Which guns are louder? 38, 9mm, 40 S&W


November 24, 2007, 11:34 PM
Hello everyone, I'm looking to purchase a quieter gun since I'm getting sensitive to loud noises as I'm aging. Assuming all of these calibers were fired from a 5 inch barrel can you tell me which are loudest in order? I just purchased a revolver in 357 so I know how loud it is and the 38 and theres a big difference but I don't know about the 9 mm and 40 S&W. Are the auto calibers alot quieter than the 357? Thanks for any info.

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November 24, 2007, 11:39 PM
I guess the first point is, ALWAYS wear ear protection. That kind of mitigates your concern. The number of times that you might have to fire your pistol without hearing protection is certainly going to be minimal. I would imagine that revolvers are louder the semi-autos. Some of the smaller calibers have a high pitch crack to them.

Like I said, ear protection.

The Bushmaster
November 25, 2007, 12:18 AM
.22 short from a 22" barrel...:evil:

November 25, 2007, 12:18 AM
Of the calibers you mentioned, I would have to say in order from loudest to quietest 357, 40, 38, 9mm. The 38 is only louder because it's a revolver round. If it would be fired from a auto, I don't know what the results would be. I fire all of these regularly with ear protection.

November 25, 2007, 12:44 AM
Hey Guys thanks for your replys.I know about ear protection and I allways use it but the 357 still gets to me even with protection on. steely blue is the 40 S&W about the same as the 357 or is the noise closer to the 38 special? Thanks again guys.:)

November 25, 2007, 01:07 AM
I don't know about the .38, but the .40 S&W is a lot louder than 9mm.

November 25, 2007, 01:14 AM
I think it's a toss up between the .38 and .40. The .38 may be louder fired from a wheel gun because of the barrel and cylinder gap.

November 25, 2007, 02:32 AM
Well I am basing this on lessons and testing , and actual reports for indoor use (home and business), and settings, like being armed robbed and having to shoot from inside a vehicle and not really having time to <hand signals> "Excuse me Criminal, I need a time-out to get my Eyes and Ears".

.38spl standard is a low pressure round and most quiet.
.44 spl and 45ACp work well too.

9mm standard pressure is a bit louder and more crack.

.40, Sharp, ear piercing crack, then again I grew up before .40 cal and guns come to be, so me and mine don't like the .40, and none of the folks we have worked with like it either.

.357, and .22 magnum are LOUD!
.44 mag full house loads are loud, still that was my car gun...

Now in real life, a .357 going off in your face is a helluva louder than a 9mm, and 38spls incoming to a car are "muffled" by the rear passenger glass behind one driving exploding.

Incidentally I never heard his follow up shots , I was too busy with tires smoking and squealing, and bending sheet metal to leave real fast...

WE recommend low pressure rounds...I bought for instance 14 Model 10s for a business, and some were in the business and the rest for employee CCW and home use.
158 LSWC standard pressure loads.
I did not want HP

Reality is, you may not have time for eyes and ears...do you CCW Ears?
I at least smoke, so I could if time allowed shove cigarette butts in my ears...
My truck has foam plugs...
Trust me, and others that have BTDT, when you are being shot at, rammed, going down the road- getting ears on...is not a real high priority.

.38spl or 9mm, whichever you shoot best, is my suggestion with standard loadings.

November 25, 2007, 03:16 AM
I don't know about all of them, but my .357Mag and .22Mag derringer are LOUD! The .38Spl (even though It's a snubby) isn't nearly as loud. Still, in a SHTF situation, the last thing I'm going to do is run around looking for my ear protectors.

November 25, 2007, 03:36 AM
Every revolver i have fired has been a good bit more loud that most semi autos I have fired.

November 25, 2007, 10:06 AM
357sig from a 3" barrel is indoor-range-action-stopping loud...:)

November 25, 2007, 10:22 AM
I am 47 and am at that stage where my favorite words are "huh?", "What?" and "Pardon me?". If you wear hearing protection and it still hurts, you aren't wearing enough... it really is that simple.

