There are 3 main French horn mutes that you will come across, and all have very different purposes.
Here at Paxman's we try to maintain a wide variety of straight, practice and stopping mutes, suitable for all level of players.
The most commonly used mute in all manners of music from orchestral, chamber and Jazz. In classical music, when the mute type is not specified, it is assumed that the player should use a straight mute. The mute softens the sound and, by the use of different construction materials, alters the timbre. Many players keep an arsenal of different types to adapt to the type of music they are playing at the time.
As the name suggests, for use in practice situations, these mutes are designed to reduce the decibel range of the sound produced as much as possible without compromising on playability and tuning.