Every once in a while you come across a special problem that demands a special solution. For me it seems like every problem is that problem. Enter John Willis and his company Special Operations Equipment. Here is the story. I recently picked up some dual comm noise canceling muffs to use for a special project. Now I like them. A lot. But there is a problem. Since they are dual comm units they have a lead that comes from each ear piece that is designed to connect to a radio. Two leads, two radios, dual comm. Now on an average day at the range, I don’t need comms, let alone dual comms. So I immediately took of the wrap off of the head band to tuck the leads under and get them out of the way. No go. See, these cables are terminated in a T120 plug that is huge. About the diameter of a 20ga shotgun shell. To add to that, the cables are short. So the plugs end up under the band wrap. Just too much girth to get that wrap back on. Today we are going to take a look at how the SOE Peltor Wraps changed my life.
0231 – Special Operations Equipment Muff Wraps
Sponsor of the Day:
I dropped some coin on theses muffs but I felt like they were really pretty reasonably priced compared to other electronic muffs that I have owned in the past. No doubt, I was correct. It is a statement as to how good they are and how well priced they are in that I will not overtly disclose which muffs I got, or where I got them from. See, I need another pair. One is none, two is one. You know this. As much as I like you folks, I can’t have you driving up the price of my gear. Once I get that second pair, I’ll review them and fill you in on the details. But I’m not here to talk about muffs. Instead I want to talk about how to make you muffs better.
Dual Comms Cables: gone
My big issue is the cables. When I need them, I need them. So I can’t just cut them off. I’m not likely to ever need dual comms, but at more than a $50 savings I was willing to deal with the extra cable and have the redundancy built in.
I cant simply let them dangle either. This could lead to a whole host of problems. There is nothing worse than having your hearing protection ripped off in the middle of a training exercise. A couple of stiff cables are hanging there, waiting to help snatch those muffs right off your face. Not good. Add the attention factor. My original plan was to use these muffs only when I needed them attached to a radio. But the first time I put them on I knew that wasn’t going to work. They were too good. They out performed hearing pro that is twice as expensive by a considerable margin. I have no intention of letting that performance go to waste. At the same time, I don’t need my pals and others tugging on cables and busting my chops. They need to be on the down low.
My first solution was to tuck them under the standard cotton wrap supplied by the manufacturer. No room. The giant plugs were a no go. I moved on to zip ties. the cable ties actually worked pretty well, but it put me in a situation where I had a semi permanent system that needed a tool to release. Sure I always have a knife, but remember I can’t just cut those cables off. Next I tried velcro straps. This took care of the tools but it was time consuming and after a while the bulk of the velcro created pressure points. Arrrrrrrgh!
Leave it to SOE to solve problems. The Peltor Wraps have enough extra room to fit the huge T120 connectors under the wrap. This solves several issues. First, the plugs are out of the way. Second, they are hidden. Finally they are easy to get out when I need them.
Those of you that are like me and spend a lot of time on the range understand that comfort can be a big help. It allows you to focus on what you are supposed to be doing instead of whatever is bothering you. Don’t get me wrong, I can work through some uncomfortable situations, but why grunt through it when there is a solution. I fired off a message to John Willis and comfort was on the way. The mesh backing has enough padding to keep the band from irritating your scalp and at the same time, the bulk is kept to a minimum on the underside.
The foundation of the wraps is a comfortable synthetic mesh that gets the OEM cotton wrap away from my head. We just got done talking about layering and the last thing I want on my noggin of all places is cotton. Several other sets of muffs I own have padded vinyl head bands which can be equally uncomfortable especially at high temperature or intensity times when ventilation is an issue. The mesh on the SOE Muffs takes care of that issue as well.
Many folks consider SOE’s gear to be the highest quality gear on the market. I certainly cant argue with that. But John and his crew do something much more important that make quality gear. They solve problems. You will find SOE in some of the roughest places on some of the roughest men. These are the kind of folks that give frequent feedback whether you want it or not. Well SOE wants it. They put it into practice. They solve problems. My issues were not the biggest deal out there, however, if John is willing to put that much effort into designing a ear muff wrap to make sure it works it should be pretty clear how he will handle the rest of your rig.