Hearing protection.

Guns and shooting ranges have gotten louder over the years. Barrels are shorter, loads are hotter, and rates of fire have increased. Even a compact 9mm pistol has a painful bark - and when the shooter next to you pops a 30 round magazine into a black rifle, it's time to take a coffee break.

You owe it to yourself to wear the best ear protection, as you will rapidly go deaf if you don't. Most ranges offer free use of their muffs, but these are often basic units. You can do better, and should.

Get the best - 3M Peltor, Clear Armor, or such. Don't buy anything with less than a 30 db attenuation rating. I always wear a pair of ear plugs under mine. The combination provides another several db of protection. You can't have too much.

Good ear protectors will cost you about $20 - good hearing aids, around $3,000. Once your hearing is gone, it won't come back! This can happen to you - and if you become cavalier, it will. Protect those ears. I can't overstress the importance of this.