I was in the market for a sound canceling headset that had communication capabilities. After building an excel spreadsheet listing the options out in the market, I settled reluctantly on the pricey Peltor COMTAC III Tactical Communication headset. Model number MT17H682BB-47 SV to be more specific.
This specific headset comes with the “neckband” not the traditional head band and was designed to be worn with a ACH helmet. Along with the neckband which keeps pressure on the earmuffs to stay in place, the muffs came with two hook & loop attachments – One on each sides of the headset – To secure it to a location in the ACH helmet. I reconfigured those hook & loop straps, so they go over my head like a headband which helps to secure the muffs consistently on my ears. The strap is minimal in thickness which allows me to use under or over a cover and under my Wendy LTP Fast helmet without using the headset helmet adapter.
I use the Wendy helmet primarily to support my NVG’s and pick up chicks. Nothing says a stud in the supermarket than a Wendy helmeted gray beard old fart adorned with PVS14 NVG’s, Wiley X Brick sunglasses, and a N-95 mask with a smiley face drawn on the front. I have not received any encouraging glances from the opposite sex; However, I can clear out an aisle rather fast which makes shopping a breeze.
Bottom-line first, I have to say right off I have used many noise canceling headsets (muffs) in my life and they all have worked well however, I was blown away with the quality of the noise canceling and communication features of the COMTAC III. They are truly the Cadillac of every muff I have used in the past.
I have been looking for a couple of months for a pair on sale and finally hit pay dirt on Ebay for $405- plus shipping and PA. sales tax of course. They arrived about 5-days after purchased via UPS. They came in well packaged, and complete with AAA batteries to run them. No PTT (Push to talk button) which I will go into later.
I popped in the batteries, read the instructions, and put them on with the aforementioned adjusted head strap. Under the left muff is a waterproof switch that allows you to turn them on by pressing the +/- volume switch together. To increase the volume, you press the + button and or – to diminish the volume. Further reading the instructions – I know, I know real men do not read instructions – if you press the +/- button at the same time and hold for 10-seconds you can then adjust the ‘balance’ of the muff. A click on either + or – increases the volume level in one buff or the other. Since I have lost 75% of the hearing in my left ear, I did increase the volume on that one.
After wearing them around the house for an hour or so, I took out my new FN SLP Mk II shotgun went outside and emptied the shotgun. As expected, they worked flawlessly.
As mentioned earlier the muffs did not come with a momentary PTT switch. The reason being that you need to match up the PTT to your HT (Handi Talkie). In my case I use a DMR BaoFeng DM-1701 or a QUASNHENG TG-UV2PLUS. The BaoFeng is DMR capable, if security is an issue or just want to send encrypted texts, I use that one; However, the battery life is poor at 24-hours of continuous RX use. While the QUASNHENG battery life is excellent at about 5-days of continuous use. Plus, it has a top wattage of 10 while the BaoFeng is 5-watts.
With all of that written, they both sport a Kenwood type (Two pins) connection for a mic, dogbone, or in this case the Peltor muffs. I could buy the Kenwood PTT switch from 3M for $335- or buy a cheaply made airsoft PTT switch for $20- which will work for a while however, will conk out when you need it the most. I did a little research and found that a small company in North Carolina called Disco32 Tactical Antenna Systems had just what I needed for $100- plus freight. The reviews that I read were all stellar so I said, “what the heck” and bought one.
The Disco32 switch with Kenwood ends arrived in 7-days, which I thought was a bit slow but what the heck the company is a mom & pop outfit. Hooked everything up, put on my muffs, and wandered off down our dirt township road to about the 1/2-mike mark. Called MrsMac who gave me a signal report of 5/9. The sound quality at my end was a 5/9 too. Crisp and clear audio. I love it!
Yes, the Peltor COMTAC III’s are pricey however, you get what you pay for. I learned that valuable lesson when living on our sailboat.
Freedom Through Self-Reliance®