ShellShock Hearing Protection Review By:


I’ve used Howard Leight Impact Sports Bolts (HLISB) for years now.  In the past, they beat the Walkers, and the Axils.  However, I found out about ShellShock at Shot Show and picked up a pair. 

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Well, actually I went with their Premium Eyes and Ears Combo.  So, the big question is, are they cheap knockoffs like I found the Axils?  Or are they contenders for the Howard Leights?  Well, in this full Shellshock review, I’ll breakdown their capability and where they list on my best hearing protection for shooting. 

ShellShock is the new kid on the block, being announced officially in March of 2024.  It’s the brainchild of Eric Hung, who is also the founder of Pew Pew Tactical.  

“ShellShock Protection is all about taking what we’ve learned firsthand testing gear at Pew Pew Tactical and turning it into something awesome for shooters everywhere,” ShellShock Founder & CEO Eric Hung said.

Having reviewed just about every hearing protection on the market, Eric was best suited to figure out exactly what others in the industry were missing and how best to create something that hits the mark.  

ShellShock also has eye pro, as well as combo packs of eye pro and hearing.  As I said above, I got the Premium Eyes and Ears Combo pack.  This will allow me to leave a separate review of the eye pros.  But suffice it to say that the eye pro will be getting a great grade (not as good as Oakley’s but way cheaper, and thus a much better ROI).  

Shellshock Hearing Protection Specs

  • NRR Rating 22dB
  • Attack Time 0.5ms
  • Weight 13.2 oz

Let me jump to the chase.  These ShellShock hearing pro have become my go-to hearing protection.  They have beaten out my Howard Leight Bolts (something I’ve used for years), which in previous tests, always beat out the Axils (ones I didn’t like at all), and the Walkers.  Yes, they are that good and I will explain why.  

Let’s start with the sound capability.  Just like the Howard Leight Bolts, the ShellShocks are NRR rating 22dB and have the same attack time (time it takes to hear the loud noise and kick in to dampen) of 0.5 ms.  

On the whole, in testing them, I couldn’t really tell a difference between the two.  They cut out exceptionally well, and I even did the clap test while talking to others to see how responsive they were in coming in and out through conversation.  Many hearing protections can’t pick up and drop off fast enough for this. 

Next, let’s look at construction.  Not only are the ShellShocks lighter than the HL, but they are constructed better.  The head band is much more comfortable with the right amount of padding.  Furthermore, they designed a chekwell indent for rifle shooting.  There are no cheap materials used or corners cut – unlike some of the knockoffs out there – masquerading under big name brands (you know who you are). 

One feature I was glad to see, which I know many of you will laugh at, is the led light indicator.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve thought I shut off my hearing pro, only to find out I didn’t and killed the battery.  Luckily these come with an LED light that lets you know when they’re on.  Now, the gun fuds out there might balk at this – murmuring something about bright lights will give you away if it’s dark…sure.  smh.

But the thing that really takes the cake on this is the gel pads. Before getting these, I actually bought special gel pads for my Howard Leights – which set me back another $30 (I’ll bring up pricing later).  Are gel pads important?  If you’re spending more than an hour at the range, then yes.  Gel pads are much more comfortable, seal better, and don’t put as much of a pinch with your eye pro.  So, the fact that these came with them was well played.  

So, here comes the big question.  Are the ShellShock worth the price?  Yeah, pretty much.  The Howard Leight Impact Sports are generally about $70 on most legitimate online stores.  The Howard Leight Bolts versions are around $129 (which are the ones I’m comparing them to). Btw – small note, but I remember when the bolts were $89 🙁.  So, how much do the ShellShocks cost?  Currently, they are listed at $99.  So, already this is looking great. 

Furthermore, as I said earlier, I think the gel pads are a must and I’ve paid an extra $30 (after shipping separately from my HL purchase) to get them.  So, with this in mind, to get the same set of HL, you’d need the HL plus the gel pads which makes the HL bolts much more expensive.  If, however, you get the HL Sports plus Gel, they become about the same price. But, as you saw in the review, I think the ShellShocks are better in construction, design and comfort than both the sports and bolts.  Therefore, that tips the scale in their favor.  

So, in the end, these have become my preferred hearing protection and now they are a permanent member of my range bag.  They are excellent quality and well throughout.