Ops Core NFMI Earplugs: High Tech Meets Traditional

Released in 2020, and in conjunction with the Ops Core AMP Communication Headset, the Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) earplugs allow the end-user to have stand-alone, in-ear hearing protection or provides additional protection with the AMP headset.

With its passive design, the Ops Core NFMI uses Comply foam inserts to seal the ear canal and prevent noise penetration. A pass-through canal with a coil inside allows negligible levels of ambient noise to enter and reduces the Noise Reduction Rating to 30 decibels. This also allows for near field magnetic induction to operate without the need for batteries, recharging, or any form of wired connection.

When used in conjunction with the NFMI setting on the AMP headset, the total level of noise reduction increases to a total of 34 decibels while still amplifying select noises. If the AMP were to suddenly lose power, the NFMI will continue to provide passive hearing protection.

NFMI Earplugs AloneNFMI w/AMP HeadsetNFMI w/RAC Headset
Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)303432
Signal to Noise Reduction384139
Noise Protection Ratings in decibels (dB)

The Ops Core Near Field Magnetic Induction earplugs are available in only black, but comes with three Comply foam sized inserts for Slim, Standard, and Large sized ear canals for the end-user to find the most comfortable sizing.

Product Evaluation Scores:

  • Cost – Good (4/5): At an MSRP of $199.95, the NFMI earplugs are the only in-ear plugs using the technology for wireless or zero battery use in noise cancellation. This technology in the Ops Core earplugs make them really only compatible with the AMP headset, which projects a sufficient magnetic field for activation. But without the AMP the NFMI still provides a level of passive hearing protection. The closest comparator to in-ear noise cancellation hearing protection would be the NoizeBarrier ($399) by OTTO Engineering, or the TEP-200 Tactical Earplug Kit ($201.00) by Peltor. Again, these alternatives provide similar hearing protection but still necessitate batteries or recharging. Other cheaper foam in-ear hearing protection exists, but also do not provide the protection value or cross compatibility with the AMP to amplify desired noises. Thus, as a stand-alone and in-ear plug, the NFMI offers a good level of technological function and protection to the consumer for the cost—but an excellent cost if used in conjunction with the AMP.
  • Comfort – Good (4/5): From a comfort aspect, the Comply ear inserts worked much in the same aspect as more traditional foam inserts—necessitating squeeze/rolling to compress the material, then inserting them into the ear canal and allowing the foam to expand and fill the void. And given that the NFMI came with three different sized foam inserts, the end-user can find a comfortable sizing (or combination there in) that works best for them and their individual ear canals. To further the comfort opportunity of the NFMI, Ops Core offers three different “Short” variants (sold separately) on the Comply inserts to provide maximum comfort should the need arise. Regardless, the inserts remained solidly in place during dynamic movement and exercises and did not slip at any point.
  • Durability – Average (3/5): The durability of the NFMI earplugs was very simplistic; between the polymer casing that houses the enabling NFMI coil, and the removable Comply foam inserts themselves—there wasn’t a lot in the product to risk damage and had more durability in its design than common Bluetooth earbuds. Indeed the foam inserts are most likely to need replacement first after repeated use, and are readily found on Ops Core’s website for an appropriate (or average) low cost. Indeed, loss of the earplugs themselves was more the risk, thus the NFMI came with a fixed lanyard (that can be removed if so desired) to wear around the neck and retained the ear plugs when not in use.
  • Functionality – Average (3/5): Functionally, the NFMI earplugs required no ON/OFF switch to manipulate, no batteries to change, and no power cable to encumber the shooter. And aside from the standard foam earplugs, the use of the NFMIs was straightforward with the shooter using one hand to pull back the ear (thus opening the ear canal), and using the other hand to roll and insert the NFMI (with the “elbow” to the rear of the head). Independent usage gave appropriate (or average) passive sound mitigation comparable to other foam earplugs. But when used in conjunction with the AMP headset, pass-through sound was amplified to an excellent level even though there was double-layer protection. Perhaps the only negative functional aspect was the overall length of the retention lanyard. During range work and dynamic movement with the rifle, the lanyard on several occasions became trapped under gear or the sling. This resulted in snagging or occasionally pulling the NFMI earplug out and needed readjustment. A recommendation to Ops Core (or the consumer) would be to consider tying off or shortening the overall length of the lanyard.
  • Weight – Excellent (5/5): Weighing in at a demure 0.211 ounces (or 6 grams) for the pair, the NFMI earplugs were very lightweight, with a majority of said weight attributed to the polymer housing and coil itself. The Comply inserts themselves were an open-foam cell material and extremely lightweight, so as wasn’t notable in the ear. Thus overall, the NFMIs were neither unbalancing, bulky, or fatiguing while worn. When worn in conjunction with the AMP, the NFMIs were not overly noticeable as the overall ear was supported by the enclosing ear cup. In contrast, the NoizeBarrier (19.57 ounces) by OTTO Engineering, or the TEP-200 Tactical Earplug Kit (10.6 ounces) by Peltor all illustrate the excellent light weight of the NFMI in comparison to both its passive and dual-use role with the AMP to provide excellent hearing protection.

Overall Rating – Above Average (19/25)

Product Link: https://shop.gentexcorp.com/ops-core-nfmi-earplugs/

I am reviewing this product as a courtesy to the manufacturer and via High Ground Media, LLC, so that I can evaluate it and provide my honest feedback. I am not bound by any written, verbal, or implied contract to give positive reviews. All views are my own, and based off my personal experience with the product.

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