I never ever shoot anything anymore with protection. Too little too late perhaps but I was young bullet proof young man once too. Everyone reading this I hope hears me ;) that it is not too late to be smart and never fire a gun without protection.

Would you do that other thing without protection in this day and age? Probably not... there are consequences for both. John Michael... wear muggs and plugs if the sound hurts. Get electronic muffs if you are concerned about being able to hear conversation and range commands. They have become quite cheap and are extremely effective.

Good luck

November 25, 2007, 11:28 AM
Would you do that other thing without protection in this day and age? Probably not... there are consequences for both.

hahaha. Never thought of that parallel. Brilliant.

November 26, 2007, 09:40 AM
I know about ear protection and I always use it but the 357 still gets to me even with protection on.
What type of ear protection are you using? If you are using those throw away soft earplugs I can see how it's not enough protection for a 357 Magnum. I suggest you buy a good set of muff type earphones. Those will prevent any discomfort when shooting high powered handguns.

November 26, 2007, 10:11 AM
Model 10, load it light, double up plugs and muffs, all good. Actual defensive shootings will cause very little damage, dinna fash.

November 26, 2007, 10:42 AM
.38 Target loads.

.45 Target loads.

I picked .45 over 9MM because it is more of a boom and less of a sharp crack.

With the right .38 Target load it will be more of a light "poot". Well, with hearing protection.

(A light charge of fast powder such as Bullseye and a 148 Gr. HBWC)

November 26, 2007, 11:35 AM
I find the .40 to be louder than 9mm, .38, and .45, judging from what I hear at IDPA matches.

November 26, 2007, 12:23 PM
This might be the perfect time to check your state laws on suppressors. You would need a replacement barrel, the can and $200 Fed tax. (Plus any state fee.) A Gemtech can be had for about $600.

Without knowing what loads you are using... .38Spl +P+'s out of a 4" Ruger are nasty but .38 Spl wadcutters are mild out of the same gun. .40 rounds had a "harder" bark then did my .45ACPs. (Ball rounds in both guns.) Not sure what they actually measured on a sound meter.

November 26, 2007, 12:39 PM
I'd say the .40S&W. I was just shooting my Glock model 23 last night and noticed that it was louder than any of the others in the range.

I was using Winchester White Boxes in 180 grain, FMJ.

I love the .40S&W!!!

November 26, 2007, 12:48 PM
Well said, "Markbo" !!!!

November 26, 2007, 02:01 PM
IMO the .357 full house loads are the most painful around (at least in the common calibers). I always say the .357 is more of a loud "crack" than a boom like most other calibers. I can always tell the .357 on the range when someone is shooting one...:)

As for the list

1. .40 a little louder than 9mm and .38
2. 9mm and .38 about the same

November 26, 2007, 09:37 PM
No matter how much more energy the .44 Magnum has, the .357 seems to have it beat in the volume department. I have a suspicion that the racket it makes is responsible for some of its reputation for stopping power... depending on which end of the blast you're on, it can be pretty reassuring.

November 26, 2007, 09:44 PM
I dunno, to me the most obnoxious handguns save rifle caliber hand cannons are 38 super and 9mm open guns with the comps that send the gasses (and noise) in all directions.. usually utilizing 115 gr bullets moving at 1450 fps.. using some slow powder like Longshot (Loudshot), IMR 4756, Vitt N350, Vitt 3N37, Vit 3N38, SR 7625, and powders similar to those.. Double plugging (Ear plugs plus muffs) are sometimes not even enough...

November 26, 2007, 11:17 PM
not just a particular caliber or load. i think barrel length affects the loundness too. i think.

November 27, 2007, 01:26 AM
Get a caliber that fires less than the speed of sound
which is a bit over 1,100 ft at sea level

such as .45 ACP .44 Spcl. .38 Spcl +P .45 Colt

It also depends on Semi-AUto vs Revolvers.

Ala Dan
November 27, 2007, 08:46 AM
I try not too listen to any caliber of firearm~! :scrutiny: :eek:

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