A tactical headset is one of the most important accessories when doing actual military combat or playing games with a team. This gear helps you communicate with your teammates and protect your hearing at the same time. For optimal results, choose the best tactical headset.
Not all tactical headsets are built the same. Some offer pure communication, while others offer excellent hearing protection. Here are a few features to look for in a good product.
- Noise reduction: What makes a tactical headset effective is its ability to reduce loud noises that might damage your ears.
When an explosion or gunshots happen, a noise reduction feature helps dampen external sounds until they’re at a safe hearing level. Some products give customers an NRR value to indicate how many decibels they can reduce.
You can opt out of this feature if you want to use the headset for pure communications only.
- Sound quality: The purpose of the head gear is to amplify ambient sounds necessary for situational awareness. The pickup microphones are crucial for this purpose. They pick up the minute sounds like footsteps, so you can hear your enemies approaching you.
- Design: The design of the headphones can determine their comfort level. The most comfortable options have soft ear pads that won’t hurt even when you wear them for a long time. Also, ensure that the headset is designed to work with multiple communication devices to have endless options.
On top of the above, we’ll discuss more essential features of tactical headsets in the buying guide below. But before we get into that, let’s review seven of our top recommendations for tactical headgear.
Table of Contents
- Top 5 Tactical Headset Reviews
- What to Look for When Buying Tactical Headset
- Do Soldiers Wear Ear Protection in Battle?
- How Do Soldiers Hear With Ear Protection?
- How Do You Wear Headphones With a Helmet?
- Does the Military Use Comtacs?
- What Does a Tactical Headset Do?
Top 5 Tactical Headset Reviews
1. Retevis EHK007 Noise Reduction Walkie Talkie Headset
Retevis’s EHK007 is a dual–channel headset with quality specs. There are two pickup microphones to transmit the surrounding sound on the left and right earpieces with adjustable volume control.
I love the built-in boom mic on the left because it’s adjustable, and I can easily set it near my mouth. The push-to-talk (PTT) communication method is very clear, and it works with my favorite Baofeng two-way radio.
Moreover, I’m pleased with the sound amplification of this comms headset, as it allows me to hear someone talking clearly through the mask.
This tactical communication headset is on par with the 3m Peltor Comtac series.
It reduces noise well, making this headset an effective muff for shooting and airsoft games. Every time someone fires a gun at the shooting range, the unit turns off the pickup function for hearing protection.
Wearing these headsets also feels comfortable. The leather ear cushions don’t hurt my ears even when I wear the device inside my helmet for more than three hours.
Not to mention, everything feels rugged with the solid wiring and metal frame of the ear cups. The IPX4 rating assures me that this unit can stand water splashes from any direction.Heads-up: However, the batteries don’t fit properly. Pros:
- Delivers a clear sound with the two pickup microphones
- Amplifies sounds to increase situational awareness
- Has an adjustable volume and built-in mic
- Features noise reduction for hearing protection
- Built with comfortable ear cushions and durable construction
- Has an IPX4 rating for water resistance
- A bit difficult to fit the batteries
2. ZTactical zCOMTA III Tactical Headset, Z051-FG
The ZO51-FG is a tactical headset with microphone on both sides to pick up ambient sounds for better situational awareness in the field. Compared to the previous generations, this new 6th version adds more pickup amplification levels, allowing me to hear my opponents walking nearby during a game of airsoft.
This noise cancelling tactical headset does a good job of dampening loud noises like helicopters and gunshots at the range. I can hear my teammates clearly, and they also tell me that my voice sounds clear on the boom mic. As a left-handed user, I love the fact that I can transfer the boom mic to the right, just like my old Peltor Comtac III.
Everything feels solid and comfortable. The sponge ear cups sit comfortably in my ears and feel lightweight. Also, the battery compartment for two AAAs seals tight and won’t get in the way of the volume control switch.
I like this communication equipment because it connects to a phone or a two-way radio during a team tactical game. My Baofeng radios work with the PTT switch just fine. At a decent price, I never expected to have such high-performing tactical headsets.Heads-up: However, this tactical helmet ear protection equipment is a bit challenging to fit into my fast helmet. I had to bend the arms a little to get a tighter fit. Pros:
- Reduces loud noises to protect the ears from hearing impairment
- Built with an ambidextrous boom mic and two pick-up microphones
- Offers amplification for detecting people
- Excellent compatibility with a transceiver and phone
- Designed with comfortable ear cups and a secure, compact battery compartment
- Comes at an economical price
- A little difficult to fit into the helmets
3. Retevis Tactical Military Headset, EH060K
This particular Retevis tactical communication gear is specifically designed for active combat, similar to my previous Peltors Army headset equipment. The unit works with most walkie-talkies like Baofeng and Archshell, so compatibility isn’t a problem.
