From Firearms to Mainstream?

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posted on July 17, 2015
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In the past 15 years, SportEAR has built an enviable reputation among firearm enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for technologically advanced, shamelessly tiny, sound-compressing units tweaked to address weaknesses identified in your last audiology exam, or a more traditional set of digital muffs, you’ll find it in the company’s lineup.

Regardless of your choice, though, you’ll get more quality than you expect. The company is well known and respected, but shooters are only a tiny drop in the hearing-protection sales bucket—it’s a $1.5 billion industry, annually, most of it sold for use at the workplace or job site.

SportEAR President and CEO Weston Harris recognizes that fact, and is doing something as rare as a unicorn sighting. He’s expanding his company, this time growing from the gun world to target the consumer market. That doesn’t happen often, although with his record of accomplishment there’s no doubt he will succeed.

A new “parent” company, called ProSounds, has been established to accomplish the task. SportEAR is a division of the new firm, but it will not change because Harris has a deep passion for the firearm industry.

ProSounds has launched a KickStarter campaign with its first consumer foray called the X-Pro. It looks awesome, and at the price—even if you already have another set—ideal for a range bag backup.

Before you ask about performance and reliability, Harris’ credentials speak for themselves. He has been a board-certified hearing instrument specialist for 15 years, owned as many as 60 hearing clinics, and put together programs for a veritable “Who’s Who” of major retailers. That consumer experience will serve him well in this new endeavor.

It’s a refreshing change, too. A few weeks ago, I was researching an article on hearing protection and forced to deal with public relations departments in billion dollar corporate headquarters, with names that didn’t even resemble that of the product sold for the firing line. The first company must be too busy filling the shelves at your nearest home-improvement store to call back or answer an e-mail. A second firm asked me to send copies of the gun magazine to review before they’d grant an interview. That permission never materialized, either….all of which has me rooting for ProSounds. I know for a fact Harris returns calls.

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