive set of numbers, as they represent a logarithmic scale. Indoors, the environment of the range should be designed to help further attenuate the noise as well. Another good reason to allow wide-spread, legal use of suppressors.

    3. According to the MSA data sheet w/ illustrations, click on the link for a PDF….

      http://us.msasafety.com/Hearing-Protection/Headband%2C-Electronic-Ear-Muffs/Supreme%C2%AE-Pro-X-Earmuff/p/000090007600001028

      -NRR of 18 with gel cups and head band – cup oval vertical
      19 with neck band – cup oval parallel to the ground
      -Amplification is limited to 82dbA
      The above does not “make sense” as it shows the things work better with the cups not conforming to the shape of the ear. Comments?
      The data list a low battery alert of some sort.

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