There are many types of shooting earplugs ranging from simple foam inserts to electronic sound dampeners. And with choices today, one can spend 50 cents to $200 on ear protection.
However, what I recommend is to look for a major outdoor rifle or shotgun club or tournament, (skeet, trap or sporting clays.) Usually many vendors offering shooting accessories will attend these clubs/tournaments. Look for a vendor that offers custom molded ear plugs. This rubber/plastic/medical grade silicone substance is poured and molded in your ear and left to harden. Takes about 20 minutes. They are tied together for easy attachment/looping to a hat or so they wont get lost. Each plug has a red or blue tie attachment so as to determine left from right.
Cost is usually around $30 or so and offer good sound protection in addition to not interfering with a good cheek weld. I average about two years for each set of these plugs. I have no problem shooting a 300 target 12 ga event without impairing my hearing and still be capable of hearing the range officer and/or puller. I have also found them good for indoor pistol/rifle as well.
There is a company called Radians that offers a kit for you to do it at home, although they don't appear to be as fine as the ones available at major shoots or gun clubs.
MSA Sordins, Simply the best ... and no problems with a good cheek weld. I use the supreme pros with the gel packs and can wear them for hr's at a time. http://www.srstactical.com/supreme.php
pricy buy worth it and protecting your hearing is vital!
Best, as in the absolute best money can buy without exception? Probably the MSA Sordins.
But it really depends on how you want to use them. I shoot competitions so I need to hear range commands and live on a budget, so I have a pair of Howard Leight Impact Sport electronics. They work great for most things.
When I need more than that, I have a pair of do-it-yourself-molded ear plugs that I wear.
If I need even more than that, I wear the muffs over the molded plugs.
When I need something in between them all, I have some Howard Leight Smart Fit earplugs. I can put these in at varying depths to allow me to hear more or less of what is going on around me.
i had a pair of Tac-6, but the buldges on the side would push my ear pro up when shooting prone. i thought it would be ok since my ear was mostly covered. then i cracked off a 300WM from a covered concrete pad. lesson learned the hard way.
I'm a huge fan of Surefire EarPro Sonic Defenders. Cheap, small, light weight, no electronics.
There is a center plug I can leave out, so I can still hear people next to me talking. But I haven't been around anything bigger than a .308 with these. If your going to shoot something big, keep the plugs in.
On a side note, that might not affect a lot of people. But you can take take these through customs, and not have to do any explaining. If you do a lot of traveling to other countries for the job, you know that customs can be a pain. And I think I spent about $12 on them last year. I try to clean them ever time I use them, warm water+mild soap and there good to go.
I do have a pair of Peltor Tech 6. They are nice, do not like the dual volume controls. Plan on getting a set of Impact Sports ear pro. And it nevers fails there is always someone that doesnt have ear pro.
I use the disposable purple dudes from Wally World in the 100 packs. They work great, are 32DB rated, and I don't cry when they go through the washer and drier.
That said, I swear, if the guys I work with don't quit hammering on large metal objects with other large metal objects and air tools when I am in the shop (with no ear pro on)...I'm really going to have to get some filtered in-canal plugs molded.
I have hearing loss from my days in the USAF on the flight-line, so my hearing is not the greatest. I wanted to protect what hearing I had left so I purchased 3M 30 db protection muffs and found that I could not hear instructions from match personnel or RO's. I bought an inexpensive brand Champion rated at 26db, that fit my ear canal from Wally world. They are the 3 tier mushroom style and they work just fine for me. Thinking about getting some made for me but not a rush since these in ear plugs work just fine. I can hear instructions and the gunfire sounds like a pop to me. I'll look for a vendor at a gun show that does the custom fit plugs.
I highly recommend the Howard Leight Impact Sport. They have a great electronic system that allows you to hear what's going on around you - including impact on steel targets with no feedback or distortions. And they only cost $40. I shoot with muzzle brakes and so do my shooting buddies so I double up with sure fire EP8 plugs. With the plugs open and the volume turned on the on muffs I can hear conversations on the range, impact on steel and never get concussion or ringing ears from buddies brakes. The SF $20 plugs + $40 muffs. I think this is a great setup. Also, the muffs are very low profile so I never have any issue with cheakweld using them in multiple firing positions.
Lastly, if I am just shooting pistol or shotgun the plugs work just fine on there own.