The DIY kids are not that easy and usually don't make a good enough seal. The kits i tried suggested you push it to your ear by hand. Worked but didn't seal very good. I tried 3 times with those DIY kits. Seems like i bought them at Wal Mart on clearence.
I had a set made at the Grand and she actually put foam in your ear with a tiny thread attached. You pick your color or colors and they inject with a large syringe. The foam protects your ear drum from the silicone until its set. By being able to inject in the ear they seal much better and i can tell no difference between good foam throw aways. When the silcone sets, she pulled the earplug out and then the foam. She then cleans them up a bit and removes any excess. She also inlaid a little plastic blue dot on the left side for quick ID of right/left. When she finished and she put them back in, i couldn't hear much at all. I'm very happy with them. The foam plugs are great but the give me ear problems. Try and find someone that uses this procedure.
I had a pair of molded plugs that I had made at a shoot a few years back for $75, and long story short I lost one when I left them in a pocket and it fell into the black hole known as our laundry room never to return.
I first had my son pick me up a kit a Cabelas which is advertised under Cabelas name. When using the Cabelas kit I made the mistake of not pushing the material into my ear enough, and they didn't end up extending into the ear canal as far as the one molded plug I had and didn't work as well.
The next weekend my son went to Gander mountain and got me the Radian brand. This time I made a point of really working the material into the ear and it worked great. When comparing the molded plug I paid $75 for to the Radian that was $15, the Radian was better/quieter. Now granted the one plug is a few years old and my ear could have changed, but the diy kit worked great.
As I stated I made a point the second time of really working the material into the ear canal and I ended up trimming a little bit off of each ear plug after they were done as they extended in farther than needed. I also had my wife shape them once I finished working them in to give them a better appearance/shape. They say set up time is 10 minutes, but to be safe I waited 20 before taking them out.
So my 2 cents is they are well worth it, but make sure you work the material in far enough and have someone help with shaping them.
I have used both, and prefer the Radians. As someone else has mentioned the foam plugs are sometimes difficult to fit and after a while begin to hurt the ear canal. The Radians are more comfortable and noise reduction is better. Your mileage may vary.
I just love it when guys like Unknown/MK shed their optimistic light on the world!!
To add to my post....what I learned was the off ear plug isn't as important as the shooting side. The first set I made worked fine on the off ear and it was the shooting side that you need to make sure to get into the ear canal as mounting the gun can move the plug slightly and break it's seal if it doesn't protrude enough into the canal.
And MK....I tried every foam plug I could find and they didn't work for me....so there!
<blockquote><I>"I just love it when guys like Unknown/MK shed their optimistic light on the world!!"</i></blockquote>It's realism not "optimism", ward, and I wish somebody would have shed a little on me before I wasted time and money on those things... so there THERE!
Well, I've had all 3 kinds. The custom molded works great just standing around...but if I smile or mount the gun, it moves and lets in noise. The molded myself from a kit acted much the same way. The foam plugs just block more noise, they are quieter, and stay sealed if I smile or mount the gun....they just work better for me. If lose 'em, I just grab another pair. Your mileage may vary.