What I love most is the soft headband because I can adjust it to fit my head securely. It’s designed to be used under the helmet, so this combat headset gives me peace of mind that it won’t fall out when I’m running.
Also, the boom mic and earpiece are set up for the left ear, but it’s easy to flip the straps to change it to the right ear for convenience.
The speaker’s sound quality is quite good. I can hear outside sounds clearly to detect the other team’s movement during a game, and the voice that comes out from the ear cups is super clear. I like that this two-way radio headset tactical gear allows me to keep track of ambient noises while communicating with my team in war games.
For its price, I’m pleased with the design. The PTT button is large, so it’s easy to operate while I’m moving. I appreciate the flexible back clip because it makes the adapter easier to adjust in position. Best of all, it feels comfortable wearing the headset because the ear pads have vents for proper airflow.Heads-up: However, this under helmet hearing protection may not fit a large head circumference. Pros:
- Works with most walkie-talkie brands
- Has an adjustable soft headband for a comfortable fit
- Can be worn either on the left or right ear
- Produces a clear sound quality at a reasonable price
- Designed with a large PTT button and flexible back clip
- Built with a vented ear muff for comfort
- Not suitable for large heads
4. Hearangel Tactical Headset
This Hearangel is another good airsoft headset that works best with rail side helmets. Two pickup microphones on both sides amplify the ambient sounds. Surprisingly, I can hear footsteps and even the whispers of my teammates during games for better coordination.
The noise reduction works effectively. Whenever someone fires a gun, the headset automatically brings down the noise to safe levels. The boom mic’s sound quality is also pretty clear because everyone on my team tells me that they can hear my voice even from afar.
My favorite is the gel ear cups of this hearing protection helmet device. The gel padding feels so soft that I can wear the headset for many hours. It even offers great insulation in the cold. I especially love the silicone material because it boosts the sound effect, providing better audio quality in the field.
Adjusting the headset to my ears is also pretty easy. I simply rotate the bracket to fit the headset to my body. The main power source is two AA batteries, which work six hours nonstop for me.
In terms of style, there are four colors to choose from, allowing buyers to select the design that best suits their taste.Heads-up: However, the headset arrived with another product’s instructions. Pros:
- Easy to adjust on the ears using the bracket
- Built with two pickup microphones for amplifying ambient sounds
- Has an adequate noise canceling feature
- Designed with soft gel ear cups and sound-boosting silicone material
- Excellent boom mic audio quality enhances communication
- Four colors to choose from
- Wrong instructions in the package
5. ATAIRSOFT Tactical Headset
I was looking for a pure communication headset, and some Reddit users recommended ATAIRSOFT. This tactical helmet mounted ear protection provides excellent sound quality with a portable design.
What I like most about this tactical headset airsoft device is its folding construction. I can easily store this intercom in my bag without taking up much space. When it’s time to use the device, I simply unfold it and use the rail connector to fix the headset onto my bump helmet. I like that it fits any head size and won’t fall off while moving.
When connected to a walkie-talkie, the headset produces a crisp sound quality. I can communicate easily with my teammates during games. Also, I love the fact that I can detach the mic and attach it either to the left or right.
Since there are no batteries required, the headset feels lightweight. The earmuffs also feel comfortable because they’re made of cotton and ABS material. I don’t get any pressure on my ears even when using the device for long periods.Heads-up: The soundproof earmuff design somewhat helps dampen the noises. But it’s not enough to protect my hearing from deafening gunshots, since the intercoms lack a noise cancellation feature. Pros:
- Has a foldable design for compact storage
- Easy to secure on helmets using the connector
- Produces a crisp sound for clear communication
- Features a detachable microphone that can be set up on both sides
- Lightweight and comfortable to use, with cotton and ABS ear cups
- Dampen the noise a little with its soundproof earmuffs
- No noise cancellation feature
What to Look for When Buying Tactical Headset
Tactical headsets are important in the field because they improve communication and situational awareness. Here are the things to consider when selecting a good tactical headset.
- Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
The NRR helps determine whether the device offers sufficient hearing protection or not. This rating is expressed in decibels. A higher value means a better capability to reduce noise.
Let’s say, you’ll want a tactical headset for shooting. The decibel level of a gunshot is around 140. If you choose a headset with an NRR of 79 decibels, here’s the calculation of how much you’ll actually hear.
- Get the NRR of the product and subtract seven from it: 79-7= 72
- Subtract the above result from the gunshot noise level: 140-72=68
From the computation above, the user should be hearing 68 decibels when using the headset at the shooting range in an ideal setting.
In most cases, the NRR rating won’t do as it’s expected. Hence, consider using a 50% correction factor.
