Howard Leight Impact Sport Vs Impact Bolt – Which offers better ear protection for indoor shooting?

Howard Leight Impact Sport Vs Impact Bolt

Howard Leight hearing protection headsets are America’s most popular ear protection. The Impact Sport and Impact Sport Bolt models are both great for shooting and other loud environments. Below is an in-depth review on how they compare and their top features

The Howard Leight Impact series is one of the most popular hearing protection brands in North America. In late 2018, the brand released the Impact Sport Bolt which serves as an improvement to the older Impact Sports headset. These twin products are not really that different however. They are both low profile earmuffs with adjustable headband and signature slim design of the Impact Sport model. Furthermore, they can be used for all loud activities including lawn mowing, power sawing, shooting and industrial environments. They dampen noise efficiently with little slight tweaks that we’ll look at in this guide. The table below compares these two units.

What are the differences between Impact Sport Vs Impact Bolt?

Howard Leight Impact Sport
Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt
Noise reduction rating
22 dB
22 dB
Comfort padding
Slim padded leather headband
Thicker padded headbands and ear cups
Power source
2 AAA batteries
2 AAA batteries


Battery life
Up to 10 hours
6 to 8 hours
Sound amplification rating
82 dB
82 dB

Howard Leight Impact SportvsImpact Sport Bolt- How do they compare?


The Impact Sports Bolt model was released as an improvement to the Sports model.Although they are still quite similar, there are a few observable changes in design. First, the Bolt is slightly larger than its predecessor despite still being low profile. This additional size is due to the increased thickness of headband and ear cups. There are also a few modern touches on the Bolt that make it more striking than the Sports model. Impact Sport on the other hand is quite slim. There is little padding on the headband and ear cups. This makes it slightly smaller and lightweight. Therefore when it comes to design, the Bolt is better as it is more appealing with higher quality finishes than the Sport.


There are two major aspects when it comes to comfort: thickness of ear cups and headband, and depth of ear cups. In this category, the Impact Sports Bolt is better as it offers a thicker andsofter padding than the Impact Sports. Being twin devices, there are little changes in overall design. However, the Sports Bolt model features a thicker headband and ear cups. Because of this, it feels nice and squishy against your head and ears. The increased thickness of the ear cups also increases their depth so that the ears fit inside better. The older Sports model on the other hand has a thin ear cups that most people often replace with thicker ones.


Portability refers to an important aspect of hearing protection headsets: foldability. Here, there isn’t much of a difference as they both fold into small easy to carry sets. Remember that they are low profile ear muffs designed to be small.Both units use a twofold mechanism that allow it to fold into itself. The result is a small little package that fits easily in the palm. They offer same levels of portability for daily use.

Battery life

Both the Sport and Bolt are powered by two AAA batteries. They however differ when it comes to power efficiency. The Bolt has a slight edge over the Sport as it offers longer battery life. When we tested these models, the Bolt was found to provide up to 10 hours of operation time against 8 hours on the older Sport model.On top of this, they both feature a battery alert sound that warns you when the level is low.

Howard Leight Impact SportvsImpact Sport Bolt– A comparison overview

Howard Leight Impact Sport

Howard Leight by Honeywell Impact Sport Sound Amplification Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Classic Green (R-01526)
  • Built-in directional microphones amplify range commands and other ambient sounds to a safe 82 dB,...
  • Actively listens and automatically shuts off amplification when ambient sound reaches 82 dB; Noise...
  • Features low profile earcups for firearm stock clearance; adjustable headband for secure fit; compact...
  • Includes AUX input and 3.5 mm connection cord for MP3 players and scanners. Integrated power/volume knob

Howard Leight has been in the hearing protection industry for over three decades now. Throughout this time, the Impact Sport has been the highest selling ear protection in the U.S. There are several reasons for this. First, the unit has a noise reduction rating of 22 decibels. This is great for home activities such as mowing the lawn as well as indoor shooting. They also come with an amplification rating of 82 decibels that allows you to hear what’s happening around you.In addition, it is also a low profile headset with a striking small and sleek design. It also means it folds easy into a smaller easy to carry unit.

The Impact Sport is powered by two AAA batteries that offer about 8 hours of battery life. On a full charge, a pair of batteries will easily last the day. To conserve battery life, the automatically shut off after fours of use. There one directional microphone on each side that captures ambient noise and allows you to have speak and hear people.


  • Long battery life
  • Folds into a small easy to carry unit
  • Automatic shut off feature after 4 hours conserves battery
  • Quite affordable and great value for money


  • Thin headband and ear cups get uncomfortable over time

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Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt

Howard Leight Impact Sport Bolt Digital Electronic Shooting Earmuff, Black
  • LIGHTNING-FAST ATTACK TIME: Digital compression circuitry offers a .5 millisecond attack time (250X...
  • 5X SOUND AMPLIFICATION: Enhances low level frequencies like range commands, conversation with fellow...
  • RECESSED MICROPHONES: Reduces wind noise while providing clear, directional sound; allows the user to...
  • SLIM DESIGN: Low profile earcup with rifle cutaways for gun stock clearance allow use in any shooting...

In 2018, the Sport Bolt was released as an improvement of its predecessor, the Impact Sport. It is also a low profile protection headset with a noise reduction rating of 22 decibels just like its predecessor. They also have the same amplification rating of 82 decibels. This means that noises below this level will be amplified to that level. It makes conversations possible even with the headsets on. In terms of performance and dampening sound, there isn’t much of an improvement.

One of the key improvements in this model is the digital circuitry that has greatly increased attack time. There are minimal lags in sound for better user experience. Additionally, the unit comes with a 3.5 mm audio jack for music and a microphone on each side of the ear cups. The microphones are sensitive and pick up ambient noise easily. The earmuffs are also more comfortable due to the increased paddings on the headband and ear cups


  • Improved battery life of about 10 hours
  • Better and more appealing design
  • Thick paddings for comfort
  • Fit well against the head for ultimate comfort


  • Low NRR with no significant improvements in performance

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In summary, the Sport and Sport Bolt are very similar with little significant changes. If you already have the Sport, there would be no reason to upgrade to the Bolt. However, if you’re looking for a first set of ear muffs, the Bolt wouldn’t be a bad choice

So which is better? Impact Sport or Bolt?

The Impact Sport is a better choice than the Bolt simple because there isn’t much of an improvement on the Bolt to warrant its high price tag.The Bolt should only be considered as a first time device rather than an upgrade from the older Impact Sport.


  1. Is the Impact Sport water resistant?

Yes. Both of these headsets are water resistant

  1. Does the Impact Bolt support Bluetooth connectivity?

No. There’s only a 3.5mmauxiliaryaudio jack for music


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