Personal Protection Equipment
It is mandatory when on the range that you wear ear protection. The noise can be intense even when shooting in an adjacent lane to a person using a particularly loud firearm.
Gunshot is a short duration noise and is therefore not easy to define a safe level. Most calculations use continuous noise. With short duration sound you can be exposed to a much higher peek level before hearing impairment will occur. For a person who shoots maybe once or twice a week they can be exposed to a higher level than would be otherwise deemed safe in a more constant noise level.
Noise levels in our range and on full-bore ranges such as those at Bisley can be as much as 140/190db
A good recommendation would be not to expose yourself to sound in excess of 100db. Using a value of 140db on our range and then using defenders providing 39db (typical better quality) you will be exposed to 101db. If your defenders have a SNR of less than this, one should consider wearing ear plugs as well as over ear protection to give the necessary accumulative attenuation.
Ensure your ear defence meets the necessary specifications. EN 352-1:2002 and is a good quality product. Your hearing once damaged can never be repaired.
SNR is a Single Number Rating system. This is a number expressed in decibels and is the attenuation of the device. The higher the number better!
Ensure the cups are in good condition as cracks/splits have a huge effect on their suitability. Most manufacturers have replaceable pads.
Electronic ear defence: these can be expensive and work well but beware they generally do not offer the level of attenuation found in static ear defenders. Indoor ranges tend to be louder than outdoor!
Fitting: ensure they completely enclose the ear lobe. Spectacles/safety glasses will have an effect on the acoustic seal and therefore degrade their effectiveness. More expensive Gel filled seals provide the best seal but are easily damaged if not cared for.
There are two situations which have identified as risk to one’s eyes.
Firstly: Semi Automatic rifles use a blow-back mechanism to self load the next round into the receiver. This means the hot spent cartridge case being expelled at velocity and also hot gases, often containing debris such as un-burnt propellant emanating from the ejection port.
Secondly: The use of modern rubber curtains, to stop bullet splatter, pose a threat to stray airgun pellets that have not been caught by the pellet catcher. Low velocity (relatively) matter can bounce off the curtain and return with little loss of velocity giving rise to potentially damaged eyes
It is therefore highly advised that eye protection should be worn if engaged with a self-loading firearm or airguns. Whilst there is negligible chance of anything escaping from a bolt or falling block action it is still recommended that eye protect is worn at all times when on the firing point – even as a spectator.
Spectacles or prescription lens do offer limited forward protection however do not offer any side protection unless constructed to do so. In order to ensure safety it is recommended any eye protection meets the following standard and is duly marked to that effect: EN 166 1F or better still EN155-1B
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