- NRR of the headset minus seven: 79-7=72
- Divide by two: 72/2= 36
- Subtract the value from the noise source: 140-36=104
With this calculation, the actual noise level is up to 104 decibels. Keep in mind that anything above 85 decibels may cause hearing loss over time.
If the headset doesn’t provide the NRR details, make sure that it offers a noise cancellation feature to dampen the sound of loud noises like gunshots.
- IP Rating
Like any other accessories, tactical headsets are vulnerable to moisture and other foreign material. The speakers and batteries get easily damaged when exposed to water. To ensure that your headset is well-protected from these elements, look for an IP rating.
The first digit of the IP rating indicates dust and dirt protection. Any headset that has a rating of IP5X-IP6X means that it can resist dust pretty well.
The second digit refers to water protection. The most durable headsets have at least a rating of IPX4. Devices with an IPX4 rating are sweat-proof and splash-proof.
For better communication, choose a tactical headset that’s compatible with many two-way radio brands. Look at the plug and identify what model it can accommodate. A Kenwood 2-pin can fit a Baofeng two-way radio.
Advanced models even allow connection to a smartphone
Advanced models even allow connection to a smartphone. This is a practical way of adding a communication device to the field. If that’s the type of device you’re choosing, make sure that it connects via a cable and not Bluetooth. A tactical headset Bluetooth model will only serve as a liability because of its wireless connection.
Comfort is one of the key factors for tactical accessories. In tactical headsets, check the ear cup design. Look for soft ear pads that offer a cushion to the ears. They should be as lightweight as possible to allow wearing the headset for a long time.
Some of the best headsets feature vented earcups. This design is hygienic as it prevents the accumulation of sweat.
- Sound Quality
A good tactical headset offers a clear sound quality to communicate better and pick up ambient sounds for enhanced situational awareness. The mics matter here, especially those that pick up the sound around you.
The best models of tactical headsets amplify these ambient sounds at different volume levels.
The design of the ear pads also affects the sound quality of the headset. A nice-fitting ear pad isolates noise to improve environmental listening.
Do Soldiers Wear Ear Protection in Battle?
Not all of them, but many do wear ear protection. Some of the headgear brands soldiers use are Silynx, Sordin, and Atlantic Signal. Whether headsets or ear plugs are used depends on what the military issues.
How Do Soldiers Hear With Ear Protection?
Soldiers will hear the noise outside, but it will only be minimal to protect the ears from damage. Modern hearing protection systems even help amplify voices and other soft sounds amid noisy environments.
How Do You Wear Headphones With a Helmet?
The first thing to do is to set the size of your headset and the headgear, so you’ll only do a few adjustments later. Here are the next steps to follow.
- Remove the interior padding of your helmet to make room for the headset.
- Detach the helmet’s retention system because that’s where you’ll get the mic and wire through.
- Wear the headset and ensure that it fits comfortably.
- Now, put the helmet on. Pass the mic and wire through the retention’s opening.
- Put each ear pad inside the retention system then close the straps.
- Ensure that the helmet fits securely on the rear.
Does the Military Use Comtacs?
Aside from Ops-Core Amp, the military uses Comtacs, more specifically, the Peltor Comtac III and Peltor Comtac VI.
The Peltor Comtac III features a talk-thru design that helps reduce the loud sound from guns or vehicles. It also amplifies ambient sounds to keep users aware of their surroundings.
On the other hand, the Peltor Comtac VI offers Natural Interaction Behavior technology, allowing people to talk in a noisy environment without radios. It can create an intercom of 60 people.
Altogether, these military communications headsets offer excellent hearing protection and improve environmental listening on the battlefield.
What Does a Tactical Headset Do?
A tactical headphone helps dampen loud sounds like weapon fires in the field. At the same time, it increases ambient noises in a quiet environment, so you’ll know what’s happening around you. This tactical gear comes with earpads and a mic for communicating with people within a group.
Many of these devices transmit sound using bone conduction technology. Instead of going directly to the eardrum, the sound goes straight to the inner ear. This setup leaves the ear canal open to hear the soft sounds in the environment and offers a more comfortable fit.
Tactical headsets are truly a must-have in combat and war games. Out of all the headsets we reviewed, my top recommendation for the best tactical headset is the Retevis EHK007; it has everything that I need for airsoft game communication and hearing protection.
This particular model has two excellent pickup mics, an IPX4 rating, and an effective noise cancellation feature.
Look closely at product features when you shop around. Make sure that the ear cups fit securely and that your existing radio works with the headset. Play airsoft and other battle games with a tactical headset, and you’ll be surprised at how they can improve your performance.
I am Everett Bledsoe, taking on the responsibility of content producer for The Soldiers Project. My purpose in this project is to give honest reviews on the gear utilized and tested over time. Of course, you cannot go wrong when checking out our package of information and guide, too, as they come from reliable sources and years of experience.